Ft Lauderdale Mishandled $40 Million Fire Bonds, Broke Promises To Voters






Fort Lauderdale mishandled $40 million in fire safety bonds and now there is not enough money to build the 10 stations that were promised voters, according to a blistering report obtained by Browardbeat.com.

The project’s finances are so muddled that a committee assigned to monitor bond spending can’t figure out where the money went, the report from Fort Lauderdale’s seven-member Fire-Rescue Bond Blue Ribbon Committee states.

Approved by voters in November 2004, city officials pledged that the bonds would build 10 stations over eight years.

The program is now in its 12th year and only seven stations have been completed.

“There will be a shortage of funds to properly complete the goals of the fire bond…The committee is frustrated with its inability to get a good detailed financial picture of how the bond money has been spent and the balance remaining in the bond fund,” committee members warn in the report.

The 15-page report was sent to Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners on August 25.

Committee members demand an audit of the bond program by the City Auditor and more spending information from City Manager Lee Feldman.

The report appears to blame Feldman for part of the problem by transferring some bond money into the city’s general operating budget.

Committee members also call the original estimates presented to the public flawed.

“Construction costs have escalated since the passing of the Fire Bond and there was no inflation factor in the Fire Bond construction budget,” the committee writes.

“The first two stations went over budget, construction management fees are paid which are not in the original bond, and design changes have further drained the bond fund. Therefore, there are not sufficient funds to complete the project as presented to the citizens who voted for the Fire Bond,” the committee says.

Committee members warned that additional money from the general budget or other sources would be needed to complete the projects, which are bogged down in the planning stages.

One is being held up to complete an elaborate land swap deal with private property owners.

Mayor Jack Seiler could not be reached for his reaction to the stinging report.

28 Responses to “Ft Lauderdale Mishandled $40 Million Fire Bonds, Broke Promises To Voters”

  1. Slappy says:

    Geez. That pretty much invalidates the bond.

  2. G. T. F. says:

    Now we understand not to believe anything Seiler and Feldman say.

  3. When Feldman Leaves says:

    Feldman is leaving before the next election. I hate to even think how much this city will be in the hole when somebody else starts going through the finances.

  4. City Hall Employee says:

    Nothing will save this commission when the house of cards starts falling.

  5. Its All Gone says:

    The city manager and this commission have spent all the rainy day money (reserves), the bond money and at this point since most are term limited will leave it up to the next commission when it all comes tumbling down. They are only interested in voting for more high density towers.
    Remember how wonderful the riverwalk was going to be when it was bought a few years ago. Now they want to build 2 towers
    there. And one wants to be mayor and the other looking to go to the state level, hahaha

  6. City activist Robert walsh says:

    First of all good reporting again buddy,furthermore why didn’t,t are city auditor discover this,also if the city manager was using these funds for pertains support,this is fraud and termination warranted,also we are going to give the auditor a raise,totally shows auditor inadequate,and also let go,again thank you,buddy…

  7. FTL Voter says:

    Wait, so Lee Feldman, the guy who cannot manage the funds for the fire stations, is the same guy who wants to pull Fort Lauderdale out of the regional 911 system so we can be taxes for a separate “Feldman 911 system” (which will bleed dollars) on top of paying taxes to the county for their system. Why aren’t these commissioners firing this guy?

  8. Lee and Jack says:

    These jokers, I mean peas in a pod, love to spend other people’s money. Didn’t they also take out loans bc Lee thinks it’s a great idea.
    They’ will be gone, lee off to bankrupt another city, (look at the past cities he has worked for) and smilen jack will try to parlay this mayor thing into Tallahassee and leave us behind with the debt, traffic and never ending overdevelopment.

  9. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Once again an article attacking two people without checking the facts.
    1. The comments in this August 25th Report have been discused at both Conference and Commission meetings and workshops.
    If he did he would have heard the explanations instead of giving the FALSE IMPRESSION the involved or interested public has not heard the reasons for the problems.
    What I find so bizzare is Mr Nevins like Larry Barszewski repeats one side of a story attacking Mayor Seiler or City Manager Feldman conveniently ignoring the fact some of the delays and cost increases were CAUSED BY THE VERY SELF-APPOINTED COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS THEY GET THEIR BIASED ACCOUNTS FROM.
    This is a re-play of the Aquatic Center where self-appointed Community Activists tied up approved budgets or insisted on re-designs that thru the budget figures into chaos and nearly killed any work at the Aquatic Center.
    The LIE that the Fort Lauderdale Mayor and City Manager have WITHHELD INFORMATION is getting repeated by a single Commissioner WHO WAS OVERWHELMINGLY DEFEATED BY MAYOR SEILER a small group of people WHO LOST A VOTE AT A CIVIC ORGANIZATION WHICH VOTED TO SUPPORT THE BAHIA MAR re-Development Plan they opposed FOR SELFISH PERSONAL FINANCIAL REASONS.
    An attack on someone without interviewing them? Really it is just not right.

  10. No to Bruce Roberts says:

    We do not need Bruce Roberts as our next Mayor. An octogenarian looking for his second public sector pension is not the future of Fort Lauderdale. Time for a good female candidate, not named Rodstron, to step up.

  11. Little Jack says:

    Little Jack said what a good boy am I. He really wants all the Christmas pie for himself and when he eats it, he will go to Tallahassee and leave the rest of us the dirty pan to clean up.

  12. Enough Already says:

    Lee Feldman… he’d make a good team with that moron Jay Schwartz grandstanding here in Pembroke Pines! He wants us to pay an additional $5 million for an E911 system when I’m already paying for it in my taxes once!

  13. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    9 Fake name blogs? Really trustworthy sources.


    Ten fire stations over eight years were promised to voters. Seven were built and it is now 12 years after voters approved the bond program. Period.

  14. Fedup with this Commission says:

    Its out of control , when we can go on for 12 years and still have not built the firehouses with the bond money.
    this is a on going problem, more buildings built and taxes raised again, its shame on this Mayor, he is not responsable or accountable, and wants to seek the Atty Gen office, not in this lifetime.
    How dare they treat the fire dept like this these Men and Women still have no Firehouse as promised by Bocamppers with no plans of one, then the absurd idea of a land swap with another developer clown with no money .They all need to go , not one is accountable, they are just politicians plain and simple. The Bond holders should go after them, this City is run like playground, and it will continue with these mental midgets in control. You can email them and never get a reply, confront them at City Meetings and they don’t ever listen, BUILD THE FIREHOUSE”S with this bond money of all of you resign . Lee Feldman is not the problem, it is all from the Mayor on down, the Buck stops at Jack’s door be a leader if you know what that means or even capable of being one.
    You have rammed more things through this City and never looked back in the wake of your short sighted mistakes, no checks and Balances, WAKE UP

  15. Charlie King says:

    Looks like we’ve got trouble, trouble, trouble right her in River City. It’s got to be getting harder and harder for our “Music Man” to keep the blame shifting believable nearly 8 years in.

  16. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Facts n Numbers matter.

    10 Fire Houses were promised WITH



    AND BEFORE SOME NAMELESS CLOWN SAYS WELL THE STAFF SHOULD HAVE KNOWN 1. There would be a real estate collapse effecting tax revenues which hurt auxiliary services needed to build Fire Houses and the 2. Building industry would revive and raise construction costs EVERYONE KNOWS 99% Of the critics at City Hall meetings NEVER DEMONSTRSTED ANY SUCH KNOWLEDGE OVER THE LAST DECADE.

  17. FLFD Supporter says:

    Thank you for writing this article.

    The official communication to the City Commission was sent by the Blue Ribbon Committee. That committee is comprised of 8 members, all local residents who volunteer their time for the betterment of our City. Each member is selected by sitting Commissioners and the Mayor. The communication was drafted and edited over many months and was approved by a unanimous vote.

    The Board members expressed their continued concerns about the lack of transparency, unresolved questions about costs, concerns about the allocation of dollars from the Bond to the General fund, frustrations about cost overruns and the inadequacy of the stations built to meet the needs of the department and the City.

  18. FLFD supporter says:

    On May 2nd, 2016 Seiler said he’s willing to find the dollars to build all the stations if public safety is an issue, but he also wants to be sure the city isn’t making decisions based on outdated information.

    “We have to figure out where stations are needed,” Seiler said “I have no problem finding additional funds for public safety.” (Sun Sentinel)

    The City wide response time last year (2015) was 7 minutes and 58 seconds. The Fire Rescue department had to respond to an astonishing 54,000 calls last year and City officials acknowledge that the trajectory is higher for future years. By any definition public safety is an issue. Our Fire Department does not seem to be receiving the support required to keep up with current demand and we as a City seem to be under invested for our future public safety obligations.

  19. tell the truth says:

    the bond was on november 2004 ballot. blue ribbon committee started jan 2005. al carbon was liason and gretsas was city manager. fire station 88 was a year behind schedule and millions over budget but other funding sources besides bond money built it. arhitects were paid twice for the drawings of station 49. station 54 has been proposed for at least three different sites. mega foot dragging under every commission and manager since 2005. no station 8 for the southeast side of the city. insurance rates are determned by travel response time by fire department.
    count clowne knows nothing about what he is talking about.

  20. HillaryIn2016And2020 says:

    #13 Buddy it is so great to read how you so easily slaps down that Fake Count. He continues to add his lying comments so often and thank God you are around to set him straight! He must be living a lonely and miserable life as it appears the only enjoyment he gets is from putting more dishonest comments on your site. Buddy, keep up your great work…

  21. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewiicz says:

    1. The Mayor n Commissioners were overwhelming elected so their actions are approved by the voters
    2. The so called foot dragging was caused by National Financial Fiscal Problems which the critics seem to have slept through
    3. Repeatedly NON PARTISAN NATIONAL RATINGS HAVE HELD LEE FELDMAN and the City’s crisis financial management better than good
    4. The second element is ill informed political losers conning local groups to fight locations delaying or stopping construction
    As someone who attended too many local civic meetings even before 2004 and watched the crazies who now blog about delays THEY HELPED CAUSE it is no wonder they blog under FAKE NAMES

  22. city Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Solution is simple. Mr.Feldman states no more money to build the rest of the firehouses. what he does is the money he took form the 40 mill bond which the residents voted for he puts back in this account. If that means he has to let go some of his staff, so be it. Its been stated that he raided this bond money for operational expenses, well that was not what this 40mill was intended for. You put it back , if its 10 mill, 20 mill etc(you get it) you put it back. You don’t have it, start packin…..

  23. Broughtitonyouselves says:

    You people complain but u voted for these people. They all have their little fiefdom. Doing what they want when they want working the system. The CRA is so full of kick backs

  24. Count Chocula says:

    Thee protect the commission and manager way too much, along with your over developing Bahia Mar buddy.
    A little too self important with that count title.
    Do you think they will appoint you king of the city? Lol

  25. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Again The Commission members were overwhelmingly elected.
    The majority of candidates supported by this blog loose.
    The majority of critics post under fake names.

  26. Wake up Count says:

    It is not about the past it is about the future. Anyone with issue with Seiler or Rogers over the last 8 years are SOL. On the other hand, Bruce Roberts has decided to run for Mayor, he had a hand in many of these problems. Bruce will wilt under the pressure of being questioned. We need new blood in Fort Lauderdale.

  27. Tim Reed says:

    Maybe the City of Ft. Lauderdale had a lesson from Robert Runcie, Superintendent of Broward Schools, on how to collect taxpayers bond issue money by making all these promises for school renovation and then… not do a thing with it!

  28. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Again loosing election after election and when winning in the cases of Cindi Hutchinson n Stephanie Kraft shows the quality of the critics.
    Its about the future? YES ARE 15 to 25 Families to kill economic developement on the Beach because they want to preserve their views from across the Intercoastal or a very few condos on the Beach that want major capital improvements without new development to pay for it?
    And what young people come to Ftdevelopment? we have 7 young families of various races and Faiths on my block who all want MORE DEVELOPNENT only three old White guys run around to Dean Trantalis Tim Smith and Steven Glassman’s events bashing development.