Palm Beach Gardens’ City Council Chambers weren’t as full Thursday night as they were last month when Avenir and police body cameras were up for debate, but some other popular topics resurfaced.
Here are three that came up:
- The proposed extension of Shady Lakes Drive to 117th Court North: About 15 people wearing red t-shirts again asked City Council to reconsider extending Shady Lakes Drive. City Council and staff say the extension is necessary to provide improve the flow of traffic to recreational facilities and give better access in an emergency to Watson B. Duncan Middle School and Timber Trace Elementary School on the dead-end 117th Court North. Residents say they haven’t seen justification for the connection. It will bring more traffic to the area, making it unsafe for kids who walk and ride their bikes to school, they say.
- Fire station staffing: Abby and Matt Baker asked for the city to consistently schedule a full crew of five at Fire Station 64 until a consultant is finished studying the level of staffing that’s warranted. Palm Beach Gardens began using something known as adaptive staffing, or a crew of three, during the recession to save money. That means they can either take the fire truck or rescue vehicle, but not both at the same time. A crew from another Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue or county station will meet the first crew at the scene for calls that require both vehicles. Station 64, which serves communities such as Mirasol and Mirabella, had 1,426 calls and an average response time of 7:33 in 2015, according to county records.
- Two councilmen’s years in office: Eric Jablin and Joe Russo have each served on City Council for more than 20 years. Russo’s been in office for 27 and will leave after the March election because of term limits. Their colleagues on City Council heaped praise on them as they were recognized by the Florida League of Cities Thursday night. Palm Beach Gardens named a new athletic complex at City Park after Russo last month.