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WPB Insider Newsletter - April 15, 2017

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio

 

 

 

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April 15, 2017

 

 

U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Field Hearing on Extreme Weather and Coastal Flooding in the City.

 

Climate change is an incredible threat to coastal communities including West Palm Beach, and we are already beginning to experience its effects. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2016 was the warmest year on record globally. In the West Palm Beach area, the ocean has warmed, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased. Coastal flooding, storm surge, human health issues, temperature and precipitation extremes present current and future challenges.

Since 2006, sea level rise in southeast Florida has tripled, averaging about nine millimeters a year. Sea level rise projections for our community and region are particularly alarming. The City is the municipal representative for Palm Beach County for the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. The Compact developed the Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida for use in Compact Counties and partners for planning purposes to aid in understanding of potential vulnerabilities and to provide a basis for developing risk informed adaptation strategies for the region. Based on the unified projection, sea level rise is projected to be 6-10 inches by 2030 and 14-26 inches by 2060. In the long-term, sea level rise is projected to be 31-61 inches by 2100.

The City of West Palm Beach is committed to doing its part to promote resilience in the City.  I established a long-term target of net zero emissions by 2050 for the City and a short term target of 25-percent reduction. These are the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted is in balance with the quantity sequestered or offset. We are finalizing our Stormwater Master Plan to incorporate climate change impacts and opportunities for green infrastructure. The Stormwater Master Plan assesses the City’s hydrologic characteristics, topography, drainage, floodplains, water quality, pollution sources, and land cover. This will help the City better prepare for sea level rise. The City of West Palm Beach has also committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors and city officials, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, track programs, and prepare for impacts of climate change.

I am especially proud that the City of West Palm Beach has achieved a 4-STAR rating from STAR Communities and is using the STAR framework for the City’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 to improve resilience across the community in the seven STAR goal areas of: built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education, arts and community; equity and empowerment; health and safety; and natural systems. The City of West Palm Beach was also selected by National League of Cities to participate in the Leadership in Community Resilience Program which brings together 10-cities to help local governments and community partners to advance resilience efforts. We have adopted green building requirements for City buildings and are in the process of transitioning City vehicles to alternative fuels as part of the Energy Secure Cities Coalition.

Time is running out. I call on the U.S. Senate and, also, Members of the House of Representatives to take action on an issue that affects all of us. We must implement policies to address climate change by protecting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NOAA. We must also maintain corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards.

 

Calling ALL Artists

City Seeks Artists to Create 25 Unique, Painted Tables Based on Aesop’s Fables

 

The City of West Palm Beach Community Events Department and Art in Public Places Program is presenting as part of Summer in Paradise (SIP): “One CommUNITY, Many Stories”, June 1 –August 31, 2017 on the Waterfront. 

 

This year’s theme seeks artists to create 25 unique painted tables based on Aesop’s Fables. The setting for this summer-long al fresco adventure will include nightly music, storytelling, games and activities, great food from local restaurants, and Aesop’s Tables highlighting the city’s creative community. The City is seeking proposals from Palm Beach County artists to create unique designs to be painted on large picnic tables as part of SIP 2017. 

 

This community-activated endeavor continues to promote the City of West Palm Beach as an art-centric enclave for creative cultivation, encourages civic engagement, beautifies a public space and enriches the community.

 

Application Deadline:          April 28, 2017 5:00 pm

Budget:                                  $1,100 per table includes honorarium and materials

Eligibility:                               Applicants must reside in Palm Beach County

Site and Display:                   The tables will be on display June 1 – August 31 2017 at the Waterfront’s Great Lawn.

 

For more information and to apply visit: www.wpb.org/aipp

 

Questions?  Contact Sybille Welter, AiPP Coordinator scwelter@wpb.org

 

 

West Palm Beach Water Ranks among

Best Tasting in Florida

 

Accepting the award on behalf of the City:

(Left to right) Gary Durrant, Jarrod Becker, Iryna Ruptash, Dennis Duve of the Dept. of Public Utilities

 

The City of West Palm Beach tied for second in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Best Tasting Water Competition – Region VI. 21 utilities in Palm Beach and Broward Counties competed. The water was judged using four subjective criteria: odor, taste, color, and clarity.

 

“We’re excited about this new distinction,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “We have a surface water plant that is unique in the region. From source water to treatment to delivery, all that combined provides a product that’s palatable to many people, and we’re proud of that.”

 

The AWWA Best Tasting Water Competition is held annually in each of its twelve

regions. The regional winners are entered into a state competition. The state winners go on to the national competition. The Seminole Tribe won top honors in Region VI this year, and the City of West Palm Beach tied Plantation for second. The City of West Palm Beach won the Region VI competition in 2015.

 

“West Palm Beach gets its water from the surface water found in the Grassy Waters Everglades Preserve,” said Poonam Kalkat, Director of Public Utilities for the City of West Palm Beach. “This surface water plant is key to our ability to deliver great tasting water to our customers.”

 

To learn more about the AWWA Best Tasting Water Competition, visit https://www.awwa.org/

 

Fitch Upgrades City's Utility Systems Revs to ‘AA’

Outlook revised to Stable

 

Fitch Ratings has upgraded to 'AA' from 'AA-' West Palm Beach’s approximately $91.5 million in outstanding utility system revenue bonds. The Rating Outlook is revised to Stable from Positive.

 

“We are very pleased with this upgrade,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “This upgraded bond rating is a sign of the City’s extremely strong financial and operational profile. It shows that the City’s financial picture is very, very strong.”

 

In citing its rationale behind the upgrade, Fitch noted, in part:

·         The City’s strong financial profile bolsters its Utilities system, which includes a debt service coverage ratio of 3.3 times to 4.1 times coverage which compares quite favorably to Fitch’s ‘AA’ category median of 2.3 times.

·         The City’s manageable debt burden, which includes the most recent bonds issues in 2017.

·         Its increased capital program, which is driven by a new asset management system and an updated condition assessment methodology.

·         The improved local economy.

 

This is the second bond rating upgrade for the City this year. In January, S&P Global upgraded the City’s Utility System Revenue Bonds from ‘AA/A-1’ to ‘AA+/A-1’ while affirming the stable outlook.

 

“This latest upgrade and the previous upgrade by S&P Global shows that our Utilities Department is going in the right direction and continues to be a strong asset for the City,” said Mark Parks, Director of Finance at the City of West Palm Beach.

Calling all Business Owners!

On May 13th, the City will host our Annual Young Adult Job & Resource Fair at Gaines Park from 9-noon. The event is geared toward individuals between the ages of 17-25.

 

If you are business owner in the City who is looking to hire a young adult for the summer, consider becoming a vendor at the event! It's an opportunity to support a young adult who is interested in working.

 

On Monday, April 3rd, you will be able to register for the fair at http://wpb.org/jobfair2017 

 

For additional information, contact Kevin Jones at (561) 822-1413 or kljones@wpb.org. This is event is being sponsored by X102.3.

Conserve Water! Win a Car!

 

The Wyland Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation is underway! If you haven't yet, take the pledge now to conserve water, and you could be entered to win prizes--including a new car!

 

Right now, the City of West Palm Beach ranks sixth, but there's still time! We can win this!

 

Your help is needed today! Take the pledge at http://www.mywaterpledge.com

 

Fine Forgiveness at Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach

Amnesty for overdue and lost materials runs April 3 through May 14

 

Inspired by Mayor Jeri Muoio’s pledge of West Palm Beach as a City of Kindness, the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach wants to forgive and reconnect with long-lost patrons during its Fine Forgiveness Program. Beginning April 3 through May 14, 2017, the Library will waive all late fees, no matter how long overdue, as well as charges for  lost materials including books, CDs, DVDs and other items. The goal of the campaign is to recover thousands of outstanding items and welcome back thousands of patrons whose access to library materials has been impeded by overdue fines or charges associated with lost materials.

 

The Fine Forgiveness Program would require cardholders to come into the library with current identification to verify their address and return any overdue materials.  Fines for those overdue materials would be waived, and charges associated with lost items would also be waived during the six week amnesty period only. The amnesty program would apply only to items checked out before the April 3, 2017 amnesty period begins. Fines and lost book charges for Interlibrary Loan items (borrowed from other libraries) will not be waived at any time. Each cardholder must be present to be eligible for forgiveness and families are encouraged to visit together.

 

“The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach is committed to eliminating barriers to accessing important library services,” shared Chris Murray, Library Director at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach. “It is especially important that all children have access to the library, and restoring privileges to our juvenile cardholders would allow them access to vital summer programs and services. We are proud to support Mayor Muoio’s Kindness Pledge.”

 

The goal of the program is to recover as many of the unreturned items and to reinstate as many of the 17,627 blocked cardholders as possible. Of the 13,302 juvenile cardholders, nearly 42% are blocked from accessing crucial children’s programming. Over the past 10 years, the Mandel Public Library has lent 7,775,477 items including books, DVDs, CDs and digital resources.

 

“We’re excited to welcome back residents and families to the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach and to provide necessary literacy resources to thousands of local children,” shared Mayor Muoio. “This amnesty campaign is a shining example of our commitment to create a kinder, more gracious city.”

 

As an additional incentive, library staff members will engage in random acts of kindness to coincide with Mayor Muoio’s City of Kindness Pledge. Patrons will be rewarded with tokens of appreciation once the items are returned and the cards are reinstated.

 

Mayor Muoio signed the pledge on February 14 with the hope of creating a culture of kindness in the City. Since the launch of the #TeamKindnessWPB movement, residents and local organizations have performed community cleanups, randomly distributed $2 bills to new friends, and donated books and teddy bears to young children.

 

Once library cards are reactivated, residents will gain access to the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach’s impressive menu of services including employment preparation training, engaging children’s programming, literary discussions, fitness classes and nearly 500,000 online eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, and music.  These digital items are automatically returned at the end of the load period and therefore cannot be lost or accrue overdue fines.

 

Patrons interested in participating in the program should stop by the library reception desk with a current ID or contact the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach at (561) 868-7700 for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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