By: Robert Weinroth Special to the Boca Newspaper
With the municipal elections behind us (at least until next year), it’s time for Boca Raton’s Mayor, Susan Haynie, and Council Members to organize and readjust as our newest member settles in.
The dynamics of the City Council, which is a municipal governing body of five residents (our Mayor and four Council Members – each elected at-large), are likely to be impacted by the departure of Deputy Mayor Mike Mullaugh and the arrival of his successor, Council Member-elect Andrea O’Rourke.
Each member of the City Council (including our Mayor) has an equal say (and vote) in what will be addressed (and considered) at our twice monthly regular council meetings and twice monthly CRA meetings (in Boca Raton, the Mayor and Council Members are also the CRA Commissioners).
Most issues brought before the Council or CRA require a simple majority (3 votes) to be approved. It is clear the subtraction of one member and the addition of another have the potential of realigning the members as we consider the issues impacting the residents of our city.
To help the City Council set a course for the year ahead, the Mayor, Council Members, City Manager, and departments heads, take a few days in April to review what has transpired over the past twelve months and set the priorities for the next twelve.
The priorities take into account the Guiding Principles of our city. They are to ensure Boca Raton remains a financially sound municipality with world-class services, vibrant and sustainable with a strong community partnership.
Once the top and high priorities are established, the Mayor and Council Members are excused and the City Manager assigns tasks to the city department heads to support the newly established priorities. The priorities also serve as a fundamental component in the creation of an Operating Budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.
The proposed budget, which is brought to the City Council for review and approval, supports the enunciated goals and priorities for the City while maintaining the City’s outstanding service levels and AAA bond rating with expenditures strategically linked to the goals, objectives, core businesses, and existing obligations of the City.
That being said, it is recognized by all that good planning does not eliminate the likelihood of new issues appearing on the horizon sidetracking or postponing what is identified and prioritized during the strategic planning session.
These sessions are particularly important when the City Council undergoes a change such as what occurred with the departure of Mr. Mullaugh. It is anticipated Ms. O’Rourke will bring new ideas and viewpoints to what will hopefully continue to be a collaborative process. Her new perspective has the potential of making the City Council stronger and able to better meet the needs of our growing community.