Legal Report, September 2014

General Counsel, Trela J. White

1. Posting of Budget on Municipality’s Official Website  ***Reminder ***
Section 166.241(3), Florida Statutes, states that a municipality’s tentative budget must be posted on the municipality’s official website at least 2 days before its budget hearings.  The final adopted budget must be posted on the municipality’s official website within 30 days after adoption.  If the municipality does not operate an official website, then the municipality must, within a reasonable period of time, transmit the tentative budget and final budget to the county administrator who shall post the budgets on the county’s website.

2. Handi-Van, Inc. v. Broward County, 116 So. 3d 530 (Fla 4th DCA 2013)
A government contract was not found to be illusory because it included a “termination for convenience” clause.  This ruling is of interest to municipalities all over the State of Florida as it upholds the rights of municipalities to include such clauses in their procurement contracts so long as they are supported by consideration.   Such consideration may be satisfied by a promise of adequate written notice of termination.  Appellants argued that “termination for convenience” was not permitted without a “change in circumstances” from the initial agreement to the time of termination.  The court held that the parties were on equal footing at the negotiation table for procurement contracts (which may be different for construction contracts under certain circumstances) and that the providers could have bargained to exclude such a termination clause.  There is no state statute mandating the inclusion of such clauses in government procurement contracts.  The court further acknowledged that if it followed the federal standard in determining this case, the County would still prevail because it did not act in bad faith.

3.  Town of Gulf Stream et al vs. Palm Beach County, and Sharon R. Bock, as Clerk and Comptroller of Palm Beach County, Intervenor
Case No. 502011CA017953XXXXMB.  Inspector General Funding Lawsuit.
Fourteen municipalities sued Palm Beach County challenging the method of funding for the Inspector General Program (the “OIG Program”).  The current funding method authorizes the Board of County Commissioners to set an amount the municipalities must pay for the OIG Program and to bill municipalities for that amount.  The municipalities contend that the current funding method is an unlawful tax and invades municipal home rule budgetary authority.  On March 19, 2014, the Trial Court issued an order setting the case for trial during the trial docket commencing on August 4, 2014, and ending on August 29, 2014.  A three day non-jury trial regarding this matter commenced Tuesday, August 19, 2014.  Both parties submitted proposed orders to Judge Brunson on September 2, 2014 and we are awaiting a ruling.