Out2 News Government & Politics

January 2022 Meetings ~ Martin County

21 Sept MC Logo

Notice is hereby given of the following meetings to be held at the Martin County Administrative Center, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, Florida and other locations as indicated for December 2021. Matters affecting your personal and property rights may be heard and acted upon. All interested persons are invited to attend and be heard. Written comments may be sent to the Board of County Commissioners, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, FL 34996.

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding are entitled, at no cost, to the provision of certain assistance. This does not include transportation to and from the meeting. Please contact the County ADA Coordinator at (772) 320-3131, the Office of the County Administrator at (772) 320-3200, or in writing to 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, FL, 34996, no later than three days before the hearing date. Persons using a TDD device, please call 711 Florida Relay Services.

If any person decides to appeal any decision made with respect to any matter considered at the meetings or hearings of any board, committee, agency, council, or advisory group, that person will need a record of the proceedings and, for such purpose, may need to insure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record should include the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based.

LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
January 19, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Location: Blake Library, 2351 SE Monterey Road, Stuart

LOCAL MITIGATION STRATEGY COMMITTEE
January 19, 2022 at 2:30 PM
Location: Public Safety Complex, Fire Rescue Administration, 800 SE Monterey Road, 2nd floor, Stuart
Martin County's unified Local Mitigation Strategy provides the tools for the County, its municipalities, non-governmental agencies and residents to continue in ongoing efforts to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters. The LMS also provides for mitigation priorities and eligibility for mitigation funding when it becomes available.

LOCAL PLANNING AGENCY
January 20, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers
These meetings will be televised live on MCTV Channel 20 (Comcast), Channel 99 (U-verse), and online at www.martin.fl.us.

PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD
January 20, 2022 at 4:30 pm
Location: Growth Management Department Conference Room (1st floor)

PUBLIC ART ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The Community Development Agency sits as the Public Art Advisory Committee.
January 24, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers
This meeting will be televised live on MCTV Channel 20 (Comcast), Channel 99 (U-verse), and online at www.martin.fl.us.

RIO NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COMMITTEE
January 27, 2022 at 6:00 pm
Location: Vincent Bocchino Community Center, 2369 NE Dixie Highway, Jensen Beach

January 2022 Meetings ~ St Lucie County

20 Aug St Lucie FL

Site Plan Review Committee 1/26/2022 1:30 PM Building B, 1st Floor Training Room

Special Magistrate Hearing 1/26/2022 9:00 AM City Hall, Council Chambers

City Council 1/24/2022 6:30 PM Council Chambers, City Hall

Governmental Finance Corporation 1/24/2022 6:00 PM Council Chambers, City Hall

Board of Zoning Appeals 1/24/2022 5:00 PM Council Chambers, City Hall

Infrastructure Surtax Citizens Oversight Committee 1/21/2022 3:00 PM City Hall, Room 366

Affordable Housing Advisory Committee 1/20/2022 2:00 PM City Hall, Room 366

Budget Advisory Committee 1/19/2022 1:30 PM Room 366, City Hall

Special Magistrate Hearing 1/19/2022 9:00 AM City Hall, Council Chambers

Congressman Mast Week In Review

Another Historic Win For The Florida GOP

21 Jan Republican Logo

The Florida GOP notched another historic win by doubling the number of newly active registered voters in one month. According to the latest Florida Department of State, Division of Elections data, Florida Republicans have an advantage of 45,153 active registered voters who are showing their preference for conservative Republican principles. Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and state and local leaders, Florida will remain a free and open state.

The total number of current active registered voters is below.
REP: 5,122,213
DEM: 5,077,060
NMP: 4,081,300

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Martin County Property Appraiser - Thank You. One Year Anniversary

22 Jan Jenny Fields

January 5, 2022
Today marks my one-year anniversary as your Martin County Property Appraiser. I would like to thank you for allowing me to serve you this past year. It has been a whirlwind and I have thoroughly enjoyed working on behalf of the property and business owners of our great community!

During this first year, my priority was laser focused on customer service and implementing a robust community outreach agenda. Our goal was to educate property and business owners regarding property exemption benefits, website tools, and helpful resources available for them. To accomplish this, we partnered with print and digital publications to distribute monthly articles, expanded our social media platforms with daily informational postings, reached out to numerous organizations who invited us to speak with their members, produced monthly educational videos that now appear on our new YouTube channel, and made dozens of enhancements to our website to better serve you.

Utilizing our new Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system, my office blazed new trails of efficiency in all aspects of property appraisal. For example, we implemented a software application called Just Appraised, which automatically uploads changes in ownership information when a property sells. This software significantly reduces manual data entry time, creates workflow efficiencies, and displays sales information much sooner on the Property Appraiser’s website.

I will continue to deliver outstanding customer service that you deserve and expect. I will be accessible to you and will stay committed to helping our community understand the property valuation process.

I am proud to work alongside my talented professionals. Through hard work, knowledge, and dedication, we accomplished so much in a short amount of time to better serve you!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and blessed new year.

Sincerely,

Jenny Fields, CFA
Martin County Property Appraiser

Congressman Mast Year In Review

Mast Introduces Legislation to Fund Clean Water Projects

20 Apr 4 Brian Mast Logo

Washington – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) introduced legislation to provide additional funding to be used for projects that address water quality. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Amendment Act would amend the Land and Water Conservation Fund to increase flexibility and allow water quality projects to tap into this existing resource.

Under current law, the LWCF is used exclusively to conserve lands and protect recreational opportunities, but cannot be used for projects specifically related to water quality improvement. Expanding eligibility to include these projects would allow Florida to use the federal money for projects to combat harmful algal blooms, including regulating discharges and converting septic systems to sewer.

“In Florida, water quality and recreation go hand-in-hand. Toxic algae often keeps people from enjoying our waters and beaches, so expanding eligibility to water quality projects is completely in line with the LWCF’s mission,” Rep. Mast said. “Florida taxpayers contribute to this fund, we should be able to use it to address the most pressing issues in our communities.”

In 2019, the Department of the Interior issued a rule that allowed the LWCF to be used for water quality projects. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Amendment Act would codify that guidance. Moreover, to be eligible for the funds, states will be able to submit existing Basin Area Management Plans (BMAPs) to the Department of the Interior in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency. In Florida’s 18th Congressional District projects like the Howard Creek stormwater treatment area construction in St. Lucie County may be eligible for funding under this bill.

In Florida’s 18th District, these projects that may be eligible include:

Stormwater system rehabilitation in Sewall’s Point in Martin County
1,121 septic to sewer conversions in Martin County
Control structure to regulate discharge levels from the E-8 canal into the North Fork of the St. Lucie River in St. Lucie County
Howard Creek stormwater treatment area construction in St. Lucie County
Senator Marco Rubio has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Mast Introduces Legislation to Protect Employee Health Privacy and Fight Vaccine Mandates

20 Apr 4 Brian Mast Logo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) introduced the Employee Privacy Act to prohibit employers from inquiring about an employee’s vaccination status.

“Providing equal work opportunities means that employees are not discriminated against based on the decisions they make for themselves,” Rep. Mast said. “However, the last few months have shown us a new form of discrimination: prejudice against the unvaccinated. Employment should be based on merits and not on some political objective that tramples on the privacy of employees.”

The Employee Privacy Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to make it unlawful to inquire about the vaccination status of any current or prospective employee. Under this provision, any violating employer will be subject to a standard workplace discrimination fine, starting at $5,000.

Under current federal law, employers generally cannot discriminate against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, military service, bankruptcy or bad debts, genetic information, or citizenship status. The Employee Privacy Act would treat vaccine status in the same manner and outlaw such discrimination.

The bill is cosponsored by nine Members of Congress: Clay Higgins (LA-03), Bill Posey (FL-08), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Mary Miller (IL-15), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Bob Good (VA-05), Jody Hice (GA-10) and Brian Babin (TX-36)

Boosting Jobs and Economic Growth

20 Oct Brian Mast Logo

Around our community, the issues that I hear about most frequently are the basics needed to make life work—a job to put food on the table, savings to pay for retirement or college, and affordable healthcare. I am committed to fighting to ease the financial burden on families, while also creating an environment that allows American businesses to be more competitive in the global marketplace.

Making life easier for 18th District families starts with reducing government interference in every-day life and slashing government-imposed costs. Passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was major progress so Florida families can keep more of their hard-earned pay. It’s estimated that the average 18th District family will save more than $2,000 per year as a result of this historic change in law and filing taxes will also be much simpler. But there is more work to be done, such as making these tax cuts permanent. The government must do more with less by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse so that hardworking families can keep more of their paycheck.

In order to create an economic environment that allows for job growth, we also need to reduce regulations on small businesses. Excessive red tape makes it harder for small business owners—the true backbone of our economy—to turn the key in their door every day. Moreover, an explosion of government-imposed regulation is weighing down the economy and hurting families. I’m committed to working in a bipartisan way to undo over-burdensome, job-killing red tape.

In addition to changes to the tax code and efforts to reduce regulation, improving infrastructure is critical to the economy in our area and across the country. Locally, we need to resolve the water issues stemming from Lake Okeechobee. The waters surrounding our community are absolutely essential to sustaining and improving the quality-of-life on the Treasure Coast and in Palm Beach. Cleaning our water and improving the infrastructure in our area is one of, if not the most, important steps that we can take to improve our local economy.

Here’s the bottom line: the government needs to get back to work for Americans across the country. Sadly, the reverse has become the status quo. Together we can reduce government intervention in our lives, grow the economy and get Americans back to work.

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Rubio, Risch, Colleagues Call Out Sham Elections in Nicaragua

Mar Rubio

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) in issuing the following statement after the sham elections in Nicaragua yesterday:

“We strongly condemn the Ortega-Murillo regime’s fraudulent attempt to maintain power in Nicaragua through the sham elections on November 7, after arresting and imprisoning members of civil society and the political opposition. These elections were neither free, nor fair, and as such the results do not represent the will of the Nicaraguan people.

“Democratic nations in our hemisphere and around the world must recognize the regime as the crude dictatorship it has become. The United States must use every diplomatic and economic tool at its disposal in support of the Nicaraguan people’s quest for freedom and to hold the Ortega-Murillo regime, and its enablers in Nicaragua, accountable. Member states of the Organization of American States must live up to their commitments to defend democratic governance in the region under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”

Rubio is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.

Tomorrow’s Outcome in Nicaragua Will Not Be a Surprise

Mar Rubio

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement ahead of the sham elections in Nicaragua. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed the Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act, co-authored by Rubio.

“Tomorrow’s outcome in Nicaragua will not be a surprise,” Rubio said. “The corrupt Ortega-Murillo regime has done everything in its power to undermine, disrespect and disregard the democratic process in Nicaragua. Today, we honor and pay tribute to courageous leaders like Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, and Cristina Chamorro, who remain unjustly detained for seeking to run against dictator Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo.

“As the Ortega-Murillo authoritarian dynasty aspires to perpetuate its grip on power, the United States and the international community must be adamant in their condemnation of tomorrow’s results. Democratic allies cannot turn a blind eye at multilateral bodies like the Organization of American States (OAS) and be accomplices in tomorrow’s sham.”

Rubio is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.

Rubio Joins Cotton, Cortez-Masto, and Bipartisan Colleagues to Support Taiwan’s Standing in Global Health Community

Mar Rubio

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in introducing the U.S.-Taiwan Public Health Protection Act to establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Michael Waltz (R-FL).

“We should not be surprised that the Chinese Communist Party’s genocidal regime has willingly withheld information on the COVID-19 pandemic, causing devastating effects around the world,” Rubio said. “We need a reliable and transparent partner in the Indo-Pacific that will provide us with accurate information in order to prevent and mitigate future health crises. Taipei has a comparative advantage in global health and is a trustworthy democratic ally and a valued friend. I am glad to support this effort, which will strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations and benefit global health.”

“Beijing’s efforts to exclude Taiwan from the global health community have had deadly consequences. Our bill will ensure the United States has the resources it needs to monitor health threats emerging in the Indo-Pacific and will allow Taiwan to share its knowledge with the world,” Cotton said.

“Taiwan’s response to the pandemic has been incredibly successful, and it is unacceptable that the Chinese government is excluding them from global efforts to combat infectious diseases,” Cortez-Masto said. “This legislation will allow the U.S. to partner with Taiwan to safely monitor health threats and help prevent future pandemics.”

“For too long, the United States has been myopically focused on traditional national security issues and it has hurt our ability to promptly respond to new threats like the COVID-19 pandemic. We must learn from countries like Taiwan that grasped the dangers of this pandemic early on and had success in suppressing it,” Khanna said. “By establishing a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center, Congress can help prevent future pandemics and ensure important knowledge sharing can take place between the U.S. and Taiwan.”

“Taiwan has been a global leader in monitoring infectious diseases and developed one of the most successful responses in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Waltz said. “By establishing a joint disease monitoring center with Taiwan, we can safely monitor the impacts of infectious diseases, share best practices, and develop responses so we can effectively combat the next global pandemic.”

The bill is supported by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and Taiwan’s CDC.

The U.S.-Taiwan Public Health Protection Act would:

Establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control.
The center would monitor infectious diseases originating in the region, engage in people-to-people contacts with medical and health officials in the region, and provide expertise on health threats to the U.S. and Taiwanese governments.
The center will be staffed by U.S. government detailees, including at least three Health and Human Services (HHS) infectious disease experts and at least one staffer from other federal departments, and may employ local Taiwanese staff and employees of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Require a one-year study and report to Congress to determine the Center’s funding and staffing needs and its level of cooperation with Taiwanese health authorities.

Board Approves Fiscal Year 2022 Budget

21 Sept MC Logo

Stuart – The Board recently received the fiscal year 2022 (FY22) tentative budget presented by staff. Striving to achieve the highest level of efficiency and accountability, the Board cut nearly $4 million, realizing a reduction in the overall Municipal Service Taxing Units (MSTU) to keep the millage rate or ad valorem below the previous years’ level. The Board approved the budget with changes, investing heavily in public safety, setting legislative priorities, strengthening the county’s fiscal health and funding a comprehensive program to address infrastructure.

Public Safety
Providing for the safety of our residents remains a top priority for the Board. Fire rescue and emergency management make up 22 % of the overall ad valorem taxes and law enforcement services (Martin County Sheriff’s Office) 35%, for a total of 57% toward public safety.

Legislative Priorities
The Board establishes legislative strategies at the state and federal levels and works across county lines to advocate for projects of regional interest.
State
Requested appropriations for the septic to sewer and funding for two stormwater treatment area projects

Requested funding to buy land for conservation in Pal Mar, dedicated funding for Indian River Lagoon South projects and funding for beach nourishment projects
Federal
Adopted policy statements on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)-Indian River Lagoon South components, coastal resiliency (reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act), Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), National Estuary Program, Pal Mar land acquisition, sand acquisition, Nourishment and Development Act and the Endangered Species Petition.

Strengthening the County’s Fiscal Health and Financial Transparency
Martin County’s fiscal policy establishes debt ratios for borrowing activities. These ratios are intended to monitor the county’s adherence to financing limitations as set by policy and to allow for transparent and detailed reporting of debt levels to the public. Martin County continues to be in a strong debt capacity position.

Infrastructure
The county endeavors to manage infrastructure priorities in an efficient, cost-effective manner to ensure public facilities serve county residents’ needs, and we continue funding critical water quality projects.
Building a more resilient community by replacing and upgrading roads, bridges and drainage in neighborhoods throughout the community
Converting 10,000 septic systems to county sewer in communities where continued use of septic systems negatively impact our water quality

The Board’s responsibility to residents is to account for all public funds, manage county finances wisely and plan for adequate funding. Providing services to 85% of the county, (unincorporated Martin County, or those areas not part of a municipality) every effort is made to provide services in the most efficient manner while establishing annual and long-range guidelines for fiscal stability.

Review the tentative FY22 budget at www.martin.fl.us/budget or view budget highlights on the following pages with the "Budget At A Glance infographic. To gain further insight into the operations and performance of Martin County, the public is invited to utilize the online financial portal for past and current budgets. Visualization and analytics tools bring the county budget to life at https://bit.ly/FinancialTransparencyPortal.

Rubio, Booker Introduce Resolution Supporting Continued U.S. Leadership in Expanding Global Access to Quality Education

21 May Rubio

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), both members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, introduced a resolution supporting U.S. efforts through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to improve access to quality education for the poorest and most marginalized children and youth worldwide.

The bipartisan resolution reaffirms U.S. leadership and commitment to increasing access to quality education for children worldwide, supports the mission of the Global Partnership for Education, recognizes that U.S. investments in basic education are complemented by GPE’s efforts, and encourages increased commitments by the U.S. and other donors to ensure children throughout the world attend school and gain the education and skills they need to succeed.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), established in 2002, is a multi-stakeholder partnership and funding platform that helps to strengthen education systems in developing countries to increase the number of children who are in school and learning. The GPE brings together developing countries, donors, international organizations, civil society, teacher organizations, the private sector, and foundations. The United States has contributed more than $198 million dollars to the GPE since joining.

Specifically, the Resolution would do the following:

Affirm the leadership of the U.S. to improve access to quality education for the poorest children and adolescents in the world

Support the goals of GPE 2025 to mobilize partnerships and investments that transform education systems in developing countries

Recognize that the U.S. participates in bilateral funding and through the GPE

Call on the U.S. to engage in multi-year pledges to the GPE

Call on the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to commit to promoting children and adolescents attending school