Broward Politics: South Florida City Nearing Financial Disaster

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

 

The Hallandale Beach Commission may have been the best free show in Broward until this week.

Commissioners bickered their way through meetings with bombast and bluster. It was laughable and, after all, the staff managed to hold City Hall together.

Hallandale Beach government was a great show….until this week.

The feuding Commission clowns are not so funny anymore.

They have now put themselves and city residents in a box they created:

Pending fiscal disaster!

 

The silly Hallandale Beach Commission show. Mayor Joy Cooper walks out while political opponent Commissioner Keith London speaks. (Photo: Channel 10 News) 

 

A deadlock has prevented commissioners from passing a required budget for next year.

If the budget isn’t passed soon — like next week — the city will be unable to collect property taxes.

Talk about a mess.

Blame commissioners, who are more interested in scoring points over opponents than policy!

The consequences of no budget agreement by commissioners are explained in a 12-page September 22 memo written by City Manager Roger Carlton and obtained by Browardbeat.com.

 

Roger Carlton

 

 

No budget and the result would be this…quickly:

  • Firing 44 fire fighters and EMS personnel. Sidelined would be the city’s only ladder truck and a rescue vehicle. Three Island station would be closed and crews would be cut to 2 from 3 in each EMS vehicle.
  • Firing 64 police officers. Response times would be increased, while the K-9, street crimes units and crime lab would be eliminated. Less serious crimes would not be investigated and preventative patrols stopped.
  • Firing 52 parks and recreation employees. Programs such as after school care, summer camp, learn to swim and all special events would end. Park maintenance would be sharply curtailed or ended completely.
  • All city transportation, code enforcement and planning would halt.
  • Social services for seniors? Sayonara.
  • Homeless programs would get the axe, such as the dinners of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie handed out at Thanksgiving. Thanks for the Holiday Cheer, commissioners.

How did Hallandale Beach get here?

On September 18, the first reading on the budget deadlocked on a 2-2 vote. The normally five-member Commission has not been at full strength since Anthony Sanders resigned in August amid allegations of ethically questionable conduct.

The four remaining commissioners allowed the next year’s tax rate and the budget to be set earlier. Then suddenly various commissioners suddenly came up ideas to spend more money.

Some wanted dollars to offset increases in employee health insurance or more money for the cops…or both.

Hallandale Beach is a city sadly lacking leadership. Commissioners are unable to move beyond their own personal grudges to do what is required of them:

Pass a budget.

Commissioners will try again to pass a budget on Monday, September 25. The clock is ticking and the deadline enshrined in state law is looming ever closer.

They must pass the budget on first reading and second reading by the mandated deadline, which is the first week of October. That date is set so that the required tax notices can be to be printed and mailed to property owners on time.

If Hallandale Beach misses the deadline for the property tax notices, they won’t received roughly $33.6 million in property and other taxes, which is roughly half of the city’s $69.6 million proposed fiscal year 2017/18 budget.

That deadline leaves no wiggle room for Commissioners.

City Manager Carlton summed up what needs to be done in his memo:

“…we respectfully acknowledge that each of you will have to modify your goals to a certain degree. That is the art of matching resources with expenses and maintaining adequate reserves and appropriate levels of taxation. Now we are past the budget stage that is ‘what we want to do’ and to the stage ‘what we can do’ to adopt a budget. As your City Manager, I firmly believe that you call care deeply about the City of Hallandale Beach and want to resolve this issue. Please consider the implication of a continued impasse as we meet to adopt to FY17/18 Budget on first reading on Monday, September 25, 2017 at 5:05 p.m.”

What Carlton didn’t write to his bosses is this:

Maybe Hallandale Beach needs some outside intervention. Maybe it needs pressure from other office holders and business leaders.

Somebody needs to bring some sanity to City Hall before it all falls apart.

 



5 Responses to “Broward Politics: South Florida City Nearing Financial Disaster”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Pathetic.I mean who suffers the residents of Hallandale Bch.Well heres to next week and Sept.25.I would assume the Governor takes over….

  2. Dear IG says:

    How come Former Judge Jay Spechler dines so often with Lazarow, London and Taub at Hollywood Prime at the Dipolamt Hotel? Pretty expensive place to bring old friends on a regular basis? I hear he always picks up the check. What a generous guy…..

  3. Florence Stein says:

    Hallandale commissioners ignore the African American community and give away the beach and Hallandale Blv to developers. Joy Cooper is a nasty beast and Keith London believes he is a demigod. Just what does London do for a living? The others are non-entities. No wonder the city is in trouble.

  4. A fly on the wall says:

    Well, some city had to take up the slack in political theatrics after Walter Duke left Dania Beach to run for the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.
    The meetings Duke ran as Mayor of Dania Beach were bizarre.
    He refused to place interested citizens on city boards. He tried to dismiss a fellow commissioner when she was hospitalized with a dangerous medical condition. He banned commissioners from traveling to state meetings. He threw roadblocks up to replace a commissioner who resigned.
    Those were the days!
    Hope history does not repeat itself in Fort Lauderdale.

  5. Sober as a Judge says:

    When a commissioner offers staff more in compensation or benefits outside of collective bargaining process, that’s called a gift. This is always done in return for them getting a union endorsement. It is corruption. Quid pro quo without exception. Beware of those individuals. They are robbing the taxpayers.

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