WEST PALM BEACH — At the July 7, 2020, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following actions:
COVID-19 — received an update from Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County, and Fire Rescue Administrator Reginald Duren on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Dr. Alonso said over 3,000 individuals under age 18 have been tested in Palm Beach County. Of those, more than one-third (1,083) were positive. She noted that other regions of the state which had been well below Southeast Florida’s infection rate are now considered hot spots. “This is spreading quite rapidly throughout Florida,” she said. “This virus is going to be around a long time.” Chief Duren reported that 109 firefighters — approximately 10 percent of Fire Rescue’s workforce — are in quarantine. Of those, 24 have tested positive; two firefighters are currently in ICU. He said the department has been able to cover staffing shortages and will continue to respond to all emergency calls from the public.
Budget — authorized staff to submit proposed not-to-exceed millage rates for the FY 2021 budget to the Property Appraiser’s Office. The proposed millage rates for Countywide, Library and Fire Rescue MSTU are at the current year millage rate and above rollback. The millage rate for the Jupiter Fire MSTU is slightly below the current year millage rate, but above rollback. The proposed millage rates may be lowered but not raised at two public hearings scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. in the sixth floor commission chambers of the Robert Weisman Governmental Center.
Water Utilities — approved the appointment of Ali Bayat, deputy director of the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department, to replace Water Utilities Director Jim Stiles as the Palm Beach County representative and Kenny Rampersad, director of Finance and Administration, as alternate representative on the East Central Regional Wastewater Treatment Facilities Operation Board, effective July 20, 2020.
Public Safety — adopted a resolution approving the 2020 Palm Beach County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). The CEMP outlines how the various departments and agencies, both public and private, will discharge their responsibilities for providing direction and control during any large-scale local disaster. Revisions include a modification of the Executive Policy Group to include the Unified Command Group, updated lead and support agencies, and enhancement of various processes such as damage assessment, social media, training and re-entry.
Equal employment — directed staff to review and update the county’s equal employment ordinance with regard to the definition of an employer. Palm Beach County’s ordinance currently defines an employer as having 15 or more employees vs. five or more employees in counties such as Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Orange and Leon.
Diversity — directed staff to research creating an office of equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure the needs of the area’s diverse population are being met in terms of race, gender, language barriers, disabilities and sexual orientation.
NACo Awards — announced that three Palm Beach County departments won 2020 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). Youth Services earned two awards for its Family Violence Intervention Program and Summer Camp Scholarship Program. Information Systems Services was recognized for its Traffic Signals Condition and Power Assessment Application, and Palm Tran won for its Go Glades Deviated Flex-Route Service.