Tom Campenni

Friends & Neighbors is designed to give you the information that is happening within our County. My goal is to inspire you to get involved and make a change to make Martin County the best it can be. There is lot’s to do! – Tom

News And Views

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1

IN THIS EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER

 

Welcome to 2022 and the first edition of Friends & Neighbors in the new year!

 

Friends & Neighbors has now been published since 2014. It has become a bit more sophisticated since its inception as a constituent newsletter, but the mission has remained the same: to inform the public about their government. We have added more sections and different contributors, but at its core it has not changed.

 

Those of you who have been readers for a while know that I am not known for pulling punches. I strive to tell it as it is. My goal always has been to make sure you have the information you need to make good decisions.

 

Though when making those decisions, we often ignore the facts and instead act with our hearts. Other times we rail against what our elected officials do and then turn around and vote for them again because of the party affiliation initial next to their names. There is a place for partisan politics as long as other considerations and qualifications of the candidates are taken into account before we cast the vote.

 

There have been no meetings since our last newsletter. They will begin in earnest next Monday. So, I took the opportunity to write about what I believe are the challenges each government faces in the coming year. One of the most significant changes that will occur in 2022 will be the retirement of longtime administrator Taryn Kryzda which I write about in the “Final Thoughts” Section.

 

Pine, McChrystal, Hafner and VanRiper are back giving their perspectives. Mike Mortell outlines new laws that became effective January 1st. Marcela Camblor tells us how COVID has affected architectural planning. John Sedwitz gives us his Hobe Sound view. Both Carol and Fletch bring us up to date on the United Way and Boys & Girls Club, respectively.

 

Ed Curtin, principal of Martin County’s newest school, Misericordia, begins his monthly column on what it takes to open a place of learning in Martin County. I know you will enjoy that. And Martin County Taxpayers Association examines increases in the sheriff’s budget and how much we can afford.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read Friends & Neighbors.

 

Besides reading the newsletter you can catch articles and other information by going to our Facebook page at HERE

If you want to read what I have been writing between newsletters you can go to Martin County Moment at HERE and to our Medium page at HERE

 

2

 

TRUE VICTIMS

 

When did it become acceptable to ride around with expletives on the side of vehicles, unfurled on banners from houses, or emblazoned on clothing?

I am no stranger to using the “F” word in conversation. But I wouldn’t use it around children. Yet by driving around or hanging banners or having it on a T-shirt, isn’t that what is happening?

 

A political disagreement is not a life-or-death matter. Those who want you to believe that it is are using you for their own ends. They want to keep their supporters agitated and mad so that you donate and come out and vote. But there are other ways for politicians to make sure you vote for them and send a few dollars.

 

We have lost a sense of proportion with all of this. Words and deeds do matter. I am all for a well-reasoned argument. The use of invective can’t make something true and seldom changes anyone’s mind. How many Biden supporters are going to see the light by someone driving around with a flag featuring the ‘F” word or the veiled version of “Let’s Go Brandon.”

 

The culmination of how low we have sunk as a nation is when the president of the United States telephones a citizen to wish him a Merry Christmas, and the person who has just had a conversation with the President of the United States about his children signs off with “Let’s Go Brandon.” It is crass, rude, and reeks of bad manners. Then later that same person says he was expressing his freedom of speech. What nonsense! What bunk!

 

He went on to say that he is a follower of Jesus Christ and a free-thinking American. I never read any passage of the Bible where Jesus would abide such behavior. And as to free-thinking, I would just say he is not thinking at all. The hole this country is in becomes just deeper and deeper.

 

3

 

THE PASSING OF A LEGEND

Dr. David L. Anderson passed away recently.

 

He served on the school board for 32 years and was the first Black to do so in Martin County. Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School was named in his honor. Anderson was an educator and lifelong resident of Martin County.

 

Along with his wife, Barbara, they had three sons. Barbara Anderson was an administrator and music teacher in the Martin County system for nearly 40 years. She passed away in 2016.

 

Back in 2014, the Andersons were the Honorary Chairs of the annual gala for Building Bridges to Youth in East Stuart. I was on the board at the time. Polly and I hosted a kickoff party for the event at our home. Dr. Anderson held court for the guests and the organization raised a considerable sum.

 

We attended the funeral for Barbara at Port Salerno Church of God when she passed. It was a beautiful and inspirational service. I would say it was anything but sad.

 

Dr. Anderson and I talked a few times after that. We sat down for breakfast once and spoke about being elected for office, his love of education, and his early life. Though we are only a decade apart in age, he was from an earlier time.

 

He grew up in a segregated south. Schools were not integrated. Neither were businesses, theaters, or restaurants. It was a time that most younger people today couldn’t imagine. That is what makes his accomplishments and that of his younger siblings so much greater.

 

His viewing will be at Port Salerno Church of God on January 14th from 5-8 pm. A Celebration of Life will be at 11 am on January 15th at Christ Fellowship Church in Stuart. Unfortunately, I will be away, but it will be a packed house.

 

David Anderson saw many changes in his life. He was the catalyst for some of those that happened locally. His life should be celebrated by all of us.

 

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THANK YOU, JENNY

John Sedwitz writes in his column about the Hobe Sound Farmers’ Market closing. I also received a couple of inquiries about their closing because of their ag exemption being withdrawn.  I immediately reached out to Property Appraiser Jenny Fields, and she explained why to me. For anyone who bothered to inquire she told me that the statement below was provided:

 

Good Afternoon,

 

Thank you for reaching out to my office regarding Hobe Sound Farmer’s Market. They are fortunate to have the outpouring of support from our community. I will explain agritourism and agricultural classification in broad terms as not to breach confidentiality per Florida Statute 193.074.

 

The laws that govern agritourism are different from the laws on agricultural classification, which is administered by the Property Appraiser. Agricultural classification is a benefit for land that is primarily used for bona fide commercial agricultural uses. “Bona fide use” means good faith, commercial agricultural use of the land with the intent of earning a profit. This classification results in the land value being based upon the probable income, which is often substantially less than market value.

 

The activities identified as agritourism do not by themselves qualify for an agricultural classification. The intention of agritourism legislation is to allow farmers the ability to generate a secondary stream of revenue by promoting or educating the public about their existing bona-fide agricultural commercial operation. Per agritourism statutes, “An agritourism activity does not include the construction of new or additional structures or facilities intended primarily to house, shelter, transport, or otherwise accommodate members of the general public.”

 

While two properties may contain a farmer’s market, their primary farm operation may be different, that initially qualified them for the agricultural classification. It is most important to consider these differences when comparing agricultural properties. Each agricultural property is unique, and no two operations are the same. Our office will consistently review all properties with agricultural classification that introduce agritourism into their commercial operation.

 

Property owners may petition a denial of agricultural classification before the Value Adjustment Board, which is an administrative hearing. Petitions are reviewed by a Special Magistrate who is not affiliated with the county. Hobe Sound Farmer’s Market recently exercised this right and received due process. The magistrate upheld the Property Appraiser’s decision to remove agricultural classification on 7 of the 126 acres. The 7 acres were not being used primarily for a bona fide agricultural purpose. The remaining 119 acres benefitted from this tax saving agricultural classification in 2021.

 

The Property Appraiser’s Office only has the authority to grant and deny agricultural classifications pursuant to Florida Statutes. The Property Appraiser’s Office does not have any authority over building code violations, permitting, business licensing, zoning, or shutting down a business.

 

I fully support our local businesses, including farmers, and believe all are entitled to receive every benefit available to them within the law. My office professionals and I will continue to educate and assist all businesses and property owners to understand the complex valuation process.

 

Respectfully,

 

Jenny Fields, CFA

Martin County Property Appraiser

772.288.5608 w jenny.fields@pa.martin.fl.us

3473 SE Willoughby Blvd., Suite 101, Stuart, FL  34994

Website:  www.pa.martin.fl.us

 

We had an in depth discussion on agritourism not about this case but in general. The classification means more than just saying it is so. Your primary business must be raising crops or livestock. You cannot take an old barn and call it a wedding venue. You cannot have a corn maze or hayrides and receive the classification. You need to show tax returns, leases and other proof that you are engaged in the business of having cattle, chickens or crops.

What Fields wants Martin County property owners to know is that she is also in the business of education. You need to know something about “Save Our Homes,” she is the place to go. Jenny has videos, podcasts, a great website and Facebook page. She wants us to take advantage of it all. I am going to take her up on it.

 

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OTHER OPINIONS

Other Opinions

 

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A NEW SCHOOL BEGINS

CHAPTER ONE

By Ed Curtin, Founding President

 

Greetings from The Misericordia School, A Pathway for Careers in Health Sciences.

Ed Curtin

First, I want to express my gratitude to Tom Campenni for providing space for me to share the journey of opening this new school, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

 

As is often said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and this journey is certainly no different. Our “single step” was a conversation among the people at the Drexel Fund and the leadership of Mercy Education as they sought to create a Mercy school that would provide students clear pathways to careers in health sciences.

 

The journey continued in the form of creating a comprehensive plan that includes beginning the school with a 6th grade and a 9th grade class with the design to add a class each year until capacity is reached beginning with the 2025-26 school year. Martin County, within the Diocese of Palm Beach, was selected as the site for this exciting opportunity to provide a unique educational experience for those who will choose it.

 

My role in this plan, the next leg of the journey, began in early August when my wife Patty and I traveled from Erie, Pennsylvania to the Treasure Coast. From the time we arrived we have felt a tremendous sense of welcome and have been afforded many opportunities to tell the story of The Misericordia School, and what a great story it is.

 

Creating a school that has as its mission to prepare young women and men from all religious and socioeconomic backgrounds for the health science workforce and postsecondary educational success hopefully resonates in many hearts. A school that upholds the deeply held core values of Mercy Education, which are: Compelled by Mercy, Educational Courage, Inspired by Faith, Principled leadership and a Voice for Dignity and Respect, promises to prepare graduates who are highly competent, compassionate members of the global community, ready to embrace the dynamism of the times in which we live.

 

Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin Ireland in 1831, would be proud that her sisters continue to create opportunities for young women and men to be educated in Mercy, and to know that the students will share her vision to all with whom they encounter. I invite you to join me monthly in this endeavor, and I welcome any help you may feel called to provide as we bring this new school into existence.

 

Please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MisericordiaCTE and continue to check out our website for updates at www.misericordiacte.org

 

Ed Curtin’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

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VANRIPER’S VIEWS

By Darlene VanRiper

 

 

The Governor Bets on Sports Gambling and Loses…or Does He?

 

I had the following questions pertaining to sports gambling in Florida. Although I am a huge fan of our wonderful governor, didn’t DeSantis call a special session for this Seminole deal?  How much does a special session cost the taxpayers?  And shouldn’t his legal team have known it wouldn’t hold up in court?  Finally, as a person who doesn’t gamble, should I even care?

 

I posed these questions to WJNO’s commentator, Brian Mudd who had just announced the court decision on his show.  The following is his response…

“Governor DeSantis called a special session for the legislature to ratify the new compact they’d negotiated with the Seminoles. The compact which has now been scrapped by a federal judge and appears unlikely to remain viable. And to your point, there’s clearly a taxpayer cost for holding a special session. So, about that…Here’s how much a special session costs per day – about $72,000.

 

While the new compact was ratified in two days, the total calendar of events stretched out across five. That would create a maximum cost to taxpayers of around $360,000. Not a huge amount but money all the same. So, are we left holding the bag for that expense without anything to show for it because the compact was scrapped? Nope.

 

And the answer to that question ties into why Governor DeSantis prioritized a new agreement with sports betting in the first place. A huge new revenue stream for Florida. The compact called for the Seminoles to pay the state of Florida a minimum of $500 million annually in the form of monthly payments.

 

Sports betting was authorized October 15th, the Tribe made the first payment of $37.5 million to the state in October, with a subsequent payment in November. With a total of $75 million in revenue having been produced by the state, at a cost of $360,000, even if the compact dies here, there was immense ROI for Florida’s taxpayers with a net profit of $74.64 million. So, no worries there. As for whether his legal counsel was aware of the risk…

 

Having closely covered the compact from the onset and having talked with key players in the process, I’d say yes, the governor was advised of the likelihood that they would encounter legal issues with it (plus, he’s a skilled and practiced attorney in his own right).

 

There was a clause in the compact to where even if sports betting were struck down in the courts, the Seminoles would continue with the monthly payments to the state for having kept their end of the bargain. I suspected all along that due to 2018’s Amendment 3, DeSantis thought it’d be likely sports betting as outlined in the compact would be struck down in court but viewed the revenue that’d be derived regardless as worth it.

 

Where I’d suspect he might have been taken by surprise, and it’s important to note that this is just conjecture on my part, is by the federal court throwing out the entire compact reverting the state and the tribe back to the 2010 agreement. And as for why you should care even if you don’t gamble?

 

I’m right there with you. I’m an avid investor but I don’t gamble. I don’t have any personal interest in it either. My perspective on it comes from a generally libertarian point of view. I’ve always thought it’s intellectually dishonest for states which participate in the lottery to not otherwise legalize gaming. The idea that gambling is ok only if you do it directly with the state or only on an Indian reservation is inconsistent and somewhat absurd.

 

Moreover, to Governor DeSantis’ interest in brokering the deal, how many ways can you create $500 million in annual revenue without additional, meaningful, taxpayer expense? And that’s where it matters to all Floridians regardless of if you were to choose to gamble or not.

 

This governor and our state’s leadership over the past 30 or so years has shown that they’re committed to keeping tax burdens low and passing savings on to Floridians in the form of lower employer expense and sales tax holidays among other initiatives. In other words, for every dollar of revenue derived from an initiative like this, it’s a dollar in savings that’s passed back on to us.”

 

Darlene VanRiper’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint

 

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PINE’S PONDERING

By Tom Pine

 

At the Martin County Commission meeting of December 7, 2021, several people spoke of the growing problem of Homelessness in Martin County.

Well, you don’t have to look any further than the majority of our Martin County commissioners for the growth in homelessness they too play a large role in this problem with their spending habits.

The majority of our commissioners voted to pay Fire Rescue wages based on Broward County and recently the majority of commissioners voted to give the county administrator and the county attorney a special raise based on wages from Palm Beach County just for starters. Then add all the dreams and wishes projects that the majority of commissioners have voted to approve over the past several years, such as the ten million dollar county golf course that’s near completion, the mooring field in the Indian River in Jensen Beach at a cost of over two million dollars after problems with the docks were fixed, the community pool is doing well but the Water Park is and always will be a financial disaster with very few people using it throughout the year and then of course Martin County going into the restaurant business in 2021 and lets not leave out the 24% increase for garbage collection this past year.

Now two Commissioners, Smith and Ciampi want to build a diving well at our community pool, that the general public will never be allowed to use. So why… “heads in beds “ was the term that Commissioner Smith used. Just like the mooring field in Jensen Beach it’s all about the business community. The taxpayers of Martin County are being played like suckers allowing millions and millions of our tax dollars to be spent for the sole purpose of enriching the big wigs in the business community.

First off most hotels in Martin County are corporate owned where the CEO’s makes millions of dollars in salary every year, so why are we the “suckers “in Martin County going to be paying thousands and thousands of dollars for a diving well ??? sick greed.

The residents of Martin County that live at the median income or below are very negatively impacted by the spending habits of our tax dollars by the majority of our commissioners, we should be represented by our commissioners not just their friends and neighbors.

Also discussed at the meeting was the need to have a sales tax increase proposal on the November 2022 general election ballot. Looking at the overzealous spending habits of the majority of our commissioners how could anyone except Martin County’s wealthiest support any sales tax increase.

 

Truth to Power

Tom Pine’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

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McCHRYSTAL’S MEANDERINGS

By Frank McChrystal

 

On Dec. 14th, the county commission voted 3 -2 to comply with lawn watering restrictions suggested by the South Florida Water Management District.

 

Doug Smith and Stacey Hetherington voted no.  Sometime late in the spring just in time for the dry season, the new ordinance will limit lawn watering to two days a week, and not between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Say goodbye to your finely manicured Floritam lawn.

 

Floritam is still a widely used lawn grass in Martin County.  Unfortunately, it was genetically engineered to thrive in a swamp.  Decades ago, developers pushed as far west as possible, all the way to the Everglades.  They bought huge tracts of swampland, built a wall around it, strategically designed a golf course to hold some water without reducing the number of homesites, and called it a “golf and country club”.  They commissioned The University of Florida and The University of Tampa to develop a grass that would thrive in the swamp. Thus, the name Floritam.

 

All Floritam lawns will burn up with only two days watering, so if your neighbor’s lawn stays green; he is cheating. It will first be a universal brown out for properties east of U.S. 1 where well-draining sugar sand is the main soil component. Growing Floritam in sugar sand is kind of like tugging on superman’s cape and spitting into the wind. But even out west where the soil holds much more water; the Floritam won’t survive the late spring/early summer dry season.

 

Exempt from the 2-day weekly watering cycle are agricultural and nursery operations, all athletic play areas including golf courses, and large communities that use reclaimed irrigation quality water (give old Chester the security guard a raise with the money you save by not replacing your lawns).

 

An “ad hoc”(created or done for a particular purpose as necessary) committee of local irrigation experts were formed that includes Hobe Sound businessmen Scott Fay of Treasure Coast Irrigation and Rood Landscape, and Steven Jenkins of Jenkins Landscape.  For the benefit of the general public, they created one more exemption from the two day cycle…a variance for the use of advanced “smart” irrigation systems. This variance is based on the “very successful” variance currently in use in The Town of Palm Beach.

 

“Smart” irrigation systems use technology to monitor and water your lawn only when needed.  The two basic systems are evapo transpiration based, and soil moisture sensing controlled.  Do yourself a favor and extensively research these two types of planet saving, high-tech irrigation systems.  Your long-term budget plans deserve a heads up.  The future will tell just how well these high-tech systems hold up.  I would expect at least another decade of evolutionary design until market forces ultimately decide a winner.  The concepts of “smart irrigation” are solid and this is an exciting frontier for those who can afford the fun.

 

The better solution is to change our attitudes and view the finely manicured lawns as something not so mandatory.  At the very least, when you lose your Floritam lawn this time, research turf choices and demand replacement with a more drought tolerant, low maintenance species. The thriving businesses that rely upon high maintenance lawns may or may not steer you in the right direction.

 

This new ordinance does not stress everyone equally. If you live in a gated community that uses reclaimed water, there is nothing to see here.  If not, do your research and get ready, for the times they are a changing.

Frank McChrystal’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

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HAFNER’S CORNER

By David Hafner

 

At the Village of Indiantown’s final 2021 council meeting, on December 9th, Councilwoman Susan Gibbs-Thomas made a case for her appointment to the Village of Indiantown Planning, Zoning, and Appeals (PZA) board.

 

Gibbs-Thomas nominated Scott Watson. Watson is a long time Indiantown businessman, philanthropist, and a member of the group that led the founding of the Village of Indiantown. The nomination came with a letter of recommendation from Martin County Commissioner Ed Ciampi. Commissioner Ciampi spoke highly of Watson’s participation on the Martin County Local Planning Agency, where Scott served for 4 years as Ciampi’s appointee.

 

Comments from Gibbs-Thomas’s fellow members of the Council indicated they did not support the nomination because they did not appreciate the way Watson communicates his thoughts concerning the decisions of the Council and it’s committees- including his use of Facebook. One remark from Councilwoman Janet Hernandez suggested if Scott would give constructive criticism and be positive rather than being a “Negative Nancy” she would support his appointment to the PZA.

 

The meeting then spiraled as Mayor Clarke began to preach a message of “let’s all get along” with sharp jabs toward Gibbs-Thomas in between her “let it go and let’s work together” message. It was a very confusing diatribe where Clarke said to Gibbs-Thomas “tighten up coming into 2022” and “don’t take things personally when things don’t go your way” and concluded that she was “going to home to some love.”

 

First of all, I greatly appreciate Scott Watson and his support of the Village of Indiantown. Scott is a very passionate, giving, and caring man, and I want to make sure that is well known since he was not given a fair shake or a chance to defend himself in the Council meeting. I sit on several boards and have been the president or chairman position many times. In my strategy I will purposely find a person on the committee that disagrees with me to help keep my decisions in check, and I feel that Scott would be that person on the Village Planning, Zoning, and Appeals board.

 

It is apparent to me that the Village Council majority is governing based on personal feelings and I hope that does not cloud their judgement when deciding what is best for the Village of Indiantown. You can see the meeting for yourself by clicking this link and selecting #15 on the agenda:

 

HERE

 

David Hafner’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

6

HOBE SOUND LOYAL

By John Sedwitz

 

Prior to the Christmas holidays I was made aware by a few Hobe Sound residents regarding the official announcement posted on Facebook and the Hobe Sound Farmers Market website (hobesoundfarmersmarket.com) that the market for the “foreseeable future” will be closing their operation.

The reason for this closure is that the 7 acres (where the farmers market is located) of the 126 acres do not meet the agritourism statute definition 570.86. “An agritourism activity does not include the construction of new or additional structures or facilities intended primarily to house, shelter, transport, or otherwise accommodate members of the general public”.  Jenny Fields (Martin County Property Appraiser) to her credit has been responsive and helpful in educating me on this statute as well as the process for a property owner to petition a denial of agricultural classification (in this case 7 acres).

 

The landowner has exercised their right to submit their petition to the Special Magistrate (who is not affiliated with the county). The Special Magistrate upheld the Property Appraiser’s decision to remove agricultural classification on 7 of the 126 acres, citing that the 7 acres were not being used primarily for “bona fide” agricultural activities. The next step in the petition review process will go before the five-member Value Adjustment Board (VAB) for final action /determination. This hearing will likely take place in March.

 

In my conversation with the property owner, the issue is not losing tax benefits for the 7 acres that don’t meet the Statute definition, but that the interpretation of the Statute be consistent across all Martin County agricultural properties with agritourism activities and venues.

 

The pole barns which were built and located on the seven acres are “multifunctional structures” used for the farmers market vendors on Saturday’s and Sunday’s (9am-2pm) and the rest of the week used to store hay, farm equipment, and a nursery to grow hops for local microbreweries. The property owner cited that based upon the farmers market hours of operation, it accounts for only 6% of the activity on this property.

 

 

There are over 2000 properties with agricultural classification, there are examples of properties advertising banquet and wedding facilities/venues, etc. on their websites, which in the property owner’s opinion is not in compliance with the statute. In addition, that an effective communication process be established between various county departments including Property Appraisers office, Growth Management, and Board of County Commissioners to ensure clarity in enforcement, compliance, and interpretation.

 

The “ripple effect” of this situation remains to be seen, but let’s hope that consistency of the interpretation is fair/objective to all agricultural/agritourism property owners. This is an emotional issue for residents locally, those that have frequented the Hobe Sound Farmers Market with the 30-40 merchants and local farmers that offer fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, eggs, honey, meats, baked goods, music, etc. have enjoyed their experiences and supporting local businesses.

 

John Sedwitz’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors

 

7

 

NON-PROFIT PERSPECTIVE

By Carol Houwaart-Diez

United Way of Martin County President-CEO

 

By the time you read this, you will have already made your New Year’s Resolutions (perhaps broken a few) and are looking toward 2022 with anticipation and a new attitude.

This past holiday season, I witnessed firsthand how generous this community is in helping others.   Corporations, small businesses, and individuals supported those less fortunate here in Martin County by donating their time, talent, and treasures.

One of the things that amazes me is the giving spirit in this community.

 

Just when I think I have seen it all, I meet new volunteers and donors and it provides me with a renewed sense of appreciation for our generous community members.  Between Christmas and New Year’s, I had the opportunity to take some much-needed time off.  During my respite, I explored local sights, spent time thinking about this upcoming year as United Way of Martin County will celebrate its 50th anniversary, re-read a great book and formulated my hope for our community.

 

My hope is that we can come together as a community to create a future in which all Martin County residents have the opportunity and access to thrive.  Community leaders, government officials, businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropists working together to make Martin County the best it can be.  As the United Way hits this milestone of serving Martin County, we must be bold and visionary to positively impact the next 50 years.

 

We can start by taking a few hours to read a book entitled “Toxic Charity.” I read this book when I lived up in Niagara and took the time to re-read it here in my new community.  Changing the way, we think about assisting others can lead to amazing results.  To do this, we all must be on the same page.

 

Imagine a community where we work to give a hand up, not a handout.  We work toward lifting our ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income, Constrained, Employed) population so that they are no longer working and living paycheck to paycheck.  Martin County has the resources to make this happen for our community.

 

It will take all of us to make bold moves, work with each other, and set aside individual interests to put our community first.  Perhaps I have had too much time to think and plan, but a new year is a perfect time to re-set and re-think what is to come.  I hope this is a New Year’s Resolution that we all can keep.

 

As always, if you have questions or need more information about United Way of Martin County, please feel free to reach out to me at work, 772-283-4800, via email, chdiez@unitedwaymartin.org or our website, www.unitedwaymartin.org.

 

Carol Houwaart-Diez’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

8

 

FLETCH’S PERSPECTIVE

By Keith Fletcher CEO & President of

Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County

 

Even if you’ve seen many of your most sincere resolutions flounder and fail in a few months (or weeks), the promise of hope and renewal that a new year offers are simply too inspiring to resist making new ones.

 

And that’s why January is as important to the fitness industry as the holiday season is to retail.

 

But what if your resolutions for 2022 don’t concern diets and workouts, or even budgets and business goals? What if all you want for the new year is a chance to live long enough to make the next Christmas?

 

Such, sadly, is a reality for many, and one members of Boys & Girls Club of Martin County AmeriCorps brushed up against that at a very special holiday event. We were invited by Treasure Coast Hospice to take part in a celebration for six children, as well as their families, in its pediatric care, alongside 95 kids in its grief support program.

 

Representing BGMCM were three AmeriCorps members, Ana Serur, Hope Rice and RJ Macedo, as well as two directors, Scott Crumpler and Kyle Arnold and Kyle’s wife, Amanda Arnold.

 

“They helped run the carnival games for the kids,” says Jacki Nardone, director of Pediatrics and Grief Support at Treasure Coast Hospice, “providing a ton of smiles and lots of holiday spirit for all. Their joy and enthusiasm added an extra special element to our event.”

 

In addition to the bean-bag toss, the BGCMC team operated a spinning wheel that yielded various levels of prizes.

 

“Every kid who came through our booth was a winner,” says Scott. “We made it a point to jump up and down with them. Just to see the joy that we brought on their faces. Our members felt a tremendous amount of empathy for the kids. And when I got home that day, I definitely gave my own kids a big hug.”

 

Traditionally, our AmeriCorps members engage in community service projects and work with elementary and middle school students to improve their math and reading skills. Whether neighborhood cleanups or a child’s confidence levels and test scores, the results are visible and measurable.

 

We may never really know our impact on the children and families at the Treasure Coast Hospice holiday event. But their impact on us—providing us the privilege of spreading joy while experiencing the truth that it’s better to give than receive—left impressions that will likely last a lifetime.

 

Keith Fletcher’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

9

Martin County Taxpayers Association

martin-county-taxpayers-association

 

MCTA Analysis of the Sheriff’s Department

 

The Martin County Taxpayers Association periodically looks at budgets from different agencies throughout the county and other government bodies. This article will examine the Sheriff’s Department.

 

As a constitutional officer, Sheriff Snyder is elected by every voter in Martin County. The funding for his office, as well as the other constitutional offices (property appraiser, supervisor of elections, tax collector, and clerk), uses the county budget process. Sheriffs submit their budgets in accordance with Chapter 30 of the Florida Statutes.

 

If the county commission changes the budget (except for Scribner-type errors such as mathematical or spelling mistakes), then the sheriff has the right to appeal to an administrative panel in Tallahassee. Overwhelmingly, the panel sides with the sheriff’s budget.

 

This information is important because county commissions are loath to reject sheriff requests. Politically speaking, the county sheriff must win an election and therefore has independent support that other departments under commission control do not have.

 

The sheriff’s budget is broken into three parts. Law enforcement, corrections, and judicial. The largest by far is the law enforcement piece with a 2022 budget of $55,297,277. The running of the county jail costs $19,954,132 and the bailiffs in the courts and other protective measures are $3,689,108. The department’s total budget is $78,940,517. The entire county budget is $526,490,922 for 2022.

 

From 2016 to 2022, the sheriff’s budget has increased from $59,736,755 or 32%. Population in Martin County has increased from 158,325 in 2016 to 161,516 in 2021. In 2016 there were 388 FTEs (Full Time Equivalents) in the law enforcement division, 152 in corrections, and 26 guarding the judicial system. In 2022 there were 427 in law enforcement, 150 in corrections, and 25 in the courts. Law enforcement saw a rise of 39 FTEs. There was one FTE per 408 residents in 2016 and one FTE per 378 residents in 2022.

 

Crime rates have continued to drop or remain stable in Martin County from 2016 through the last available year reported (2019). We also must remember that the City of Stuart and Town of Sewall’s Point have their own police forces. Every taxpayer, regardless of where he/she lives, pays for the sheriff’s department. Most calls for service are handled in those two municipalities by their own law-enforcement departments. We did not look at accident or other road calls that are handled by the sheriff.

 

It is our opinion that the sheriff’s department is utilizing taxpayer dollars efficiently. Martin County is a low-crime county, and our citizens are safe from much of the crime problems we hear about in the news. We are not qualified to speak to the effectiveness of any policy or program. That must be analyzed by others.

 

One complaint that we do have, and we have heard from others, is their lack of openness to records requests. Too often, the requests go unanswered, or the amount charged to fill the request is extraordinarily high when compared to other entities.

 

We believe that we have met the point where every additional dollar that is requested must be looked at thoroughly before being appropriated. We are already very well protected, and the law of diminishing returns should be very much on taxpayers’ minds if the budget increases except for inflation.

 

10

 

PLANNER’S PERSPECTIVE

By Marcela Camblor

 

What is the post-pandemic house?

 

The new normal is that there is no normal anymore. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our daily lives, limiting socializing, restricting travel, and forever changing the way we do business or experience school life. Our hygiene habits, shopping behaviors, transportation choices, and frequency of contact with neighbors and friends have changed.

These changes have affected individuals, communities, organizations, and governments alike. And in many instances, our ability to regain some sense of normalcy has been conditioned by matters of “space.” Our space needs have certainly changed. For many, working from home has become the new norm. The wild transition to a digital way of working and learning has eliminated the limitations of distance and increased choice when it comes to where we want to live.

 

One of the most common changes in home design entails weaving together indoor and outdoor spaces. This has become a common thread for both single and multi-family developments. Beyond simple shelter, homes have acquired a variety of new roles, including workplace, school, gym, restaurant, sanitation station, theaters, and even staycation destinations.

 

This has forced architects and homebuilders to rethink what qualities are important in a safe and healthy, post-pandemic home. New single-family homes and multifamily developments are finding ways to allow for socialization while reducing the risk of contagion. Basic elements like sun, air, and cross ventilation are front and center in new designs.

 

Areas of isolation (for work or recovery) and easy access to the outdoors are also high on the list of needs. Floor plans are changing radically, with two-car garages designed as separate spaces, so that one of the garages can be transformed into an office, workplace, or exercise room if the need arises. Front entryways are incorporating large porches with sitting areas to allow for conversations with neighbors without entering the home.

 

Vestibules are making a comeback, incorporating changing and sanitation areas, with some even outfitted with UV disinfecting lighting. Family rooms, living rooms, and dining rooms are adding window walls to allow for seamless indoor-outdoor space, perfectly suited to entertain visitors or larger gatherings. Open floor plans are being redesigned to support partitioning, allowing for privacy and separate work and exercise spaces if necessary. Bedrooms incorporate individual bathrooms, even if small, and are being designed like private studio apartments.

 

With vacation and travel greatly impacted, many are seeking ways to make their homes feel like retreats and incorporating features typically seen in hospitality design. Additional private rooms are being incorporated to ensure multigenerational occupancy. Technological solutions such as voice command or remote activation of appliances and features are being installed to ensure assistance with daily needs. All of this is happening in homes that are not necessarily larger and in generally smaller lots.

 

On the city-planning side, during the pandemic, local governments moved cars aside to increase space for outdoor seating for restaurants, increased bike lanes, and even converted streets into pedestrian-only environments.  Cycling rates rose and people who worked from home said they did not miss their daily commute during the lockdowns.

 

We saw many reports of air and water quality rapidly improving throughout the world. Some cities even began introducing novel planning concepts to address urban planning issues. Some examples are the proposed Superblocks (Barcelona), the 15-Minute City (Paris), and the Car-Free City (Hamburg). What all these proposed city models have in common is that they invert the transport planning pyramid.

 

They prioritize walking, cycling, and multiple ways of public transportation over mere driving.  They focus on incorporating physical activity and active mobility into daily life as an inherent component of design. They improve access to green space, not just in the form of parks and preserves, but as dual systems for stormwater and recreation.

 

So, as we think about what changes we need to make to minimize the health impacts of poor planning, excessive car dependence, inappropriate space, and social inequalities, we should also focus on creating cities that are smart, sustainable, livable, that favor balanced mobility and easy access to green space. And while we may never experience our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the same manner, we have an opportunity to rethink and mitigate the effects that our current form of development has on health and to help prepare buildings and cities to respond better, more rapidly, and more efficiently to future potential events.

 

Marcela Cambior’s opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

11

 

THE LAW EXPLAINED

By Michael Mortell Esq.

 

Every January new laws that were adopted during the prior legislative session become effective.

The following are just a few of the new laws and does not constitute an exhaustive list.  In addition, it is a long-standing rule that ignorance of the law is not a defense.  Essentially, the government takes the position that we all have a responsibility to somehow know the law and if we don’t, any violation of the law is our own fault.

 

The first law I have included is ironically a modification of the “Public Notice Requirement” that governments must give when adopting regulations or approving developments.  Historically the local government agency was required to publish notice of the public hearing in a printed newspaper of general circulation in the county where the hearing would be taking place.  The law that became effective on January 1st changes that requirement and allows the government agency to provide this notice via the internet.  The government agency now has the option to publish the legal notices on the internet.  There are several criteria but in summary, it can be done on the website of a newspaper of general circulation within the jurisdiction and it is also required to be posted on the Florida Press Association’s repository web site.

 

Those supporting the bill argued that more people get their news and information from the internet and this form of notice will ultimately reach more readers than the legal notices currently published in local newspapers.  But if you don’t see the notice, don’t forget that you are still responsible for knowledge of the laws adopted by the government agency.

 

On the automobile front, there is a new law protecting children from hot cars that requires child facilities such as day care centers to have alarms in their vehicles that transport children to remind the drivers to check for the children before walking away from the vehicle. Additional vehicle laws include several additions to the ride sharing industry.  The new regulations create taxation, insurance, and operational requirements for peer-to-peer car-sharing programs.

 

This would include ride share such as Uber and Lyft as well as direct rentals similar to the Turo App. The law requires the collection of sales tax for the charges related to the transaction as well as a one dollar per day surcharge by the app or company coordinating the ride.  In addition, the vehicle must be up to date on safety recalls and the owner of the vehicle as well as the driver of the vehicle must meet minimum insurance levels.

 

A “glitch” bill was adopted to fix the Notaries Public Act related to the existing Florida Law which allows remote notarization of documents.  The new law clarifies the language requiring the principle to satisfy a knowledge-based authentication and credential analysis on video of the Online Notary personally knows the principle.  The law also requires video storage of the online notary sessions and requires the Online Notary to annually file a certification that it is in compliance with the storage requirements.

 

There is also language that allows court reporters to swear in witnesses remotely with audio/visual equipment.  The court reporter language was added to comply with the remote court sessions and depositions taking place due to covid regulations.

 

On the medical front, marijuana distribution centers will no longer be able to deliver outside of their facility without a transportation license.  In addition, sales tax exemptions on marijuana products will only apply to patients or caregivers and not the dispensaries.  There are also new regulations that prevent health insurance companies from making a cancer patient prove the medicine they are taking wasn’t successful before looking for another treatment protocol.   On a national level, the “No Surprises Act” is a national law that makes insurance companies cover certain out-of-network expenses in emergencies.

 

If you believe that the legislature should be required to rescind one law for every new law that is passed, consider the fact that California passed 770 laws in October that became effective January 1.  Some of the California laws included a limitation on local government’s ability to decrease density in a neighborhood without first increasing density in other areas to make up for it.  In addition, there is a California law that lets property owners build a duplex on a single-family lot or divide their lot into two lots and build two duplexes for a total of four units.

 

In closing, Florida Statute 823.06 makes it a felony if the owner, manager, lessee, or any other person having charge of any public building used for public entertainment of “whatsoever kind” allows the building to have doors or shutters that don’t open outwardly.

 

Michael Mortell’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

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CONSTITUTIONAL CORNER AND OTHER GOVERNMENT NOTICES 

Other Government Notices

And from our Supervisor of Elections:

 

From The Clerk of The Court:

 

 

From the Property Appraiser

 

Tax Collector

Ruth “Ski” Pietruszewski, Martin County Tax Collector

 

 

From Martin County School District:

From The City of Stuart:

 

Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Letters-To-Tom
I urge those who are reading this newsletter to send an email expressing their opinions on subjects. When a reader sends one, it will be included if I find it relevant and I have adequate space. I may edit the letter because of length and clarity. You don’t have to agree with me to have your letter in Friends & Neighbors. All you must do is send it to Info@friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com or fill out the form on the website.
 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

 

Our first letter is from Karen Kerwin:

 

Hi Tom, thanks for another impressive Newsletter. Term Limits are important for MC Commissioners. Campi, Jenkins and Smith are way too comfortable for too long. We can do with less of Frates.

Merry Christmas Happy New Year!

 

Our next letter is from Chris Englund:

 

Good morning Tom,

 

I met with Dave Dyess and Chief Tumminelli recently about our unhoused neighbors being arrested for being in public spaces.  

 

An arrest record makes it harder to get jobs and housing. Deepening the cycle of poverty.

 

Some are mentally ill. We the public abdicated our responsibility to the ill when we closed the institutions decades ago and failed to provide alternatives. We dumped the results in the laps of law enforcement to deal with.

 

The Martin County Sheriff shamed us in opinion piece he wrote in the STUART NEWS on those results. Many of the inmates in the county jail are mentally ill. The jail is not equipped to be a mental hospital. The deputies are not trained to be psychiatric nurses, wrote the sheriff.  This is not what law enforcement is for.

 

There are better solutions, as other cities have shown, to problems of Homelessness. Number one is affordable housing.

 

Homelessness has many causes but only one way out – a place to live .

 

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

MartinCounty Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Commission

The next meeting of the commission will occur on January 11, 2022.

 

2022:

 

In the coming year, Martin County will have financial challenges. As we saw last year during budget time, the BOCC had to cut capital projects on the day of adoption otherwise they would have needed super majority votes to raise taxes sufficiently to meet expenses in some tax categories.

 

It is apparent that the commissioners have grown accustomed to spending without consideration of whether the funds are available. Commissioners Heard and, to a lesser extent, Hetherington ask the right questions before certain votes. There needs to be more scrutiny before voting yes by the BOCC.  At some point, the county will have a reckoning for the continued level of spending.

 

Martin County’s biggest ticking time bomb is the public safety budget. Both the sheriff and fire rescue have continued to see growth more than inflation year over year. There will come a time when a population of our size cannot afford the increases. If you look at crime rates, number of fires, or medical responses, how much more protection can every increased dollar provide? The question needs to be asked.

 

The biggest immediate change in the coming year will be the retirement of Taryn Kryzda as county administrator. It seems her likely successor will be Don Donaldson, the current deputy administrator. The BOCC has not formally made an offer to Mr. Donaldson though individual commissioners have been speaking with him.

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

 

City-of-Stuart stuart-city-commision-2020

SECTION 3:  CITY OF STUART

 

The next commission meeting will be January 10, 2022.

 

2022:

 

In 2022, the commission will be settling into a wait-and-see position.

 

They approved projects in 2020 and 2021 that have placed the city in a good position with respect to tax revenue and to be the economic growth engine of Martin County. The commissioners have said that until the approved projects come online, they are going to take a wait and see approach for projects outside the CRA. It appears that unless a project can be built as of right without commission approval, it will not move forward. There are no large parcels within the CRA so any projects for approval will be on smaller infill lots.

 

The city commissioners must not fall into the fiscal practices of the county commissioners and take their eyes off the budget. If they continue to operate as they have been, the city will be in good economic shape. The new fire rescue MOU with Martin County requires each entity to answer calls within their jurisdiction. Stuart is to build a third station north of the Roosevelt Bridge.

 

So far, the commission and city manager have caved to pressure and not been able to settle on a location. It is imperative that they find a location and begin construction. The city should build and begin operation of a new station in North Stuart by the end of 2022. They should also spend the money to have their own dispatch system. 

 

The city needs to act as a full-service municipality. It is not or should act as a stepchild to county government.

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

Martin-County-School-Board

 

The next meeting of the school board will be January 11, 2022.

 

2022:

 

The Martin County School District will have its share of challenges in 2022.

 

The first of which will be parents, teachers, and the public urging the school board on whether to enact measures which the governor and legislature have forbidden it to do. Whether to wear a mask, have remote learning, or to shutdown are no longer in the hands of the locally elected officials. In a host of matters, the school board cannot act independently.

 

This very important factor is something that most of the public has not grasped. And I see further erosion of local authority in this coming legislative session. Policy will be more and more set by Tallahassee including things like how much revenue to collect as well as how to collect it and what it is to be spent on. There is very little original local input about local public education.

 

Superintendent John Millay has finished the year with some successes. Millay has not been the change agent that some thought he would be. As the first appointed superintendent he would have been able to shake things up more than he has. However, he has had a challenging year dealing with COVID, and I for one believe it is too early to judge whether he will be that agent for drastic change.

 

One of his successes has been a reorganization of the district administration. It was long overdue. Many of the obstacles that prevent the board from being inventive apply to the superintendent as well. Public education is currently organized using a 19th century model in a 21st century world. Millay was further hampered by coming from a smaller district and another state.

 

Millay needed time to get to know Martin County and Florida. 2022 will be the year which we will know whether he was the right hire.

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Town of Sewall's Point Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Sewalls-Point

The next meeting of the commission will be January 11, 2022.

 

2022:

 

2022 will be a continuation of last year for the town.

 

First, there is the renewing of Manager Berger’s contract. In most municipalities, this would be a no-brainer. It would be here as well if the contract had not been portrayed by some as a battle between a greedy manager and tough-minded commissioners.

 

Berger was hired at a compensation rate that was low for a full-time manager. She took it because it was her first job in that capacity, and it gave her experience. She has not received a raise in the two years she has worked for Sewall’s Point. In that time, she has re-organized and hired new staff. It has become a cohesive unit. The police chief has also become an ally after a bit of a shaky start with Berger.

 

The commission must weigh whether Berger is worth a raise and how much it should be. The alternative would be the disruption to replace her and possibly lose other staff members and the cost of about $20,000 for the search. It will also be a minimum of six to nine months to find her replacement.

 

The other continuing town problem is a clear plan for the future. It is not the staff who is unable to implement policy. Instead, it is the commission that has a real problem passing consistent policy with adequate direction so that it can be followed.

 

There will be continued schizophrenic commission behavior on capital improvements. And I am not so sure that a community vote on sewer will be definitive for very long. 2022 will be another year of Ying and Yang. 

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

Village-Of-Indiantown Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Indiantown-Village

The next council meeting will be on January 13, 2022.

 

2022:

 

Indiantown will continue down a rocky path in this next year. It still has a way to go before forming its true identity. No amount of focus groups, discussions or charrettes will help. It will take time.

 

The council is rudderless. They have not gelled as a cohesive unit. It is obvious to anyone who watches their meetings that Susan Gibbs-Thomas is not liked by the others. For the first time in my experience, a council member’s proposed appointee for a board was rejected by the other council members. Whether the others like or agree with an appointee, the council member should be allowed to name his/her choice.

 

Under other circumstances, Dowling has the personality to be the one that other council members would look to as a leader. Unfortunately, he is too much of a grandstander for that leadership position. His fawning behavior toward staff makes him seem incapable of being an honest broker.

 

Clarke and especially Stone can understand the issues, but I believe that neither puts in the time to do more than the minimum.

 

With the approval of Terra Lago, the village will grow, and new residents will be coming. This will be the game changer. Once the newcomers are settled in, some will become interested in the village’s government. A few will run for office. That will be when faces on the council change.

 

But not in 2022.

Town of Ocean Breeze

 

The next meeting will be January 10, 2021.

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

Jupiter Island Jupiter Island Sky View

 

The next meeting of the commission will be on January 13, 2022.

 

2022:

 

This promises to be a difficult year for Jupiter Island.

 

The town commission is beset with dealing with different resident factions. To some extent, those factions may be represented on the town commission. The 2019 ordinance regarding where to build because of the dune line is what has brought this to the fore.

 

The fundamental issue is property rights. Owners of real estate parcels made plans in accordance with the rules that were in place including the 2019 ordinance. Should they now be penalized for relying on those rules?

 

By taking the position that they should not be allowed to build, there will be multi-million dollar claims against the town, and if the town is unsuccessful in defending in those lawsuits for infringing on property rights, ultimately the taxpayers are on the hook. Conversely, the opposing position would be that nothing should be built using the 2019 rules to preserve the character of the town.

 

Both sides will use legal claims such as insufficient resident notice of a change back in 2019. Like all things in Martin County, it is a pro- or anti-development stance that is really at play. No matter who wins in the court challenges to come, the town will lose.

With the resignation of Commissioner Hank Heck who is facing a lawsuit from Ethan Loeb, representing two owners of properties on the 300 block, the commission is facing meltdown. The lawsuit which is a public records request alleges his failure to provide a voice mail recording to Loeb. The lawsuit will go on whether Heck is a commissioner or not. Even Jupiter Island commissioners must obey the law.

 

Jupiter Island commissioners are accomplished, successful, and rich. The last thing they need is something unsettling like lawsuits for what they believe is performing a public duty. Jupiter Island is supposed to be a tranquil gentle place not a political quagmire. Who will want to take on the responsibility of being on this board?

Michael Brooks

Commissioner Brooks recusal at some point will be challenged. He has his own problems with the public records law. Can his resignation be far behind?

 

In the last newsletter, I wrote that I thought Commissioner Brooks’ recusal to vote in the appeals of two homes being built using the 2019 rules was not justified by anything I found in statute. Michael Durham, his attorney, wrote me this short e-mail on December 22nd:

 

Hi Tom, I read the article re abstaining on conflict.

 

I wanted to provide you with the Statute section regarding quasi judicial hearings.  The law was amended to allow recusal without a financial conflict.

 

Let me know when we can talk.

 

Cordially Yours,

 

Michael D. Durham

Board Certified

City, County, & Local Government Law

 

I wrote back the same day:

 

Dear Mike:

 

Sounds great. Please send me the information on the amended law and your phone number. I will get back with you next week.

 

Have a Merry Christmas!

 

I have not heard anything else. In this instance, I would love to have been proven incorrect.

 

Barbara Clowdus is doing some great reporting on this in her Martin County Currents. No one beats Barbara when it comes to getting to the roots of a story. If you want to read about Jupiter Island’s messy spill over, go here

 

UPDATE TO ABOVE:

 

There was a status conference on the Testa court case this morning. The town’s motions for summary judgement to dismiss the case. The judge set a January 14th date  for an in person hearing  for all three motions. It will be a very interesting January 13th commission meeting.   

 

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In The Spotlight

by Jackie Holfelder

Spotlight

 

 

Jackie is always looking for a good story…you may reach her at: jackieacolumn@gmail.com

 

Jackie’s monthly feature will be in our next newsletter.

 

Jackie is always looking for a good story…you may reach her at: jackieacolumn@gmail.com

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Final Thoughts

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

THE END OF AN ERA

 

We remember time by the events that happen.

 

The beginning of the third decade of the 21st century will be known as “The Time of The Pandemic.” Another event (depending on the political persuasion of the person asked) would be to describe 2021 as either the end of American democracy and the rise of authoritarianism or the beginning of the glorious age of American exceptionalism. The past decade in Martin County will be known as the Kryzda era.

In case you have not heard, Taryn Kryzda is retiring as county administrator. She is the longest serving Martin County administrator and has been through numerous commissioners and changing policies. She has survived mainly because of her acumen, skill, hard work, and she is very good at reading the tea leaves.

 

For her job is not to make policy but to carry out the policy that a majority of the commissioners decide. She understands this and that is why she has navigated successfully through both pro- and anti-growth commissions. And she is very good at knowing what is possible and what is not.

 

Kryzda’s work life has been spent in Martin County government. She has rotated through almost every department but, for the most part concentrated on the financial side. When you been everywhere, you have an idea about everything.

 

Taryn will be stepping down officially in June, but in anticipation has been giving her deputy, Don Donaldson, more opportunity to be involved with departments where he hasn’t had as much experience for the past year. While nothing is official, he is likely her successor. He has been her deputy for five years.

 

I am a big believer of promoting from within as is Taryn whenever possible and Donaldson has been around for more than two decades. He is an engineer by training. She has recommended Don to the commission for her position.

 

Kryzda has plenty to keep her busy with her children and grandchildren. Yet do not be surprised to see her volunteer for public and non-profit boards. She may even surprise herself and end up working somewhere.

 

I have not always agreed with her. But I do have an immense respect for her abilities. Change is good and after 11 years as administrator a fresh perspective with a heavy dose of Martin County experience is not a bad thing. Whatever happens next Taryn will continue to be a fixture in Martin County.

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE www.friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com

 

GET THE WORD OUT  

 

Friends and Neighbors of Martin County is your eyes and ears so that you know what is going on in Martin County’s municipal and county governments. I attempt to be informative and timely so that you may understand how your tax money is being spent. Though I go to the meetings and report back, I am no substitute for your attending meetings. Your elected officials should know what is on your mind.

Tom Campenni 772-341-7455 (c) Email: thomasfcampenni@gmail.com

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

 

Articles Tom wrote:

 

From Martin County Moment:

 

Why Martin County needs a Rural Resort Designation:

 

HERE

 

Stuart needs a form-based code:

 

HERE

 

From Medium:

 

The Filibuster Phooey:

 

HERE

 

Other Articles:

 

ROUTE FIFTY identifies three states where bills have been introduced for governments to disclose terms of business deals. Ome of them is Florida:

 

HERE

 

From The French Press David French writes that a nation of Christians is not necessarily a Christian nation:

 

HERE

 

From the Washington Post what would James Madison think about the filibuster?:

 

HERE

 

Politico Magazine Scalia was right make it easier to amend the constitution:

 

HERE

 

From NPR: The Supreme Court is not a happy place:

 

HERE

 

 

GLOSSARY

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Annual Medium Income (AMI)

Basin Action Management Plan (BMAP)

Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

Business Development Board (BDB)

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)

Career & Technical Education (CTE)

Center For Disease Control (CDC)

Centum Cubic Feet (CCF)

Children’s Services Council (CSS)

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Community Development District (CDD)

Community Redevelopment Board (CRB)

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)

Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) 

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Emergency Operation Center (EOC)

Equivalent Residential Connection (ERC)

Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)

Evaluation & Appraisal Report (EAR)

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA)

Federal Rail Administration (FRA)

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

Full Time Equivalents (FTE)

Future Land Use Maps (FLUM)

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)

Hobe Sound Local (HSL)

Indian River Lagoon (IRL)

Land Development Code (LDR)

Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS)

Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSUM)

Local Agency Program Certification (LAP)

Local Planning Agency (LPA)

Martin County Fire/Rescue (MCFR)

Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)

Martin County Taxpayers Association (MCTA)

Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU)

Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU)

Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)

Organization For Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD)

Planned Unit Development (PUD)

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

Preserve Action Management Plan (PAMP)

Request for Proposal (RFP)

Residential Planned Unit Development (RPUD)

Right of Way (ROW)

Secondary Urban Services District (SUSD)

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

South Martin Regional Utility (SMRU)

State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP)

Storm Water Treatment Areas (STA)

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Urban Planned Unit Development (UPUD)

Urban Services Boundary (USB)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Zoning-In-Progress (ZIP)

Photo Capt Kimo