Jeff Hmara Outstanding Candidate for Royal Palm Beach Village Council
Jeffrey Hmara, 77, spent 10 years with the Royal Palm Beach Village Council. But his energies seem intact to tackle the city’s biggest problems.
Take the traffic. Royal Palm is lined with major developments in the works – including Westlake and Avenir – which are sure to suffocate already busy streets. Hmara has pondered projections and alternatives as a member of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Board, the County Transportation Planning Agency and the League of County Towns.
The solutions, he acknowledges, are difficult, but should look more to public transit options like light rail than to adding traffic lanes, which would surely fill up quickly.
Hmara is a retired Army colonel who held administrative positions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Federal Aviation Administration, and Transportation Security Agency, and later taught management and ethics. at Palm Beach Atlantic University before joining the board.
He told the Post editorial board that he was very proud to be part of the village’s efforts for Feed South Florida – as much for the “community building and sense of belonging” the project provides as for the way it alleviates hunger.
He is also proud that the village has helped establish an International Baccalaureate program at Royal Palm Beach High School, adds license plate readers and strengthens neighborhood watches to fight crime, and adds a wing at the leisure center dedicated to the elderly.
He is a member of a council that has kept the tax rate low, built up reserves of $89 million and avoided going into debt. “I don’t think you can do much better,” Hmara said.
It has a long list of civic activities. A list of endorsements is longer.
His opponent, Julie Highsmith, 41, is a teacher and former president of HL Johnson Elementary School PTO. Previously, she owned a home care business.
She wants the village council to do more for the schools and make the community garden a reality. But in an interview with the editorial board, she showed little awareness of other issues.
The Post endorses Hmara for re-election to the Group 1 seat.