Sequestration cuts create friction on PBC Commission

The Palm Beach County Commission will send a letter to federal officials opposing sequestration cuts that would decommission the tower at the Boca Raton Airport.

boca raton airport towerThe letter comes at the behest of Palm Beach County Mayor Steven Abrams, who called the airport an economic engine for the area and worried that it would see fewer flights without the tower.

County Commissioner Paulette Burdick objected to the request, saying some in Boca don’t support the airport.

“There are people around there that don’t like it at all,” she said. “If we’re going to have a resolution to keep a tower, why wouldn’t we also have a resolution that says we want to continue a summer food program?”

Whether the surrounding neighborhoods like it or not, Abrams said, some flights will still take off and land without a tower, but it could be dangerous for the area.

County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger, who like Abrams represents the south end of the county, said she has followed the community’s objections to the airport over the years and is confident all have been resolved.

“It’s a great airport,” Berger said, noting that closing the tower would be detrimental to the Boca area and would divert flights elsewhere.

Despite Burdick’s objections, commissioners voted to have Abrams send a letter.

In other business, commissioners appointed Delray Beach Deputy Vice-Mayor Angeleta Gray to fill a vacancy on the Palm Beach County Health Care District, but not before debating other nominees.

Burdick and County Commissioner Shelley Vana nominated Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher to the post, praising her expertise in health care issues and her time spent in the Florida House of Representatives.

Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, though, said she was concerned about the lack of diversity on the district’s board and nominated West Palm Beach Commissioner Keith James. Burdick pointed out that James has a full-time job, a fact that seemed to escape her when nominating the elections supervisor.

Other names were debated for the position, but Gray, who was nominated by Abrams, earned enough votes to get the nod.

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