Palm Bay Wants To Send Money To People Affected By A Disaster. Just Not In The US.

As we noted several weeks ago, Councilman Felix of the Palm Bay City Council wants to send money to Haiti in order to help with the relief efforts following an earthquake there.

Tonight at a special meeting at 6 PM, the City Council will take up the idea of sending $5,500 of taxpayer dollars to Haiti.


Palm Bay: Councilman Wants To Use Disaster Fund For Haiti.

A powerful earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday morning, killing at least 304 people and leaving hundreds of others hurt, authorities said. The 7.2 magnitude quake was strong enough to be felt in neighboring countries.

Haitian officials said more than 1,800 people were injured in the disaster, some of whom were being treated in hospitals in the three most affected communities.

The epicenter of the quake was 7.5 miles northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s about 78 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

According to CBSNews, the number of dead and injured has increased since the initial reports:

The death toll from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti soared to at least 1,297 Sunday as rescuers raced to find survivors amid the rubble ahead of a potential deluge from an approaching tropical storm.

Saturday’s earthquake also left at least 2,800 people injured in the Caribbean nation, with thousands more displaced from their destroyed or damaged homes.

Haiti is in need of assistance on many levels.

Palm Bay Jumps Into The “Let’s Give Bonuses To Workers” End Of The Pool.

According to the agenda to tonight’s Palm Bay City Council meeting, the City is looking to jump into the pool to give bonuses to those employees who get vaccinated for COVID.

COVID-19 Voluntary Vaccination Incentive
According to 31 CFR Part 35, Eligible Uses (b)(1)(xiii) and (xiv), and further supported by section 2.12 of the Interim Final Rule released by the U.S. Department of Treasured [sic] dated June 23, 2021, recipients may use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to offer “incentives reasonable expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated or motivate people to get vaccinated sooner than they would otherwise.” Staff is requesting Council consideration to provide a monetary incentive in the amount of $300 to City personnel who can provide official proof that they have become fully vaccinated before October 31, 2021. Similarly, for City personnel who are already fully vaccinated, this benefit will be retroactive.

The cover sheet for the item mentions two sections of the law, specifically 31 CFR Part 35, Eligible Uses (b)(1)(xiii) and (xiv):

PALM BAY: The Discussion And The Vote.

Last week we reported on the Palm Bay City Council vote to pull ordinance 2020-50, which was the ordinance that addressed some changes in Florida Statutes in regards to elections, but also proposed changes in how a vacancy on the City Council would be filled. The ordinance would have allowed the City Council to appoint a person to fill a vacancy on the City Council. That is a change from the current ordinance passed in 2012 which said that for a vacancy with less than a year remaining in the Council person’s term, the Council could appoint a person to fill the seat and with a year or more left, there would be a special election to allow the voters to decide.

On July 15th, the ordinance passed on its first reading by a vote of 3-2 with Vice Mayor Johnson, and Councilmen Felix and Foster supporting passage with Mayor Medina and Councilman Bailey voting against passage.

On August 5th, Johnson, who had made the initial motion for the ordinance said he wanted to “pull the resolution.” With his changing of position, the ordinance was defeated by a 3-2 vote with Johnson, Medina, and Bailey voting to kill the ordinance, with Felix and Foster continuing to support it.

We said that night that we would come back to this, and this is the post where we do just that.

Palm Bay: Strap Up.

As we have previously written, tonight is a regular Palm Bay City Council meeting where the Council will vote on the controversial ordinance that changes the procedure for appointing a City Council member when there is a vacancy.

It has always struck us as odd that the City Council choose this moment in time to change the way the vacancy is filled. To us, that means that there is something else afoot.

That something is the “busting of the cap” – the millage cap that the City Council can only do with a super majority vote of at least 4 votes.

Some of the Council members have signaled their intention to want a higher millage rate that is above the cap. In that the budget has to be approved by September 30, even the “compromise” position offered by Johnson won’t make a difference if there is a tie vote. The City will still have to pass a budget and millage rate.

This means that while the issue is substantively about the process of seating a new Council person, the effect is to have the budget vote of four like minded people who will likely vote for busting the cap.

Palm Bay Heads To The Lectern.

On Thursday night, hundreds of Palm Bay citizens are expected to attend the regular City Council meeting which starts at 7:00 PM.

So many people are expected that the City is opening up other spaces within the City Hall itself and on the grounds of City Hall. The City plans to have the equipment for people to watch and listen to the proceedings in those areas while at the same time making provisions for people to address the Council.

The big item on the agenda as far as comments are concerned is Item #2 under Public Hearings which is:

Ordinance 2021-50, amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 50, Elections, by updating provisions contained therein, final reading.


PALM BAY: The Meeting.

This past Thursday, the City of Palm Bay held a regular meeting. As we said, the big issue was the procedure to appoint a replacement for Councilman Bailey, who has announced he is resigning.

(During the meeting Bailey said he was moving to a more rural setting and away from the urban life. A commenter here noted that Bailey had gotten a teaching job up in Alabama. If it is Bailey’s dream and in the best interest of his family to move away from Palm Bay, more power to him. We should all follow our dreams and take care of our family.)

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Medina made a motion to bring the agenda item on the ordinance more to the top of the agenda. Councilman Foster voted against that as well as another councilman who we could not identify.

With the council chambers being packed, and with over 200 people outside, the move made sense.

(It should be noted that the City ran out of comment cards for people to sign up to speak. Whether planned or by accident, running out of cards made it seem like the City Council didn’t want to hear more people than they had to.)

BREAKING: Palm Bay Votes To Appoint A New Councilperson Until A Special Election Can Be Held.

Tonight the Palm Bay City Council voted to allow the Council to appoint an “interim” Council member until a special election can be held 75 – 180 days after the vacancy occurs.

Councilmen Felix, Foster and Johnson all voted for this while Councilman Bailey and Mayor Medina voted against it.

No one has owned up to bringing the proposed change in the agenda forward and it will likely stay forever hidden in the smokey back rooms of City Hall.

We’ll have more on this later.

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