By Steve Plunkett
    Storm clouds are gathering again between the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District and the city of Boca Raton.
    The cause of the renewed friction is the continuing failure of the two governments to hammer out a master interlocal agreement to replace a handful of agreements defining which side does what. The district uses its tax dollars to have city workers take care of its parks and pay for the operation and capital improvements at Red Reef Park and some other city-owned facilities.
    District Chairman Robert Rollins said the latest version of the proposed agreement was an improvement over the original, but he still was not happy.
    “For 22 years we’ve had separate ILA agreements that have worked marvelous without any complications that I can see. So to begin with, I’m not sure why we need a master ILA,” Rollins said.
    Rollins rode the train from Tampa to Boca Raton and said he had plenty of time to review the proposal, which the city first offered in December 2015.
    The main sticking point was when a second round of playing fields would be built at De Hoernle Park, which is on city property. The district built the first group of fields in 2012, and commissioners hoped to keep the same contractor. But Boca Raton did not give its OK.   
    “This interlocal agreement has already held up phase 2 for a couple of years if not more,” Rollins said. “I kept looking in here for a statement that said, you sign this ILA agreement and you can get started on phase 2 tomorrow. It’s not in here.”
    Rollins said he also was concerned about not having input anymore on the scheduling of fields, adjusting user fees at parks and the effects of future annexations by the city.
    Vice Chairman Steve Engel said city officials seem to treat the district as if it were a city agency.
    “We’re a state agency, and as such we have a different set of rules that we have to play by,” he said, noting the thousands of district residents he represents who live outside city limits.
    At the district’s June 19 meeting, Arthur Koski, its executive director, said Boca Raton’s proposed budget does not reflect what has been discussed during negotiations of the master interlocal agreement.
    “So that would mean that the actual interlocal agreement would not take effect in the fiscal year ’17-18,” Koski said. “That’s not to say we can’t negotiate it during that year, but it probably would be effective in the following fiscal year.”
    District commissioners thought they reached an agreement on De Hoernle Park at a joint meeting with City Council members in mid-2015.
    “We promised the city we would do sports turf at Patch Reef [Park], we’re doing it,” Rollins said. “We promised the city that we’d do half the beach renourishment; we signed that, we’re doing it. Those are the two things that were hanging us up on this. And so we’ve made that commitment, we’re true to our word when we say we’ll do something. Let’s see if we can’t knock this thing out and get phase 2 kicked off.”
    The two sides planned to meet July 24 primarily to discuss a separate interlocal agreement covering the potential purchase of the Ocean Breeze golf course.

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