When the residents of Palmetto Bay head to the polls Nov. 8 they will not just be voting for a member of the Village Council and vice mayor, but also on four charter amendment questions and a proposed annexation of West Perrine.
John DuBois, the village’s vice mayor who is running for reelection, said the village’s attorney asked Palmetto Bay officials not to comment on any of the measures.
One resident has urged his neighbors to vote down all five initiatives, saying the annexation would be too costly and the proposed charter amendments weaken necessary protections for residents.
“Voting NO on all the proposed Charter changes will keep the safeguards that residents voted for in the Charter,” Gary Pastoralla wrote in an email blast to residents earlier this month. He declined to elaborate on his positions.
The first charter amendment increases the powers of the village manager, Palmetto Bay’s highest-ranking non-elected official. Currently, department directors have to be approved by the council. The initiative would allow the manager to make such appointments without this step.
The second charter amendment asks for a change in how members of the charter committee are chosen or removed. Currently, three of the five village council members must be present to vote on such matters. The measure would increase this to four members. This quorum change also applies to the hiring or firing of specific city executives, including the village clerk, attorney and manager.
The third charter amendment would specifically prohibit members of the village council from directly dealing with any Palmetto Bay employee, stating such interactions must go through the village manager. Council members found to be in violation could be removed from office.
The fourth and final charter amendment asks voters to decide if they want to maintain a requirement that election for village offices remain nonpartisan.
“Relying on party affiliation as a campaign tactic to gain an advantage divides communities unnecessarily as seen in national politics,” Pastoralla wrote in his blast.
Voters also will be asked whether they want the village to begin the process to annex West Perrine, an unpopulated 62-acre area that sits on Palmetto Bay’s southwest corner. The area, which is mapped for commercial use, is bounded by the Busway on the west, US 1 on the east, Southwest 160th Street on the north, and Southwest 184th Street on the south.
Although Palmetto Bay can initiate the lengthy process, any annexation would have to be approved by the County Commission.