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This season, the Civic Association was engaged in every major Palm Beach issue from the PUD-5 and the Port of Palm Beach to the Town elections and underground utilities.

We welcomed a wide variety of speakers including the Town's elected officials (Mayor Gail Coniglio, former Town Council President David Rosow, current Town Council President Robert Wildrick, Councilmembers Michael Pucillo and William Diamond), Town Manager Peter Elwell, and Public Safety Director Kirk Blouin.

We hosted a Community Forum with United States Representative Lois Frankel at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church and produced a standing-room-only debate at the church for the Town Council candidates during the election campaign. We also met individually with the council candidates to discuss the issues.

We addressed the PUD-5:

Participating in all town meetings and activities through our PUD-5 committee of volunteers.
Retaining former zoning director Robert Moore as a consultant.
Producing three walking tours of the PUD-5 area, a reception on the PUD-5 at the Four Seasons Resort, a program on the PUD-5 for Civic Association directors, "pro and con" discussions at the annual meeting, and an informational PUD-5 web page.

We took a leadership role in resisting Palm Beach Inlet expansion:

Meeting individually with the port director and port commissioners.

Hiring the Everglades Law Center to file objections to the Palm Beach Inlet's Environmental Impact Statement.
Joining with the Florida Wildlife Federation, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Everglades Law Center and others in opposing the deepening and widening proposal.
Using the resources of our consultant, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus.
Publicizing dangerous trends at the port including hazards to the manatees and the environment due to scrap heap runoff on the piers.
Sounding the alarm about potential flooding concerns, unsafe blasting, and public safety issues for recreational boaters and swimmers.

In 2013-2014, many Civic Association events were limited to "members only."

We produced a very successful "members only" holiday party at The Breakers, where non-members were invited to join and attend.
We provided educational opportunities for members including a "Coffee and Conversation" series and a breakfast meeting at the Colony Hotel with US Representative Patrick Murphy.
We conducted a "members only" bus tour of the Town's beaches
We provided special reserved seating for directors at association meetings and for members at the annual meeting.

In February, the Civic Association produced a very successful awards luncheon at The Breakers with NBC's Andrea Mitchel and 2014 award recipient James Patterson. A VIP dinner for Andrea Mitchel was hosted and underwritten by Michele and Howard Kessler.

The Civic Association reached out to special groups in the community producing the following:

Campaign to encourage water conservation through smart irrigation under the leadership of Water Committee Chairman Harvey L. Poppel.
Guided tour of the Four Arts Gardens by The Garden Club.
St. Patrick's Day party in the Paramount courtyard.
Underground utility forum for North End residents at the Beach Club.
Session to help residents use their computers, iPads, and cell phones.
Town employees' picnic as underwriters with the Police Foundation
Town Employee of the Year Award and a scholarship for a child of a Town employee with the Citizens Association of Palm Beach.

Our weekly email bulletin with extensive coverage of local news continued to serve as a popular resource for Palm Beach residents. This year, videos of all major Civic Association events were produced and made available on the association's web page, pictures of every activity were posted, and special informational web pages were produced on the PUD-5, the Port of Palm Beach, and the election.

In 2013-2014, the Civic Association entered into major new partnership arrangement with Sabadell Bank and Trust. In exchange for underwriting, Sabadell became the association's primary sponsor and received exposure to the community through most association events and publicity.

The Civic Association embarked on a comprehensive restructuring program in 2013-2014. Major upgrades included:

Hiring a dynamic new vice president of membership and marketing, and a new full time office assistant.
Purchasing and implementing a new database.
Reconfiguring and remodeling our office space to accommodate new staff and improve appearance.

In 2013-2014, our marketing committee surveyed Palm Beach residents and found that the Association enjoys a very positive image in the community: a very high level of awareness (90%) and highly positive attitudes (66% residents, 88% members). Next year, we will continue to build on this successful record to reach an even greater level of value in the community.

Ned Barnes

May 1, 2014

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