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Deerfield Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

6:30 p.m.

 

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Chair Capellini on the above

date in the City Commission Chambers, City Hall.

 

Roll Call:

 

Present:                            Mrs. Pam Militello 

                                          Ms. Sylvia Poitier

                                          Mr. Martin Popelsky

                                          Vice Chair Steve Gonot 

                                          Chair Albert Capellini, P.E

 

Also Present:                   Larry Deetjen, City Manager

                                          Andrew Maurodis, City Attorney

                                          Ada Graham-Johnson, CMC, City Clerk

                                          Carlos Baia, Economic Development

 

APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA

 

February 21, 2006

 

MOTION was made by Vice Chair Gonot and seconded by Mr. Popelsky to approve the agenda of February 21, 2006 as submitted. Roll Call: YEAS: Mrs. Militello, Ms. Poitier, Mr. Popelsky, Vice Chair Gonot, and Chair Capellini. NAYS: none.

 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

 

January 17, 2006

 

MOTION was made by Vice Chair Gonot and seconded by Mr. Popelsky to approve the minutes of January 17, 2006 as submitted. Roll Call: YEAS: Mrs. Militello, Ms. Poitier, Mr. Popelsky, Vice Chair Gonot, and Chair Capellini.  NAYS: none. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GENERAL ITEMS

 

                                    Item 1                                     Tape 1, Count 040

 

            CRA ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that this item was placed on the agenda for discussion.  The board discussed this item approximately three months ago.  This item has been discussed and he has had a chance to review how the CRA and the Economic Development Manager, Carlos Baia, have been operating.  He said that on January 17, 2006, he requested that this item be reinstated so that it could be resolved.  However, on Wednesday, January 18, 2006, he asked Mr. Baia if they could meet and discuss various topics on CRA accounting. Approximately thirty minutes later, Mr. Baia entered his office, and said that he was unable to meet with him unless the City Manager, Larry Deetjen, was present.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that based on prior meetings, he has never had this type of situation with Mr. Baia.  He stated that whenever he requested information, Mr. Baia was always forthcoming with such.  Mr. Popelsky said he was disappointed with Mr. Baia’s response that he was unable to meet with him, because he works for Gerald Ferguson, Director of Planning and Growth Management.  Mr. Popelsky further stated that he understands that Mr. Baia works for Mr. Ferguson as the Economic Development Manager, but with regard to CRA, he works for the CRA Board. 

 

Mr. Popelsky asked Mr. Baia if he understood why he wanted to speak with him.  He further stated that as a City Commissioner, he has the right to have various discussions with him.

 

Mr. Baia stated that he understands and that he didn’t refuse the meeting, but that the City Manager requested to sit in on the meeting.

 

Mr. Deetjen stated that Mr. Baia is correct on how he characterized the conversation.  He said he indicated to Mr. Baia that Mr. Ferguson, being his department head, and he, being his manager, on a matter of this nature, they would be more than happy to participate in the meeting.  Mr. Deetjen stated that he never heard from Mr. Popelsky.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that a CRA matter does not require the presence of the City Manager.  He further stated that he reviewed Mr. Baia’s personnel file in order to determine if he was properly compensated to perform both functions, CRA and Economic Development.

 

Mr. Baia stated that he provides the Commission with weekly reports.  He said he informed the City Manager of the meeting as a policy issue and the manager requested to sit in on the meeting.

Mr. Popelsky stated that it was not a policy issue, but a discussion as to how Mr. Baia was doing over the past three (3) months with the accounting procedure.  Mr. Popelsky asked if in the future, would Mr. Deetjen need to sit in on the meeting(s).

 

Mr. Deetjen replied that would not be necessary.  He stated that a report was provided to the Commission that indicated Deerfield Beach operates approximately 98% of the CRAs in the State of Florida.  He said in this case, Mr. Baia reports on a day-to-day basis, to Mr. Ferguson.  In the future, he does not foresee a problem with Mr. Baia having a one on one discussion with the Board.  He further stated that as an initial meeting, it was appropriate to have an open meeting.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that Mr. Baia reports to the Board and as a member of the Board, he has a right to discuss topics on CRA with Mr. Baia privately.

 

Mr. Deetjen stated that under our form of government, Mr. Baia reports to Mr. Ferguson on a day-to-day basis.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that he has never been refused before.  He then asked the Board if they wanted this type of situation to happen after today.  He said he is distraught that the situation had to come before the Board.  Mr. Popelsky stated that based on his review over the past three (3) months, and the information that he received, he was satisfied with keeping the status quo.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that Mr. Popelsky has a valid concern, and expressed that there is uneasiness with employees and commissioners relationships.  She stated that the employees are loyal to the person that hires them, the City Manager.  Under the CRA, the same strategies have been used because Mr. Baia was on a part-time basis for both organizations.  In the city manager/mayor form of government the City Manager does the hiring/firing.  She stated that if an employee demonstrates unacceptable behavior or does not show loyalty, then it would be expected that the employee would be afraid of the City Manager.  If an employee has been advised, by the City Manager, that before speaking with a Commissioner, he must be informed, then the employee cannot be held responsible.  She recommended that some policies be changed, because she is accustomed to going into a department and being accommodated for whatever her needs are; however, if the department is unable to accommodate her at that time, she said she would allow the department to report to the City Manager.  Nonetheless, the City Manager works for the City Commission.  She further stated that she does not want to put a restraint on the City.  She said Mr. Baia would not know how to respond to a situation of this magnitude, where the City Manager is looking for an evaluation that illustrates loyalty, trustworthiness, and honesty.  Moreover, a policy should be in place that any department the Commission requires information from, should be provided.

Vice Chair Gonot stated that in the Charter, the City Commission has the right to go into any department to request information.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that he has gone to a number of department heads and indicated to them that if they needed to relay any information to the City Manager, they were free to do so.  He said he has never given any of the department heads a directive, but only asks for information.  He said he has asked Mr. Baia, for the past ten (10) months, for information and he has never had a problem with assisting him.  Mr. Popelsky again asked if the Board has the right to speak with Mr. Baia in a one on one situation.  He then asked the Board if they would like to be addressed by Mr. Baia in the same manner that he responded to him.  He said that this will indicate how he will vote as to whether the CRA and Economic Development Manager should be separated, or keep it as one entity.  Further, Mr. Popelsky stated he has made it clear to everyone what direction he was headed.

 

Vice Chair Gonot stated that he agrees that Mr. Baia is an employee of the City of Deerfield Beach, but as Executive Director of the CRA, he would expect him to meet with the Council.  There are apparently some problems with the accounting procedures, so it has not operated flawlessly; therefore, he would like to meet directly with the CRA Director on CRA issues.  There is a free flow of information and the City Manager is more than welcome to sit on any meeting.

 

Mr. Deetjen stated that he accepts full responsibility.  He said that if the meeting had taken place with Mr. Popelsky, this would not have been a topic.  The threshold question was should we operate differently from prior years, and he does not feel there is a need to change.  Mr. Baia has done an outstanding job and under the tutelage of Mr. Ferguson, this City has progressed tremendously. 

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that he has had many meetings with Mr. Baia over several months.

 

Mr. Deetjen stated that the initial meeting was important and was contemplating a radical change/split from how the State of Florida CRAs operate and how the City operates.  Once that threshold policy decision had been reviewed, he would have then addressed the Board.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that if he had spoken with Mr. Baia the same day, within ten (10) minutes, the meeting would have been over.  Referring to a memorandum sent by Ms. Poitier, dated January 19, 2006, she thanked Mr. Baia for his efforts in helping Mr. Popelsky create a program for affordable housing using specialized strategies, etc.  Mr. Popelsky asked if Mr. Deetjen was present at the meeting.

Ms. Poitier replied no, she had been working since last month on this.

 

Mr. Popelsky stated that he is referring to meeting with Mr. Baia.

Ms. Poitier stated that neither Mr. Deetjen, nor anyone else understands the Welcome Home Program because it is her program.

 

Mr. Popelsky asked Ms. Poitier if when she discussed the program with Mr. Baia, did he indicate that Mr. Deetjen had to be present.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that she never spoke with Mr. Baia about the CRA and it was revisited after Vice Chair bought it up.

 

Mr. Popelsky expressed concern of how the Board is going to operate in the future assuming everything remains status quo.  He asked would the Board/Commission need to get approval to speak with Mr. Baia.

 

Mr. Deetjen stated approval would not be necessary.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that a policy will be established.

 

Mr. Popelsky said he would like everything to return to the status quo and that he accepts what happened.  Unfortunately, it was not appropriate, but one better judgment does not justify changing the methods as to how the City is operated.  He said that he had also spoken with Marva Gordon, Director of Human Resources, to discuss the salary structure for Mr. Baia.

 

MOTION was made by Mr. Popelsky and seconded by Ms. Poitier to support recommendation to return to the status quo.  Roll Call: YEAS: Mrs. Militello, Ms. Poitier, Mr. Popelsky, Vice Chair Gonot, and Chair Capellini.  NAYS: None.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that she seconds the motion to keep the CRA as it exists, with Mr. Baia providing half time to CRA and half time to the City of Deerfield Beach.

 

Item 2                                     Tape 1, Count 683

 

CRA RESOLUTION 2006/002

 

Carlos Baia, CRA Director, stated that McMahon Associates has produced a supplemental proposal for $4,400.00 related to the design of the curbside walk that runs along One Ocean Boulevard project.  Mr. De Palma of McMahon Associates is present to answer any questions specific to this item.  The contractor installed the sidewalk incorrectly, and McMahon Associates will have to make corrections.  Thus, they are requesting supplement funds in order to do that. 

 

In response to Mr. Popelsky’s question, Mr. Baia stated that the project location is at the intersection of A1A and Hillsboro Boulevard south to SE 2nd Street.

 

Vice Chair Gonot asked what was the nature of the error.

John De Palma, McMahon Associates, replied that another consultant did the work, but their firm was attempting to incorporate continuity to match the other improvements, as requested in the FDOT plans.  The previous firm left a differential grade between the sidewalk and created handrail installations.  The area is being improved to be uninterrupted and safer with simply a smooth swale area with a curb that would accommodate the drainage flow.

 

Vice Chair Gonot asked why should the City bear the responsibility.

 

Mr. De Palma stated that when the project was first constructed, some issues were not coordinated with the continuity of the theme of the roadway construction that were to take place on A1A on the western side.  Further, Flynn, the contractor, updated their plans, McMahon Associates took them to the FDOT, as they were working on the northern area simultaneously.  When Flynn was doing the work, they did not alert their office for the construction team to go out in the field to monitor the progress.  He indicated that their services have extended because Flynn procrastinated on the project.

 

In response to Vice Chair Gonot’s question, Mr. De Palma replied it is the contractor’s fault, as they did not adhere to the plan.

 

Mayor Capellini recommended that the City keep the project going, but back charge the contractor. 

 

Mr. De Palma agreed with Mayor Capellini.  He said once the plan is certified by the FDOT, once that is accomplished, they can provide a letter to the City, directing them on the issues of errors by the contractor so the City can request reimbursement for the additional charges.

 

Mayor Capellini asked if the contractor had been notified to allow him the opportunity to remedy the situation.  Moreover, he stated that a letter should be sent to the contractor indicating that in approximately ten (10) days the City will continue to remedy the situation and charge them for what the City will be paying.

 

MOTION was made by Ms. Poitier and seconded by Vice Chair Gonot to have City Attorney, Andrew Maurodis, send a letter to Flynn indicating that they will be charged if the City has to expend additional funds to rectify the sidewalk construction.  Roll Call: YEAS: Mrs. Militello, Ms. Poitier, Mr. Popelsky, Vice Chair Gonot, and Chair Capellini.  NAYS: None.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 3                                     Tape 1, Count 820

 

COMMERCIAL FAÇADE PROGRAM

 

Carlos Baia, CRA Director, indicated that Mrs. Militello had a well-attended District one meeting approximately one month ago.  A lot of the concerns raised at the meeting dealt with the appearance of the shopping center. Mrs. Militello wanted to discuss the financial limits on the façade program, currently $10,000.00 per business.  In light of the increased construction costs, particularly last year, Mrs. Militello felt that it would be in the best interest to increase the amount.  Mr. Baia stated that if that is done, he suggested mandating a façade criterion.  According to the CRA plan, it is recommended that new façade improvements, in commercial areas, use a Florida look, which has been the prevalent architectural mode in the CRA.  If this is mandated, staff would be able to have a better handle on various projects, and the merchants would appreciate a uniform look.

 

Ms. Poitier asked when did Mr. Baia drop the façade oath.  She said there is a difference in the CRA and the blighted area, as the façade treatment in this area is $75,000.

 

Mr. Baia stated that this is only a suggestion to provide $25,000 per business and $100,000 per property cap, as a financial suggestion.

 

Mrs. Militello stated that the Admiral Building has eight (8) businesses within the facility.  She asked if that building would not qualify because of the amount of businesses and if there would be a cap.

 

Mayor Capellini stated that the building would be entitled to $100,000.

 

Mrs. Militello stated that based on this cap, with there being other businesses within the facility, it might cause problems because it is not known what each business would require.

 

Mr. Baia stated that he suggested $100,000 to have a manageable number when the budget was done, because some buildings that could have numerous businesses within the facility.  He further stated that the $100,000 would be fair for one property owner.  Also, the property owner would have to match the amount, making it a $200,000 investment.

 

Mr. Popelsky asked if it would be possible to base the decision on linear foot, to make it fair for each property owner.

 

Mr. Baia stated that most communities do not do base it on linear foot, as it can become quite cumbersome.  Most communities will base it on a property basis, the City does it on a per business basis, and he suggested a combination of a per business basis with a maximum cap per property.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that she attended the Urban Design Institute in Jupiter, hosted by FAU.  She stated that this was one of the most rewarding workshops she had attended in many years.  She said it takes people out of the realm of the City, who are urban designers, and they present new ideas.  Florida Atlantic University will send written reports.  She requested that this item be tabled for approximately four (4) weeks, until the report is received, the results will be very surprising.  This will assist the Board in setting up design criteria, meeting with the owners as the CRA, and at that time, discussing what Mr. Baia anticipates giving.  She suggested that the Board visit the Abacoa area in Jupiter to see the differences.

 

Mrs. Militello stated she does not object to tabling this item; however, she will not accept the FAU Design Institute plan for the Cove, but will collaborate with the individuals who attended her meeting as they are impacted by what type of development occurs there.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that property rights indicate that anyone who lives beyond 300 feet should not have much authority over what is occurring in the area.  Therefore, the discussion of designing the Cove should be with property owners and residents that are within 300 feet of the Cove.

 

Mrs. Militello stated that additional input is needed.  Additionally, she said the reason she asked the City Manager to not send anyone to the meeting, because she knew the Cove was a topic that would be addressed.

 

Ms. Poitier advised the Board that the Cove was not the only topic of discussion; moreover, she went to the meeting as a CRA member and had not planned on discussing the Cove façade improvement.

 

Mr. Baia stated that he has received a letter from the Admiral Building owner, and there are questions regarding the application process under the current criteria.  Nonetheless, he suggested informing the owner that there is a likelihood that the criteria may change, but only for the better.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that as the CRA, the authority exists to proceed with the work, without delaying the process for one project and to instate a criteria.  The Board could call a special CRA meeting, if needed.  She suggested moving forward with the criteria.

 

Mayor Capellini stated that he does not want to hinder any applications.

 

Mrs. Militello suggested that Mr. Baia inform them that they can have $10,000 now, but there maybe changes.  Further, she stated that the FAU Design Team does not have the final approval on how the Cove will be improved.  Mrs. Militello recommended approval of the $10,000; with the possibility of changing it later.  In conclusion, she clarified that the FAU Design Team would not have final approval on the Cove design.

 

Mayor Capellini stated that this was an educational seminar.

 

Mrs. Militello reiterated that the CRA Board will not accept the FAU Design Team’s concept on how the Cove area should be improved.

 

Ms. Poitier stated that it is not her intention to approve the FAU Design, but to have the Board review it for input.  She reiterated that by waiting four (4) weeks, for the FAU report, Mrs. Militello might be impressed by what was discussed there.  Moreover, the design stages and Mrs. Militello’s desire to bring the Cove into an urban area would make it beneficial to wait on the report.

                                   

Item discussed out of order

 

Item 4                                     Tape 1, Count 664

           

DISCUSSION TO EXTEND INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE CRA

 

Mr. Baia stated that in continuing the status quo, the Interlocal Agreement with the City and the CRA has a termination date as of tonight, February 21, 2006, and will need to extend the date.

 

MOTION was made by Mr. Popelsky and seconded by Ms. Poitier to extend the Interlocal Agreement for one year.  Roll Call: YEAS: Mrs. Militello, Ms. Poitier, Mr. Popelsky, Vice Chair Gonot, and Chair Capellini.  NAYS: None.

 

MOTION by Mr. Popelsky and seconded by Vice Chair Gonot to adjourn CRA meeting.  Roll Call: YEAS: Mrs. Militello, Ms. Poitier, Mr. Popelsky, Vice Chair Gonot, and Chair Capellini.  NAYS: None.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

 

__________________________________

ALBERT R. CAPELLINI, P.E., CRA CHAIR

 

ATTEST:

 

______________________________________

ADA GRAHAM-JOHNSON, CMC, CITY CLERK