By Tim O’Meilia

South Palm Beach music lovers will no longer have a choice of two nights to watch their favorite performers, as the town’s cultural committee decided to cut the traditional back-to-back performances to a single night for each artist in its winter music series.
The committee also will concentrate on local talent for both the music and lecture series to cut travel expenses and help put the cultural program in the black.
“Tickets for the music series have been down, so we decided to go to one night instead of two,” said Jeff Stein, co-chair with his wife, Ruth, of the town-sponsored cultural series held in the Town Hall council chambers.
“Perhaps this will get the demand up and we can go back to two nights,” Ruth Stein told the Town Council at the July 26 meeting.
The Steins are adding a musical comedy act and a doo-wop band playing oldies from the ’50s through the ’70s to the five-artist program. Pianist Robert Sharon and his chorale will return, as will soprano Reyna Cargill.
“We tried to think outside of the box and hopefully get a little more interest in the program,” she said.
The lecture series will continue its two-night per speaker format but concentrate less on world affairs. This year’s six-speaker program includes a one-person Eleanor Roosevelt play as well as talks on the upcoming presidential campaign.
The cultural series was calculated to lose $7,000 this year after factoring in honoraria, travel expenses and ticket sales in a $44,900 budget. The proposed 2012 ledger forecasts a $1,000 profit on a $19,500 budget.
The savings would help reduce the 2012 budget proposed by Town Manager Rex Taylor by 9.3 percent to $1.7 million.
Council members voted unanimously to hold the tax rate at the same level as this year: $4.32 for each $1,000 of taxable property value. But because property values have dropped again, a typical condominium owner will be paying less in town taxes.
The owner of a $100,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay about $215 in town taxes. The rate does not include fire-rescue, school, Palm Beach County or other property taxes.
For the fourth year in a row, town employees will not receive raises. In fact, the town’s bottom line will benefit by more than $63,000 as a result of the Florida Legislature’s decision to require public employees to pay 3 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. Previously, the town paid for 100 percent of the pension contribution.
The budget was reduced another $22,000 because the maintenance employee works part-time only.
The town anticipates spending $15,000 more in legal fees for negotiations with the police union, the Police Benevolent Association. The town and the newly formed police bargaining unit have had two meetings but no contract has been proposed yet.
If no changes are made in September, the town will dip into its $2.4 million in reserves for $58,000 to balance the budget.  This year the town anticipated spending $175,000 in reserves.
In other business, the Town Council:
• Set public hearings for the budget for Sept. 6 and Sept. 20 at 6:45 p.m., with adoption of the budget and final tax rate on Sept. 20.
• Changed the council meeting dates in November and December to Nov. 15 and Dec. 19, a Monday.
                                       


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  • Oh My God! A council in South Palm Beach is cutting some expenses! But of course it is nowhere near enough Let’s start with the Town Hall. In a town that is only ⅝ ths of a mile long and has approximately 3200 residents, half of that in the summer, there is no need for a fulltime staff at the Town Hall. In this day of incredible financial stress that is upon the residents of this Town a 3 days week should be sufficient. Look at numerous much bigger towns around us who do not have the Town Hall staff on hand 5 days a week. Now let’s look at the Police Department – we have a Police Chief, a Captain, a Lieutenant and an Official Investigator and very few patrol officers. Can it possibly be justified that a town our size should be so top heavy in brass: who by the way cost us a couple of over 3 hundred thousand dollars a year. Even with all of this brass when it comes to the shift from 12 pm until 6am in the morning only one officer is patrolling our streets. We do not have enough patrol officers to cover this shift so it would seem only reasonable that some of the brass get out of their beds and do so- but I would suggest that you do not hold your breath whilst you are waiting for that to happen. This department should be cut from the top and some of the money saved should be spent on patrol officers. Just how good is our Police Department? There was a case that started on 10/29/09 and ended mid February 2011. On that date a female resident of South Palm Beach went into the Police Department wrote a statement under oath and presented it to the Officer in charge. In this sworn statement this female resident claimed that the then Mayor stated to her that he would make another female of the town “disappear” a clear threat on that persons life. She also claimed that the then Mayor had attempted to stop her putting in an alleged complaint of battery into the Police Department – witness tampering? She also claimed in this sworn statement that the then sitting Mayor tried to bribe her not to put in the alleged complaint-a case of attempted bribery? Last but not least she accused the then sitting Mayor of stalking her. She didn’t complain just once to the police department that the then sitting Mayor was stalking her- she complained twice. On the second complaint she writes “I headed home down A1A saw Officer ____ and pulled over to let him know _____ ______ was stalking me. I asked him to keep an eye on my parking lot”. The Officer in this incident did not even bother to make an official note of this incident. In her statement she say’s that within 30 minutes of her asking that police officer for help the alleged stalker was at her intercom saying “ it’s _____ _____ your friendly Mayor let me in” So much for protect and serve!

     What is the point of this story you may ask – the point is that at no time was the sitting Mayor EVER QUESTIONED ABOUT THESE ALLEDGED CRIMINAL BEAHVIORS– NOT ONE QUESTION - they just let him ride – which goes to show that the “good old boy” system is alive and well in South Palm Beach – IF YOU ARE THE MAYOR YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING IN THIS TOWN.

    Ladies of South Palm Beach I hope you all rest well knowing that if you complain about somebody stalking you it will be completely ignored by the South Palm Beach Police Dept.

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