County Comm Taxes Us Twice For BSO, 911

BY MIKE RYAN

 

In 2009, the Broward County Auditor was asked to examine BSO contracts with municipalities.   Why?

Some speculated the County Commission was subsidizing BSO contract operations rather than BSO fully recovering the costs through the contracts.

 

Some Broward Residents Have Been Double Taxed

 

Turns out, according to the County Auditor, some residents of Broward County were subsidizing BSO contracts … $14,400,000 per year.

In the County Auditor’s words, “[Residents of some cities are] paying twice – they are paying for their own city and they are paying to subsidize these other cities”.

 

 Tip of the Iceberg?

 It apparently goes farther.

As part of the effort to regionalize and consolidate E911 dispatch functions, we learned the County Commission has also been subsidizing tens of millions of dollars for BSO communications services.

How much?  Estimated to be about another $20,000,000 … per year.

For how long?  Who knows, but certainly for many years.

Who has the answers? I have asked the County Auditor the “why”, “how long”, and “how much” questions.

Bottom line: Some residents have been double-taxed even more than we thought and for longer than we knew.

 

Some Residents Entitled to Refund?

 

The Sunrise City Commission voted unanimously to prepare the necessary documents to initiate statutory pre-litigation proceedings against the County Commission related to past, current and future funding of E911 call taking and dispatch communications.

Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale have already initiated pre-litigation efforts, arguing E911 is a regional service that should be funded by the County.   By the way, that’s what the County Commission’s own Implementation Board recommended TWICE and municipalities representing 87% of the County’s population requested.

But, five County Commissioners voted otherwise.

If a majority of the County Commission says E911 is not a regional service to be funded through countywide ad valorem, then why did the County Commission subsidize BSO communications with our ad valorem dollars for many years?

And, if not a regional service, then maybe some residents are entitled to tens of millions of dollars in refunds!

 

County Commission Making it Harder on the Sheriff

 

The argument is NOT that BSO contract municipalities should be paying more for communications, either in the past or the future.  Instead, we should be asking why was it okay for the County Commission to fund E911 operations with ad valorem … then, but not now … for some, but not us?

Other municipalities, such as Hollywood, Coral Springs, Plantation, Coconut Creek, Margate and Hillsboro Beach, may have similar legal arguments.

The County is now intending to cutoff the subsidy and wants to force BSO to increase costs on contract municipalities.  But, those municipalities may resist the cost increases, even if their contracts do not specifically charge for communications.  When they contracted for BSO emergency services, municipalities expected the police and fire personnel would actually be dispatched to emergencies, not just paid to park somewhere.

The Sheriff has inherited quite a mess … and five of the County Commissioners haven’t made it any easier.

Solution:  Implement and fund a consolidated E911 Communications system like a true regional service, as recommended by the Implementation Board and requested by municipalities representing 87% of the County’s population. Then, we can all move on.

It would have taken only one vote to avoid the predicted chaos.

(Michael Ryan is mayor of Sunrise and co-chaired the Broward County Consolidate Communications Committee along with Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler.)  




15 Responses to “County Comm Taxes Us Twice For BSO, 911”

  1. Chip the 5th says:

    Fort Lauderdale residents remember Commissioner LaMarca was one of those 5 votes. Maybe Mayor Ryan has the data, word around town is Chip’s own Lighthoue Point has been and currently is paying little or nothing for 911 services and Chip didnt want to see that go up under the 60/40 split.

    So like Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, the City who has the largest tax base in the County continues to get stuck by its County Commissioner LaMarca and the lot to pay far more than its fair share for services.

    Where I am confused with LaMarca is why he votes to continue to subsidize Lauderdale Lakes but votes against subsidizing 911 which has been done for years and would actually benefit those in his District?

  2. just one vote says:

    Mayor Ryan got it right and with Buddy’s forum the word is out. WSVN’s Carmel Cafiero spotlighted the 911 mess – on camera quotes from Mayor Mike Ryan. (Where are the other news reporters?) Are Broward citizens watching and hearing this? The recent term limited commission on BCC had to have known about these ‘subsidies’, or were they so disinterested to never question certain ‘line items’ in the budget back up?
    And how was the millions of dollars every year concealed and under what ‘categories’?
    And yes Lighthouse Point will be mum on this for fear of having to pay their fair share.

  3. Buddy says:

    FROM BUDDY:

    Here is Carmel Cafiero’s report on WSVN Channel 7 on Broward’s 911 mess:

    http://www.wsvn.com/features/articles/carmelcase/MI97625/double-trouble-/

  4. Good Points says:

    To Chip the 5th:

    I am glad that you pointed out Chips’ actions. Well, lack of actions would probably be more appropriate. That is somewhat ironic though. Chip IS an elected official. Correct me if I’m wrong, but elected officials are supposed to make decisions that are in the best interests of those they represent. Although I understand that in South Florida citizens expect this type of behavior from the politicians, it is unacceptable! It’s about time the voters start to pay attention and hold politicians accountable for their actions as well as their inactions.

  5. SOUR GRAPES? says:

    Does Mayor Ryan care about anything other than e911? Get over it! Just because you hitched your “I’m going to replace Senator Ring” effort to the e911 wagon, doesn’t mean that we all want to hear about it all the time. Find something else to help the community you represent, because Waldman is taking that seat! And if he decides not to run, I’m sure Moskowitz would beat you in a race also.

  6. Broward says:

    It’s interesting that sources say “Sour Grapes” works for the Sheriff, who apparently expressed is pissed at Ryan and had enough of his grandstanding. Word is Sheriff wan in his office and went off on a close groupd of staff members that the BSO will not do anything for Sunrise or Ryan. I guess the quote was “I’m the Sheriff and he’s only a Mayor.” Might I add a “Very Good Mayor” too. A Mayor that is a top notch Lawyer in this community.

    FROM BUDDY:

    This is a dispute between the County Commission and the cities. Sheriff Scott Israel has nothing to do with it.

  7. lets get it right says:

    @Broward
    if the sheriff is silly enough to underestimate the will of the citizens he is sworn to protect, not to mention the referendum we voted on in 2000 when he was down in Dade, then he will learn some embarrassing lessons.
    maybe he forgets how many of us chimed in here up till the Nov 6 election how we would NOT be voting for lamberti because of his failure to get county wide 911 on track (go back and read prior discussions here on browardbeat.com).
    I voted for Israel because I thought it stood a better chance of implementation w/israel than lamberti. And if israel is silly enough to discount Mayor Ryan (who has widespread support, he’ll learn that (embarassing) lesson real quick when the Mayor puts his Attorney hat on in court and israel will have to defend his inaction and possible obstruction. and then israel will be looking for another job at lamberti’s security company come November 2016

  8. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.browardbulldog.org/2013/03/dont-ask-dont-tell-at-the-broward-state-attorneys-office/

    Don’t ask, don’t tell at the Broward State Attorney’s Office
    By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org 
    MARCH 20, 2013 AT 6:13 AM

    Broward prosecutors who declined to charge a Coconut Creek policeman who pulled a Taser on a frightened theft suspect standing in a bathtub never asked the officer under oath why he hadn’t mentioned the incident in his police reports.

    FROM BUDDY:

    My friend Dan Christensen wrote the above story which you can reach on the link.

    I wrote two stories on Browardbeat.com, this one: http://www.browardbeat.com/help-me-howard-state-attorney-clash-again/

    And this one: http://www.browardbeat.com/battle-continues-finkelstein-asks-for-u-s-probe-of-satz-over-torture-of-suspects/

    What the situation in Coconut Creek has to do with the 911 controversy in beyond me.

  9. BCDevelopment says:

    To Sour Grapes:

    Mayor Ryan is the real deal…for him, its about the issue and getting it right for the citzens he represents…He’s not your typical ego driven political hack looking to satisfy his inner child like most of the inept creatures that roam most local City/County/Sheriff halls…some of these cellar dwellers, AKA:self proclaimed polical insiders/lobbyist/activist need to wake up, your not in high school anymore…there’s more pressing issues facing our collective communities….Go off in your corners and pout amonst yourselves & stop knocking good leaders who are working on serious problems instead of their own petty jealously & insecurity issues… Please shut up & get out of the way-stop being a distraction and leave the heavy lifting to Mayor Ryan and the other responsible adults in community!

  10. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Buddy, you cut most of what I quoted from Dan’s article and only ran the first paragraph. The important stuff you cut out included 1) all the other important things ASA Newman didn’t bother to ask about, 2) the lame excuses made by Public corruption unit chief Timothy Donnelly, 3) the response from the Nova law professor (“Nova Southeastern University professor of constitutional law Robert Jarvis called Donnelly’s assertion “laughable.”, etc.), and 4) important details of the incident (“I was telling Mr. Blake (Robinson) here how my report was going to read when he resists and I tase him.”, etc.), absolutely none of which was covered in your two articles.

    The relevance is this: @6 the Sheriff is quoted as being what amounts to a loose cannon. But it isn’t just the Sheriff. It’s the whole department. And the biggest reason for that is that the Public Corruption Unit at the State Attorney’s Office is out of control. Look at Broward Bulldog’s analysis of how ASA Newman – a person whose job it is to root out public corruption – gives the officer so many softball questions and so many free passes on the hard topics that it’s readily apparent that the true purpose of the questioning is not to actually root out corruption, but rather to go through the motions of pretending to investigate it. And then her boss, the head of the Public Corruption Unit, makes lame excuses for the pathetic work she did (instead of firing her on the spot). The Nova law professor then rightly calls BS on this whole charade, all of it made possible by Satz who has made a career out of throwing the book at poor people who commit nonviolent and victimless “crimes” while only laughingly pretending to care about public corruption.

    Bottom line: it isn’t just the Sheriff who’s out of control. The State Attorney’s office is an even bigger problem.

    FROM BUDDY:

    You can not copy the entire article. Dan is very diligent about enforcing his copy write.

  11. Taxpayer says:

    How long will the Broward Inspector General take to review this per Mayor Ryan’s request? His foot dragging is as bad as the BCC. And worse, we the taxpayers pay his salary and that of his staff and staff ops.
    As to any suspecting grandstanding by Mayor Ryan, please – he is representing our interests selflessly. As an attorney he has likely seen many cases of injury or even wrongful death that resulted from stupid policy decisions by inept and incompetent policymakers. Sounds like the 4 electeds on the BCC that voted against this.

  12. Cryin Ryan says:

    @ BCD Crying Ryan is reaching out to all his friends again to post for him.Haha! That’s funny. Mike Ryan the new savior ! If you know Ryan you know he is all about his ego. But your someone who stands on the sidelines in awh.. of him. Blow really hard.

  13. Taxpayer says:

    @Cryin Ryan –
    silly girl you should know better

    this is NOT about Ryan, or Wexler, ar the 4 that voted FOR the consolidation
    its about life safety, emergency response, which we are all paying for and maybe even economy of scale
    AND
    we voters voted for this is 200
    Did you? Or don’t you care?
    oh you probably live in Boca

  14. BCDevelopment says:

    Dear Cryin,

    You are way off the mark…I’ve never been asked to post anything… I’m not in awe of Mayor Ryan, but I am impressed & grateful we have a Mayor who puts the welfare of his fellow citizens first, has the energy and intellect to take on the issues that matter, and still manages to conduct himself as gentleman in an arena (Broward politics) that’s full of spiteful, jealous backstabbing, wannabee’s like yourself.

  15. too funny says:

    weeks after the several discussions here on browardbeat.com
    the local s-s news paper decides to opine (with no byline just editor board) about countywide 911
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/editorials/fl-editorials-911-dispatch-broward-20130407,0,5065501.story
    no Comments yet on their post.
    but their silence is deafening – on this after almost 2 years of the E911 Board meeting together, and then months of arm twisting up to Nov. 6 election, then more foot dragging at glacial speed by the 9 on BCC. I’ll bet the rent this month s-s reads Browardbeat.com and knows which issues are relevant and front row center to citizens and pundits, so now they roll out their op-ed.
    Thank you Buddy for showing the rest how its done. and forget the M-H now that comments are posted with fb. if you see one comment on a story on any day, thats it. seems one of their editor ladies got heat on ‘anonymous’ and critical comments posted. we know these newspapers serve at the pleasure of the electeds.

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