- The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board
Loxahatchee Groves’ quaint, rural town image needs an upgrade.
Hurricane Irma exposed much-needed work on some 16 miles of dirt roads that had been the responsibility of the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District. The town took over maintenance responsibility for the roads, which ended up with large pits in some, about two weeks after the storm.
SEAT 3: How best to handle this new-found responsibility — and likely more — going forward is the key question in the March 13 election for Loxahatchee Groves residents.
The Post endorses incumbent Councilman Ron Jarriel, 66, who has both the knowledge and experience to best deal with the roads issue, as well as a take over of the Water Control District if residents decide that’s what they want. The question will be on the ballot in the fall if Gov. Rick Scott signs HB 1093, which would make the district dependent on the town.
Jarriel, a Loxahatchee Groves native, spent nine years as supervisor of the district before serving three terms on the Town Council. A fiscal conservative, Jarriel spearheaded an initiative for $890,000 in drainage improvements. And if residents decide to take control of district, he wants to dedicate the money Loxahatchee Groves now pays the district for road improvements to continue for that use.
But residents have been complaining about road and drainage maintenance for years, which is why Jarriel has drawn two challengers in his bid for a fourth term — Neil O’Neal, 21, and Phillis Maniglia, 60, both Realtors.
Maniglia did not meet with The Post Editorial Board.
O’Neal favors levying an assessment or increasing the town’s property tax rate. “Property tax revenue is eaten up by PBSO, administration and code enforcement,” he said. “The roads are so bad they flood after a good rain; we need to acquire more funding.”
Jarriel agrees, but adds, “If we increase the tax rate, we have to give the residents something more, like trash pick-up.”
Read all of the Post’s endorsements online at www.MyPalmBeachPost.com/2018-endorsements.