Don’t know about you, but September seemed like a very long month. Everyone is anxious to know the status of the clean up,so here is a summary.
- Broward Cities had pre-positioned price set contracts in place for debris removal. These were approved by FEMA, which is important because FEMA is the reimbursement agency, Miami-Dade did not have contract pricing, and consequently, haulers went there for the higher rates.
- Broward has followed procedure to be able to pay higher rates, but the State has proceeded turtle like in expediting the request to Washington.
- In the meantime, we have taken the risk to raise rates and now there are over 35 trucks operating with more coming on board.
- We estimate there are over 300,000 tons of debris
- Our removal cost is projected to be $20 million.
If you want to follow this more closely, go to Hollywoodfl.org, and look for notifications. You will find a link that, once you sign up, will result in you receiving the same information Commissioner do.
Busy month for meetings, but important stuff.
- Street renaming. Lee, Forrest and Hood streets will be renamed, but the replacement names have not been selected. There is a workshop October18, probably at 10:00 where options will be discussed. Then the names will be presented to the Commission formally, for a vote.
- Ratified a vacation renal ordinance that requires a $500 registration fee, an inspection feel, and a renewal fee. Interesting dynamic: realtors were vehemently opposed; residents strongly supported trying to bring short term rentals under control to protect the sanctity of single family neighborhoods.l
- Passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene containers on public property.
The Budget. Two public hearings on the proposed 2018 budget were held, and at the Wednesday meeting ended at about 11:30 pm. The budget was approved. Some highlights:
- For the seventh year, the millage rate will be 7.4479. That does not mean your taxes won’t go up, because that depends on the value of your property, as well as what other taxing district are charging…school board, hospital, water districts, Children’s Service Council. Broward County. Hollywood only accounts for 36% of your tax bill.
- 50% of the City millage rate goes to pensions.
- For the first time in years, there is a nice Capital Improvement Budget. For 2018, that is nearly $8 million.
- Restored 25 positions that had been frozen, including 17 in public safety and Code.
UNFUNDED CAPITAL PROJECTS: This is really important and interesting. There is a staff generated list of unfunded projects totally over $40 million, and trust me on this…many of these items are what you have been asking about. Actually the total wish list could be over $100 million, which is wishful thinking. There was a vigorous discussion about this, most of which asked if the list was long enough, what would the priorities be, and how would we fund this. Happily, I believe, we all agree that this is a MUST discussion, and so we will have a workshop on November 15th, I believe. This is going to be fun: spending money we don’t have on things we really need to make this City better. More on this on the next report. For a further explanation of how I really feel, there is a special report due out shortly, as well as my column in next months Horizon.
Commission Comments. I asked for the following:
- Accelerate discussions with the County Administrator to return $1.5 from the Beach CRA whiich he County had generally agreed to return as long as the money was used for economic development outside of the CRA. Decision was to table this until the discussion on a General Obligation Bond.
- Guest houses/boarding houses. When you see 6 cars parked in front of a 3/2, that is not a vacation rental. It is a boarding house and that is not legal. Looking to crack down on these. Every neighborhood has them, and some charge by the night.
- Someone owns a bunch of sailboats, parks them in North Lake, and rents them out. That ain’t legal either.
Book Nook. Just two this month: On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder. A page out of Thomas Paine. And Hue, Mark Bowder, about Vietnam. Reading this while watching the Ken Burns Vietnam series on PBS. We have short and flawed memories.
Ok. Enough for today. No storms on the horizon so hopefully our season is over and cooler weather is in store. Hope all is well with you and your family.