Letter from Richard J. Reade, Village Manager of the Village of Palm Springs, to the House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee of the House State Affairs Committee on HB 9 (LaMarca) / March 5, 2019:
Good Afternoon Chariman Payne, Vice-Chairman Rommel and Representative Silvers and Members of the House Local, Federal and Veteran’s Affairs Subcommittee,
On behalf of the Mayor and Council for the Village of Palm Springs, I am writing to you to request your support in OPPOSING HB 9 (LaMarca) as this bill would remove an important economic development tool for cities, particularly the Village of Palm Springs, who are working to create investment and economic development opportunities within our communities to create jobs, promote safety, increase and maintain workforce housing, improve utilities and infrastructure.
The Village of Palm Springs is city of approximately 24,000 residents within Palm Beach County and we maintain a family community that has a significant poverty rate (almost 22%) and also includes a population that is estimated to be 40% to 60% low and moderate income. Our Village is located in the central portion of Palm Beach County and we maintain a majority of the County’s workforce housing (our Village is almost 96% workforce housing) and we are counting on having the ability to work with our local, County elected officials to create a CRA to assist in providing a better quality of life for our residents.
Development of a CRA within the Village would give us the opportunity to promote and create new jobs so that our community can work where they are living (rather than driving the average 22 minutes per day to a work a location). This would create a situation where our families, who are living paycheck to paycheck, from having to drive some of the furthest distances for employment to support their families.
Additionally, we are depending on this opportunity to implement a CRA to create retail and commercial opportunities within our community to ensure that our residents have a local place to shop and eat without having to drive outside of their city…
As a community, we have battled many undesirable activities (i.e., drugs, prostitution, etc.) that have existed just outside of our community for decades on our major roadways. Our Mayor and Council and our community have made the decision to annex many of these difficult areas over the years (and take on the financial burden of resolving these issues within the Village) in an effort to improve the safety of our community, which we hope will lead to increased investment.
However, there continue to be numerous/significant issues within these newly annexed areas (i.e., limited sanitary sewer force main, stormwater issues, a lack of aesthetics and streetscaping, limited/minimum lighting and streetlights, sidewalks where only one person can walk in a community where many are biking and walking due to income limitations, limited, safe pedestrian crossings, a handful of bus shelters – instead our residents must endure the weather elements when waiting for a bus, etc.) and we are trying to make the improvements locally and without significant state assistance. However, by taking this economic development tool away (or severely limiting the ability to create a new CRA) would be detrimental to the Village of Palm Springs and other municipalities trying to improve our quality of life, we would not have very many options going forward.
As a result and on behalf of our Village, I emplore you to please consider not supporting this proposed bill and to OPPOSE HB 9 – Community Redevelopment Agencies. We are hopeful for your support in improving our community…
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office and I would be happy to share with you the efforts that our community has undertaken and the intentions that we have if we were afforded the opportunity to have a CRA created within our Village.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of our request to OPPOSE HB 9 – Community Redevelopment Agencies.
Have a great day.
Richard J. Reade
Village of Palm Springs, Florida