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Wilton Manors resident Jake Valentine felt “surprised” when he first learned of a proposed provision of a city ordinance that would reduce the number of advisory board members from seven to five people.

At the city commission meeting June 14, Valentine was one of 10 Wilton Manors residents who spoke out against the provision in the ordinance and referred to advisory board members as “ambassadors” to the city. 

“Now, yes, there are only five of you,” Patrick Harris, vice-chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, said to the commission. “But there should be at least seven of us to bring all of those voices and whittle them down to bring them to you so you can make an informed decision as to what is best needed for these various boards.” 

Vice Mayor Paul Rolli proposed an ordinance to make boards more uniform and improve efficiency. He said boards currently “operate inconsistently.” 

Following the nearly 20-minute public comment on the ordinance, the commission voted unanimously to revise the proposed ordinance to maintain the seven-member limit on advisory boards and passed the revised ordinance.

“You always have the right to change your mind and the reason we do is because of people like you who come out,” Mayor Scott Newton said of the revision. 

Rolli noted boards may still undergo changes in the future including possible training measures. 

Before the discussion of the ordinance, the commission elected four members to the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board: Richard Safaty, Rudy Molinet, Bill Desautels and Jude Belanger. 

Security at Stonewall Parade

Newton announced a slice to the security expenditures for the Stonewall Parade — a shift to $17,500 from $35,000.  

New City Shuttle Service

The city commission also agreed 4-1 to a $249,954 contract with Circuit Transit Inc. to implement a city-wide shuttle service throughout the week. The service is set to start by Sept. 1 and will not impede the current Uber and Lyft rideshare programs. 

The quarter-million-dollar contract will be funded by the Parking Fund, not tax-payer dollars, which acquires $300,000 to $600,000 a year in a non-COVID-effected year according to Finance Director Pennie Zuercher. 

Community Honors

The city commission started the meeting by honoring Pride Month and Juneteenth Day. Juneteenth Day was held June 19 to celebrate the Black community. 

Newton also held a moment of silence to honor a former Wilton Manors Police Service Aide Christopher Nicholas Fariello, a 33-year-old who died in the line of duty in Tallahassee June 8. 

The next Wilton Manors City Commission meeting is scheduled for June 28 at 7 p.m.

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