Yes; even Commissioners get some time off. Last Monday was our final meeting before vacation. We resume August 30. While we’re out of their hair, the staff will work on crafting the 2018 fiscal year budget, which takes effect October 1. Public hearings will be held in September.
The whole month, up to and including July 3, was loaded with interesting events and discussions.
Remember the Hollywood Playhouse?
It had fallen on really hard times, and while the city did not own it, there was a condition attached to the land upon which it was built restricting use to entertainment. There were no takers, so a religious institution stepped up and did a spectacular restoration. A June 9 open house was held and the entire commission attended. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the warm welcome we received from the congregation. The renovated auditorium will now be available to the City, and others, for performances whenever the schedule has open dates.
Septic to Sewer
A workshop held on the June 21 presented options for moving forward with converting our city’s septic system to sewers, an environmental necessity with nearly half the City on septic. It’s hugely expensive and complicated. The Commission was confronted with four financing options. It was amazing we decided to go all out and work to get this accomplished in 20 years, enabling economic development zones to be accomplished faster. It will also mean higher rates over time. We also began to discuss the cost to residents what financing options we can develop. This is a work in progress but I am very proud of my colleagues for choosing a more aggressive approach.
This workshop explored options for creating safer neighborhood traffic. A scatter map showed us how many speed bumps we have. Staff talked about other options such as traffic circles and roundabouts. While still a work in progress, this issue is at least on the table now. (P.S. We also need more motorcycle cops and motorcycles.)
Starting Complete Streets
The Complete Streets project from City Hall east to the railroad tracks is now underway. A two year, $12 million remake will include medians, landscaping, lighting, wider sidewalks, parallel parking (vs angled) and more. I have always seen this project in the context of a total makeover of that stretch of the boulevard.
The Downtown CRA has let contracts for new lighting, landscaping, and security systems.
Same day as the ribbon cutting for the Complete Streets project, we held an important workshop dedicated to new zoning on 441. This will help the City and potential investors know what they can build and where. The 441 corridor is defined as extending a quarter-mile on either side of the roadway, which means all the way to the Turnpike going west.
Other Important Discussions:
Vacation rentals continue to be a concern for residents and neighbors. As is often the case, a few bad apples spoil the whole bushel and this discussion focuses on registration, inspections, and fees. AirBNB (and its competitors) and realtors all have a point of view and we are listening. FYI: AirBNB has made its first tax payment to Broward County in the amount of well over $100,000. I think that money will be shared but not sure what the formula will be. Most, probably, will go to tourism.
Re-naming Controversial Streets.
This has been a very polarizing issue. On Monday we approved moving forward with the process of renaming the three streets in question, without taking a poll of the property owners. That means the Commission will make the decision to change the names of Lee, Hood and Forest to their original names: Louisville, Macon and Savannah. The final decision will be August 30 if all goes well. I am proud to have made the motion to not poll because the more than 1,500 plus property owners would, most likely, not want to change the names. We determined the Post Office will honor and recognize dual names. The only cost to residents will be a driver’s license change. All other changes can be made online or on paper as the affected residents receive bills and invoices. Residents will receive all this information and more.
The Hollywood Brand.
The city will soon be rolling out a new logo and a new brand. We liked its fresh, clean and unique look. First time in 20 years we are consciously changing our image.
CRA and COMMISSION MEETING NOTES.
Approved a $50,000 grant to Hyde Park Towers on Ocean Drive as part of a $1.1 makeover.
Approved designs for new lifeguard towers. A fresh look for the 20 towers.
Passed a resolution advocating for installation of solar powered “End of School Zone” signs. Something nice for drivers.
Passed a resolution supporting the Paris Agreement, joining dozens, perhaps even hundreds of other cities and many major companies.
Recognized Jose Cabrera, Samuel Rivera and Ryan Seilkop for saving the life of a driver whose car went into the lake at TY Park. The three young men were on their senior picnic with Chaminade classmates. Modest, thoughtful young men. We are so proud of them for their quick action.
Participated in several public workshops to explore a consultant’s report on improving traffic conditions around Young Circle. Very innovative and challenging, and even the skeptics loved it. More to come. Work not done.
Approved construction contract for the Nebraska-Nevada parking garage, on the beach, for $13,110,000.
Approved construction contracts for new landscaping, lighting and security cameras for Downtown Hollywood Blvd for $1,119,000. These will be significant improvements to the aesthetics downtown.
Law requires cities to have a balanced budget, and we are on target.
The millage rate is proposed to remain unchanged from previous years, at 7.4479. We cannot go higher than that. Public Budget hearings scheduled for September 13 and 23, 5:30 at City Hall. All welcome, and welcome to speak.
THIS & THAT.
Congratulations to Hispanic Unity, recipient of a $100,000 grant from Humana. Funds will be used to address the health needs of clients.
Movie. I REALLY REALLY liked Wonder Woman. 3D glasses not necessary
Books. Finished Testimony, by Scott Turow…eh. Currently reading Eviction, a very interesting story of what happens to a city when it’s de-industrialized; in this case, Milwaukee. Stories of displaced workers unable to find comparable employment and spiraling into poverty. Several other books on the wish list to be read during the break and vacation.
Many of you will be vacationing, or staycationing. Enjoy the opportunity to rejuvenate yourselves.