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Topic Title: Palm Bay
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Created On: 12/07/2019 07:03 AM
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 12/07/2019 07:03 AM
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SurferSince1965

Posts: 62
Joined Forum: 05/29/2015

Anybody see the article in FLA Today about them losing 16.4 million on the I-95 exchange? Local governments are out of control, they have no idea where the money went. It would be funny if it was a joke but it's not... Palm Bay City Hall records on the new Interstate 95 interchange and St. Johns Heritage Parkway connector road provide only "limited information to understand when and how decisions were made, and by whom." That's why city officials may authorize a forensic audit to try to determine how these evolved from developer-financed transportation projects into projects that may cost Palm Bay $16.4 million in incurred costs. "There's a lack of written responses on why the city decided to construct the parkway when it was previously decided to have developers pay for it," said City Manager Lisa Morrell, who has held her post since December 2018. "I think that's the biggest outstanding question," Morrell said. The future forensic audit highlights Palm Bay's 26-page response to a Joint Legislative Auditing Committee audit that found 31 areas of concern in Palm Bay City Hall operations. Thursday, JLAC will discuss its Palm Bay audit during a meeting in Tallahassee. In turn, city leaders will offer corrective actions and responses to the 31 audit findings. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. The Florida Channel will broadcast the meeting and stream it online. "I think it's very important that we have a unified front and show that we're behind the team that we have now. We might not agree on past administrations, but we're behind all our charter officers," Councilman Brian Anderson said during Thursday's Palm Bay City Council meeting. "Obviously, we're not going to be up there making excuses or anything like that. This is a very professional-run ship in Tallahassee, as it is here," Anderson said. "So we're going to go up there. We're going to follow the process. We're going to do what they ask us to do, which I think we've already done," he said, pulling a printed copy of Palm Bay's audit response from an envelope. Florida Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, requested the JLAC audit in June 2017, when Gregg Lynk was city manager. Lynk was fired by the City Council in November 2018, and Morrell was hired as his replacement. Within the next two months, Morrell said the City Council may discuss soliciting bids from forensic auditing firms to study I-95 interchange-related finances. Per the city's written response to JLAC, "it also appears based on auditor review that City Council did not receive clear and complete written information from staff, leading to a lack of transparency to support informed decision-making." Fine, who plans to attend Thursday's meeting, said he supports the forensic audit. "I think that absolutely needs to be figured out. I couldn't agree more," Fine said. "It's a $16 million scandal." Morrell said the city has 18 months to implement corrective actions, so they will be prioritized and coordinated among departments. Some corrective actions started during the audit process, she said, such as canceling purchasing cards as soon as employees leave and improving collection of impact fees from developers. "We are committed to the audit findings, as far as the corrective actions. We're committed to building the trust of the public, our constituents, City Council, leadership, employees, and to continue to be transparent in our actions and our government activities," Morrell said. As another example, Morrell cited Finding No. 16 from the auditors: "The city had not established controls to provide adequate accountability for special events and did not document the public purpose for such events." In response, an $8,486 city sponsorship for House Family Ministries' 11th-annual Christmas Extravaganza at Fred Poppe Regional Park was placed on Thursday's City Council agenda for discussion. In the past, such events were "approved in the background" by administration. Council members approved the sponsorship, and the city will waive $8,486 in fees for parks and recreation, police, fire and other services. The event attracts about 15,000 people, and the nonprofit House Family Ministries will provide services totaling $21,250 for inflatables, sound, security, parking assistance, horse rides and petting zoo, concessions, barriers, tent and other amenities. Morrell, City Attorney Patricia Smith and City Clerk Terese Jones will travel to Tallahassee for the JLAC hearing. During Thursday's meeting, Anderson, Deputy Mayor Kenny Johnson and Councilman Harry Santiago said they also will attend, and Councilman Jeff Bailey said he will try to go. "I think it should be said to the public, there was comment tonight thinking like we're going to get an inquisition, like this is going to be like a congressional hearing where we're subpoenaed to show up. It's not going to happen," Bailey said toward the end of Thursday's meeting. "I'm pretty sure the questions are going to be addressed to the city manager, for the most part," Bailey said. Mayor William Capote said he will not attend. He said the City Council is a legislative body that sets policies, while the administration handles how the city is run. The Florida Department of Transportation finished constructing the I-95 "diverging diamond" interchange at the St. Johns Heritage Parkway in August. However, the city-controlled 1.67-mile connector road linking the interchange with rural Babcock Street remains unfinished - though they were supposed to open simultaneously. "Paving operations on the new section of the St. Johns Heritage Parkway project began Tuesday morning. The city's contractor has until the 8th to reach substantial completion on the project," said Keely Leggett, city spokeswoman. "If substantial completion is not met by Dec. 8, liquidated damages may be enforced. As paving progresses, the project will transition into the final phase when the focus will turn to road striping and landscaping, completing the connection to Babcock Street, bringing the temporary traffic signal online, and coordinating the interchange ramp opening with the Florida Department of Transportation," Leggett said. "Much of the work associated with the project's final steps will happen simultaneously. The project is anticipated to be completed within the coming weeks," she said. Neale is the South Brevard watchdog reporter at FLORIDA TODAY.

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JMA

 12/07/2019 08:00 AM
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fishkller

Posts: 5116
Joined Forum: 11/13/2016


Damn.. and I thought SomebodyFish was the king of the run-on block... Folks, we have a new NSR Jack Kerouac

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 12/08/2019 05:20 AM
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RocketSurf

Posts: 373
Joined Forum: 03/20/2014

While that is a lot of information, sometimes the truth needs more than one word, such as "liar".
I consider SS65 to be more like the 2nd Light local government watch-dog.
Not a babbling droll turd that doesn't surf........
 12/08/2019 06:01 AM
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scombrid

Posts: 14660
Joined Forum: 07/24/2003

Originally posted by: fishkller Damn.. and I thought SomebodyFish was the king of the run-on block... Folks, we have a new NSR Jack Kerouac
It is the forum software. That is a full article. Palm Bay has been snookered by developer after developer for decades now. Cut and run developers with almost no oversight have come and gone over and over again and left the city with very expensive problems. Pretty common way of doing business in all the sprawl towns from Deltona to Port St. Lucie on over to Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.

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 12/08/2019 07:43 AM
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Cole

Posts: 41795
Joined Forum: 07/22/2003

 12/08/2019 07:46 AM
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Cole

Posts: 41795
Joined Forum: 07/22/2003

Remember when Obama said that success was built on public support? This is the perfect example. The public paid for the roads and the developers will make hundreds of million in profits and the city proper will reap the benefits of the added property taxes.
 12/09/2019 01:03 AM
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SurferSince1965

Posts: 62
Joined Forum: 05/29/2015

Sorry for the long cut and paste but how in the hell does a small city like Palm Bay lose 16.4 million? Like someone said they have been had over and over, still have a mess from the GDC days and that was like 50 years ago. I'd rather read this stuff vs the national bs that is talked about over and over. I mean it is our backyard?

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JMA

 12/09/2019 06:23 AM
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RustyTruck

Posts: 21965
Joined Forum: 08/02/2004

Some shady stuff goes on out there.

Former Palm Bay deputy manager Dave Isnardi arrested, charged with racketeering, other felonies
http://www.floridatoday.com/st...e-isnardi/1165331001/



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My new view on the future of American government is that when nothing remains, everything is possible.
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