By Emily J. Minor
About 50 residents packed the Briny Breezes Town Council’s January meeting to listen to a civics lesson on why the town handles its money the way it does.
“Many people don’t understand what we are forced to spend money on,” said Mayor Roger Bennett.
Although the turnout for the meeting was far above average, most residents just listened. Few spoke.
Relying on a written Q&A that she had prepared in advance, Clerk Kathleen Bray went through the town’s money matters step by step, explaining everything from the timing of the budget hearings to why the town hires someone to read the meters.
(All Palm Beach County municipalities start their budgets in the summer, and the town uses someone to read the meters because when the corporation handled it, there were too many equipment problems and errors.)
The January meeting was moved to the roomier community center after questions arose at the December meeting about the timing of the budget hearings. Most residents are gone when town officials debate the budget during the summer, but Bray encouraged residents to write in their comments. “In the past, they (residents) have seldom sought to do so,” Bray wrote in the Q&A.
Still, the presentation was for information only. Bray said she put the report together at the request of the town’s corporate side. “The town has passed its budget,” Bray told the crowd. “There’s no going back.”
In addition to the timing of the budget hearings and the meter reader question, Bray also addressed things like Town Hall rent, the millage and improving communication between town and corporation officials.
A copy of the entire Q&A is available at Town Hall.
In other business, officials and residents:
• Listened to an update on the state-required Evaluation and Appraisal Report recently filed with the Department of Community Affairs. After comments from state officials and nearby towns, the Planning and Zoning Board now begins work on the Comprehensive Plan.
The revisions to the town’s existing plan would allow for changes in what kind of homes can be built in Briny Breezes, something considered crucial for weathering future hurricanes. Now, the town’s residential units are limited to mobile homes.
• Heard from Mayor Roger Bennett that he will be running for re-election. Bennett had said earlier he would step down for health reasons, but told residents he was feeling better. The town election is