March 2018
Palm Beach County District Six

Opioid Epidemic Update 

Palm Beach County continues to take strong action to combat the opioid epidemic. 

On March 13, the County selected a legal team--Ferrero Law Firm, P.A., Napoli Skolnik, PLLC, and Stull, Stull & Brody--to pursue litigation on behalf of the County for costs, damages, and other relief associated with the opioid epidemic.  It is vital that we hold accountable those responsible for the numerous tragedies we have seen in our County.  

Furthermore, County staff continues to work with the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network on establishing a location for an addiction receiving facility.  In the meantime, the County recently approved a contract with SEFBHN to expand treatment options. This will immediately expand the substance abuse treatment bed capacity in the County for residents experiencing or at risk of experiencing a substance abuse disorder. Through this contract, SEFBHN will identify and subcontract with agencies for the provision of additional treatment beds, including scholarships from private substance abuse treatment and detox facilities, and coordinate care for those needing housing and employment support.  

Finally, I had the honor of participating in an opioids workshop at the National Association of Counties Conference in Washington, D.C., in early March.  I presented Florida's horrific overdose statistics, as well as Palm Beach County and Florida's responses to the epidemic, including an overview of which local governments in the state are pursuing litigation against those who contributed to this epidemic.    

To end this crisis, a multi-faceted, intergovernmental effort is necessary, and I will continue to fight as hard as I can to build upon the progress we have made so far in bringing all levels of government together to do so.  

School Safety Roundtable

The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School brought forth a groundswell of student activism that led to significant legislative changes made by the Legislature this session.

On February 28, I hosted a student roundtable at the Palm Beach County Main Library on school safety and support services.  The purpose was to provide our County's students a venue to share with their elected officials what potential reform programs should look like at the state and federal level, as well as to create proposals for draft legislation.  

We had a wonderful turnout with numerous passionate students who made their voices heard.  Congresswoman Lois Frankel's office, the West Palm Beach Police Department, Palm Beach County Youth Services, and Forest Hill High School Principal Dr. Mary Stratos participated.  I especially want to thank my fellow elected officials who also came to join the discussion with these amazing young men and women: West Palm Beach Commissioner Cory Neering, Westlake Councilwoman Katrina Long-Robinson, and School Board Member Erica Whitfield.

We should all be inspired by how thoughtful and compassionate these students are!  

5th Annual Mayor's Ball 

Mayor McKinlay hosted the 5th Annual Mayor's Ball to benefit the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County!  Each year, the proceeds of this event help families and individuals find permanent housing, and this year there was record attendance with over 700 people!  Thank you to everyone who came and made the Ball a tremendous success!  A special thank you goes out to all of the Glades residents and officials who attended--your presence shows your strong dedication to helping those in your community! 

Senator Nelson Announcement on Dike Funding

In early February, Senator Nelson held a press conference in West Palm Beach announcing his efforts to secure the necessary funding in the bipartisan budget bill to complete the construction of the Hoover Dike.  The bill includes $10.4 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects, and Sen. Nelson announced that he expects $776 million of that to go towards expediting and completing the Dike by 2022, instead of 2025.  Glades officials joined Senator Nelson during this event and discussed the safety necessity of finishing construction as soon as possible.  Thanks also goes to Sen. Rubio for working with Sen. Nelson to get this done! 

Legislative Session Appropriations  

Largely due to redirecting funds to school safety, legislators did not approve many local appropriation requests this session.  However, there were still significant appropriations approved that are important to District 6: 

  • Pahokee Marina improvements: $990,000
  • Glades Communities Street Resurfacing and Reconstruction: $1 million
  • Royal Palm Beach Canal System Rehabilitation Project: $150,000
  • Small County Outreach Program: $15 million (a $6 million increase from last year's appropriation)
  • Everglades Restoration Agricultural Community Training Program: $1.5 million
  • RESTORE Reentry Program: $250,000
  • Opioid epidemic: $53.5 million 

NACo Legislative Conference

In early March, Mayor McKinlay traveled to Washington, D.C., for the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference.  She met with numerous elected officials and federal agency staff to advocate for Palm Beach County's legislative priorities.  

During this trip, Mayor McKinlay, serving as President of the Women of NACo, participated in a joint meeting between the Women of NACo and the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues.  This opportunity allowed county and federal elected officials to discuss numerous issues including criminal justice, health, housing, transportation, rural concerns, and the opioid epidemic.  Special thanks to the co-chairs of the Congressional Women's Caucus, Representatives Lois Frankel and Susan Brooks, for holding this important discussion with the Women of NACo! 

4th DCA Courthouse Grand Opening

On January 5, Mayor McKinlay provided welcoming remarks during the grand opening of the new 4th District Court of Appeal Courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach.  The 4th DCA serves six counties, and this beautiful building has already proven itself an architectural landmark in Palm Beach County.  Special thanks go to Judge Jonathan Gerber for his tireless advocacy to get this much needed courthouse constructed and to Senate President Joe Negron for securing the funding!

Suits for Seniors 

Mayor McKinlay offered remarks at the Suits for Seniors Ceremony for Pahokee & Glades Central Seniors on March 20.  Suits for Seniors is a wonderful organization making real impacts on the lives of young men by helping them transition to college and careers.  Mayor McKinlay was excited to join Belle Glade Commissioner Johnny Burroughs, Pahokee Mayor Keith Babb, WPB Commissioners Paula Ryan and Kelly Shoaf, and Sen. Bobby Powell to congratulate and support these great rising stars!

I am Jane Doe

In January, several local women's organizations held a screening of I am Jane Doe, a powerful documentary that explores the horrific crime of human trafficking.  Mayor McKinlay presented welcome remarks to the audience and then participated in a panel discussion where she outlined the efforts that Palm Beach County has undertaken to combat the crime, such as awareness campaigns and training employees to recognize the signs of trafficking.

Countywide Community Revitalization Meeting

On February 20, Mayor McKinlay spoke at Palm Beach County's Office of Community Revitalization Countywide Community Revitalization Team (CCRT) Meeting.  Mayor McKinlay shared her views on community revitalization and issues of importance to the Palm Beach County and responded to questions from the audience.

The purpose of OCR’s CCRT meetings is to:

  • build and strengthen neighborhood groups by providing an opportunity to discuss pressing issues, learn about available county and other community resources, share experiences and successes, and offer encouragement or assistance;
  • give residents an opportunity to join the conversation on subjects that are important to them;
  • learn about strategies and tools that can be used to assist in community initiatives;
  • encourage networking and information sharing to facilitate the development of partnerships between neighborhood groups, county government, and outside organizations; and
  • promote productive communications and collaborations between those community groups and both the public and private sectors.

Glades Family Fun Fest

There was a wonderful turnout at this year's Glades Family Fun Fest!  Held at Pioneer Park in Belle Glade on February 24, this free, family event offered a fun day for the community and an opportunity to share the resources offered through local agencies. Families enjoyed games, bounce houses, rock climbing, soccer and more!  Thanks go out to PBSO, PBC Fire Rescue, Children’s Services Council, and PBC Parks and Recreation for their collaboration to ensure a successful day!

Aide Lisa Wilson represented Mayor McKinlay at the event.  

Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year

Congratulations to David Wooten, of West Palm Beach, on being named the Boys and Girls Club 2018 Youth of the Year!   He will represent Palm Beach County at Florida's Youth of the Year competition.  He received a four-year Florida PrePaid scholarship that includes tuition, room/board, and fees.  We look forward to more great things from him in the future.  

We also want to congratulate Geremy Lawrence, of Wellington, and Joshua Perez, of Belle Glade, for being semi-finalists.  They are outstanding young adults who well-represent their Clubs and communities, and both received four-year tuition scholarships!  

Legislative Aide Joseph Sophie served as one of three volunteers on the judging panel.  It was a wonderful but difficult evening choosing between so many talented young candidates!

Mayor Melissa McKinlay
(561) 355-2206

Kelley Burke
Chief of Staff
(561) 355-2206
Joseph Sophie
Senior Legislative Aide
(561) 355-2206

Lisa Wilson
Legislative Aide
(561) 996-4814
Copyright © 2018 District 6, All rights reserved.

Belle Glade Office
2976 State Road #15
Belle Glade, FL 33430
(561) 966-4814

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