La Fontana Boca Raton - PARK OFFICIALS TO CITY OFFICIALS - "CITY IS MONEY AND POWER GRABBING" - "A THREAT TO OUR EXISTENCE" -
Boca Raton: Beach and Park District chafes at contract suggestions
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District is sending a counterproposal filled with additions and deletions to the City Council, which wants “sole discretion” to make changes at parks.
The district and the council now must compromise when they don’t see eye to eye. District Chairman Robert Rollins says the city plan would be “an unlawful delegation of our legislative authority.”
“The only thing left for the district is to tax our constituents and write a check,” Arthur Koski, the district’s interim executive director, said.
“That’s the way I interpreted it,” Commissioner Susan Vogelgesang said.
Rollins said he told Mayor Susan Haynie he was unhappy with the city’s proposal and wanted to scrap it and start over. But Haynie urged him to suggest changes instead.
The city and the district have eight contracts with each other governing the operation and maintenance of one park or another, Koski said. He saw nothing wrong with trying to consolidate the agreements into one provided the new document was “properly worded.”
Commissioners compiled a list of changes they want in the contract at their May 24 meeting. Koski said they did not have to accept the document as proposed.
“Keep in mind, we are not a board of the city. We do not respond to City Council wishes,” he said.
Rollins objected to a clause that would let the city bill the district for any work the city decided was not up to its standards and had to be redone.
“When I’ve had somebody come to my house, I typically tell them what work I want them to do for me. This is totally opposite of that,” he said.
The kicker, he said, was a statement that the city could terminate the agreement for any reason, “or no reason,” with six months’ notice. There was not a similar out clause for the district.
“This contract was in play for five months before we saw it,” Rollins said. “This was a great opportunity for us to have some communication, I thought.”
Commissioner Earl Starkoff said city officials “sideswiped” the district with the proposal and called it a “threat to our existence” and a “totally one-sided money and power grab.”
“We never asked them to consolidate the agreements,” Starkoff said.
Commissioners also decided to seek a 10-year contract with automatic renewals instead of 30 years, and the ability to send the city payments via electronic transfer rather than U.S. mail. They also planned to invite the City Council to a joint meeting on July 25, when council members are scheduled to have a workshop session.
“I don’t want us to send this and find another five months goes down the line,” said Commissioner Dennis Frisch.
Gary Youngman, CDPE
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