BY BUDDY NEVINS
Mayor Richard Kaplan isn’t only the political leader of Lauderhill.
He’s the one who others reach out for when the subject is South Florida municipal finances.
Kaplan is scheduled for his seconed appearance on national public television concerning the economic crisis. He also was one of the few mayors in the nation chosen by the U. S. Conference of Mayors to be on a task force dealing with the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
The mayor is appearing Friday on PBS Nightly Business Report (Channel 2 in South Florida) at 7 p.m. He will to discuss how Lauderhill is weathering the economic crisis.
“We are doing quite a bit different than other cities, Kaplan says. “We are investing in our city through voter-approved capital projects, and other means to make improvements. We did not use our reserves to pay for operational expenditures, like Florida does.
“We have created jobs, many of which are done by Lauderhill residents. As a city we positioned ourselves, as best we could, for this situation, though we are not totally immune to the issues. We do have some fiscal issues like everyone, but we are addressing it the best we can.
“We are spending capital money on capital improvements. Our operational expenses must separately be funded as traditionally done. That is not a lesson that all governments have learned, and this is what is truly being Ã¢â‚¬ËœFiscally Conservative.’”
Kaplan was previously on the Nightly Business Report in 2007 when the city staff realized there were problems with the State Investment Pool, which is like a money market for Florida governments.
“They saw a problem, and thought that the fund could run into a problem, Kaplan recalls. “Therefore over a several month period we pulled out most of our money, all but $37,000.
“By example, Sunrise had $300 million in it when it closed. I believe the Pool was investing in real estate loan portfolios, which you know were not AAA as advertised. The money may mostly be recovered, but not all.
Kaplan has been on the Lauderhill City Commission since 1988 and has been mayor since 1998. You can always find interesting news of Lauderhill at his comprehensive website called elauderhill.