We had a very interesting meeting at the Port of Palm Beach yesterday. Here are some of the highlights.

The Port Commission meeting of May 21, 2015 was opened in form at 4 p.m. (EST). There was a quorum present with Chairman Blair Ciklin leading the group in the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

The meeting then moved to the approval of the minutes of the meeting for last month, and the consent agenda modifications for this month, both approved with proper motions, seconds, and unanimous approval.

There was then an award presentation to two of the Port’s outstanding employees, Aaron Hoffman was awarded for 10 years of honorable service, and Anthony Williams was awarded for 5 years of the same.

There was a brief discussion of the continued concerns about parking due to increased business from the new cruise ship, and the expected crowd for the soon to come online day cruise ship, the “Blue Horizon”. The Blue Horizon is due to set sail in about 4 to 6 weeks.

The Port had it’s 2014 fiscal year audit report, and it was fantastic. Our Port has continued to increase it’s net profits from 2008 to date by about 7% per year while keeping it’s expenses nearly flat. I congratulate the Port Commissioners, and Executive Director Manuel Almira, and his staff for a job well done.

There was also talk and a chart depiction of Tropical’s continued growth, and increase in container shipments. Tropical also currently has established the ability to ship goods to Cuba. That having been said, Cuba has an Ambassador to the United States, and if I understood the dialog correctly, a new embassy is being planned in the State of Florida. Commissioner Jean Enright expressed her opinion that the Port should work diligently to further develop closer ties with our Sister Ports as these can be our lifelines for the continued growth and success in the future.

The slip #3 project is nearing it’s completion being approximately 90% complete, and the project is expected to be finished by the 10th of July. There were a few more additions to the slip #3 budget for some unforeseen problems which have been cause for the further delays, but it appears that the project will still be completed within the budget expectations.

Now the longest discussion of the day was concerning, “What do we do with Peanut Island, the Kennedy Bunker, and the Maritime Museum?”.

These concerns were again tabled until next months meeting due to concerns by the commission as to the integrity of the former management or lack thereof, and what the Port’s legal obligations are concerning the current contract, a potential future contract, and the multiple problems that the Port has had with the current tenants. Further investigations are being made, and Commissioner Richards declared that in the event concessions are made, they will be very tightly written, and deviations from the plan will not be tolerated.

To wind up this report I will conclude with the discussion concerning beautifying along Old Dixie west of the railroad tracks. There was a beautiful pair of ladies from that neighborhood representing persons from I believe it was Southgate and Riviera Heights. The Commission agreed to work with the County as the land in question belongs to the County, and Riviera Beach to develop more acceptable aesthetics.

Article by George Black Jr.



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