Broward Town Loses Taxes When Land Is Sold To Another City







Southwest Ranches commissioners viewed construction of an immigration detention center as a valuable addition to the tax rolls.

Pembroke Pines commissioners pleaded with their colleagues to prohibit the detention center.  Blinded by dollar signs from those potential taxes and historic bad blood between the two city halls, Southwest Ranches commissioners laughed them off.

Pembroke Pines commissioners got the last laugh this week.

On Wednesday, Pembroke Pines commissioners voted to buy the land inside Southwest Ranches that was once slated for a detention center.

Since municipal land owners like Pembroke Pines don’t have to pay taxes, Southwest Ranches can now count on this much revenue from the land: Zero, zilch and zippo.

Here is the story:

Since 2005, Pembroke Pines commissioners fought the construction of an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detention center close to homes and businesses in their city. Nearby residents were firmly against any added traffic from the center and also feared the facility would bring unsavory types to the neighborhood.


Protests Over SW Ranches Detention Center

Protest over proposed ICE Detention Facility in Southwest Ranches


Since the property is in Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines couldn’t stop the facility through zoning or land use powers.

So Pembroke Pines came up with a unique tactic to block the prison. The city discussed the potential of refusing to supply any future detention center with water and sewer service which was enough to scare the Correction Corporation of America (CCA), which owned the land and was developing the facility.

CCA sued Pembroke Pines over the potential denial of water and sewer services. The company lost the suit in late 2014 and quickly put the land on the market.

This week, Pembroke Pines commissioners approved the $8.1 million purchase of 24.4 acres of CCA-owned land.

That chortling you hear is Pembroke Pines commissioners celebrating their victory over Southwest Ranches.


28 Responses to “Broward Town Loses Taxes When Land Is Sold To Another City”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    FINALLY elected officials with sukis (sukus – please correct my spelling Mr Nevins or Mr Fields)!

  2. John Henry says:

    Wow. The PP City Commissioners should be welcoming this immigration detention center with open arms.

    They’re not being very good democrats.

  3. Jill Aronofsky says:

    I wish to thank the Town of Pembroke Pines for purchasing this property from CCA, and ending the dark cloud that was hanging over our heads. As a resident in Southwest Ranches, it was mind boggling how this Jail/Detention Facility was going to enhance our “Rural” living. It would cause financial devastation and bring crime to the area. SWR would have to pay additional expenses for Rioting,, Fire and Emergency Calls, which this type of facility would create. It’s time to move on. Mend fences and work together. Jill Aronofsky

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I can’t blame you because this detail has also been incorrectly attributed by local newspapers. However, it’s important to point out that the Pembroke Pines City Commission never voted to deny water and sewer service to this property. The court has ruled that we never had a duty to provide it either as it lies outside our municipal boundary. But we never voted to deny service.

    CCA withdrew their application for service before any vote was taken and instead chose to file a lawsuit against the city rather than answering reasonable questions posed to them about their proposed project. They later withdrew their application and asked for a refund of the application fee which was provided.

    Further, the federal government announced that it would not grant a contract to CCA because it was re-evaluating their needs for an immigrant detention center in South Florida. Pembroke Pines had nothing to do with that decision, even if some local federal officials had previously called the center “a done deal.”

    Now, those are clear and undeniable facts and it’s important that the public have those facts.

    We have in every respect vigorously and faithfully acted in full accordance with all applicable laws and will continue doing just that.




    Angelo, the post doesn’t say you “voted” on denying water and sewer. It states you “announced” you would deny it. Since you had a lengthy court battle over this subject, this statement is correct.

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Count LF Etc.,

    The word you’re looking for is “sachel” pronounced SAY-kh’l rhymes with playful. Means native common sense, good judgment.

    The Joys of Yiddish (Leo Rosten)

    Yes it is refreshing to see that in government.

  6. Ryann Greenberg says:

    This was a HIGHLY complex issue where a lot of media were unable to comprehend how the puzzle pieces fit together.
    I am so very proud that my city did the RIGHT thing for our quality of life, our property values and our public safety. This was not a NIMBY issue. It was a prison privatization issue, an immigration issue, a land annexation issue and water use issue to name just a few! There were also agricultural exemptions taken by the multi-billion $$ company where taxes were not paid by CCA for years per their contract with the Town of Southwest Ranches.

    I am proud that I was able to bring my talents to this rather large issue and was ultimately triumphant. People working together can accomplish BIG THINGS!

  7. Betty says:

    Amazing, Pembroke Pines gives the shaft to the Ranches. By spending over $8 million of Pembroke Pines taxpayer money in a City that’s not theirs. Is it even legal? or moral for a City to buy property in another City? Just saying, glad i don’t live in PP.

  8. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    No. I know a little bit about this matter than you do.

    The statement is not correct and from today forward, you do know better because I’m telling you.

    It is very important to get this factually correct.

    In the lawsuits, all of them public record, it is alleged that Pines “DENIED” water and sewer service to CCA.

    That is false.

    The only way that the City Commission can approve or deny anything is by voting on the question. A vote on that question never happened. CCA withdrew their application.

    Whatever else, let’s be clear Florida Cities do not “announce” official actions they vote on them otherwise same do not exist.



    Angelo, we are on the same page.

    You, a law school graduate and a commissioner, are correct legally. I am correct in the public realm.

    The refusal of services was a widespread subject of public discussion. The city debated the issue, thus commissioners actively “announced” this was a tactic they were considering.

    Others interpreted the city’s actions the same way as me. Every reporter who covered Pembroke Pines and CCA, which sued to compel the city to provide the services.

    Please see just three articles below. Three stories from three different reporters over years. There are many more.

    Note that no corrections are included with the stories in the files. Apparently no one protested successfully the wording of these pieces or a correction would be included with them in the files (My italics and bold face type):

    Miami Herald, The (FL) – May 17, 2012

    Saying they needed more information before they could vote, Pembroke Pines commissioners late Wednesday delayed a decision on whether the city would provide water and sewer service to a federal detention center that could be built in neighboring Southwest Ranches.
    In March, the Pembroke Pines commission, hoping to derail the project, voted to cancel its contract to provide fire-rescue, emergency medical, water and sewer to Southwest Ranches. Although the detention facility would be in Southwest Ranches, it’s in an area that is surrounded by thousands of Pembroke Pines homes.
    The next day, Correction Corporation of America, the private company bidding to bring the detention center to Southwest Ranches, filed a lawsuit in federal court to compel Pembroke Pines to provide the services.

    Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – January 8, 2016

    …The prison management company bought 24 acres of undeveloped land, surrounded by Pines but within the borders of Southwest Ranches, where it planned to build a $75 million detention center for the federal government. The company’s lawsuit said the project fell through after Pines decided not to provide water and sewage service to the land and the federal government pulled out of its deal with CCA.

    Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – August 29, 2012

    Southwest Ranches officials accuse Pembroke Pines of breaking an agreement to not “interfere” with efforts to bring a detention center to Southwest Ranches; and for not keeping a promise to provide water and sewer service to Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison operator that owns the land where the detention center would have been built.
    Pembroke Pines officials, who faced urgent pleas from residents to block the center, argue they had nothing to do with federal officials changing their mind.

  9. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Yes. Me too.


  10. An Observation says:

    I may be wrong, but I thought a city could not buy realty outside its borders.

    This has come up in other cities before and created a problem.

    If true, Pembroke Pines cannot purchase land in SW Ranches.


    They got an opinion that they could legally buy the land, I am told.

  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    And again, not exactly.

    The court battle with CCA was they believed Pines was a public utility that owed them water and sewer even if they were outside our city boundaries. They lost that suit, and were appealing as we agreed to settle by purchase.

    The Town’s lawsuit is even more laughable.

    They claim we breached a contract that was terminated not just by us, but then by them with less notice than we gave them. Both the City and the Town voted to undo the contrac. The Town files many frivilous lawsuits and this is one of them.

    These are not shades of facts, these are important distinctions.

    Now, Pembroke Pines did the right thing. We asked the court for a declaratory opinon on the question of our legal rights and obligations because these were in doubt. That’s what resposible cities do.

    Rather than join us in finding the truth, we were blocked from getting that opinion by those who claim they already know the answer. Yet so far the courts have not agreed with them.

    How do you like them apples?


  12. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I have told every single reporter that’s spoken to me that Pines never denied water and sewer but it just goes in one ear and out the other. They want to tell the story they want to tell and that’s it.

    You, however are a professional. And now you’ve been told the truth.



    Angelo, the denial of services wouldn’t have come up unless Pembroke Pines brought it up. I could even write that they “threatened” doing it, since it surely was interpreted by the other side as a threat.

    However, to end this legalistic discussion I have changed the word “announced” to “discussed the potential of refusing” water and sewer. How do you like dem apples?

  13. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The issue of a municipality buying land outside its borders can be governed by State or in its absence an appeal to the Federal Courts on grounds that can or will not get sustained by the Federal Courts. As I remember New York State cases cities in New York n other states can n do own land for connected with water n sewage projects but I think jails were turned down but not “camping” or “training facilities”.

  14. Ryann Greenberg says:

    Thank you Buddy for change, I think that since the City had never VOTED to deny water, it is unfair to write that the City did in fact deny water to the parcel. As you know, discussions are not actions.

    Like I said in my comment above, there was widespread misreporting. The question that needed to be answered in court was what the cities obligations were, which we were able to find out. Judge Carol Lisa Phillips justly ruled that cities have no legal obligation to provide water outside their municipal boundaries. In addition, the contract that attempted to compel the City to provide water to the CCA parcel was an ILA between SWR & PP for Fire Services that had a two line stipulation in the agreement that the city would approve CCA’s water agreement expeditiously. The ILA had a “No third party beneficiaries” clause which would exclude CCA from being able to benefit from that last minute addition by the Town. Thus the confusion on the part of Pembroke Pines.

  15. TimeKeeper says:

    It appears that Angello spends more time on this blog arguing moot points that he spends PP Commission meetings and his other part time appointment.

  16. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    This whole story from day one stunk. Like the Hatfields/Mccoys. One town fighting w/ another, who loses, the residents in both towns.

  17. Guessing says:

    I’m guessing Pembroke Pines has something in mind for the land and that Southwest Ranches knows as well. I doubt the intent is to leave it open space and off the tax rolls.

  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Pembroke Pines achieved a WONDERFUL thing for their citizens n their GOOD WORK should inspire other cities to fight selfish spiteful neighboring cities

  19. Ghost of McLovin says:

    Hopefully, Southwest Ranches will return the favor by refusing any land development permits, or better, amending its comp plan to designate the parcel conservation in perpetuity, ensuring their residents an undeveloped open space at no cost

  20. Floridan says:

    @Timekeeper — I’m glad Comm. Castillo takes the time to discuss/explain issues on this and other sites. I wish other elected officials would do so, as well. Too often we only hear from our local commissioners and state legislators when it’s election time.


    I always appreciate the contributions of Angelo.

  21. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Actually, Robert’s right.

    It hasn’t been fun. For the most part, it’s been a drag. But lately the residents of both the Town and the City are finally starting to come out ahead. And we’re thankful to be part of that effort.

    However much we’d prefer otherwise the world spins however it wishes. We can’t control that, the best any of us can do is try hard and honestly to maintain our footing.


  22. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Dont you hate public officials who lie on city websites n on this blog about job titles in the North they never had or non existance athletic n academic scholarships at low level academic backwaters of public university systems.

  23. PandaBear says:

    Count LF CC:

    What happened? Do you happen to be looking in the mirror? ROFLMO

  24. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Panda Bear fake name comments are lower than sewer rats n as helpful.

  25. PandaBear says:

    Count LF Chozichkiwozki Wozskiwicz…or whatever your alias is:

    Tell me all about sewers, rats, and fake names. You seem well-experienced about each. I lack your deep knowledge about such subjects. Here’s a chance for you to enlighten me.

    Still ROFLMAO!!!!!

  26. PandaBear says:

    Count LF Chokwiwiz Chihuahua, or whatever your name is:

    Hahahahahahaha, you’re a riot! Go ahead, tell me all about fake names, rats, and sewers. You seem very knowledgeable.

    BTW, I’m still ROFLMAO!!!

  27. Pancho says:

    This was not an “immigration facility.” It was a for-profit prison. Changing the name over the entrance does not change its ultimate purpose. A 2,800-bed facility in Raymondville, Texas was called that, but when it lost its contract, inmates were quickly replaced by sentenced prisoners. It was finally burned down, 11 months ago, by ill-treated prisoners, leaving the city with an unrepairable shell of a building and a $70 million debt.

  28. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Mr Pancho points to something “so called” fiscal “conservatives” in both parties forget too often, for profit prisons postal services railroads n other “private public services” can fall victim to abuses such as under funding services, teckless overspending on publicity or salaries just as public service unions n politicians can screw up BUT BE CORRECTED BY THE PUBLIC.
    Private Contracts to substitute for US troops abroad or Private Guards in substitution for highly trained police both tender to blow up in everyone”s face!
    You cant apply profit n loss standards to public services such as transportation police fire hospitals or any vital service as you would to a toy factory or matress store.