After anonymous text campaign, city manager spending threshold cut in half

City Manager Ron Ferris defends proposal: ‘It isn’t about power. It’s trying to find the most efficient and effective way to deliver our services.’

In a debate shaped by an anonymous texting campaign to block “a dangerous plan” that “puts tax dollars at risk,” the Palm Beach Gardens City Council this month sharply reduced the city manager’s proposal to increase his spending authority.

The council cut City Manager Ron Ferris’ proposal in half, putting the threshold for staff to approve contracts for goods and services at 0.25 percent of the city’s budget, which amounts to $590,000, half of the $1.18 million Ferris sought. The threshold is still nearly 10 times the existing $65,000 limit and far higher than neighboring cities.

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Power of the purse: Gardens council to give city manager more control

Final vote upcoming on proposal to raise threshold for Palm Beach Gardens City Council review of contracts to $1.18 million from $65,000.

The Palm Beach Gardens City Council is on the verge of giving its city manager far more purchasing power than other top administrators in the county.

The proposal backed in October on first reading by the council would empower City Manager Ron Ferris to approve contracts for goods and services worth $1.18 million without council review, up from $65,000. 

Palm Beach County’s threshold is $200,000. In Jupiter, it’s $50,000. In Boca Raton and Boynton Beach, it’s $100,000. Delray Beach is $65,000.

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Gardens council heaps praise on City Manager Ron Ferris

Palm Beach Gardens City Council makes no mention of city manager’s open-ended contract, signed without public discussion in 2019.

To say that Palm Beach Gardens City Council members are happy with their city manager is an understatement. 

At their most recent meeting, all five council members evaluated longtime City Manager Ron Ferris in glowing terms.

They said nothing, however, about Ferris’ contract, which according to a recent Palm Beach Post survey makes him Palm Beach County’s highest-paid city manager, at $314,487. 

They don’t have to. His contract is open-ended. Unlike his past contracts, which if not extended would terminate after five years, Ferris signed a contract in 2019 that allows him to remain on the job “for an indeterminate term.

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No campaign, no votes, no problem: Two retain Gardens council seats

Marcie Tinsley and Carl Woods reelected to the Palm Beach Gardens City Council as qualifying ends with no one opposing them.

Two Palm Beach Gardens City Council members were reelected Tuesday without a fight when no one qualified to run against them.

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Want to be on city council? Time to sign up to run is now

Two-week qualifying period begins Tuesday for Palm Beach Gardens City Council.

Fed up with the way your city government is run? 

Two of the five seats on the Palm Beach Gardens City Council are up for election on March 8.

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‘Forward-seeking city:’ Gardens embraces Catalfumo plan for apartments, office building

Dan Catalfumo’s PGA Station would revive the former Design Center with a 396-unit apartment building and an eight-story office building.

To revive a dormant retail hub, a 396-unit apartment building and an eight-story office structure won the enthusiastic approval Thursday from the Palm Beach Gardens City Council.

Developer Dan Catalfumo’s PGA Station would transform the former Design Center south of PGA Boulevard between Alternate A1A and Interstate 95 into a hub aimed at taking advantage of commuter rail opportunities on the adjoining Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

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Political consultant sent attack ads over Woods’ tax vote

Consultant Randy Nielsen promises to keep pressure on Palm Beach Gardens officials over spending policies.

The next city election is five months away. Candidates don’t even formally sign up to run until November. 

But attack ads already are in the mail.

An unregistered group called Protect Gardens Taxpayers is taking shots at city Councilmember Carl Woods.

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Gardens tax rate revolt fails by one vote

Palm Beach Gardens City Council votes 3-2 to keep tax rate flat, raising $2.4 million more from taxpayers.

Two city council members tried. 

They broke with the pack Wednesday and voted to lower the tax rate by a mere 5 cents.

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Slicing the Cheesecake: Council embraces Downtown plan calling for Cheesecake Factory to go

ShopCore Properties wins city approval for massive changes at Downtown Palm Beach Gardens.

The biggest step in the transformation of Downtown Palm Beach Gardens won city council approval Thursday without a single word about the popular restaurant about to be served by a wrecking ball. 

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No more Cheesecake? Gardens council to vote Thursday

Shopcore Properties proposes tearing down Cheesecake Factory, adding hotel, apartment building at Downtown Palm Beach Gardens.

Plans to remake Downtown Palm Beach Gardens, including the demolition of The Cheesecake Factory restaurant to make way for a 280-unit apartment building, go before the city council Thursday.

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