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The historical content of the Galt Mile Community Association’s Web Site is catalogued and chronicled in these archives. This content is comprised of articles and anecdotes that are no longer current, but may be useful from a historical perspective. The categories are chronological. Scrolling down delves deeper into the past. If you encounter any difficulty locating a particular story, report, or graphic, feel free to Contact us with your dilemma and assistance will be forthcoming.

Please Note - Many of the links included in these articles from the past are no longer active.


2017


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Port Progress; Broward Jobs; Broward B-Cycle & AvMed Rides

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info January 10, 2017 - In his December 2016 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca highlights some of Port Everglades 2016 benchmarks, topped by Congressional approval of a funding venue for the Port’s Master Plan improvements. By paving the way to deepen the port's channel and expand its turning notch, the new Federal law will enable the port to share in a post-Panamax economic jackpot.
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca at Segment II Staging Area
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
LaMarca also applauds Broward County for out-pacing most of the State’s other metro areas for job growth, noting that District 4 is the statewide leader for creating jobs in the fields of trade, transportation, and utilities. LaMarca closes his message by enumerating the health benefits of bike sharing - a sort of testament to Broward B-Cycle on its fifth Birthday, when it became the fiscal ward of health insurance carrier AvMed.

Port Everglades: A Twenty-Year Marathon

Post Panam=x Vessels Navigate Panama Canal
POST PANAM=X VESSELS NAVIGATE PANAMA CANAL
The new federal law described by LaMarca caps a two-decade marathon effort to cement the port’s future as a regional economic powerhouse. In 1997, Port Everglades officials began pleading with the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to approve funding for 3 Master Plan projects. The enhancements would enable the port to accommodate the anticipated explosion of Post-Panamax vessels from Asia and the Pacific via the newly expanded Panama Canal. Since faster and cheaper shipping of goods between the East Coast and Asia would allow American farmers and manufacturers to better compete with South American and European counterparts, the resulting economic cascade would guarantee Post-Panamax adapted Gulf and East Coast seaports revenue windfalls and thousands of new jobs.

Compare Panamax and Post-Panamax Since Post-Panamax ships are 25% longer, 50% wider and have a deeper draft than the largest vessels navigating the Panama Canal prior to its expansion (a configuration called “Panamax”), Port Everglades’ channel would have to be deepened from 42 feet to 50 feet, and the 900-foot Southport Turning Notch would have to be lengthened to 2,400 feet while its perimeter is reconfigured to berth and service five additional monster vessels. The third project, construction of an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) to enable the seamless transfer of international cargo containers between ship and rail, was completed on July 16, 2014 - funded by a public-private partnership forged by the port and the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC). By significantly expediting the delivery of goods to market, the ICTF has equipped the port with an unmatched competitive edge.

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility
INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY
When the Panama Canal Authority estimated that five or six operational ports on the U.S. East Coast could handle the resulting tornado of cheaper goods, it triggered a frenzy of construction planning by East Coast seaports competing for a piece of the Post-Panamax Golden Goose. However, without approval by the Army Corps of Engineers, planned improvements would remain frozen on drawing boards, and Port Everglades would be out of the running.

Click to Port Everglades Draft Environmental Impact plan On June 28, 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers finally released its Draft Environmental Impact plan for “Navigational Improvements to the Port Everglades Harbor,” a regulatory roadmap for implementing the Master Plan improvements. A year later, in August 2014, the Corps of Engineers announced that it would recommend dredging the channel.

Broward Political and Business Leaders Support Port Everglades
BROWARD LEADERS SUPPORT PORT EVERGLADES
After 18 years of gridlock, Congress finally passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2014 (WRDA 14), providing the Corps with long-awaited funding protocols. In mid-February, 2015, LaMarca joined Congresswoman Lois Frankel at a meeting in Washington D.C. with staff from the South Florida Congressional Delegation, State, County and City elected officials and Broward business leaders, to prepare for a make-or-break hearing by the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board.

Civil Works Review Board approves Port Projects
CIVIL WORKS REVIEW BOARD OKS PORT PROJECT
The panel assesses whether locally approved projects provide national economic and environmental benefits - an eligibility prerequisite for Federal cost-sharing. On February 27, 2015, the Civil Works Review Board unanimously approved the final environmental and economic feasibility studies for dredging the Port Everglades channel to 48 feet (50 feet with allowable overdepth) and expanding the Southport turning notch.

Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick of the Army Corps of Engineers signed the Chief of Engineers Report
LT. GENERAL THOMAS P. BOSTICK SIGNS CHIEFS REPORT
On June 26, 2015, Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick of the Army Corps of Engineers signed the Chief of Engineers Report for the Port Everglades improvements, certifying the project as environmentally sound and economically beneficial to the United States. The Chief’s Report was required to include the project in the 2016 federal legislation authorizing water and navigation-related projects (WRDA 16).


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Broward Officials Celebrate Chiefs Report Approval
BROWARD LEADERS CELEBRATE CHIEFS REPORT SIGNING
Since the Chief’s Report serves as a recommendation for Congressional approval, it also benchmarks a transitional segue from the pre-construction, engineering and design (PED) phase to the authorization phase. The anticipated $374 million funding feedbag would be comprised of $190 million in federal dredging money and $183.1 million in Port revenues, supplemented by State contributions. NO TAX DOLLARS are in the mix!!! Modifications to the draft mitigation plan and contract procurement were expected to take approximately 2 years, followed by five years of construction beginning in 2017.

President Barack Obama Signs WIIN Act
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SIGNS WIIN ACT
After hammering out a 2016 version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 16) in September, Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act on December 10, 2016. Signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 16, 2016, the Act provides for the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water resources infrastructure critical to the Nation’s economic growth, health, and competitive muscle.

Click to Water Resources Development Act of 2016 While the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA 16) is incorporated into Title I of the WIIN Act, Title II includes improvements to drinking water infrastructure around the country and addresses control of coal combustion residuals, Title III improves water storage and delivery to drought-stricken communities, addresses federal dam maintenance backlogs, and approves water settlement agreements that benefit taxpayers and several Native American jurisdictions.

Click to Army Corps of Engineers - Port Everglades To keep pace with increasingly massive post-Panamax vessels, WRDA 2016 no longer treats deeper harbors as a local option, but as a key competitive priority for seaports, and updates the cost-sharing formula for harbor deepening projects. Going forward, the federal government will be responsible for 75 percent of the dredging costs for projects that excavate the harbor up to the 50-foot depth required for post-Panamax ships, instead of the prior 45-foot threshold sufficient for smaller Panamax vessels. More importantly, the Act loosens the Congressional death grip on waterways funding.

WRDA 2016 authorizes nearly $16 billion in federal appropriations for USACE-approved activities. Specifically, the law authorizes 30 USACE “Chief Reports” submitted to Congress since the enactment of the WRDA 2014 bill. Having chipped in its Chiefs Report in June of 2015, Port Everglades is one of eight new navigation projects recommended for funding. And it only took 20 years.

Broward B-Cycle: Rescued & Rebranded

Romney Rogers, Chip LaMarca and Barbara Sharief in Esplanade Park
ROMNEY ROGERS, CHIP LAMARCA AND BARBARA SHARIEF AT EVENT
Using State funds meted out by Broward County, B-cycle opened its Broward bike-sharing operation on December 14, 2011. Five years later, after fleshing out 27 bike docking stations with roughly 275 basketed bicycles, the bike-sharing enterprise faced an increasingly empty cookie jar. On its fifth birthday, LaMarca joined City Commissioner Romney Rogers and Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief in Esplanade Park on December 15th to celebrate Broward B-Cycle’s new partnership with AvMed, a $789 million not-for-profit health insurer based in Miami.

Click to AvMed Rides Overnight, the blue and white Broward B-Cycles were replaced with bikes cloaked in AvMed’s sunshine yellow corporate colors. Broward B-Cycle logos imprinted on each bike were overwritten with the operation’s new name - AvMed Rides. The website was also rebranded as “AvMed Rides”. In fact, the only discernable remnant of Broward B-Cycle is a small graphic adjacent to the new logo that states “powered by Broward B-Cycle”.

Broward B-Cycle Manager Jeff Torkelson
AVMED RIDES MANAGER JEFF TORKELSON
Despite the new trappings, daily operations are still run by Broward B-Cycle. During the event, B-cycle manager Jeff Torkelson described a planned expansion, citing his intention to add more stations in heavily populated East Broward before migrating west. While the bikes may have evolved into rolling billboards - at least the popular program will survive with AvMed’s backing, and according to Torkelson, grow into “the first county-wide system in the nation.”

AvMed Rides Yellow Bikes
AVMED RIDES YELLOW BIKES
While locking up some new advertising, AvMed anticipates that its investment will also yield the kind of dividend that inspired health insurers to jump on the Healthways Silver Sneakers bandwagon. Actively promoting a healthy lifestyle saves carriers a bundle on hospitalizations and doctor visits. AvMed announced that it will incorporate Broward B-Cycle into its “WELLfluence Program”, which incentivizes clients to participate in wellness venues supervised by health care professionals and closely monitored by parent company SantaFe Healthcare, Inc. AvMed’s bean counters won’t measure the success of this collaborative rescue by totaling rides or receipts, but with an insurance algorithm applied to future claims. For the rest of LaMarca’s December 2016 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

December 2016 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your county commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Port Everglades Update

Click to Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act We are now one step closer to the official authorization of the Port Everglades Widening and Deepening project. The Senate passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation “WIIN” (previously the Water Resource Development Act of 2016 “WRDA 16”) this month by a vote of 78 - 21. The same bill was previously passed by the House of Representatives 360 - 61. The WIIN Bill authorizes critical investments in water infrastructure projects, specifically it authorizes the Deeping and Widening at Broward County’s Port Everglades.

Post Panamax Monster
POST PANAMAX MONSTER
Broward County’s Port Everglades is the third busiest Port in the country, setting a record for cruise ship passengers in a single day with 54,700 passengers, 3.77 million passengers in 2015 and over $27 billion in trade operations in 2014. The expansion and deepening project will ensure the capability of the port to accommodate larger cruise ships and the new Panamax ships. This project will create thousands of construction and permanent jobs; and support the local South Florida economy. The passage of this bill will then move our project from the Authorization Phase into the critical next phase, Appropriations. This great accomplishment was only made possible because of the great collaboration and advocacy of many South Florida leaders.


South Florida Port Supporters work to pass Congressional Port Funding
Broward County Congressional Delegates, local elected officials and community leaders celebrate the signing of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act by President Obama.


Port Everglades Mangrove Wetlands
PORT EVERGLADES MANGROVE WETLANDS
In other Port related news, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently gave the Port Everglades Wetland Enhancement Project a “Notification of Trending Towards Success.” This green initiative is addresg a berthing capacity shortfall by developing new wetlands that support wildlife and ecological quality in the center of an urban, industrial seaport. The Port successfully cultivated 16.5 acres of nursery-grown mangrove and native plants on property that was originally dry land intended for other uses. This notification is a key component to the Port's berth expansion effort because it releases 8.7 acres of an existing mangrove conservation easement adjacent to docks. The acres that have been released will be expanded to make way for up to five new cargo ship berths. The project also recently won IHS Maritime and Trade magazine's Dredging and Port Construction Innovation Award in the "Working/Engineering/Building with Nature Award" category.

Click to Port Everglades Additionally, Port Everglades has exceeded one-million TEU’s (20-foot equivalent units, the industry's standard container measurement), for the third consecutive year. A total of almost 1.04 million TEUs have been reported this year. Furthermore, bulk and break bulk cargo increased 13 percent from 1.56 million tons in FY2015 to 1.76 million tons in FY2016. Petroleum volumes also increased by 3.6 percent from more than 116.8 million barrels in FY2015 to 121.1 million barrels in FY2016.

More information about Broward County's Port Everglades is available at porteverglades.net.

Broward County’s Job Growth

Click to Greater Fort Lauderdale-Alliance Job Growth Data Broward County is becoming a leader in the state for job creation. The Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield metro area had the highest annual job growth compared to all the metro areas in the state in trade, transportation, and utilities with an addition of 6,700 jobs and financial activities with 3,600 jobs in October 2016. The annual job growth rates for financial activities increased by 6.3 percent; manufacturing increased by 5 percent; leisure and hospitality increased by 4.4 percent; education and health services increased by 3.9 percent; and trade, transportation, and utilities increased by 3.7 percent.

Click to Greater Fort Lauderdale-Alliance Job Growth Data In Broward County, year over year we see job growth and sustained improvement in the local economy. The continuation of assisting companies create, expand and retain high-wage jobs in high value targeted industries also helps to develop more vibrant communities and improves the quality of life for our area’s citizens.

Broward B-Cycle Bike Sharing Program

Click to Emirates Airlines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport With South Florida’s beautiful Fall/Winter weather it is the perfect time to take advantage of Broward B-Cycle Bike Sharing Program. It's a fun, affordable and convenient way to get around town. It's also the latest way to reduce traffic congestion, pollution and carbon emissions. There are 27 public bike stations throughout Broward County, mainly in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Dania, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Pompano Beach.

Click to Broward BCycle Website On its fifth year running, there are currently nearly 1,300 annual members enrolled using this active transportation system. Since the program launched on December 14th, 2011, more than 128,000 riders from the Southeast Florida region, cities across the U.S. and other countries have taken; 182,435 bike rides, 651,630 miles have been ridden on Broward B-cycles, 32,098 gallons of gas saved, and 631,865 lbs. of carbon emissions reduced.

For more information please visit Broward B-Cycle.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

FLPD Chief || Body Cams || Sunny TV

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
January 18, 2017 - In his January / February 2017 message to constituents, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts announces the long awaited implementation of an FLPD body worn cameras pilot program, updates A1A roadway improvements bordering the Galt Mile neighborhood, describes a new online app useful for locating permit data, briefly bios Rick Maglione, appointed interim Chief of Police when Frank Adderley relocated to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, applauds the “Cops 4 Kids” program for providing schoolchildren with mentoring and positive role models, reviews the final stage of the Segment II Broward Beach Renourishment, reports the launching of Hello Sunny TV, which streams live coverage of events, on demand content and realtime local beachcams to laptops, tablets and smartphones. Roberts closes by noting improved graduation rates for traditional high schools in the Broward County Public School System.

Watch the Birdie

Following a year-long effort to develop program policies, the City of Fort Lauderdale is finally prepared to launch a pilot program to equip police officers with body worn cameras. While body cameras provide a variety of critical law enforcement benefits, such as obtaining evidence for criminal prosecutions, protecting participants from false allegations of misconduct, strengthening police accountability by documenting interactions with the public, and increasing Departmental transparency by allowing the public to see video evidence of police activities and encounters, last January the City Commission postponed its implementation pending the development of guidelines to protect participants, the public and the Police Department.

Broward Sheriff's Office Body Worn Camera
BROWARD SHERIFF'S OFFICE BODY WORN CAMERA
A body worn camera (BWC) is always recording, but until the officer turns it on, the recording is regularly overwritten. As such, along with whatever is preserved after the system is turned on, events recorded prior to a specific incident are also available. How much of that prior video is also preserved will depend on the Department’s policy, and could range from one minute to one hour - or more.

Hallandale Beach Police Department Body Worn Camera
HALLANDALE BEACH PD BODY WORN CAMERA
Although similar programs were already underway in more than 60 police departments nationwide, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Hallandale Beach Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler expressed concern about how the courts would react to the inadvertent recording of bystanders not involved in an incident, such as emergency room patients whose privacy rights are shielded by statute. Commission concerns about judicial blowback weren’t without merit. Florida jurisdictions invested $millions in red light camera systems that were later scaled back or trashed when courts reversed the enabling ordinances.

Mayor Jack Seiler and Former Chief Frank Adderley
MAYOR JACK SEILER AND FORMER CHIEF FRANK ADDERLEY
Commissioners also expressed concern about the cost of storing the tapes, and managing an ever-growing evidentiary database. For instance, when lawyers, victims, suspects, the media, or members of the public file a public records request for a video, to avoid neck-deep immersion in liability damage claims, the Department must first perform a legal analysis and redact any material subject to public records exemptions.

Former Police union president Jack Lokeinsky
FORMER POLICE UNION
PRESIDENT JACK LOKEINSKY
Given the potential personal liability for participating officers, Police union president Jack Lokeinsky asserted that the union’s collective bargaining agreement should be adapted to protect his members from lawsuits alleging a violation of privacy rights. A former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief, Commissioner Bruce Roberts also suggested that the issue be vetted by the Citizens Police Review Board.

City Attorney Cynthia Everett
CITY ATTORNEY CYNTHIA EVERETT
City Attorney Cynthia Everett told the Commission “I don’t believe there’s any legal impediment to implementing this program, if that’s what you want to do. We’re going to have policies and procedures and training.” Roberts requested that Everett submit her opinion in writing. Commissioner Dean Trantalis said that the City should move ahead with a test program. The meeting concluded with Mayor Jack Seiler charging staff with identifying obstacles to the pilot program and customizing policy guidelines.

Feldman Goes to Work

Click to Police Executive Research Forum
City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
In response, City Manager Lee Feldman initially solicited input from Law Enforcement agencies and private consultants with recognized experience in developing BWC best practices. Specifically, Feldman reached out to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. and several U.S, cities that conducted independent studies. With support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS Office), PERF extensively researched the use of body-worn cameras by Law Enforcement, having reviewed more than 20 BWC policies submitted by police agencies while interviewing more than 40 police executives with relevant expertise.

Click to  U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Click to PERF Study Drawing on this research, PERF published a study that discusses the perceived benefits of body-worn cameras and details the considerations that must be addressed. Entitled “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned”, the guidance it provides to law enforcement agencies is complemented by a comprehensive set of policy recommendations. While the guidelines must be conformed to available resources and statutory requirements, the PERF primer additionally admonishes that jurisdictions adapt the guidelines to input from frontline officers, legal advisors and the community. City staff compiled the PERF data into a draft policy. Since Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. had recently completed an in-depth investigation into FLPD’s operational protocols, Feldman also tapped the “Community Policing” consultant for policy guidance.

Click to Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. Next, Feldman solicited feedback about the draft policy from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations, the Broward County Urban League, the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Broward Dream Defenders and the City’s Citizens Police Review Board.

Lawmakers Mandate BWC Program Policies

Slain Musician Corey Jones
SLAIN MUSICIAN COREY JONES
When State lawmakers fail to address new public safety venues, the courts often fill the legislative gap. Inconsistent rulings can handcuff law enforcement agencies and endanger the public. While Feldman was researching a BWC policy, Florida lawmakers finally addressed this vacuum in state law.

Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones
STATEHOUSE REPRESENTATIVE SHEVRIN JONES
Inspired in part by the controversial Palm Beach Gardens shooting death of Corey Jones, Broward Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones (D – West Park) filed House Bill 93. Signed into law on March 24, 2016, the legislation requires jurisdictions to formulate policies prior to using body cameras, including rules for storing audiovisual data that comply with Florida public records laws. Since the new law mirrors PERF policy recommendations, as Florida cities and counties increasingly add body cameras to their law enforcement arsenals, they will have to follow in Feldman’s footsteps.

Click to Bidsync Using BidSync, an online vehicle for n September 9, 2016, the City invited vendors “to provide reliable Wearable Body Cameras (Cameras), a Digital Evidence Management System (System), and the accessories and ancillary components to provide a turn-key solution to capture video from an officer’s perspective.” By the November 4, 2016 deadline, the City had received nine (9) responses from vendors, each accompanied by a $30,000 Bid Bond.

Click to City's PERF-based draft policy In preparation for the December 6, 2016, Commission Meeting, Feldman added copies of the PERF-based draft policy – and the local feedback – to the Background Information packets distributed to Commissioners. In short, Feldman delivered the policy guidelines requested eleven months earlier. As affirmed in a U.S. Justice Department survey, the new policy provisions would allow FLPD to realize reductions in the use of force and the number of citizen’s complaints – without stumbling into judicial quicksand.

The Pilot Program’s burden on taxpayers is cushioned by a grant from the Federal Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program, which distributed $5,411,056 to 18 large police agencies (more than 25 officers) last year. The $600,000 awarded to Fort Lauderdale was the largest FY 2016 distribution.

The Last Mile

With the Commission on board and procurement underway, the remaining project preparations are within spitting distance of completion - and largely downhill. Once staff evaluates the vendor proposals, and the Commission approves the bid-winner, Feldman will launch a pilot program that should enhance FLPD accountability and transparency, a prerequisite for healing old wounds, and rebuilding scarred community relationships. For Commissioner Roberts’ January / February 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
IT’S A NEW YEAR!! 2017 is here and I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous year. Our District continues to grow with new neighbors, projects and enhancements. We truly appreciate the opportunity to work with and serve you, as we find solutions that will allow the City to remain one of the most beautiful and best cities in which to live, work, play and raise a family. Be safe and let us all welcome 2017 with high spirits, a vision for the future and a pride in our home - Fort Lauderdale!

Click to Fort Lauderdale Body Worn Camera Pilot program POLICE BODY WORN CAMERAS PILOT PROGRAM: The Body Worn Camera Pilot program working draft policy was presented to the City Commission on December 6, 2016. The Commission provided feed-back to continue with outreach efforts but to also move forward with current policy recognizing changes will be made at a later date. The deadline for police body worn camera vendor proposals has passed and the City has received nine responses. The proposals will be distributed for committee review after firms are shortlisted – which will take place within the next 30 days. Recently, the City received a $600,000 Department of Justice Grant to assist with the implementation of this program.

Limerock Base on A1A along Galt Mile
LIMEROCK BASE ON A1A ALONG GALT MILE
FDOT PROJECT: The SR A1A project is progressing on schedule. Below are updates regarding the work that has been done recently or is scheduled over the next few months:

  • Ongoing/Upcoming Activities: Currently working on Phase IV drainage improvement on the east side of the road; roadway reconstruction; concrete curb and driveway construction

  • Overall Time Update: The project is expected to be completed in summer 2017. The contractor is scheduled to be working 10 hours/4 days per week.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv NEW BUILDING PERMIT TRACKER GIS APPLICATION: The ITS Department just released the new Building Permit Tracker GIS web map application. This tool will be useful in providing easy access by either a desktop or mobile device, to valuable building permit based information such as types of permits, statuses, application dates and much more. Community Builders as well as our neighbors will be able to access permits by searching addresses, permit numbers, parcel ID’s, neighborhoods or commission districts to not only view them, but also print maps, measure distances and create spreadsheet reports. It can be accessed through the following web link: HTTP://gis.fortlauderdale.gov/BuildingPermitTracker/.

Interim Chief of Police Rick Maglione
INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE RICK MAGLIONE
INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE: In December, Police Chief Frank Adderely resigned to join the Broward Sheriff’s Office as a Colonel in charge of community affairs. Chief Adderley has been with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for 36 years, and felt it was time to move on to a new adventure. We wish him well. At this time, Assistant Chief Rick Maglione will be the interim Chief until the City Manager decides who should permanently fill the position. Rick has served the City of Fort Lauderdale with distinction for 24 years. Since joining the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in 1992, Rick has served in numerous capacities during his rise through the ranks. As an Officer, he served in the Patrol Division and the Special Problems Units of the Police Operations Bureau. Rick’s career includes working as a Detective in the Street Narcotics Unit of the Special Investigations Division, working as a Sergeant in both the Patrol Division and the Office of Internal Affairs, and supervising the Alarm Unit and Background Investigations Unit of the Administrative Support Division. As a Captain, Rick served in both the Operations Bureau and the Office of Internal Affairs. In 2011, Rick was appointed Executive Officer to the Chief of Police. He was promoted to the rank of Major in 2014 and to Assistant Chief in 2015. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Troy University and is a graduate of the 244th Session of the FBI National Academy. City Manager Feldman does not know if he will promote from within or conduct a national search. I will keep you informed.

Officer James McDowell with Cops 4 Kids
OFFICER JAMES MCDOWELL WITH COPS 4 KIDS
COPS 4 KIDS PROGRAM FEATURED ON CHANNEL 7: Our Police Department’s “Cops 4 Kids” program was recently featured on WSVN Channel 7 News! Officers James McDowell and Lauarenia Fahie are two of the many program participants. The officers regularly visit our local elementary schools to help our students succeed in the classroom while also fostering positive relationships and building trust and respect between law enforcement and our youth. By sharing their knowledge and experiences with the youngsters, the officers helps instill valuable life lessons, promote positive values, and impart important leadership and character development skills. Through the Cops 4 Kids program, children are interacting more often with police officers, seeing them in a positive light, and discovering all of the ways they can work together to build a strong community. Congratulations to our Police Department and keep up the great work!

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES ON BEACH RENOURISHMENT: In case you have been wondering why there is heavy equipment on the beach around Sunrise Boulevard, the trucks are there to complete Phase II of the Beach Renourishment project. Now that turtle season is over, contractors are able to resume adding sand to our coastline. They have been adding about 180 truckloads of sand, or approximately 4,000 tons to the beach each day between Terramar Street and NE 16th Street in an effort to reconstruct areas of the eroded beach and increase storm protection for our community. Work is expected to be completed by January/February 2017.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment HELLO SUNNY TV NETWORK (Let’s you watch Live coverage of Ft. Lauderdale events, on-demand programming and more): Hello Sunny TV is a new online travel channel dedicated to all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau launched the new 24/7 digital TV network in December to coincide with the inaugural Riptide Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Hello Sunny provided behind-the-scenes coverage of the alternative music fest featuring artist and audience interviews and more. The digital network is available at Sunny.org/TV on desktop and mobile devices, Smart TVs, and streaming players like Apple TV and, soon, Roku. Viewers can expect livestreams of Greater Fort Lauderdale's beaches, and live coverage of upcoming events such as Art Fort Lauderdale and Underground Lauderdale Fashion Week. Any livestreamed events will simultaneously stream on Facebook Live as well. Launching in 2017, Hello Sunny TV will also air a live weekly show previewing the week's events, arts and culture opportunities, conventions and more. The network also features continuous on-demand content, with episodes on topics like dining, fashion, fitness, and festivals. Select programming is even available in Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS (BCPS) TRADITIONAL HIGH SCHOOLS EARN HIGHEST GRADUATION RATE SINCE 2010/2011: BCPS traditional high schools achieved a graduation rate of 92.2 percent in the 2015/16 school year. This is an increase of 2.6 percent from the 2014/15 school year, according to data released this month by the Florida Department of Education. Among the 33 traditional high schools, the data reflects:

  • Overall, the 2015/16 BCPS federal graduation rate is 78.7 percent, which is an increase of 2.1 percentage points from 20/14-15.

  • This is the highest graduation rate for BCPS since Florida adopted the Federal Uniform Graduation Rate method in 2010/11.

  • Click to Pompano Beach High School 23 traditional high schools had a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.

  • 23 of the 33 traditional high schools improved or maintained their graduation rate.

  • Black (70.6 percent), Hispanic (81.3 percent) and White (86.1 percent) students improved their graduation rates. Black students showed a greater improvement in graduation rate, closing the gap with White students by 2.4 percentage points.

  • Click to McFatter Technical High School, College Academy McFatter Technical High School, College Academy @ BC and Pompano Beach High School achieved graduation rates of 100 percent.

  • South Broward High School increased its graduation rate by more than five percentage points compared to the 2014/15 school year.

Broward County Public Schools is the sixth largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida; is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962; has over 271,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 236 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 101 charter schools; and serves a diverse student population, with students representing 208 different countries and 181 different languages.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Galt Mile Community Association Advisory Board
GALT MILE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION ADVISORY BOARD
January 30, 2017 - With the exception of a summer hiatus, the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) hosts an Advisory Board meeting on the third Thursday of each month. To resolve shared problems or issues specific to any individual association, representatives appointed by each of the GMCA's 29 member associations meet regularly with City Commissioner
Bruce Roberts, County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Statehouse Representative George Moraitis, association advocates and key officials from City, County or State agencies that manage critical services.

FLPD & the GMCA Advisory Board

2014 Infiniti S - Theft
2014 INFINITI S - STOLEN
Among the monthly agenda items is a security report. In their capacity as law enforcement liaisons to the Galt Mile Community Association, FLPD Officers Tom Gestal and George Brandner provide the Advisory Board with a snapshot of local crime trends and recommendations for protecting local residents against emerging threats. Since September, they have been updating the Advisory Board about a spike in car thefts that predominantly impact several models of Infiniti. Unlike the standard smash and grab tactics that leave windows broken, or keylocks ripped from car doors, Gestal and Brandner noted how vehicles that were stolen or plundered were left undamaged.

Ordinary car thief rips out door lock
ORDINARY CAR THIEF RIPS OUT KEY LOCK
On December 15, Gestal explained that the car thieves were using an electronic device to penetrate vehicles equipped with keyless entry systems, wherein a wireless key fob is used to unlock the doors and in some cases – start the engine – instead of a physical key. This specific vulnerability was comprehensively vetted in 2011 by researchers in ETH Zurich, a Swiss Technology and Engineering University. Since car manufacturers have done nothing during the past five years to plug this security sinkhole, carjacks centrally located in a Mall parking field can now open and start dozens of nearby cars - while their unsuspecting owners hunt for bargains.

David Beckham's Stolen BMW
DAVID BECKHAM'S STOLEN BMW
During the past decade, Law Enforcement authorities in Europe and North America reported thousands of cases wherein recovered vehicles that were stripped of contents or stolen showed no evidence of forced breach and virtually no damage. Like Gestal’s report, the vast majority of these official case summaries referred to an electronic device that somehow compromised the vehicle’s security system. This enigma stirred some notoriety in 2006, when this mysterious methodology was described by Spanish police investigating the theft of soccer icon David Beckham’s $100,000 armor-plated BMW X5 in Madrid.

Power Amplifiers and Keyless Entry

Device Amplifies Signal Emitted from Keyfob
DEVICE AMPLIFIES SIGNAL EMITTED FROM KEYFOB
Vehicles equipped with keyless entry systems search for the weak passive signal broadcast from a small Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip inside the keyfob, which has an effective reach radius of several feet. Once the keyfob is moved outside that small effective zone, it is no longer detected by the vehicle, temporarily suspending its access and ignition functionality. Until the keyfob is brought back into range, the vehicle would ordinarily remain securely locked. However, for less than $100, anyone can purchase a power amplifier in most electrical supply stores or online, and use it to defeat this security measure.

Click to Edmunds Gestal said that this device was used by the crooks to boost the Infiniti signal - thereby expanding the effective operational radius up to 100 yards - the size of a football field. If the key fob was in the driver's pocket while shopping nearby - or laying on a dresser at home, the crook could open the car door and strip the vehicle’s contents, or start the car and drive off. As long as the engine wasn’t turned off, the thief could drive as far as a tank of gas would allow.

Keyless Entry The equipment required for this kind of heist used to be far more expensive – sufficiently costly to deter its use by street thugs who considered drugs and guns more marketable investments. Gestal explained that the price has since tumbled, and a power amplifier can be purchased on eBay for as little as $17. Since any hustler with a double sawbuck can now rip off cars with minimal exposure or risk, authorities fear the onset of a remote theft epidemic - unless car manufacturers are dragged - kicking and screaming - to invest in effective protection for these vehicles.

Samy Kamkar's Rolljam
SAMY KAMKAR'S ROLLJAM
Hacker and Security Expert Samy Kamkar
HACKER AND SECURITY GURU SAMY KAMKAR
Carmakers are well aware of these vulnerabilities. When thieves began swiping codes to keyless devices, manufacturers countered with a “rolling code generator”, which changes the code each time the car door – or garage door – is opened, rendering any stolen codes useless. At a hacker’s conference called “Defcon 2015”, serial hacker Samy Kamkar introduced Rolljam, a $30 device that can snatch and later broadcast the supposedly random codes emitted by a rolling code generator, which changes the code each time the car door – or garage door – is opened.

Click to Defcon 2015 - Samy Kamkar When the user triggers the car or garage door remote, two of the Rolljam’s three internal radios block the signal, and Rolljam records the code. When the user naturally tries again, a new code sent by the rolling generator opens the door. Since the blocked code was never received by the lock, it remains valid until it is broadcast later by the Rolljam, and opens the door for the thief. Although the hack is defeated if the codes expire quickly, it provided carmakers with a sobering taste of the future.

Geek War: Crooks vs. Carmakers

Click to Consumer Sentinel Network data book Based in Munich, Germany, ADAC is the world’s largest auto club. After conducting an attack to test the limits of this threat, club officials recently reported having successfully used this technique to breach 24 different model cars from 19 different manufacturers, including European cars like the Audi A3, A4, and A6, BMW 730d, and Opel Ampera, as well as models like the Lexus RX 450h, Ford Galaxy, Kia Optima, and Toyota Rav4. Only the BMW i3 partially resisted the attack; although the car couldn’t be opened, the ignition was started.

Click to 3DB Technologies A Swiss company called 3DB Technologies pioneered the research of this vulnerability. The company’s founder, Dr. Boris Danev, developed a deterrent called Proximity-Based Access Control, which can accurately determine the exact location of the fob and the vehicle. If the distance between the car and the fob is too great, the system will supposedly prevent the hack..

Click to 3DB Technologies Notwithstanding the system’s effectiveness in preventing remote thefts attributable to an amplified signal, automobile industry watchdogs have concluded that carmakers won't fund the protection until the problem significantly impacts profits. In this scenario, pundits suggested that insurers will serve as the squeaky wheel. As losses begin to pile up, and carriers hike premiums for unprotected vehicles, carmakers struggling to remain competitive will be forced to step to the plate. However, manufacturers won’t acknowledge the threat’s existence until confirmed and vetted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Click to 3DB Technologies
Hacking Device Acquired Overseas by NICB
HACKING DEVICE ACQUIRED OVERSEAS BY NICB
Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is the insurance industry’s research bulwark against insurance fraud and vehicle theft. Leveraging data analytics to investigate and plug security vulnerabilities, the NICB first warned about a suspected keyless entry access device in 2014. On December 7, 2016, NICB reported having acquired a rudimentary version of the device overseas, called a “relay attack unit”, possibly in either Germany, Eastern Europe or from a Lebanese company characterized as “a Radio Shack for car thieves”.

NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle
NICB PRESIDENT AND CEO JOE WEHRLE
NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer
NICB COO JIM SCHWEITZER
Partnering with CarMax to test it on 35 different makes and models of cars, SUVs, minivans and a pickup truck, NICB was able to open 19 (54 percent) of the vehicles and start and drive away 18 (51 percent) of them. Admitting that there was currently no effective way of preventing this kind of theft, NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle exclaimed “We’ve now seen for ourselves that these devices work.” Intimating that the ball is now in the carmakers court, NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer remarked, “Vehicles are a valuable commodity and thieves will continue to wage a tug of war with the manufacturers to find a way to steal them.”

It Gets Worse

Laptop connectred to a radio transmitter -SDR - can open car
LAPTOP & SDR CAN HACK VENICLE
Motivated hackers have since cobbled together a new threat. Instead of relaying the exploited signal of existing keyfobs, more sophisticated thieves can deploy a combination of technologies to launch a brute force attack that can unravel the security codes of many vehicles. By affixing a laptop or tablet to a radio transmitter (i.e. Software Defined Radio - or SDR), crooks don’t have to settle for whatever vehicles respond to an amplified signal, but can target a wish list of cars and trucks.

Securuty camera catches thief using device to open car
SECURUTY CAMERA CATCHES THIEF USING DEVICE TO OPEN CAR
By programming the laptop to cycle through millions of codes and boosting signals across a wide range of frequencies, they can hack Audis, Lexus, BMWs, or other vehicles equipped with keyless entry. While expanding a thief’s inventory, the hack is comparably deficient in two areas. It could take several hours to stumble on the unlocking code, while relaying an amplified signal takes seconds. Secondly, it can only provide access; it won’t start the vehicle.

Automotive security researchers anticipate that hackers will broaden the net by refining the search code algorithm, which will expedite the search. Carmakers will predictably respond with additional layers of complex encryption. This hi-tech potato sack race will continue ad infinitum.

FLPD: Protecting Your Ride

Debit Card Scam Evidently, our local crooks haven’t yet acquired the technical chops for this kind of breach, and have thus far limited their quarry to certain models of Infiniti that respond to an amplified signal boost. Gestal suggested that - if possible - Infiniti owners should park in a closed garage, not a driveway or in the street. When at home, Gestal said an owner might stash the keyfob in the freezer, which acts as a Faraday Cage - and blocks the signal. Unfortunately, doing so may damage the lithium batteries. According to standards set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, lithium batteries should be stored at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Click to Consumer Sentinel Network data book Scam Contact Some security researchers have suggested carrying the keyfob in a wallet or purse designed to thwart hacks of passports with radio-frequency ID (RFID) chips. Click to Consumer Sentinel Network data book Scam Contact Wrapping the keyfob in aluminum foil will also block the signal, although any opening will defeat the protection. Recently, several products have become available that were specifically designed to protect keyfobs (passports, bank cards, cell phones and other items with vulnerable chips) from errant signals, and provide a more practical solution. These portable faraday cages include a pouch called Fob Guard and a line of carryalls, cases and wallets made by “Silent Pocket”. While these products are marketed as effective protection, in the immortal words of Popeye, “You pays your money and takes your chances.”

2017 FLPD Security Update

Click to Fort Lauderdale Police Department On January 19, 2017, Gestal warned the Advisory Board about a recent surge of violent robberies in local shopping malls. Explaining that the robberies usually took place in the mall’s parking field and seemed to target women in their vehicles, he said that victims were often punched or doused with pepper spray. Gestal added that the hi-tech vehicular break-ins posed anongoing threat, and that a County-wide fraud ring was still scamming local seniors (see the January 2017 Galt Mile News or “New Local Scam Targets Seniors” on the Galt Mile website). Gestal closed with a plea, “If you take anything from these reports, it should be this: Please tell your neighbors that they must train themselves to be aware of their surroundings… and if they suspect something is wrong, don’t hesitate to call the police.”

 

On January 23, Gestal emailed the following security “tips” to the GMCA, which were in turn forwarded to member associations on the Galt Mile:

FYI, other cities have seen a trend with residents shopping at Publix and possibly being followed back to their residence where a minor car accident is staged. At this time the driver exits the vehicle and is unfortunately robbed of belongings. This can very easily happen along the Galt and any of its local businesses.

Another trend which seems to be making a re-appearance is bank follow outs. This is when a person of age withdraws money from their local bank and goes on to do some shopping and either leaves the cash in the car which gets burglarized or followed only to be victimized.

My tips to the residents for the first mentioned would be to remain in the car and immediately pick up their cell phone allowing the suspect to see you have a phone and call the police, DO NOT EXIT VEHICLE, if this is an honest accident the suspect will understand and remain on scene, if not they will hopefully leave.

Tip for the second mentioned would be to be aware of your surroundings when exiting the bank, do not leave cash in the vehicle, if you feel uncomfortable leaving the bank have an employee escort you out to your vehicle, or conduct your banking when you are in the company of another person.

Tom Gestal


The Rest of the Story

Robbery began at Plantation Publix
ROBBERY BEGAN AT PLANTATION PUBLIX
Gestal’s first anecdote mirrors an event that occurred on January 18, 2017 in Plantation, where a 73 year-old woman was robbed after shopping in the Publix at 6921 W. Broward Boulevard. Driving back to her home in El Dorado Estates at Northwest 69th Avenue, a security camera at the Guard Gate caught a Black Nissan Altima following her along the main thoroughfare. She pulled over after being deliberately rear-ended by the other car. As a woman who drove the second car approached while apologizing for the collision, the victim exited her vehicle. Suddenly, the other driver blasted her with pepper spray as two men exited the Altima, punched the victim and snatched her purse – containing $1,500 and credit cards - at gunpoint. The three crooks drove off with both cars.

Victim's Car rear-ended by Robbers' Altima
VICTIM'S CAR REAR-ENDED BY ROBBERS' ALTIMA
The robbery provoked a semi-viral social media reaction. It was one of four incidents since January 15 in which the victims were punched and accosted with pepper spray, guns, or both – after shopping at one of several Publix Supermarkets in Plantation. It also appears that Gestal’s familiarity with these cases is no coincidence, as similar incidents were reported in Dania Beach, Boca Raton and two in Fort Lauderdale. Typically targeting women, 8 of the 10 nocturnal robberies took place in a Publix parking lot.

Busted - Erica Makayla Abraham
ERICA MAKAYLA ABRAHAM - BUSTED
On Tuesday, January 24 – one day after Gestal delivered his warning to the Galt Mile, BSO Detectives and Federal Marshals arrested 18-year-old Fort Lauderdale High School student Erica Makayla Abraham and a 16-year old female accomplice in Oakland Park. After using the stolen credit card at the Pollo Tropical drive-thru, Abraham was recognized by a former classmate employed at the restaurant. Police took a third suspect into custody on January 27 – Alex Abraham – Erica Abraham’s 15 year-old brother. While the three suspects were identified by several victims, others claimed their attackers were older. Although police believe the busts may end the Plantation attacks, they are uncertain about their impact in Boca Raton – and Fort Lauderdale.

Debit Card Scam While apprising our associations about evolving neighborhood crime threats, our FLPD liaisons also help incorporate Advisory Board security concerns into Police District 1 action plans. Based on member feedback, enforcement was enhanced at the Oakland Park Boulevard beach access, across A1A at Miles Corner, near the Galt Mile Library – and shifts as required to quash newly reported neighborhood rat nests. Gestal helped realize an increase in one- and two-officer foot patrols and Brandner serves on the Galt Mile security patrol team. For helping to keep our families safe, we owe these guys a debt of gratitude.


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach Fix; Homeless; Sea Turtles; Save H2O & Library Fast Lane

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca January 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
February 12, 2017 - In his January / February 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca thanks officials in the County’s Natural Resources Division for their relentless pursuit of the Segment II beach renourishment, welcomes $8 million awarded by HUD to fund 19 projects for which ending homelessness is a shared objective, observes that the 2016 Sea Turtle nesting season was earmarked by an unprecedented number of Loggerhead, Green Turtle and Leatherback nests, credits a collaboration among stakeholders in the Broward Water Partnership with new conservation measures, and applauds “Fast Lane”, an expedited information check-out feature of the Broward Library’s new service model.

Double-Edged Nesting Stats

Click to FWC Marine Turtle Web Site Although applauded by LaMarca, the record 3,567 nests that peppered the Broward coast during the last nesting season doesn't signify a recovery of Florida’s five species of Sea Turtle, nor the three federally protected species that predominate Broward’s nesting census. The unprecedented 2016 total is due to an explosive jump in Loggerhead nests, which exceeded last year’s count by 659 events, and its 5-year annual Broward average by 448 nests. Nesting events tallied by Nova students for the other two species - Leatherbacks and Green Turtles, actually declined compared to 2015, tumbling below their 5-year averages.

Leatherback Sea Turtle on Pompano Beach
LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE ON POMPANO BEACH
While the 27 Leatherback nests were fewer than last year's total of 35, and slightly less than the 33 averaged seasonally in Broward County for the past 5 years, the 137 Green Turtle nests were 151 less than their 288-nest 5-year average, and 326 fewer than their near record 463-nest 2015 output. Sea Turtle Gurus at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) claim that the declines were expected since annual fluctuations are consistent with the cyclic nesting patterns exhibited by Sea Turtles. FWC is optimistic, as long-term trends show an exponential increase in nest numbers since monitoring began.

FWC spokesperson Katie Purcell
FWC SPOKESPERSON
KATIE PURCELL
Too Hot for Sea Turtle Nests
TOO HOT FOR SEA TURTLE NESTS
Local Sea Turtle aficionados are less optimistic than FWC, expresg confusion about the catastrophic failure rate suffered by all three nesting species. While 85 – 90 percent of the Sea Turtle eggs ordinarily yield live hatchlings, only 40% of the eggs hatched in 2016. Evidently, the record-breaking high temperatures that roasted much of the U.S throughout the summer also cooked the eggs. Although Sea Turtle eggs are extremely sensitive to heat, FWC hasn’t confirmed that the nests were devastated by the hot and dry weather. FWC spokesperson Katie Purcell announced that the commission plans to examine possible causes for the astronomical failure rate.

Nine Month Blackout

Beach Residents Discuss Safety Concerns
BEACH RESIDENTS DISCUSS SAFETY CONCERNS
Among the staunchest supporters of protecting the Sea Turtles that share our beach, Galt Mile residents spent $millions adapting association lighting plans to minimize illumination of nesting habitat – more than any other community in Fort Lauderdale. After 14 years of inconsistent code enforcement and capricious violations, worsening unintended consequences of the City’s poorly drafted 2003 Beach Lighting Ordinance have prompted City officials to finally acknowledge how the law fails to balance the needs of people with those of Sea Turtles.

Fort Lauderdale at Night - A1A Ghost Town
A1A AT NIGHT - FORT LAUDERDALE GHOST TOWN
A beach lighting policy that forced the entire beach area into darkness for 75% of the year was fatally crippling the economic viability of the City’s world-renowned beach neighborhood, detouring angry tourists to Palm Beach and Daytona, imperiling drivers and pedestrians along A1A and opening serious security and safety breaches in residential coastal communities. In beachfront hotels, management officials annually report complaints by hundreds of visiting tourists that “fear of crosg the street” would preclude their return.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler
MAYOR JACK SEILER
Although equally frightened, locals who live or work in neighborhoods that devolved into Ghost Towns don’t have the option of not returning. As observed by Mayor Jack Seiler, “The problem is there’s a safety issue down there. It’s gotten too dark. As much as I think every one of us has been very involved in trying to protect the sea turtles, you can’t do that at the expense of human life. You’ve got traffic, pedestrian issues, cycling issues.” When originally enacted in 2003, Florida Fish & Wildlife officials assured City Commissioners that lighting prohibitions would never impact beachfront residents and merchants, given the FWC policy of diterring the nests and moving the eggs to a vacant “recipient” beach.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Sea Turtle Program - Click to Web Site When FWC reversed the policy in 2005, and ruled that the nests must be maintained at their original sites, they advised beachfront homeowners and merchants to affix simple shields on lamps illuminating the beach, which they could order free of charge from the FWC website. A year later, FWC notified Fort Lauderdale code enforcement to violate lamps fitted with the FWC shields, citing them as insufficient, followed by a notice that beaches along with adjacent roadways and neighborhoods should be “blacked out” during the nine-month Sea Turtle nesting season.

HCP: Balance the Needs of Sea Turtles and People

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
ce consequences of the 2003 ordinance have since mushroomed into significant threats, officials plan to fashion a new policy that promotes Sea Turtle survival without crippling the City or endangering its residents. To that end, City Manager Lee Feldman suggested creating a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), a Federal designation that enables local jurisdictions to mitigate the adverse consequences of protecting a threatened or endangered species. After a recent meeting with consultants experienced in customizing these federal protocols, City officials, environmentalists from Florida Fish and Wildlife, and local stakeholders agreed that an HCP would protect our Sea Turtles while relieving the burden on residents, businesses and visiting tourists.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Program - Sea Turtles - Click to Web Site Sea Turtle nests would be carefully transferred from locations adjacent to busy residential and commercial neighborhoods to uninhabited stretches of beach. Hatchlings wouldn't be distracted by artificial lighting along the otherwise pristine shore, while roadways, shops and homes along the original site could be safely illuminated. Although the permitting process is expected to take several years, it would help guarantee the future of Fort Lauderdale’s tourism economy, make A1A safe for drivers and pedestrians, expedite the recovery of protected Sea Turtles and enable residents and visitors to use the city’s beaches past sundown.

If it strikes you that the HCP bears certain similarities to the FWC pre-2005 nesting policy, that’s because life is a funny old dog. After 14 years of playing “Where’s Waldo” with Code enforcement, and enduring a “Keep Out” beach policy after dark, we may once again be able to enjoy full time access to the most compelling feature of our home – the reason that many of us moved here. More to come! - For LaMarca’s January / February 2017 message to District 4 constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

January / February 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County:

Beach Renourishment Segment II Project Complete

Broward County Segment II Beach Renourishment Project
FINAL SITE OF SEGMENT II BEACH RENOURISHMENT
Broward County’s first large-scale beach nourishment project utilizing an inland sand source has been successfully completed. As of December 28th, 2016 all sand placement activities for the Segment II Shore Protection Project has been completed. In total, the project placed just under 1,000,000 tons of sand along 4.9 miles of beaches in portions of Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Fort Lauderdale. Additionally, 1.5 miles of protective sand dune habitat was created or restored, creating this critically important feature along approximately 70% of Broward County’s shoreline. The project was well executed, efficiently operated, in full compliance with environmental protections and regulatory requirements. With equal importance it was completed on-time and within budget.

Broward County Beach Administrator Nicole Sharp
BEACH ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
Natural Resources Division Director Dr. Jennifer Jurado
DIVISION DIRECTOR JENNIFER JURADO
This project, with 43,276 truckloads of sand, was the largest truck haul project in the State of Florida and possibly in the country. The contractor, Eastman Aggregates, is currently demobilizing from the project are, with final restoration of the Sunrise Boulevard access area by January 13, 2017. I extend my deep personal gratitude to our Broward County staff that worked diligently on this project for years, particularly Division Director Jennifer Jurado, Administrator Nicole Sharp and for many years Eric Myers. I want to also thank the Broward County residents for their patience and understanding of the importance of this project for our community.

$8 Million in Grants to Assist Homeless Population

Click to 'A Way Home' Broward County has been continuously working towards ending homelessness. Recently the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnerships was awarded a grant of more than $8 million by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the 2016 HUD Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition. Several projects will be funded that help fulfill Broward County’s goal and objectives in the “A Way Home” Plan to End Homelessness. This award will serve homeless adult and youth clients, including; individuals, families, veterans, those with mental, emotional and physical disabilities, those with substance abuse disorders, mothers and children including pregnant women, those who are “chronically” homeless and those who have co-occurring disorders.

Click to Broward Zero 2016 The HUD CoC Program award will fund 18 renewal projects and 1 new CoC Planning project providing Supportive Services, Homeless Management Information System Support, CoC Planning, Transitional Housing, Rapid Rehousing, and Permanent Supportive Housing. The projects provide 690 permanent, 112 rapid rehousing, and 25 transitional beds (827 beds total) with related supportive services to Broward's homeless population. Most importantly, these new funds will create 15 new permanent supportive housing beds for chronically homeless persons in partnership with Broward County Housing Authority and Broward Housing Solutions.

For more information, visit HIP's website and view the "A Way Home" Plan to End Homelessness.

Record Setting Sea Turtle Season

Click to Florida East Coast Railway Website Turtle nesting season came to an end on October 31st, 2016 and this year was officially marked as a record-breaking sea turtle nesting season in Broward County. Since 1981 the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program which is funded by Broward County and carried out by Nova Southeastern University has been counting nests and this year a total of 3,567 laid nests were counted. Loggerheads laid 3,400 nests, green turtles laid 137 nests, leatherbacks laid 27 nests and 3 additional nests were laid, but the species were unconfirmed.

Broward Sea Turtles
BROWARD SEA TURTLES
Although this year was a record breaking year for sea turtle nesting it is still imperative that Broward County residents continue to take the initiative to make our beaches an ideal habitat for sea turtles. There are many things that coastal residents of Broward County can do to help; specifically they can reduce the amount of artificial lighting directly on the beach. Reducing artificial lighting on the beach will make our beaches more helpful to nesting females and ensure that the hatchlings crawl towards the water upon emerging from their nests. Let’s continue to practice turtle-friendly lighting by turning off unnecessary lights, using red or amber LED bulbs, clog curtains or moving light sources away from windows and only lighting what is needed. Making these small changes can help to continue to preserve sea turtles habitat today and in future generations to come.

Save Water, Save Money and Save the Environment

Click to Conservation Pays Website Broward County recently approved 15 new 5-year agreements for partners in the Broward Water Partnership (BWP). The agreements are a collaboration between Broward County, utilities and local government that promotes water conservation. Since 2012, Broward residents, nonprofits and businesses have saved more than 1.3 billion gallons of water with rebates and devices through the Conservation Pays program. The BWP has also hosted several contests which have encouraged water conservation and provided prizes which include cash, fitness devices, irrigation system controllers, and a complete home retrofit with water and energy saving devices.

Be sure to check your eligibility for toilet rebates. Visit ConservationPays.com or call 800-270-9794 for complete details.

Library’s New “Fast Lane” Customer Experience Improvements

Click to Florida Animal Friend The Fast Lane at Broward County Libraries is a quick, easy way to check out items from the library. Fast Lane is part of Broward County Library's new service model, launched earlier this year that provides the community with longer service hours and more open days at library locations without any increase to the library's budget. Fast Lane also allows library staff to provide more one-on-one assistance in addition to making more materials and resources readily available to customers. You can also make Fast Lane even easier by downloading the Broward County Library WoW app on your phone and table, which will allow you to use it as a virtual library card. To download the BCL WoW app please visit our Mobile Apps web page and download it now.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Galleria || || Galt A1A

Click to Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts March/April 2017 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
March 7, 2017 - In his March/April 2017 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts anticipates another attempt by Galleria developers to placate leery City planners, provides access to newly mandated seawall requirements, opposes a vacation rental bill by State lawmakers that seeks to usurp the right of City residents to govern themselves, discuses a plan to decrease the number of pedestrians annually flattened by motoring tourists, reviews the progress of A1A renovations along the Galt Mile, provides a half dozen marginally useful City telephone numbers, applauds a mobile showers program for the homeless, offers access to useful online police data, describes Symphony at the Waterways - a recently opened high-end-senior living facility, welcomes constituent participation in a spectrum of parks programs, thanks constituents for marshalling through the Segment II beach renourishment, extolls employee happy talk on You Tube, notes a libretto of accrued City accolades, updates our municipal calendar, and volunteers his participation with constituent HOA agendas.

Galleria Live: Second Bite at the Apple

Galleria Mall Entrance
GALLERIA MALL ENTRANCE
Hoping to dodge the zoning wrath unleashed on Bahia Mar for planned skyscrapers perceived as incompatible with their beachfront locale, the developers of Live Galleria - led by FLL Development Enterprise - stripped away 390 of the 1640 residential units they originally planned to build for $1 billion. They also scrapped a proposed 15-story office building and a 165-room hotel while clipping 18 stories from a projected 45-story tower.

Galleria Development
GALLERIA DEVELOPMENT
To win Planning Board approval for a hand-tailored zoning designation, they would have to deliver infrastructure improvements to mitigate an ever-increasing threat of flooding, accommodate the additional traffic, create mall enhancements to attract more upscale merchants, and provide surrounding communities with a gift basket of public amenities.

Galleria Rendering
GALLERIA RENDERING
While scaling back the scope of work, developers agreed to upgrade the drainage pipes, add a lift station, raise some roads to lessen flooding impacts, provide 1360 new garaged parking spaces, cushion some traffic impacts (better signal timing, new turn lanes), and add a new trolley service to the beach. For the adjacent neighborhoods, developers would snake a 1.25-mile fitness track through the property, cover the mall's roof with a park, and pepper Sunrise Boulevard with pedestrian enhancements. When vetted by the City Planning Board on October 19, 2016, the plan went over like a lead balloon - and was derailed by a 6 - 2 vote.

Planning Board Chair Leo Hansen
PLANNING BOARD CHAIR LEO HANSEN
While the proposed infrastructure improvements were a step in the right direction, planning officials remained concerned about roadway congestion, whether three towers included in the seven new buildings were still too tall, and most importantly, they openly disparaged the planned public amenities. In short, they didn't believe that describing a skinny path around the mall as a “fitness track” would enhance its value as a destination site, nor could they envision local residents spending recreational time on the Galleria roof. As observed by Planning Board chair Leo Hansen, “There was still no compelling reason to go around the perimeter of Galleria. I didn’t see that as being beneficial to the community.”

Unless these shortfalls are addressed at the March meeting mentioned by Roberts, Galleria will continue deteriorate - and lose ground as a special shopping venue. Also cloaked in his March newsletter is an alarming statutory threat to local neighborhoods - a legislative attempt to divest local governments of their right to home rule

Vacation Rentals: State Mandate vs. Home Rule

Click Here to Airbnb While short-term vacation rentals can be a win-win for visiting tourists and local landlords, if they aren’t properly regulated, they can undermine the character (and home values) in a neighborhood, increase the tax burden on local residents, and endanger prospective tenants. While few homeowners will complain if the Brady Bunch rents the property next door for the season, they will understandably object if the same property is used by the “Alien Mushrooms” biker gang as a substation for “Crank” deliveries.

Tallahassee Regulatory Tug-of-War
TALLAHASSEE REGULATORY TUG-OF-WAR
The vacation rental market has long contributed to the State's tourism economy, although several sea changes during the past decade triggered a growing controversy. When upside down mortgages rendered families insolvent during the recession, speculators who swooped in to graze on hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes either flipped selected properties or repeatedly rented them out. It was no coincidence that these rentals expanded epidemically near popular vacation sites like Walt Disney World and along coastal tourism Meccas like Miami and Fort Lauderdale. This overnight proliferation of homes in residential neighborhoods that functionally serve as commercial properties set the stage for a regulatory tug-of-war in Tallahassee.

Tenants from Hell Trash Rental
TENANTS FROM HELL TRASH RENTAL
Some of the new landlords applied for state and local lodging licenses although many did not. Local taxes collected from tourists by hotels, bed & breakfasts or vacation rentals support the maintenance of roads & infrastructure - and help fund local public services (i.e. police, fire, EMS, etc.) - which are used by millions of visiting tourists each year. Since these expenses are otherwise funded with taxpayer dollars, when landlords who operate functionally commercial properties fail to collect sales and “tourism” taxes (or pocket those revenues), you pay the resulting shortfall.

Zoning laws ordinarily protect home values by preserving the character of residential neighborhoods; and prohibiting homeowners from turning adjacent properties into industrial or commercial venues. In contrast, vacation rental advocates claim that homeowners have the right to use their properties as they see fit. By operating transient motels as vacation rentals, speculators dodge compliance with these zoning laws to make a fast buck - at the expense of nearby home values.

The Online Marketplace

Click Here to Airbnb Click Here to HomeAway While Florida lawmakers struggled to balance the right of investors to turn a profit, the right of homeowners to protect neighborhood home values, and the right of local governments to regulate local businesses - the playing field was turned on its head by the emergence of Airbnb, HomeAway and other “sharing” services that enable any homeowner to list a property - or a spare bedroom - on the internet. Since the listing companies’ online rental transactions are nearly impossible to track, speculators that operate “below the radar” often ignore licensing requirements and dodge compliance with local laws - frustrating local governments - and taxpayers forced to pick up the fiscal slack.

David Hantman - global public policy
DAVID HANTMAN - GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY
Kim Rubey - Airbnb Communication
KIM RUBEY
AIRBNB COMMUNICATIONS
As local regulations increasingly threatened future profits, Airbnb raided Yahoo to accrue lobbying muscle. To run communications, they hired DC insider Kim Rubey, Senator John Edwards former press secretary. Next, they appointed David Hantman as head of global public policy. In jurisdictions where the company was violating an ordinance, Hantman was charged with changing the law. If unable to bring local officials to an “accommodation”, he would seek to preempt their regulatory authority. To accomplish this, he would also have to fend off the hospitality industry. On Hantman’s recommendation, Airbnb launched a massive lobbying campaign to quash impeding local regulations and make the company’s transactions legal.

Former Statehouse Representative Michael Horner
FORMER REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL HORNER
The $32 billion vacation rental goliath dispatched lobbyists in key markets to shield its business model from meddlesome local regulations. Amid a blizzard of Airbnb legal actions against Florida jurisdictions perceived as “uncooperative”, former Statehouse Representative Michael Horner (R - Kissimmee) spearheaded company plans to mute local governments, filing House Bill 883. Enacted on June 2, 2011, the law preempted cities and counties from prohibiting or regulating short term rentals. As a concession to thousands of angry homeowners and the Florida League of Cities, Horner agreed to grandfather local regulations adopted prior to June 1, 2011.

In lieu of local oversight, Horner’s legislation charged the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) with regulating vacation rentals - while cynically neglecting to provide the agency with the required resources. As a result, the DBPR simply ignored the statutory mandate - and did nothing. Horner later resigned following discovery of his name on the client list of an Orange County brothel.

The Hospitality Industry Weighs In

New York State AG Eric Schneiderman Airbnb Report Suddenly, hotel industry lobbyists awoke to the reality that the appeal of listing services wasn’t limited to couch-surfing deadbeats who would never book a hotel room, given that Airbnb’s millions of rental listings include thousands of luxury properties. A recent report by Morgan Stanley estimates that Airbnb currently occupies about 4 percent of traditional hotel demand, and anticipates prospective growth to 6 percent by 2018; more than 100 million U.S. and European room nights clocked by Airbnb in 2016 could mushroom to 245 million in 2018.

The Hotel industry opposed neutering the right of local governments to regulate Airbnb, since it crippled their capacity to collect taxes due on thousands of transient rentals, providing its online competition with an unfair – and illegal – advantage. As politics makes strange bedfellows, local governments and angry homeowners stumbled on an ally with sufficient resources to arm-wrestle the internet travel juggernaut.

American Hotel and Lodging Association To help level the playing field, the hotel industry jumped on a critical vulnerability of the online marketplace. In scores of jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad, a huge number of Airbnb listings violated local “block-busting” laws that prohibit residential homeowners from turning their apartments or homes into transient motels to surreptitiously crash local property values (and shrink developer acquisition costs). Although the company’s threat to local home values wasn’t a precursor to development, it was nonetheless illegal. While focusing attention on Airbnb’s legal missteps and tax violations in scores of communities, the global hotel industry took a page from its competitor’s playbook - and launched related lawsuits in dozens of domestic and international markets where Airbnb does business.

Former State Senator John Thrasher
FORMER STATE SENATOR JOHN THRASHER
Following a statewide outcry by local governments, in 2014, the legislature passed Senate Bill 356, which eased the broad state preemption on regulation of vacation rentals, allowing local governments to regulate short-term rentals through life safety and building codes, but Section 509.032(7), Florida Statutes, preserved the prohibition on local governments against regulating the duration and frequency of these rentals, or enforcing zoning laws that bar the commercialization of residential neighborhoods.

Former State Senator Jeremy Ring
FORMER STATE SENATOR JEREMY RING
Seeking to re-empower local governments and salvage home values without capsizing the $31 billion rental market, Senate sponsor John Thrasher (R – St. Augustine) explained “I’m not trying to put vacation rentals out of business; nobody is. It’s too valuable to our economy. We just want a balance of regulations between the rights of the people who have them and the rights of the people who live around them.” Its South Florida impact was expressed by former Senator Jeremy Ring (D - Parkland) - a local co-sponsor, “Sometimes we don’t know the consequences until it’s in our face. We shouldn’t be telling the cities of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale how to handle their vacation rentals. Let the residents of the cities make that decision, it’s their homes, it’s their communities.”

The Statutory amendment - aptly named “home rule” - enabled local jurisdictions to enforce noise, parking and signage regulations disallowed for vacation rentals in the earlier State law - although enforced elsewhere in local residential and commercial neighborhoods. Cities could finally deter groups of young sociopaths from parking their cars and their garbage - on the front lawn, monkey-wrench week-long 24-hour parties on otherwise quiet streets, and require landlords to register vacation properties, insuring that Transient Rental and sales tax revenues are collected and remitted.

Bad Blood Spreads

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN
Faulting Airbnb’s business model for lost tax revenues, host zoning violations, and sliding home values in previously stable neighborhoods, governments in major markets went ballistic. On May 1, 2016, a German court banned Airbnb listings in Berlin, a top European travel destination, threatening stiff fines of up to 100,000 Euros. Earlier, the company spent $8 million to fend off a similar prohibition in San Francisco, the company’s corporate headquarters. As of December 2016, the city has issued $1.19 million in fines to hosts for illegally renting unregistered properties. Listing companies are also responsible for affordable housing shortages both here and abroad, as otherwise rentable apartments are illegally morphed into year-round motels. Airbnb has also been under siege in Quebec, Chattanooga, Austin and elsewhere. They’ve been challenged abroad in Australia, Ireland, Spain and Israel.

New York State AG Eric Schneiderman Airbnb Report One month after the Berlin ruling, in June, 2016, New York State lawmakers passed a ban against the type of short-term rentals that comprise most of Airbnb’s New York City listings. To secure a subpoena, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman compiled a report disclosing how more than 72% of Airbnb rentals in New York City violated state law, 66% of Airbnb revenue comes from illegal units, 38% of the fees Airbnb received in 2013 were from units illegally converted from long-term housing and the tax liability between 2010 and 2014 is at least $33.5 million.

New York State Senator Liz Krueger
NEW YORK STATE SENATOR LIZ KRUEGER
Schneidermann demonstrated that many of the listings weren’t homes occupied by their owners – as repeatedly asserted by Airbnb – but properties acquired solely for commercial purposes, and include properties that were leased or sublet – often without the owner’s permission or knowledge. New York State Senator Liz Krueger commented “It is no wonder that Airbnb fought to keep this data in the dark. The picture it paints is clear: nearly three quarters of Airbnb’s New York rentals are illegal, and commercial operators account for a large portion of its business.”

Airbnb Bites Backs

Florida Senator Greg Steube
FLORIDA SENATOR GREG STEUBE
In Florida, listing companies threw additional $millions at renewing the 2011 Statutory prohibitions against local interference with their white hot business models. Florida lawmakers generally go berserk when Congress preempts their authority to address State issues, citing Home Rule as a far more effective remedy. However, for a sawbuck at campaign time, those same lawmakers will gladly handcuff every Florida City and County to flesh out their benefactor’s bottom line.

Statehouse Representative Mike LaRosa
STATEHOUSE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE LAROSA
On December 16, 2016, State Senator Greg Steube (R - Sarasota) filed Senate Bill 188. On January 24, 2017, Statehouse Representative Mike LaRosa (R - St Cloud) filed companion bill HB 425 in the lower chamber. In short, the bills would once again bar local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals. Both lawmakers represent districts with thousands of vacation rentals that cater to Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. LaRosa, an Osceola realtor who rents these properties, replaced Mike Horner following his resignation. Steube operates short-term rental properties.

Click Here to Moveon.Org SB 188 Petition Steube told reporters that he decided to file his preemption bill while shopping with his wife for a Flagler Beach home in a residential neighborhood that he planned to use as a vacation rental, until informed of a local prohibition against short-term rentals. When his prospective future neighbors learned of Steube’s bill, they started an online petition entitled “Stop Florida SB 188”, which accrued 529 local signatures by March 21 on a website aptly named “moveon.org”.

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
At the March 6, 2017 GMCA Presidents Council meeting, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts expressed trepidations about Steube’s bill, describing how special interests in Tallahassee are once again attempting to usurp the right of city residents to govern themselves in order to circumvent local laws that protect home values. Roberts also warned that Steube’s bill would thwart the collection of transient rental taxes, shifting the burden to local taxpayers.

Click Here to Florida League of Cities Framing its rationale for opposing bills that block city residents from protecting their neighborhoods, The Florida League of Cities warns, “Short-term rentals are causing problems in many cities around the state by creating commercial activity in residential areas (mini-hotels in neighborhoods). Problems include noise, inadequate parking, infrastructure intended for residential use is now being used on a commercial scale, and decreased property values in neighborhoods taken over by vacation rentals.”

In the Crosshairs: Florida Associations

Association Advocate Donna Berger
ASSOCIATION ADVOCATE DONNA BERGER
Concerned about the impact of these bills, Association Advocates perceive an impending threat to common interest communities. State law defines “transient vacation rentals” as any unit or group of units in a Condominium, Cooperative, or collectively owned 1, 2, 3 and 4 family homes that are leased 3 or more times annually for terms of 30 days or less. While most associations enforce rental restrictions mandated in their governing documents, renowned association advocate Donna Berger observed that many online listing agreements are transacted without a formal lease and are extremely short-term, rendering them unnoticeable or unpreventable. Berger advises associations to fortify their rental restrictions by specifying Airbnb-style rentals, and educate unit owners about how these rentals expose them to certain tax liabilities, life safety code violations and mortgage violations while impairing unit values.

Click Here to Jackson Law Group Noting how listing companies have funded endless lawsuits against any City or County with a local ordinance that regulates the vacation rental industry, the Jackson Law Group disclosed another threat to associations embedded in Steube’s bill. Specifically, “whether a vacation rental company might attempt to challenge rental restrictions in a community association’s governing document as an impermissible ‘local law, ordinance, or regulation’ under the new law.” The assessment concludes with an unsettling observation, “Given the economic incentives, such a challenge would appear to be inevitable.” If actualized, association advocates surmise that Florida associations could devolve overnight into third tier transient motels.

Representatives David Richardson
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID RICHARDSON
Representatives George Moraitis
REPRESENTATIVES GEORGE MORAITIS
With the State’s primary economic engine in play - tourism - lawmakers from two key Florida tourist markets decided to flip the script. Like Steube and LaRosa, Representatives David Richardson (D - Miami Beach) and George Moraitis (R - Fort Lauderdale) represent districts rife with vacation rentals. All four lawmakers have observed how the problems differ significantly in a wide variety of Florida jurisdictions. Unlike Steube and LaRosa, Richardson and Moraitis believe that local governments are better equipped to address a conflict in their own back yards than a one-size-fits-all edict from Tallahassee.

Senator Kevin Rader
SENATOR KEVIN RADER
Tallahassee
TALLAHASSEE
On December 2, 2016, Richardson and Moraitis filed House Bill 6003, which would amend Section 509.032, Florida Statutes, by eliminating the state preemption completely. On March 2, 2017, Senator Kevin Rader (D - Boca Raton) filed Senate Bill 1516, companion to the House bill. If these bills pass, the residents of every Florida community will decide how to balance the needs of local homeowners, visitors, investors, the hospitality industry and the online travel industry. As each of these bills funnel through a legislative gauntlet of vetting committees, we will keep you posted. For Commissioner Roberts March / April 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Click to Galleria
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
GALLERIA MALL REDEVELOPMENT: Neighborhood compatibility and ID zoning discussions continue between the developer and several neighborhoods. Staff is also facilitating a potential developer’s agreement. It appears as if this issue may be brought before the Commission for resolution in March. We will keep you advised.

Click to International Organization for Standardization ENFORCEMENT OF SEAWALL ORDINANCE: A “Frequently Asked Questions” document is now available online to answer some questions about receiving a citation under the ordinance and your responsibilities as a property owner. Please see http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/seawall.

Click to International Organization for Standardization VACATION RENTALS: State Senator Greg Steube (R - Dist. 23) has introduced SB 188 to prohibit local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals. The City opposes this bill, as does the Florida League of Cities (Mayor Seiler is on this board). Please communicate your position to your State House and Senate members.

Click to Vision Zero Fort Lauderdale VISION ZERO BUS BENCH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN: Since the adoption of Vision Zero Fort Lauderdale by the Commission in November 2015, staff and partners have been working together to implement initial steps while developing the 5 year Strategic Action Plan to chart the path of comprehensive efforts toward a vision of zero fatalities and serious injuries. Part of that campaign involves the utilization of advertising on bus benches to spread awareness through messaging of safe behaviors and Vision Zero across the City. The first phase of the campaign, installed last month, includes messaging on safe behaviors such as “Slow Down,” “Cross at Crosswalks,” and “Stop Texting.” There are 13 locations distributed across the City targeting common behaviors that have contributed to crashes at those locations. Transportation and Mobility, Public Affairs and Information Technology Services staff worked together to develop this campaign that uses crash data from the last five years to identify concentrations of high crashes near available advertising bus benches managed by Gold Coast Bench. The key contributing behaviors of crashes surrounding each of those available benches were identified and messaging was developed to best target each of those hot spot locations.

Click to International Organization for Standardization CONSTRUCTION ON STATE ROAD A1A BETWEEN OAKLAND PARK BOULEVARD AND FLAMINGO AVENUE: The $9.3 million project is schedule to be completed this summer. Work includes repaving four vehicle lanes and two bicycle lanes, upgrading sidewalks and ramps, improving drainage, upgrading some intersections with mast arm traffic signals, countdown timers for pedestrian signals, upgrading signs and pavement markings, and installing adjustable street lighting that is sea-turtle friendly during nesting season, among other improvements. Until then, access from northbound Galt Ocean Drive to A1A will be restricted through March. Motorists can access A1A via Northeast 41st, 36th and 35th streets. Meanwhile, northbound A1A traffic is shifted slightly west toward the center of the road and southbound traffic will remain on the west side of the road through March.

Click to International Organization for Standardization CITY CONTACT NUMBERS TO KEEP HANDY: We receive many calls from neighbors who need to report findings for such things as code issues, illegal vacation rentals, legal vacation rentals that get out of hand, water is turned off, question about your water bill, prowler in the neighborhood, etc. Many call during the evening or weekend, and by the time my office can get back with you, it could be 2-3 days old. Below are numbers you can call 24/7 to report. Your concern is logged and given a tracking number as soon as you call the number. You can still call my office, but these numbers can get you there quicker!

Live Fresh Mobile Shower Truck
LIVE FRESH MOBILE SHOWER TRUCK
GROUPS BEGIN PROGRAM TO OFFER MOBILE SHOWERS TO HOMELESS IN BROWARD: It is not a cure of the bigger problem, but organizers of Broward’s first mobile shower program say a little bit of hot water will at least make the homeless feel better. A trailer is equipped with six stalls — each with a sink, toilet and shower — to allow the homeless daily showers. There also will be donations of toothbrushes and toiletries on site, and even clean clothes. The initiative, aimed at raising the self-esteem of the homeless, was organized through Live Fresh Inc., an organization that created a mobile shower program last year in Palm Beach County, and Broward’s HOPE South Florida, a Christian-based nonprofit that provides assistance to the homeless. The mobile showers will be set up at HOPE feeding sites at churches in Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The trailer is equipped with a hot water heater and propane tanks and can run between 30 to 35 showers if no running water is available. If water is available at a church, organizers just attach a hose to hook into water and sewer lines. That number excludes the homeless in shelters or staying with friends or relatives. The Broward project is funded with a $50,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

Click to Socrata Data FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE DATA NOW ONLINE: Thanks to The Fort Lauderdale Police Department participating residents and staff, anyone with an internet connection can now access, download, and review information about Arrests, Incidents, Calls for Services, Citations, Accidents and Employees in our city. Check the full catalog out here: https://fortlauderdale.data.socrata.com/reports/Data-Catalogs-1

Click to Symphony at the Waterways SYMPHONY AT THE WATERWAYS OFFERS A REFRESHING LIFESTYLE FOR SENIOR RESIDENTS AT FORT LAUDERDALE’S INTRACOASTAL: The Mayor, Commissioner McKenzie and I recently attended the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for the Symphony at the Waterways, which opened its doors to the senior community on December 7, 2016. Located at 3001 E. Oakland Boulevard, the community offers independent, assisted living and memory care assistance. Symphony’s goal is for seniors to continue the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to and more. Symphony is conveniently located at the Intracoastal in the same location as the old and favorite Yesterday’s restaurant. So far, residents have enjoyed Fort Lauderdale’s annual Winterfest Boat Parade and exercise classes on the dockside, and cultural outings to local museums, parks and theater. Lloyd Fossey, a world experienced chef, was hired to provide excellent cuisine with a royal flair for the residents. His five-star experience includes the British Royal family, Margaret Thatcher, multiple embassies, and South American restaurants.

Click to International Organization for Standardization SPECIAL EVENTS AND PROGRAMS: You can go to http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-recreation to check out the following: park locator, marinas, municipal cemetaries, the War Memorial Auditorium, park rangers, park rules, doggie guide, rental information, special events – as well as many programs such as aquatics, athletics, classes/programs, online registration, swim team/lessons and tennis . Check out our Parks and Recreation today – they have something just for you!!

ON A POSITIVE NOTE

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment Sand hauling for beach renourishment from Terramar Street north to approximately N.E. 16th Street was recently completed. The contractor is currently demobilizing and restoring the knee wall that was removed for access, as well as removing all of the equipment from the beach. The purpose of the renourishment project is to reconstruct areas of the eroded beach and increase storm protection to upland development along portions of the shoreline. Residents living near the entry points for trucks loaded with sand graciously endured noise and truck traffic during the renourishment. As a result, everyone can now enjoy the beautiful expanded beach! Thank you to our neighbors!

  • Fort Lauderdale Happy Employees Check out the Parks & Rec’s new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYIY3GczcwA – Staff always has that feeling to make our neighbors happy! The City of Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Department builds community each day by providing happy and healthy experiences for our neighbors with hardworking, dedicated employees.

  • Fort Lauderdale Accolades Fort Lauderdale has received many accolades in the past few years. Go to http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/government/awards-and-recognition to find over 70 national recognitions making our City the best place to work, live and play!

DATES TO CALENDAR:

  • 3/06/17: Pre-agenda Meeting – Beach Community Center, 6 pm

  • 3/07/17: Commission Meetings

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 3/10/17: Painting of the Saint Patrick’s Day Ceremonial Green Stripe, 4pm, Huizenga Plaza

  • 3/11/17: St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, 10 am, Las Olas Blvd.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Click Here to Fitch & Associates March 18, 2017 - In 2005, Broward County implemented a plan entitled “A Way Home: Broward County, Florida’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness”. Blending science and urban legend with untested theories about the root causes of homelessness, the plan presupposed that sane, well-adjusted people lived in homes. It therefore stood to reason that homeless people are afflicted with a condition that somehow undermines this instinct. They were either short-changed by Mother Nature, battered by society, emotionally disturbed, hopelessly addicted to drugs and/or alcohol or plagued by family issues.

Plan authors inferred that housingg homeless persons stricken with these medical or social impediments was a waste of resources, as they would invariably return to the streets unless first divested of these “burdens”. Supported by the County’s 31 municipalities and mirrored in jurisdictions across the country, the Broward plan was loosely based on cultivating “housing readiness” in people experiencing homelessness.

Homeless persons would have to earn an opportunity to leave the streets by meeting a series of benchmarks drawn from an initial diagnostic assessment, stereotypical sociopathy and caseworker impressions. Medical problems (including addiction) would have to be cured or under treatment, family issues would have to be addressed in therapy sessions while mandated seminars would promote job skills, hygiene and teach rudimentary home budgeting.

Click Here to Broward Partnership for the Homeless Initiative To qualify for housing, homeless candidates who lacked the funds for a hot dog would have to somehow travel between various County locations to undergo an extended period of treatment and counseling and attend classes while being bounced from shelter to shelter and living on the streets. Not exactly a cakewalk. Although program proponents claimed that the exigent prerequisites enhanced each candidate’s prospects for success, the vast majority of candidates skated soon after confronting this daunting regimen. Enigmatically, the program packaged impractical and inconsistent metrics in a state-of-the-art envelope.

Homeless Assistance Center
HOMELESS ASSISTANCE CENTER
The Broward Partnership for the Homeless Initiative (BPHI) maintains a 230-bed Homeless Assistance Center on its Huizenga Campus in Fort Lauderdale. This brick and mortar flagship ranks among the top homeless intervention facilities in the State of Florida, annually providing short-term housing, Merrie Melodies health care, education and solution based services to more than 1,300 men, women and families with children.

In contrast, the conceptual basis for Broward’s homeless program featured the scientific grounding of a “Merrie Melodies” Saturday morning cartoon. Notwithstanding its limited value as a safety net, the program’s overall impact on homelessness was negligible.

Feds Fix a Broken Law

Click to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act web page In 2009, Congress passed a series of laws that precipitated a nationwide sea change in local homeless assistance programs. On February 17, 2009, former President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which included $1.5 billion for a Homelessness Prevention Fund. Entitled the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (RP), funding is provided to state housing authorities & related agencies, and then distributed to cities, counties, local charities and non-profits. Local grantee jurisdictions include Broward County and the Cities of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Sunrise and Hollywood.

Click to Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program RP triggered a 180-degree reversal in how jurisdictions would address homeless populations. Instead of linking eligibility for housing candidates to their prospects for a successful recovery, this program prioritizes eligibility for homeless veterans and the chronic homeless most “at risk” for dying on the street. The new protocol cuts to the chase - and places homeless people in homes - a safe environment - prior to helping them reassert control over their lives. Leery Homeless Advocates who initially disparaged the program have since become staunch supporters.

Click Here to Mayors Challenge Using Federal Recovery Act (ARRA) resources to house the homeless, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Programs in Broward and Fort Lauderdale also assist individuals and families facing eviction, foreclosure, or otherwise at risk for becoming homeless. Intended to target “individuals and families who would be homeless but for this assistance,” program funds are applicable to short-term (up to 3 months) or medium-term (up to 18 months) rental deficits, vouchers for motels or hotels, housing relocation and stabilization services. Once a beneficiary is off the street, the program mitigates traditional recovery pitfalls - offering assistance with mediation & legal representation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving costs, and case management. If a beneficiary finds work or receives benefits, 30 percent of the income is allocated to program expenses.

Enter: The HEARTH Act

Click to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act On May 20, 2009, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act became law, consolidating three separate homeless assistance programs administered by HUD under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act into a single grant program. The first Congressional attempt to directly address homelessness was the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, a hodgepodge of 15 different programs that was subsequently amended in conjunction with the evolution of new research. The HEARTH Act codifies in law the Continuum of Care (CoC) planning process, which facilitates HUD’s assistance to the homeless by providing greater coordination in responding to their needs. The regulations that currently expedite housing placement in Broward and Fort Lauderdale were promulgated by HUD - as mandated in The HEARTH Act.

Click Here to Mayors Challenge Click Here to Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act Financial aid that flows from the new federal programs is meant to be immediate, as expenditure deadlines are defined in the legislation. For example, if local homeless assistance programs want federal Homelessness Prevention (RP) resources, they must submit plans to expeditiously house homeless individuals and families, and assist those at risk for log their homes. Once the RP grant agreement is signed by HUD, grantees must minimally disburse 60 percent of the stimulus funds within the first two years and the entire allocation within three years.

Click to 'A Way Home' To seamlessly access the federal feedbag dedicated to this new strategy, in 2013, Broward County finally revised “A Way Home: Broward County, Florida’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness”, replacing the housing eligibility gauntlet with a “Housing First” approach. Using Federal Grant funds, the County began by placing the chronic homeless in Housing Authority apartments, along with furnishings, amenities and regular visits by case workers. Federal funds awarded to similar programs in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Sunrise and other Broward municipalities have also housed scores of homeless individuals, families, veterans, single mothers or fathers (including pregnant women), people with mental, emotional and physical disabilities, substance abuse disorders, and those multiply afflicted.

The High Cost of Doing Nothing

Click to McKinney-Ventohud Exchange For decades, Congressional skeptics shared the belief that society has no moral obligation to care for those who fall behind, relegating attempts to address homelessness to ancillary provisions in legislation targeting mental health issues, veterans’ assistance, the disabled, substance abuse, and other conditions for which homelessness is a shared symptom. The 2009 legislation dramatically cleared this hurdle when unimpeachable studies repeatedly demonstrated that maintaining a bare-bones shelter system or doing nothing costs taxpayers significantly more than housing the homeless.

Click to Central Florida Commission on Homelessness 2014 Study A May 2014 study funded by the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness tracked public expenses accrued by local chronic homeless individuals, ranging from criminalization and incarceration costs to medical treatment and uninsured emergency room intakes. In contrast with the average $31,065 annual public cost for each chronic homeless person living on the street, Florida taxpayers would only pay $10,051 to give that person permanent housing with case management services, job training and health care - a 68% savings. A 2013 similar study in Fort Lyon, Colorado clocked a 62% taxpayer savings. A 2014 analysis by researchers from the University of North Carolina proved that housing homeless individuals in Charlotte would save taxpayers 60%.

President Nan Roman of the National Alliance to End Homelessness
HOMELESS ADVOCATE NAN ROMAN
Click Here to Fitch & Associates As observed by Nan Roman, president of the Washington-based National Alliance to End Homelessness, “Research shows that over 85 percent who receive permanent supported housing stay housed - and numerous published studies indicate the savings in health care and corrections costs.” Forced to concede that their preferred do-nothing policies were trebling the tax bite on constituents, hardline Congressional opponents relented, and backed the new laws.

Housing Our Vets

First Lady Michelle Obama announces Mayors Challenge
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA ANNOUNCES MAYORS CHALLENGE
In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama tested the policy’s effectiveness by launching the “Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness”. While Phoenix and some towns had previously housed veterans considered chronic homeless, no city had done so for all its homeless veterans.

Click Here to Mayors Challenge On January 2, 2015, New Orleans became the nation’s first city to achieve that goal. America’s fourth largest city, Houston, Texas, home to the nation’s largest population of veterans (300,000), housed its 3,650 of its 300,000 veterans by June 2015, ending veteran homelessness. A month later, Las Cruces became the first city in New Mexico to end veteran homelessness. On Veterans Day, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that his state was the first in the nation to house all of its homeless veterans, along with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Schenectady, New York, Las Vegas, Nevada, Syracuse, New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico. A week later, Binghamton, New York also housed its homeless veterans.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
VA GOVERNOR TERRY MCAULIFFE
Click Here to Mayors Challenge In February of 2016, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy announced that his state was the second in the nation to end veteran homelessness in all cities and counties. By May 13, 2016, San Antonio, Texas housed all its homeless veterans followed by Long Island, New York in June. On November 11, 2016 – Veterans Day – Governor Jack Markell announced that Delaware had become the third state to functionally end veteran homelessness. In the Sunshine State, Volusia and Flagler Counties and Daytona Beach also capped veteran homelessness. Leveraging streamlined HUD resources, 38 cities and counties have successfully housed their homeless veteran populations in less than two years – and announced plans to house their chronic homeless. A similar number of jurisdictions anticipate housing their homeless veterans by next year.

Broward Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) Board
BROWARD CONTINUUM OF CARE (COC) BOARD
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy
CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR DAN MALLOY
In 2015, Broward housed every one of its 577 homeless veterans who aspired to forgo life on the street. According to Broward’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Board, which coordinates funding for homeless services, if the $21.6 million annually allocated to countywide homeless services were increased by $11.8 million, Broward’s remaining homeless could also be housed. The CoC Board proposed that the County and its 31 municipalities each fund 50% of the incremental expense to reduce homelessness to “functional zero” (Fort Lauderdale’s annual share would be $562,753).

Fort Lauderdale Homeless Veterans
FORT LAUDERDALE HOMELESS VETERANS
Functional Zero is a bureaucratic benchmark that indicates sufficient resources to relocate any homeless people – whether still in shelters, on the street or elsewhere in a jurisdiction – into housing within 30 to 90 days – unless they refuse. In Broward, about 350 chronic homeless – including some 50 veterans – have declined participation, a majority of whom are mentally ill, substance-addicted, or both. Since the CoC funding estimates exclude significant resources from religion-based and civic non-profits committed to eliminating homelessness, their ultimate inclusion should reduce the projected fiscal burden on City and County taxpayers.

Spending Race to Block Pork

Click to Housing First Program
Florida Senator David Simmons
FLORIDA SENATOR DAVID SIMMONS
The statewide success of these programs reached Tallahassee in 2016, when Florida Senator David Simmons (R – Seminole) filed Senate Bill 1534 during the last legislative session. Following its approval by every member of each vetting committee, and its unanimous approval in both the House and Senate, the bill was enacted on July 1, 2016.

While endorsing the rapid rehousing and continuum of care strategies detailed in federal law, the Florida Statute’s two-fold rationale for expediting the delivery of resources varies slightly from its federal counterpart. While seeking to quickly move individuals and families off the street and into homes, the bill also imparts how the expedited spending timetable precludes beneficiaries from developing “a dependency on the assistance,” an unusual deterrent since the “Chronic Homeless” who represent an estimated 15 to 18 percent of the legislation’s beneficiaries will by definition require intermittent long-term support.

Congress had another motive for the dwarfed spending windows. While the Recovery Act and HEARTH were gathering momentum on the Hill, lawmakers debated how to best deter local governments from warehousing grant money in budgetary slush funds, which could later be reallocated to new vending machines in the Cattleman’s Arena food court, or the Annual Tapeworm festival.

 


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach Photo; Port Update; FLL Growth; Green Award & Cat Fix

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Supports Broward's Revenue Sources
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
April 6, 2017 - In his March / April 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca describes how a staged photo shoot of our recently widened beach will carry multiple messages to the State and Federal agencies charged with funding beach projects, including an expression of appreciation, a polite “past due” notice and a cordial reminder that their investment will yield a whopping tourism dividend, shield $billions in upland properties from storm surge, and save lives.

LaMarca also details how NEPA surveys mandated by the proposed navigational improvements at Port Everglades will safeguard the environment; notes how a Port pilot program to enhance turn times expedited its first shipment of perishable cargo (Chinese snow peas en route to Europe); welcomes Silversea Cruises' newest luxury cruise ship – Silver Muse – to its new winter homeport; explains how thousands of new parking spaces at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will accommodate FLL’s unprecedented growth in passenger traffic and a worldwide proliferation of destination sites; applauds recognition of Broward's green communities by “Keep America Beautiful”; and announces the expansion of an Animal Care and Adoption Division web portal that facilitates spay and neuter services for “community cats”.

FLL Busts a Move

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
FORT LAUD-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
LaMarca's March / April 2017 newsletter spins the white-hot growth of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). While FLL has always been one of the county's most productive economic enginesc, its January 2017 stats may foreshadow a banner year.

Airport Shooter Esteban Santiago
AIRPORT SHOOTER ESTEBAN SANTIAGO
In January 2016, 2,572,187 passengers arrived at or departed from FLL. In reporting this January’s 9.4% increase in total traffic over last January, LaMarca asserts that the 2,803,913 passengers who used the airport this January did so despite a murderous January 6 killing spree by 26-year old Iraq war veteran Esteban Santiago that sent 6 people to the hospital and 5 to the morgue. While such brutal acts ordinarily deter air travel, the combination of FLL’s new services, new flights, new infrastructure and a new aviation director seems to have offset the incident’s impact.

Click to Emirates Airlines Featuring one of the world’s most formidable fleets, Emirates Airlines commenced a new daily service between FLL and Dubai International Airport on December 15, 2016. Fort Lauderdale was the 11th city in the United States serviced by Emirates Airlines and January was the carrier's first full month of service at FLL. The Emirates inbound load factor was 88 percent, averaging 234 inbound passengers and 197 departing passengers - an outbound load factor of slightly less at 74 percent.

Click to Azul Airlines Despite the ominous Zika virus, a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever and the unstable political / economic climate in Brazil, low cost Brazilian carrier Azul Airlines carried an average of 235 passengers in both directions for January, filling an impressive 87 percent of their seats. In fact, five of FLL’s ten busiest carriers saw double digit growth in January, topped by Norwegian’s huge 61% increase, Allegiant Air’s 24% growth and JetBlue Airways’ 19% jump in traffic. Passenger traffic on Spirit Airlines was up 16% and United Airlines jumped 12%.

On the Down Side

Click to Air Canada Click to Air Canada Canadian tourism to the region was adversely impacted by the exchange rate (1 Canadian dollar = $.75 US). While savvy Canadian snowbirds often segregate a float for their US dollars, most visiting tourists are getting clobbered. While load factors were in a healthy 80 percent range for the month, seat capacity dropped 9 percent – commensurate with traffic. Compared to last January, passenger traffic on Air Canada dropped by 4% - from 92,560 to 89,026. Westjet and Sunwing Airlines took much larger hits, with respective declines of 22% and 19%.

Click to JetBlue Hoping to exploit the first commercial flights to Cuba in more than 50 years, JetBlue, Silver, Southwest and Spirit Airlines offered flights to nine Cuban cities by the end of 2016. Since the anticipated monsoon of visitors to Cuba never materialized, carriers adjusted to the disappointing passenger demand. While maintaining the same number of daily flights to Cuba, JetBlue is using smaller aircraft. Beginning in May, the airline will trim their available seats by 25 percent.

Click to Silver Airways Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Silver Airways has reduced service to Cuba from an average of four daily departures to three and will go to two in August. Silver is re-evaluating its service, and has stopped selling Cuba flights in September. If Silver pulls out of Cuba, FLL will be down to 12 daily departures by September. However, FLL will still feature more flights to Cuba than any other airport, as competing Miami International Airport will only offer 11 daily departures in September.

FLL CEO Mark Gale hits the Ground Running

FLL CEO Mark Gale
FLL CEO MARK GALE
Last year, FLL CEO Mark Gale replaced retiring Kent George as the airport’s director of aviation. Looking ahead, Gale said “Based on projections we’ve done, at annual growth rates of between 4 - 7 percent the airport is poised to welcome 38 million passengers by 2020.” Gale characterized his growth estimate as “conservative”.

The new South Runway
THE NEW SOUTH RUNWAY
The short-term traffic outlook is even rosier. Based on scheduled available seats, total FLL traffic should increase by 6% in February, followed by monthly growth of 15% through August. FLL is currently ranked the 21st busiest airport in the U.S. To insure the airport’s continued growth, Gale said “We must balance four major components: airspace, airfield, terminals and landside facilities including roadways and parking.” Explaining how “The new South Runway addressed some of the airfield concerns,” Gale expects to now focus on the terminals, roadways, garages and “ultimately on how the airport connects to the outside world.”

Click to Philadelphia International Airport If Gale delivers, FLL could soon move up the chain, and elbow its way past LaGuardia Airport - currently the 20th busiest airport in the country. From Gale’s perspective, surpasg LaGuardia could be a stepping stone. Click to LaGuardia Airport Before taking the Broward job, Gale retired from Philadelphia International Airport after nearly 28 years, seven as its CEO. ce Philadelphia International Airport is currently ranked number 19, outshining his old stomping ground would earmark his career with a storybook milestone while pumping additional $millions into county coffers. FLL's continued growth should resonate with Broward taxpayers, since Enterprise Fund windfalls help cap the County’s Millage. For the rest of LaMarca’s March / April 2017 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

March / April 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your county commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County.

Beautiful Broward Beaches Thank You Photo Shoot

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Watches Beach Renourishment
COMMISSIONERS ROBERTS, LAMARCA AND BROWN
FROM FORT LAUDERDALE, BROWARD COUNTY AND LBTS
With the recent completion of the Segment II Beach Renourishment and Shore Protection Project in January, many visitors and residents are appreciative of the investment and commitment from local, state and federal legislative partners. In early March, we brought together thankful residents from Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Pompano Beach including visitors, business owners, hospitality industry representatives and community leaders, for an aerial photo using drone photography. The photo was sent to show our appreciation and encourage continued dedicated funding to preserve and restore our beaches, save the shoreline and protect our environment.

Beautiful Broward Beaches Thank You Photo Shoot
Beautiful Broward Beaches Thank You Photo Shoot

Click to Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association WebsiteClick to Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association Website The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to reimburse approximately $30 million, more than half the cost of the overall project. The State of Florida has paid $11.4 million and Broward County and the three cities in the Segment II project will split the remaining 25 percent of the cost (67 percent county & 33 percent cities.) It's estimated that more than 60 percent of Broward County's visitors come to the beach during their stay, spending an estimated $13 billion dollars annually. Broward's award winning beaches enhance the quality of life for residents and are vital to our robust tourism industry. Watch this video to learn more about Broward County’s beach renourishment efforts.

Port Everglades Update

Click to Army Corps of Engineers Meeting Info Click to NEPA Process The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently held two public meetings to update and revise the analysis conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the Port Everglades Navigation Improvement Projects. Broward County's Port Everglades supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ongoing efforts to both continue additional surveys as part of the environmental process and to keep the public informed. The studies will not impede the process or delay the project and are consistent with the County's commitment to environmental stewardship. The additional studies will be conducted during the preconstruction, engineering and design phase and will continue into 2018. This project is critical to the community and the region.

Click to shipment of perishable cargo Info Click to Customized Brokers In other Port related news, Broward County's Port Everglades was the port of entry for the first shipment of perishable cargo participating in a new program, which was developed in partnership with Crowley Maritime Corp's Miami-based subsidiary Customized Brokers and Miami International Airport. The program allows Central American produce to reach European markets faster by expediting turn times, and expanding customers' distribution.

Silversea Cruises' newest cruise ship Silver Muse
SILVERSEA CRUISES' NEWEST CRUISE SHIP SILVER MUSE
Additionally, Port Everglades will welcome Silversea Cruises' newest cruise ship Silver Muse October 12-13, 2017, and Port Everglades will continue to serve as the ultra-luxury line's winter homeport for the next two years according to a new agreement between Silversea and the Broward County Commission. The 596-passenger Silver Muse is scheduled for five sailings next year in addition to voyages on Silver Spirit, Silver Whisper and Silver Wind also sailing from Port Everglades.

For more news and information, please visit PortEverglades.net.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Update

The Cypress Garage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
THE CYPRESS GARAGE AT FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
On May 15, 2017, Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) will add 3,100 parking spaces for public parking on the top three floors of the Cypress Garage, adjacent to Terminal 1. In order to support Terminal 1’s new Concourse A, that is scheduled to open in June of this year, parking will open to the public on the seventh, eighth and ninth floors of the Cypress Garage. Features such as a parking guidance system will be installed in the future. Daily garage parking is $15. If you pay by the hour, the cost is $3 with the first 20 minutes free. In 2016, FLL served more than 29 million travelers, a 28 percent increase in traffic. This passenger growth is expected to continue for several years due to the many expansion projects underway.

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Growth Info FLL is one of the fastest-growing airports in the U.S. Based on 2015 passenger traffic, FLL ranked 21st in the U.S. This year is also off to a great start as passenger traffic continues to grow. In January, total traffic was up 9.4 percent over last January. Domestic traffic was up 7.9 percent. International was up by 14.9 percent. Despite an estimated 500 canceled flights on January 6th and 7th, January was the 34th consecutive month of growth in total traffic. It was FLL’s 6th consecutive month of double digit international growth.

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport New Destinations Many new services are expected at FLL in 2017. Jet Blue is expected to add flights to Atlanta and Long Beach in May. Allegiant added flights to Cleveland in February and is expected to add Louisville and Belleview, Illinois in May. Southwest began flights to Newark in March and will add Orlando and Washington Dulles in June. The much anticipated launch of their new international service to Cancun, Montego Bay, Belize, and Grand Cayman, will also be added in June. Spirit is expected to add flights to Hartford and Pittsburgh in June. Additionally, British Airways will add flights to London Gatwick in July and Norwegian Air Shuttle is expected to add flights to Barcelona in August.

For more news and information, please visit Broward.Org/Airport

Broward County Earns Award

Click to Keep Broward Beautiful Click to Keep America Beautiful The County's Keep Broward Beautiful program received the President's Circle Award for 2016 from Keep America Beautiful. The award recognizes exemplary performance by certified affiliates of the national nonprofit for creating clean, green and beautiful communities. In qualifying for a President's Circle Award, Keep Broward Beautiful has met Keep America Beautiful's standards of merit by conducting an annual Community Appearance Index, calculating the affiliate's cost/benefit ratio, and administering activities in the areas of litter abatement, improving recycling rates, and beautifying Broward County's communities. With the assistance and commitment of volunteers, we continue to keep Broward beautiful.

BrowardPetFix Expands

Click to Broward Pet Fix Web Portal Broward County’s Animal Care and Adoption Division expanded the online WebPortal to now include a spay/neuter voucher program for unowned feral and community cats. The WebPortal allows colony caregivers or residents who care for unowned cats the ability to go online and create a profile to add information about each cat and then apply for a voucher to have the cat(s) sterilized. Click to Broward Pet Fix Web Portal The addition of this more convenient and easy way to receive spay and neuter services for community cats helps residents and the cats they care for.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Keeping Galt Mile Beach Fat and Healthy

Segment II - Galt Mile Beach
SEGMENT II - GALT MILE BEACH REPLENISHED
April 25, 2017 - The recently completed Segment II beach renourishment capped an 18-year struggle to salvage our shrinking beach. For many Galt Mile residents, nearly two decades of crushing disappointments replaced enthusiastic support for the project with a
thinly veiled rage. When construction vehicles rolled into north Broward beachfront staging sites on January 4, 2016, the mind-numbing frustration began melting away.

Although virtually every Galt Mile resident and visitor is delighted with their reclaimed beach, few have forgotten nearly twenty years of bureaucratic abuse, an ordeal that provided hundreds of local residents with first-hand insight into the structural consequences of tidal erosion. While watching the new sand migrate south along the coast, many are understandably apprehensive about County intentions to maintain their newly widened beach – without revisiting the dilatory state and Federal regulatory meat grinders.

To this end, Broward beach boss Nicole Sharp is overhauling the County’s Beach maintenance protocols, while Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca and Statehouse Representative George Moraitis probe a more reliable funding source in Tallahassee. For the benefit of recent arrivals to our neighborhood – some background...

Myers Picks Up the Promise

Click to Public Law 89-298 Web Page In 1965, the 89th U.S. Congress authorized funding to fortify Broward’s shrinking beaches (Section 301 of Public Law 89-298, October 27, 1965). Twenty years ago, former Broward Beach Administrator Stephen Higgins complied with the Congressional intent by designing the Broward County Shore Protection Project.

Former Broward Beach Administrator Steve Higgins
FORMER BROWARD BEACH ADMINISTRATOR STEVE HIGGINS
After beating back unprecedented regulatory obstacles for 14 years, Higgins rehabilitated the Segment III South County beaches in 2005 and was preparing to fix the county’s Segment II northern shoreline. When Higgins retired in 2011 amid relentless bickering among Segment II stakeholders, it was mistakenly construed as the project’s death knell. A few weeks later, when Higgin's former boss - Eric Myers – asked Galt Mile officials if they would help revive the Segment II beach fix, they placed him on an upcoming meeting agenda.

Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers
BROWARD BEACH
ADMINISTRATOR ERIC MYERS
At a February 7, 2011 Presidents Council meeting in Coral Ridge Towers (Original), Myers announced his intention to reorganize the dormant project. The project’s recovery hinged on two contingencies, a recrafted plan that eliminated the most egregious regulatory obstacles and unilateral cooperation by coastal jurisdictions and beachfront homeowners. A few months later, when Myers pitched the Segment II Beach renourishment at the May 17, 2011 Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting, Commissioner Bruce Roberts backed his play.

Commissioner Bruce Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
Roberts told the Commission that Galt Mile residents – whose staunch project advocacy was grounded in the belief that a healthy beach was critical to the protection of beach neighborhoods, the area’s economy, and the lives of their families – have been waiting since 1998 for the County to make good on promises to renourish the Segment II beaches. As the newly appointed Broward Beach Administrator, Myers spent the next three years convincing stakeholder jurisdictions to merge their political capitol just long enough to accomplish this shared objective.

Dancing for Dollars

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
With the backing of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Myers recruited Chip LaMarca and headed to the State Capitol. After two years of dismantling bureaucratic opposition in Tallahassee, when Myers retired and passed the baton to Nicole Sharp, the fight moved to Washington DC.

Click to NOAA Fisheries Web Site After a year of battling with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and an unresponsive Commerce Department, the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Committee finally gave Sharp the green light to negotiate Interlocal Agreements with Segment II Stakeholders and draft a Project Participation Agreement (PPA) that detailed the shared Federal, State and local fiscal obligations.

Click to Project Partnership Agreement Once the project was farmed out, the PPA became a reimbursement blueprint - a Hefty Bag of open-ended promissory obligations. Funds laid out by the County on behalf of stakeholders were technically secured by the PPA. However, given the County’s skeletal leverage in Tallahassee and Washington DC, County officials are forced to discretely beg the respective funding agencies to loosen the State and Federal purse strings. The slow-moving Feds still haven’t reduced their $30 million Segment II obligation. Although Tallahassee already kicked in its $11.4 million share of Segment II, the County is still seeking $87,860 to monitor the beach fill’s impact on nearby coral reefs.

Dumping Sand Since the County is also preparing to fund a long-awaited $19.2 million sand bypass at Port Everglades, wherein migrating sand accumulating on the north side of the Port’s entrance channel is trucked to sand-starved beaches in Hollywood, Hallandale and Dania, Broward bean counters plan to roll over funds due on the Segment II renourishment while tweaking the current legislative session for additional beach revenues.

Beautiful Broward Beaches Thank You Photo Shoot
Beautiful Broward Beaches Thank You Photo Shoot
Hoping to cajole the county’s State and Federal funding “partners” into paying their Segment II debt without dampening their predisposition to future projects, LaMarca decided to disguise a dunning notice as a love letter. Recruiting political beefcake from stakeholder jurisdictions (District 3 Broward Commissioner Michael Udine, Mayor Jack Seiler and Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts from Fort Lauderdale, Vice Mayor Mark Brown from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, etc.), Broward officials merged an invoice and a supplication for future funding with a customized “Thank You” card – an aerial beach graphic generated at LaMarca’s March 4th “photo op”.

Beach Money LaMarca’s blended message also housed a request for a reliable funding source for beach projects that fuel the State’s tourism economy. LaMarca’s planned photo op was hatched in late February; about the same time that Governor Rick Scott asked lawmakers to approve a proposed $50 million cash bucket for beach projects, doubling the negligible $25 million he proposed in each of the past four years. Although the allocation is the largest proposed by Scott since he took office, it’s a pittance when compared to the resources needed to rescue more than 410 miles of Florida’s critically eroded coast.

The Trust Fund Rollercoaster

Click to Land Acquisition Trust Fund Click to Land Acquisition Trust Fund Created by the Florida Legislature in 1963 to offset damage by commercial polluters and urban creep, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) was designed to fund the purchase of recreation and conservation lands that would otherwise fall prey to overdevelopment. Since the original funding mechanism, a five percent tax on outdoor clothing and equipment (like bathing suits), proved wildly unpopular with tourists (disparaged as the “bathing suit tax”), it was abandoned in 1968, when the legislature opted to fund LATF through the sale of recreation bonds paid for by a documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions and financial documents (i.e., mortgages and other loans, stocks, bonds, etc.).

Click to Florida Forever Program Having shifted the cost from the residents and visitors who benefit from conservation, to the polluters and developers who threatened the State’s natural resources, lawmakers would later adapt the income stream into a recurring funding mechanism for the 1979 Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) Program, and the 1999 Florida Forever Program, a conservation catch-all for natural resources. Since the parent legislation also mandated management of acquired conservation lands, a spectrum of management programs were developed to oversee compliance with environmental objectives. Trust funds were established to reverse ecological damage, either by polluters, encroaching development, or Mother Nature (as in the case of tidal erosion).

Florida Governors Claude R. Kirk, Jeb Bush, Robert Martinez. Seated: Wayne Mixson, Reubin Askew and Farris Bryant
PRO LATF GOVS CLAUDE R. KIRK, JEB BUSH, ROBERT MARTINEZ
SEATED: WAYNE MIXSON, REUBIN ASKEW AND FARRIS BRYANT
In 1998, Florida lawmakers dedicated a portion of the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund to restore the critically eroded coast. Funded by the documentary stamp tax, $30 million was annually allocated to the Beach Management Funding Assistance (BMFA) Program – for cost-sharing projects matched by federal and local contributions

Click to Florida’s Constitutional Amendment 1 in 2014 To safeguard an environmental legacy that fuels critical tourism revenues, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund was supported by every Florida Administration since its 1963 inception – until Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011. To balance the budget, Governor Scott annually gutted appropriations to virtually every State environmental program, including the enforcement of safe drinking water standards. Angry Florida voters approved Constitutional Amendment 1 in 2014, reinstating a funding source for the State’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

Click to Scott’s - I am not a scientist Although the fund was originally created to manage and restore natural systems while enhancing public access and recreational use of conservation lands – LATF conservation projects would now include the aquifer, wetlands, drinking water, the Everglades, clean air, fish and wildlife habitat, rivers, lakes, beaches, forests and a panoply of other natural resources. As an unintended consequence of Amendment 1, eroded beaches would have to compete with water quality projects, wetlands restoration, the Everglades and other environmental projects for funding.

EDR Study May Turn the Tables

Of the $50 million in beach revenues proposed by Scott, only $10 million would be annually disbursed from the trust fund. Since the remaining $40 million would come from general revenue, it is a one-time allocation. Jurisdictions would still need an annual source of State revenues for beach and inlet cost-sharing projects.

Click to EDR Beach Report As the sole Republican on the Broward Board, LaMarca is annually charged with carrying the County’s legislative wish list to Republican Tallahassee, which typically included a beach funding presentation that addressed its impact on tourism and the threat posed by storm surge to people and property. Last year, LaMarca bulked up his arsenal with a January 2015 study by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR – research arm of the Florida Legislature).

Click to EDR Beach Report Entitled “Economic Evaluation of Florida’s Investment in Beaches”, the EDR report calculated the Return on Investment (ROI) of Beach Restoration, assessed the economic risk of disasters and concluded that beaches are the most important feature of Florida's “Brand”. During the study’s 3-year review period (covering FY 2011, 2012 and 2013), the state invested $44 million in the Beach and Management Restoration Program (roughly 30.5% of the total cost shared by Federal, State, and local sources). This investment directly increased State GDP an average $2.4 billion per year.

Click to EDR Beach Report By identifying each revenue source and calculating its tax impact, the study tracks how the incremental GDP plumped state revenues by $237.9 million over the three year period. After crunching complex funding formulas to validate the raw data, the report concluded that $44 million invested in the State Beach Program “generated a positive return on investment of 5.4”, based solely on tangible financial gains or losses to state revenues. Since in-state tourism was not included in the analysis, the actual ROI exceeds 5.4. Apparently, it worked. Even inland lawmakers who disparage beach funds as coastal pork were intrigued. In the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers filed bills that could reinstate reliable funding for beach and inlet cost-sharing projects.

Legislating a New Beach Wallet

Click to Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association
FSBPA President Debbie Flack
FSBPA PRESIDENT DEBBIE FLACK
Snatching the Photo and a legislative wish list, LaMarca headed to Tallahassee with President Debbie Flack of the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association to lobby lawmakers for a dedicated funding source for beach projects. In order to file the required legislation, they would meet with Statehouse Representatives George Moraitis (R – Fort Lauderdale), Evan Jenne (D – Dania Beach), Broward Commissioner Steve Geller's brother Joe Geller (D – Aventura) - and other members of the County’s legislative delegation.

Senator Joe Negron
SENATOR JOE NEGRON
In the Senate, they had an ally in Chairman Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who said that he considers increasing beach funding to at least $50 million “a top priority”. Although one-third of the annual stamp tax revenues were constitutionally allocated to LATF for conservation - less the debt sevice on specified environmental bonds (Florida Forever bonds, Everglades restoration bonds, etc.), budget wonks pilfered $millions for general expenses. In 2016, as polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee triggered a state of emergency in Martin, St. Lucie and Lee counties, and Brown Tides caused a fish die-off in Brevard County, incoming Senate President Joe Negron spearheaded efforts to protect the water supply by filing legislation entitled "The Legacy Florida Act". Lawmakers enacted companion legislation in the other chamber House Bill 989, creating ch. 2016-201, Laws of Florida), which annually dedicates $200 million for Everglades restoration and $50 million for Florida springs. Beach fills and inlet sand by-passing would have to slug it out with scores of other environmental projects for funding table scraps.

Senator Jack Latvala
SENATOR JACK LATVALA
On March 3, 2017, Latvala filed Senate Bill 1590, which revises how Florida prioritizes beach and inlet projects, and annually dedicates $50 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to rehabilitate eroded beaches. On March 22, Latvala’s bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation (7 Yeas vs. 0 Nays). On April 13, it was unanimously approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources (6 Yeas vs. 0 Nays). On April 20, the bill cruised to a 16 Yeas vs. 0 Nays approval in its final vetting committee - the Senate Committee on Appropriations - which Latvala chairs - before being sent to the floor for a vote by the full Senate. On April 27, 2017, the Senate unanimously approved the bill (37 Yeas vs. 0 Nays) before sending it to the House for consideration.

Representative George Moraitis
REPRESENTATIVE GEORGE MORAITIS
The companion bill, House Bill 1213, was filed by Representatives George Moraitis (R – Fort Lauderdale), Bill Hagar (R – Delray Beach), and Kathleen M. Peters (R – Treasure Island) on March 3, 2017. On March 20, it was unanimously approved by the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee (15 Yeas vs. 0 Nays) and voted favorably by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee on March 28 (14 Yeas vs. 0 Nays). The bill is currently under review by the House Government Accountability Committee, its final House Committee stop.

The beach bills have excellent prospects for enactment, and lame duck Governor Scott seems to have reversed his tenure-long aversion to salvaging the State’s natural resources, having indicated his support for a more stable source of beach funding. That said, Scott's desk is always a crap shoot.

Two More Turns at the Sand Bank

Click to Segment II Beach Presentation At a December 16, 2015 pre-project public meeting in the Sonesta Hotel, when Galt Mile officials inquired about maintaining the beach after it was renourished, Broward Beach Administrator Nicole Sharp outlined a sea change in the County’s Shore Preservation protocols. Describing the historical “segmented” approach to beach management as “an anachronistic exercise in futility,” Sharp adopted a long-term regional plan. Mindful of the accelerated rate that natural resources are degraded by climate change and rising sea levels, Sharp’s beach management program proactively meets the growing risks.

Click to Port Everglades sand bypass project The Port Everglades sand bypass should help stabilize the south county beaches. Sand that ordinarily migrates south along the coast collects at the north side of the Port Everglades inlet (adjacent to Point of Americas), where 85% is lost seaward to tidal erosion. As a result, when sand placed along south county beaches during the 2005 Segment III renourishment drifted south into Miami-Dade County, it was never replenished by sand migrating south from beaches in Fort Lauderdale and points north.

Port Everglades inlet
PORT EVERGLADES INLET
Within five years, south county beaches lost two-thirds of the sand received in 2005, as the ocean once again laps against Hollywood, Hallandale and Dania Beach seawalls. To preserve the $billions they generate in tourism revenues, and resurrect storm surge protection for infrastructure and inhabitants, a second Segment III renourishment is being planned. After installation of the Port Everglades Sand Bypass restores the coastal flow of sand that will naturally replenish those beaches, a $53.7 million truck haul project will salvage the depleted shoreline in 2020.

The Port Everglades sand bypass project would transfer 50,000 to 80,000 cubic yards of sand annually from the north to the south side of the Port entrance channel, restoring the currently disrupted littoral drift. It entails constructing an offshore sand trap to collect alongshore migrating sand for transport to the south side of the inlet. When adjacent Point of Americas residents opposed blasting the sea bottom, the plan was redesigned by raising the lower elevation above the hard rock and widening the trap to maintain sufficient storage capacity.

Hillsboro inlet
HILLSBORO BBEACH INLET
Hillsboro Beach Inlet info Just as the Port Everglades inlet impedes the flow of sand to South Broward beaches, sand migrating south from beaches in South Palm Beach and Deerfield would be blocked by the Hillsboro Inlet if not for the Hillsboro Beach Sand Bypass. A special taxing district created in 1957 oversees an FDEP management plan to perform regular maintenance dredging of the inlet’s navigational channel and sand bypassing to beaches downdrift of the inlet. Following expansion of the exterior inlet channel and sand trap in 2003, the District acquired a new hydraulic cutterhead dredge in 2008 to facilitate in-house maintenance. Without the Hillsboro Inlet sand bypass, newly expanded beaches in Pompano, L-B-T-S, the Galt Mile and Fort Lauderdale would also be back to square one within 5 years. Instead, approximately 120,000 cubic yards of sand will be transferred annually to replenish our Segment II beaches.

Tweaking Hot Spots

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
Sharp outlined how re-establishing the natural southerly flow of sand along the coast would also substantially reduce the frequency and scope of future renourishments, explaining, “It’s a cheaper way to put sand into the system on the southern beaches.” Instead, occasional beach fills could address “hot spots” along a more stable County coastline. Armed with Federal and State Permits that extend to 2020 and 2029, Sharp can unilaterally repair stretches of beach reduced by accelerated erosion or cyclonic weather events. Federal, State and local parties to the cost-sharing agreements ultimately fund these projects with tax revenues. Taken together with the new energy-absorbing dune system crested with sea oats, Sharp’s stabilization plan to triage emerging “hot spots” with a few truckloads of sand would save taxpayers $hundreds of millions over the next decade.

Port Everglades Entrance Channel
PORT EVERGLADES ENTRANCE CHANNEL
The sand bypass was originally proposed by former Broward beach Guru Stephen Higgins, who observed “Unless the entire Broward coast is treated and maintained like a single structural entity, this project will fail. The stability of every segment depends on the stability of its adjacent segments.” In 2014, Eric Myers remarked “Every big deep-water inlet is a huge barrier to the drift of sand along the East Coast. It really starves beaches to the south.”

Myers’ observation begs the question, “Why didn’t they first build the sand bypass at Port Everglades,” as Higgins’ recommended? Since Point of Americas is home to some of the region’s “Masters of the Universe”, when they hinted to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission that the project would disrupt their Karma, the Sand Bypass was DOA. Port Everglades Sand Bypass State Permit 0289308-004-JC City officials shrugged off a threatened County legal action, until Myers later explained “Had we built the sand bypass at Port Everglades, beaches in South Broward County would still be healthy.” adding that Fort Lauderdale’s decision will cost taxpayers another $50 million. The City Commission sucked it up and relented, as long as the Segment II project preceded the bypass. After once again crawling through Tallahassee’s regulatory sewage dump, FDEP finally granted Sharp State Permit 0289308-004-JC on February 3, 2017, authorizing the elusive Port Everglades Sand Bypass.

If enacted, the new legislation will help facilitate Sharp’s plan. However, the bills could still wind up in the cornfield. Until Scott pockets his veto pen a few weeks after Sine Die, anything goes. For the endgame... clock in next month.

Click To Top of Page


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Convention Center; Port Deal; E-911 Tech & H2O Conservation

Commentary

Click to April 2017 LaMarca Letter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
May 10, 2017 - In his April 2017 constituent update, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca uses a pictorial roadmap to demonstrate how the Broward Convention Center will evolve into a full blown Exposition Community featuring a Headquarters Hotel surrounded by venues for entertainment, shopping, dining, and recreation - for both visitors and residents, announces the precursor to a lucrative long-term agreement between Port Everglades and Royal Caribbean Cruises, invites constituents to share in a rebate for promoting water conservation to friends and neighbors and details how a newly installed State-of-the-Art Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system will expedite emergency response times countywide - benchmarking one of the largest Emergency 911 consolidations in the nation.

Broward E-911 Runs a Gauntlet

Dispatch Center at Broward Sheriff's Office Communications Center
BSO COMMUNICATIONS DISPATCH CENTER
Office of Regional Communications and Technology
RICK CARPANI WALKS
Ever ce the Broward County Office of Regional Communications and Technology (ORCAT) was empowered to install, oversee and govern the consolidated emergency 911 dispatch operated by the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO), the County Board and BSO have been locked in a struggle for control of the County-wide system. However, stakeholders and system advocates were perplexed by the County’s refusal to replace former ORCAT Director and Broward’s primary E-911 system architect Rick Carpani, who resigned in favor of the private sector on November 13, 2015, leaving subordinates and backup personnel to run an untested regional emergency dispatch operated by trainees who were admittedly poorly prepared.

Click Here to Fitch & Associates Click Here to Fitch & Associates While leaving a system necessary to the survival of both victims and responders in the hands of those who lacked the requisite E-911 training and/or experience, on January 5, 2016, the County Board hired consultant Fitch & Associates to examine the system, inspect the dispatch centers (AKA Public Safety Access Points or PSAPs) and identify the changes required to meet stakeholder expectations. Skull-blocked by the County decision to leave the system rudderless for months while awaiting the Consultant’s prognosis, municipalities that supported the consolidation suddenly threatened to withdraw - including Fort Lauderdale.

Bolting Stakeholders

Galt Mile Advisory Board
GALT MILE ADVISORY BOARD
City Commissioner Bruce Roberts
CITY COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
On February 18, 2016, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts informed the Galt Mile Advisory Board that Fort Lauderdale was considering an independent emergency service. A few months earlier, when City Manager Lee Feldman expressed concern about “delays in dispatching, dispatching to the wrong addresses, dispatching with the wrong information.” a discouraged Roberts added, “I don’t think we can wait too much longer. We were assured we would not have any degradation of services.” Roberts told Galt Mile officials that Feldman had already begun laying the groundwork since the consolidated County plan had repeatedly failed to meet stakeholder expectations.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
FORT LAUD. CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Jay Schwartz
PEMBROKE PINES CITY COMM. JAY SCHWARTZ
In his May 2016 Newsletter, Roberts reported that a team had been formed with “key members from Information Technology Services (ITS), Fire, Police, Human Resources, Public Works and the City Manager’s Office. The team meets weekly to discuss options regarding location, layout, technology needs, hiring and training of 911 staff, and project management.” Roberts said the team planned to hire “a consultant with expertise in developing, managing and operating a 911 Communications Center.” Fort Lauderdale officials claimed they no longer believed that the Broward Board either could - or would - fulfill its promise to build a countywide 911 Emergency System - and they weren’t alone. Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Jay Schwartz and other municipal stakeholders also threatened to cut bait.

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan
SUNRISE MAYOR MIKE RYAN
Click Here to Broward Chiefs of Police Association Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan had consistently been one of the consolidation effort’s most vocal advocates. Like Roberts and Feldman, Ryan rationalized the steady stream of inaugural-year fiascos as growing pains. When Carpani skated, Ryan and other apprehensive municipal stakeholders began tracking a litany of dispatch failures attributable to the absence of expert oversight.

Click Here to Fire Chiefs of Broward Association Broward Fire and Police Chiefs Associations E911 Joint Statement Ryan bitterly complained that a system responsible for the lives of Broward residents was being mangled by inexperienced departmental subordinates who were unqualified to manage any E911 program, much less one of the largest and most complex emergency response consolidations ever attempted in the United States.

County Administrator Bertha Henry
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
Stonewalled by the county for months, Ryan was joined by the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association and the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County, which crafted a Joint Position Statement detailing how County PSAPs were operating “in a vacuum devoid of experience and expertise.” Along with the Broward League of Cities, they collectively sent a letter to the County Commission, which they copied to the local media. They requested that the County Board or the Charter Review Commission create a new County Bureau to manage the Emergency 911 system. Calling it “The Office of the Director of Public Safety Communications,” Ryan insisted that the new agency remain “independent of the county administration’s office.”

With discontent and confusion spreading across the County and Stakeholders jumping ship, County Administrator Bertha Henry embarked on a “Hearts and Minds” tour of Broward municipalities. After plying the Fire and Police Chiefs Associations with assurances of heightened collaboration, improving statistical response and a skybox view of the project, Henry launched her PowerPoint presentation at whistle stops in Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, West Park, Wilton Manors and other waffling municipalities.

Fitch Phase I

Click to Fitch & Associates E911 Report - Phase I Released on August 29, 2016, the first of two consecutive Fitch and Associates E-911 studies was contracted by County Administrator Bertha Henry to comparatively assess the system’s performance metrics against national best practices. Information was distilled from interviews with County and BSO officials, ORCAT senior management, PSAP site managers and supervisory personnel, surveys submitted by call takers and admittedly unreliable data harvested from erratic legacy systems.

Click Here to Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) Given the longstanding conflict between BSO and the County Commission, a study recommendation to better define stakeholder roles was hardly a revelation. Another suggestion to measure response performance of the PSAPs by collecting public feedback might have proven productive if every high profile screw-up hadn’t first been mulched into media fodder. Among its few contributive insights, the study confirmed that Stakeholder reservations about the County’s E-911 program may have been overstated (not exactly a ringing endorsement).

Click to Broward Emergency 911 In fact, Henry admitted that the issues addressed in the study were long known to stakeholders - and many were proactively corrected prior to the study’s release. Although it packaged rote observations with recommendations that appeared superficial – almost cosmetic, a more definitive analysis promised in the second phase convinced troubled stakeholders to postpone abandoning the system.

Fitch Phase II

Click to Fitch & Associates E911 Report - Phase II In contrast, the second Fitch report identified many of the issues that fueled stakeholder pessimism, and rolled out credible remedies. The Phase II assessment - published on December 22, 2016 - includes observational findings and 21 recommendations in four areas: Technology, Governance and Oversight, Performance Measures, and Effectiveness and Efficiency. When Fitch Phase II was released, raging criticism of the controversial consolidation cooled, as stakeholders anxiously awaited an indication that the County would act on this guidance.

Explaining that the recommendations will require significant organizational and cultural change, the Phase II Executive Summary underscores how carefully planning this change “is key to the System’s ultimate success.” Since the recommended improvements should only be introduced when they can be effectively assimilated, Fitch suggests implementing major changes sequentially rather than simultaneously.

Although the System utilizes emergency medical dispatching (EMD) software – a best practice for 911 centers, it lacks similar programs for fire or law enforcement call types. When BSO finally implements Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD), it should be executed to completion before additional changes are initiated, such as certifying operators for Emergency Police Dispatch (EPD). Each certification area provides structured call procesg for the respective discipline. While specialized EFD and EPD certifications are also considered best practices, implementing them in a deliberate and measured manner will help insure that each is layered onto a stable base service.

Tweaking the Technology

computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system The report lists technological pitfalls that muddy any analysis of the system’s shortcomings. The absence of an effective link between the County’s PSAP phone system and Computer-Aided Dispatch system (CAD) impairs any comprehensive evaluation of System performance. Also, County staff is unable to directly access phone and radio system data. In roughly half the calls, an event in the CAD could not be linked to the unique Call Detail Record (CDR) that initiated the incident. The Phase II report states that linking the 911 phone records with the associated CAD incident records is “An absolute priority”.

Click Here to Premier One The report recognizes that many system limitations due to obsolete legacy technology would be resolved by the installation of new software and hardware, such as the PremierOne CAD and PremierOne Mobile systems that were recently installed and discussed by LaMarca. Other snags should be cured when the County dumps the archaic Public Safety Radio System in 2018, and replaces it with a $40 million APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) Project 25 trunked radio system.

APCO Project 25 trunked radio system
APCO PROJECT 25 TRUNKED RADIO SYSTEM
Acting Director Brett Bayag, Office of Regional Communications and Technology
ORCAT ACTING DIRECTOR BRETT BAYAG
In describing the upgraded CAD functionality, ORCAT Acting Director Brett Bayag said “This multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency, and multi-discipline CAD system interfaces with all Broward County Regional Consolidated E-911 systems vital to receiving, procesg and implementing rapid response to 911 calls, and will greatly enhance service to people in Broward County during emergency situations.” Bayag leaked some butter, “Over the past three years the project team’s focused efforts included working collaboratively with professionals and experts in the fields of public safety technology, dispatch operations, law enforcement, and fire rescue, all of whom worked tirelessly to implement this new state-of-the-art system.” According to Fitch, Bayag’s “Kumbaya” working relationship is somewhat overstated, as public safety officials were often omitted from the loop.

Cooler Heads and Best Practices

Under “Governance and Oversight”, Phase II seeks to remedy the ongoing slugfest between ORCAT and BSO for control of the system. ce “Low levels of trust exist among major stakeholders,” the report recommends that “Operational Oversight (by BSO) and System Governance (by the County) should be redefined to strengthen the role of end-users,” referring to public safety officials whose input had been marginalized by the two Big Dogs.

Mobile Data Terminal (MDT)
MOBILE DATA TERMINAL (MDT)
Fitch disparages how the County commonly usurps operational decisions that should instead be determined by public safety officials. It cites the need to better balance “the logistical concerns of the Operator (BSO), and the financial and system governance responsibilities of Broward County.” To more productively use the airways, the report also recommends a reduction in radio traffic by both fire/EMS and law enforcement units that fail to effectively utilize mobile data terminals (MDTs) and mobile computing devices (MCDs).

Click Here to Apco International While the system is capable of closest unit response to life-threatening emergencies, which was demanded by Broward voters in 2002, response was still dictated by jurisdiction. Seemingly a holdover from when each of Broward’s eleven disjointed dispatch systems placed a higher priority on turf protection than on saving lives, officials in Plantation, Fort Lauderdale and Miramar have ce expressed trepidations about subsidizing adjacent municipalities. From 2012 to 2014, Sunrise, Tamarac, Davie, North Lauderdale and Lauderhill used vehicle locaters in each of their fire-rescue fleets to dispatch the closest unit anywhere within the five cities. It worked like a charm.

Although Broward complied with a mandate to fund first unit response infrastructure, the charter doesn’t specifically require implementation, a semantic loophole exploited by foot-draggers. Fitch concluded that this had to go. Instead, a Phase II no-brainer directed fire-rescue agencies to develop, approve and implement countywide nearest unit response protocols irrespective of municipal boundaries.

Click Here to Broward Sheriff’s Office E-911 Budget This second report didn’t endear Fitch to system operator BSO. Blowing off a BSO request for an additional $2.3 million to hire more staff, Fitch retorts “In total, the current funding of the system is sufficient. There should be no need for further overall funding.” In fact, they consider BSO overstaffed in call taker and Fire Assignment positions. In stating “recommendations to increase resources in certain areas are balanced by recommendations intended to improve the overall efficiency of the System,” Fitch exhorts BSO to work smarter.

Click Here to Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) Click Here to Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) For example, BSO dispatchers filed a class action grievance over excessive mandatory overtime last August, as they are routinely forced to work three or four additional hours each day. The grievance states “BSO has failed to staff the communications operator’s classification, causing an unreasonable amount of mandatory overtime which is negatively affecting their professional and personal lives.” Fitch admonishes BSO that filling vacant positions expeditiously would reduce excessive mandatory overtime that could alternatively be used to maintain full staffing.

Click Here to Coral Springs Click Here to Plantation County call centers in Coconut Creek, Sunrise and Pembroke Pines service the North, central and South Broward regions. Except for Coral Springs and Plantation, which fund in-house dispatch services, Broward’s remaining 29 municipalities participate in the consolidated County system. The report prompts the County to warehouse revenues sufficient to complement the three PSAPs with two additional 911 facilities in the future.

Pieces Fall into Place

As the County began implementing actionable Phase II recommendations and response times plummeted, so did stakeholder concerns. In addition to a new system-wide Incident Management Tracking System and Quality Improvement Program, a tidal wave of new technology streamlined access to accurate performance data. The resulting scorecard meets best practices benchmarks and exceeds average nationwide response times.

While stakeholders haven’t yet recaptured their initial enthusiasm, the complaints have abated, and have often been replaced by accolades. For medical calls, EMDs now serve as first responders. Specially trained operators are certified to relay medical instructions in life-threatening situations, including CPR, relief from respiratory distress, labor/delivery protocols, stroke and seizure triage, and other life-saving medical interventions.

Originally, 911 calls routed to any of the three PSAPs could only be fielded by that center’s operators, whose geographical training was limited to the surrounding area. After ramping up a countywide geographical training program, the network installed an automatic call distributor. All incoming calls are now accessible to each of the three regional centers on a single queue, enabling operators in every PSAP to take calls from anywhere in Broward on a first in – first answered basis. This enhancement expedites response times while buffering the impact of regional staffing shortfalls.

Click Here to fire station alerting (FSA) system Fire Alert System The County used a $346,828 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to install a single site 700 MHz Overlay System that will strengthen back-up capability in the event that the primary system becomes impaired or overloaded and strengthen interoperable communications capabilities with other existing 700MHz interoperable systems.

Click Here to National Academy of Emergency Dispatch Click Here to International Academies of Emergency Dispatch A new fire station alerting (FSA) system is interfaced with the new CAD system, while an upgraded Alphanumeric Paging System (APS) provides fire rescue and other personnel alphanumeric pages of emergency dispatch calls for service. The System will be fully upgraded by next year, when the $40 million state-of-the-art radio system replaces the 30-year-old inherited clunker. On May 23, 2017, the Broward Board cut a deal with Motorola to install a new 700 MHz APCO Project 25 Phase II system (the most advanced system of its kind). In the interim, County staff will specify the final tower sites in Hollywood, Tamarac and Parkland.

Click Here to Control Communications Unfortunately, plans to install a new Local Government Radio System were delayed when Davie contractor and low-bidder Control Communications, Inc. – a dealer for Motorola – declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy before completing the project. The company’s cash-flow dilemma was fueled by the Broward Aviation Department’s failure to timely perform its part while installing of a new aviation system in Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport. The County has since embarked on a procurement process with a Motorola-authorized channel partner qualified to successfully complete the project by 2018.

Click Here to Accredited Center of Excellence Click Here to Commission on Law Enforcement Agencies The sloppy BSO training regimen that triggered the initial high-profile gaffes is now fully accredited – certified by the Commission on Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) and Project 33 certification from the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO). Medical dispatch is also certified for EMD by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), the gold standard for emergency dispatch centers and public safety agencies. Comparable certifications for fire-rescue (EFD) and law enforcement (EPD) are undergoing the arduous multi-year process required for Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE).

The beefed up training and improved employee discipline have immeasurably increased the productivity of caller interviews, enabling dispatch to better equip response units with accurate addresses, reliable descriptions of suspects and/or victims and otherwise relevant incident data. Bound by new management protocols that meet national best practice standards, supervisory personnel insure that the system exceeds a County requirement that 90% of the calls are answered within 10 seconds, after which the data is crunched and seamlessly forwarded to first responders.

Watch and Wait...

First Responders in Broward Fmergency 911 The steady stream of eerie blunders that reliably provided local media with a ghoulish libretto of slapstick anecdotes has dried up. The response times in Broward County are consistently among the fastest in the U.S. In short, if forced to rely on Emergency 911 in Broward County, your chances of getting out with your skin have never been better.

Smack Down That said, stakeholders are closely monitoring how ORCAT and BSO adhere to the Fitch script, which could determine if Broward’s E-911 Dispatch remains among the nation’s most effective emergency response networks. Specifically, stakeholders are leery about whether the County and BSO can refrain from reviving the smack down over control of the system, a conflict which Fitch blames for undermining their mutual objectives and alienating stakeholders – and a fast track back to square one. For Commissioner LaMarca’s April 2017 constituent newsletter, read on... – [editor]

 

April 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your county commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County.

Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Update

The Broward County Commission initiated a landmark project to expand the existing Convention Center facility and add an on-site headquarters hotel. The vision for the project is to expand the Convention Center by 300,000 square feet and add a headquarters hotel with at least 800 rooms that takes full advantage of the services around this great location. The planned expansion and new on-site hotel at Broward County's Convention Center is expected to bring an immediate positive economic impact not only to the local community, but also throughout the state. This expansion can generate larger events, more meeting attendees and increased overnight stays. With larger events and more traveling conferences, there is also an expected increase in full time jobs available for residents of Broward County as well as increases in local and state tax revenues.

Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering

Broward County’s longtime vision of expansion and an on-site convention headquarters hotel will become a reality in the near future and while the current 600,000 square foot facility is already the core of a successful meeting and convention location, future growth is on the horizon to accommodate the numerous inquiries and needs of larger events. The economic impact analysis of the Convention Center expansion reported over 47 more events annually, an estimated 50 percent increase in new attendees, and more than 115,000 new annual overnight stays. The report also stated that new annual spending of $83.1 million (in 2013 dollars) can be made by delegates, exhibitors and event organizers, providing 721 permanent full-time jobs, more than $96 million in future annual tax revenues (in present value); more than $70 million to the State of Florida, $21 million to Broward County and $1.1 billion in recurring economic impacts over a 20-year period.

Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering

Recently, the Board of County Commissioners (Board) was presented with the conceptual design for the Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Project. These conceptual drawings are based on feedback from the Board, the City of Fort Lauderdale and the County team (staff and consultants). Many of the features were discussed and incorporated in the conceptual design. These features include: creating a synergy between the meeting and event facilities of the Hotel and Convention Center expansion, connecting to existing facilities, adding a new event courtyard to create a center of activity on the Port Everglades waterfront, and maximizing economic return through flexibility. The location of the Hotel was also very important, therefore locating the Hotel on the current site of the Portside Yachting Center was critical to connect directly into the existing Convention Center. The County Commission unanimously agreed to acquire the Portside Yachting Center property to maximize the overall project area.

Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering

This creates a more efficient and sensible traffic flow and maximizes views of the waterfront for both the community and guests. Also included in the design is the creation of an iconic place that utilizes a campus approach and connects all facilities with a public open space system for community recreation and events and creates a pedestrian friendly environment that can be supported by retail and entertainment venues. Additionally, in order to encourage public transportation and significantly improve traffic flow, the location of the intermodal space will be located at the front door providing space for traffic to be on the property instead of on the street, efficient drop off and pick up access, and easy access to parking as well as the street.

Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering

An updated construction schedule was also provided that gives the community a good idea of the major components of the project. Ground breaking is expected for late fall 2018 and the entire facility is expected to be open to the public by late fall 2021. As your Broward County Commissioner, this is a project that I have been extremely excited about and I’m looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. This expansion and new headquarters hotel will not only create an iconic destination in Broward County, it will also provide residents with a beautiful public destination right in our own back yard.

Port Everglades Update

Click to  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Port Everglades and Royal Caribbean Cruises The Board of County Commissioners recently approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Broward County’s Port Everglades and Royal Caribbean Cruises. The MOU provides the framework for a new long-term business agreement that includes complete, customized renovations of Port Everglades’s Cruise Terminal 25, which is slated for completion by October 31, 2018. The MOU allows negotiations to move forward toward a final agreement that must be approved by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. The new agreement will be effective on January 1, 2018, and expire on Sept. 30, 2026 with options to extend the agreement for four years, followed by another five years. Royal Caribbean Cruises also announced that the newest Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Edge will be in Port Everglades beginning in the fall of 2018

State-of-the-Art 911 Technology

Click to Motorola Solutions' PremierOneTM Computer-Aided Dispatch Website Broward County’s Regional 911 Consolidated Dispatch Centers are now using Motorola Solutions' PremierOneTM Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to more rapidly and accurately communicate critical information with police, fire and other first responders to help residents, business owners and visitors during emergencies. The new CAD system is one element of Broward County's $113 million investment in emergency communication operations and system improvements, which have already resulted in Broward County having one of the fastest emergency response times in the nation.

Broward 911 Operator using PremierOne CAD
BROWARD 911 OPERATOR USING PREMIERONE CAD
Nearly 20,000 public safety professionals are impacted by this rollout along with Broward's residents. This is the largest PremierOne CAD cutover in the United States, involving 150 workstations, 31 interfaces and 3500 mobile units. Dispatchers use PremierOne CAD to capture and quickly communicate critical information with first responders. While on route to an incident, the new system gives first responders access to prioritize mission-critical information such as the nature of the emergency, and possible hazards or conditions at the location. 911 customers are encouraged to provide feedback on their call experience through an online feedback form, or by calling the Broward County Call Center at 311. Feedback will be used to enhance the 911 experience for future users.

April is Water Conservation Month

Click to Broward Water Partnership program Broward Water Partnerships is educating residents about the importance of saving water with an effort to reward those whose friends participate in a rebate program. Anyone who has already received a rebate for trading a water-guzzling toilet for a WaterSense® High Efficiency model or is in the application process, can win an extra $100 by convincing five friends to take advantage of the program. All rebates must be processed and completed by April 30, 2017.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

FXE @ 70 || Ft Laud Growth || GABP

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts May 2017 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
May 27, 2017 - In his May 2017 Newsletter, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts notes how Fort Lauderdale is in one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan regions; celebrates the 70th birthday of Fort Lauderdale’s Executive Airport (FXE); announces new LauderWorks and LauderStreet websites that provide information about road closures, special events and Public Works projects throughout the City; honors FLPD Sergeant Monica Ferrer for facilitating Fort Lauderdale’s recognition as a Purple Heart City; invites constituents to attend The Great American Beach Party on May 27; applauds this year’s nominees for induction into the annual Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame; and closes by welcoming participation in the upcoming 2017 Telephone Town Hall Meetings” (speak with Roberts on June 14 at 7 p.m.).

Commentary – Snowbelt to Sunbelt

Buffalo Business First projects editor G. Scott Thomas
G. SCOTT THOMAS
Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article Roberts opens his May 2017 Newsletter with a review of data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau reflecting the growth or decline of populations in U.S. metropolitan regions. Originally published in Buffalo Business First, a report by projects editor G. Scott Thomas observed that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area experienced the fifth highest growth rate in the nation. Since Roberts is always trawling for media fodder that distinguishes our home town, this piqued Roberts' interest, and prompted its inclusion in his newsletter. In contrast, the Buffalo author wrote the piece because the Buffalo region showed the 7th largest decline in population growth. Ironically, Roberts and Thomas are looking at different sides of the same coin, a domestic migration that triggered both demographic events.

Click to Sunbelt and Rustbelt Although the U.S. population grew by 3.7% during the last 5 years, growth tumbled to less than 1% last year (.71%), one of the slowest growth rates in decades. Americans are still moving from rural areas to metropolitan centers. While nationwide population growth slowed to a crawl, it exploded in certain urban regions. Over the last five years, the populations of nearly 30 metropolitan areas grew by more than 10%.

Click to Census Data Populations can grow in several ways. One is by natural growth, as measured in local births than deaths. The other is migration – domestic and/or international. Natural growth accounted for less than one-third of the five-year population growth rate in 20 of the fastest growing cities. As such, whether a region's population grows, shrinks - or remains static, overwhelmingly depends on migration to and from that region. Demographers all agree that two factors primarily impact migration – economics and the sun.

Brookings Institute Senior demographer William Frey
BROOKINGS INSTITUTE SENIOR DEMOGRAPHER WILLIAM FREY
Almost all of the 20 cities with the fastest growing populations are in the South and Southwestern United States, inflating regional populations in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Senior demographer William Frey at public policy think tank Brookings Institute explained “This is indicative of the long-term U.S. migratory trend of Americans moving from the Northeast and the Midwest – including the Rust Belt – to the Sun Belt.”

Click to Brookings on 2017 Sunbelt Migration New Census data released in March shows that the fastest growing U.S. metropolitan regions and counties from 2015 to 2016 surround Sunbelt cities like Phoenix, Orlando, Las Vegas, Houston, and Dallas. An exception to the trend is King County, Washington, where 1,100 new residents who migrate to the Seattle region each week trade a balmy climate for explosive wages and ample employment opportunities.

Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article Click to Buffalo Business First Census ArticleNot surprisingly, those chasing the Sun are bleeding from metropolitan regions and counties enveloping northern, inland cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo - the Snowbelt. From 2015 to 2016, Chicago lost more residents than any other big city in the country, mostly to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas (as per a new collaborative study by Moving.com & Sparefoot). An influx of overpaid Yuppies was far outweighed by a loss of those craving a better climate and/or a stronger economy. Snowbelt cities weren’t alone in leaking residents. Over the last year, net domestic migration slowed in big coastal cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where a skyrocketing cost of living practically eliminated affordable housing.

Click toSunbelt and Rustbelt While Snowbelt to Sunbelt migration is a reliably consistent trend, an exception during 2007 and 2008 illuminates another massive impact on migration - the economy. During the recessionary downturn, record foreclosures and underwater mortgages created a housing crisis that temporarily blocked the rapid growth in Sun Belt cities. As the economy recovered, so did the Snowbelt to Sunbelt migratory trend.

Economic factors that drive migration include a healthy job market, wage growth and affordable housing. In a majority of these fast growing metropolitan areas, January unemployment rates were far below the national rate of 4.7%, underscoring how the promise of employment opportunities fuels an influx of new residents. Since young people constitute the largest job hunting migratory population, this also affects the changing composition of these fast-growing cities. Each year, Sun Belt demographics reflect a growing number of young families and individuals who relocated pursuant to employment.

However, the biggest factor affecting Snowbelt-to-Sunbelt migration is the flight of the boomers. After dropping out of the workforce en masse, this enormous segment of the population appears to be abandoning cities. This has been attributed to the lack of walkable, affordable housing that allows seniors to age in place. In Florida - where exceptions often prove the rule - not all fast growing metropolitan regions feature a declining average age.

Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article About 26.5% of the nation’s population is 55 and older. In The Villages (a master-planned, age-restricted retirement community outside Orlando), 70.4% of the residents are at least 55. Over the last five years, The Villages population increased by 25.8%. With an increase of 4.3% between 2015 and 2016, for the fourth consecutive year, the Census Bureau ranked The Villages as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States.

Purple Heart Cop on the Galt Mile

Purple Heart City Roberts also reported that Sergeant Monica Ferrer was recognized for securing the City of Fort Lauderdale's designation as a Purple Heart City. This designation is bestowed on jurisdictions that honor those who have sacrificed for their country, including local veteran populations. Every Galt Mile resident also owes Sergeant Monica Ferrer a debt of gratitude.

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
Like every major municipal police force that prioritizes resources according to the need exhibited by each neighborhood, FLPD allocates manpower and equipment to neighborhoods victimized by astronomical crime rates and/or significant “Part 1” crimes. The Department’s strategy for areas victimized by “Quality-of-Life” crimes is to send occasional patrols while distributing pamphlets in shopping areas and community centers alerting residents to avoid leaving valuables in plain sight of their unattended vehicles. Since a beach considered “private” warranted no protection, it was a post-sundown “no-mans-land” for residents – and a convenient staging site for association break-ins. As exclaimed by virtually every District 1 FLPD liaison, “You must be aware of your surroundings” – spin for “Sorry wolf-bait – you are on your own.”

Click to  Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association website For decades, officials from the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) and the Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association (LBHA) explored security options to combat the steady stream of thefts, muggings and burglaries that afflicted their neighborhoods. As if trapped in a revolving door, association officials annually argued about neighborhood watch, citizen patrols, or overpriced private security by uniformed senior citizens and inexperienced part-time college students. After suffering 45 reported crimes and hundreds of “incidents” in 1999, the Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association sought guidance from Fort Lauderdale Police Captain Todd Peney, the recipient of 23 Departmental and 57 Public Commendations.

Former Patrol Chief and Retired FLPD Captain Todd Peney
RET FLPD CAPTAIN TODD PENEY
Peney explained that the success of neighborhood patrols depends primarily upon how they’re administered. To properly utilize the skills of active police officers, they must be organized under an equally professional chain of command – not a group of concerned, yet inexperienced, homeowners. At LBHA’s request, Captain Peney crafted a security program in which active police officers deployed FLPD patrol protocols.

Galt Mile Security Patrol - FLPD Cruiser
FLPD CRUISER - DETERRENT IS MOVED REGULARLY
Along with L’Hermitage I and II, LBHA launched the patrol. Off-duty FLPD officers have 24/7 access to FLPD backup and are automatically elevated to “active duty” when faced with evidence of criminal activity. Although provided with an ATV for the beach and a Police Jeep to patrol the street, the officers ordinarily use their dedicated FLPD cruisers and work out of a headquarters fitted with full communication capabilities just south of Oakland Park Boulevard off A1A. Working with FLPD Sergeant Monica Ferrer, Peney developed the most successful private security program in South Florida. One year after implementing Peney’s plan, the number of reported crimes in Lauderdale Beach dropped precipitously – to two.

June 6, 2007 Security Patrol Kickoff Celebration - Front (L to R): Eric Berkowitz, Pio Ieraci, Rose Guttman, (then Police Chief) Bruce Roberts, Leah Glickfield, Kevin Songer, Fern McBride, Major Paul Kiley; Rear L to R): Sgt. Todd Jackson, Officer Steve Kraft, Captain Todd Peney, Captain Jan Jordan
PATROL KICKOFF EVENT - FRONT (L TO R): ERIC BERKOWITZ, PIO IERACI, ROSE GUTTMAN, THEN
CHIEF BRUCE ROBERTS, LEAH GLICKFIELD, KEVIN SONGER, FERN MCBRIDE, MAJOR PAUL KILEY
REAR L TO R): SGT TODD JACKSON, OFFICER STEVE KRAFT, CAPT TODD PENEY, CAPT JAN JORDAN
Seven years later, the patrol was expanded to include beachfront Galt Mile associations in Fort Lauderdale. Its impact was swift and incisive. The historically high number of reported residential “Quality of Life” crimes that long plagued the neighborhood plummeted as burglars, thieves, muggers and drifters are cleared from the adjacent beach and streets. As a result, Galt Mile residents can safely stroll the beach in the evening and walk along Galt Ocean Drive after dark. Equally important, the number of association infiltrations dropped significantly, relieving the strain on association security.

Moving in US Since the off-duty police officers are already protected by a full complement of job benefits, patrol costs are even less than “bare bones” private security. Comprised primarily of single family homes, Lauderdale Beach homeowners pay $650 annually for beachfront properties, others pay $400. Given the Galt Mile community’s high density demographics, our cost drops to a meager $20 per unit annually - the most cost-effective security patrol in Fort Lauderdale. The Galt Mile crime rate has since remained among the City’s lowest - a fraction of those in adjacent communities (i.e. Coral Ridge, Imperial Point).

Todd Peney Lobbies for Bryant Peney Act in Tallahassee with former Governor Jeb Bush
TODD PENEY LOBBIES FOR BILL
Peney’s acclaimed FLPD career was in part driven by the January 6, 1996 shooting death of his twin brother Bryant Peney, who was also on the force. The 27-year-old Peney was fatally shot while questioning a drifter who is now serving a life sentence in prison. Upon losing his brother, Todd Peney spearheaded a drive to make the killing of a law enforcement officer during the commission of a felony, escape or while resisting with violence, a crime of first-degree murder. The Bryant Peney Act was signed into law in 2001 by Governor Jeb Bush. When Todd Peney was about to retire and relocate in March of 2009, the northwest corner of Southeast 15th Street and South Miami Road – a few blocks from the shooting – was ceremonially renamed after his brother.

Todd Peney Lobbies for Bryant Peney Act in Tallahassee with former Governor Jeb Bush
GOV JEB BUSH AND TODD PENEY
Bryant Peney also worked with the police explorers, a hands-on program for 14 – 21 year-old kids who are interested in law enforcement. One of the youngsters Peney taught was Monica Ferrer, who ultimately joined the force and achieved the rank of Sergeant. Along with Todd Peney, she spent a year arranging her former mentor’s street dedication.

Todd Peney watches Jeb Bush sign Bryant Peney Act into law in 2001
BUSH SIGNS BRYANT PENEY ACT INTO LAW
Since the security patrol’s success is based on a professional chain of command, it was placed at risk by Peney’s impending relocation. While serving as one of the patrol officers, Ferrer was recruited to fill Peney's shoes and administer the patrol. Despite her stated aversion to the unavoidable community politics previously handled by Peney, she agreed to hold the program together. While maintaining the patrol’s professional standards and participating in the patrol rotation, Ferrer spent the following year meeting with new condo managers or newly elected board members. She also helped train her replacement (Sgt. Darren Ogden), which enabled a return to her preferred duties as a patrol officer. To this day, she remains a bulwark of our security patrol.

If Ferrer hadn't temporarily stepped in for the departing Peney, operational oversight would have fallen to association officials - homeowners who admittedly know nothing about police procedures. Peney had repeatedly admonished how this would undermine the program – an observation that was subsequently confirmed by Commissioner Bruce Roberts – our former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief. In short, Ferrer’s sacrifice salvaged our best protection against a skyrocketing crime rate. If you run into Ferrer while on patrol - you may want to thank her for keeping our neighborhood - and families - safe. To peruse Commissioner Roberts’ May 2017 Newsletter in it's entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Moving in US
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
WHERE ARE AMERICANS MOVING? HERE ARE THE FASTEST-GROWING — AND SHRINKING— CITIES IN THE U.S.:: As reported in the Triangle Business Journal by G.Scott Thomas: Eleven major metropolitan areas, led by the Texas duo of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, are growing at a pace of more than 1,000 persons per week, based on population estimates issued Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The federal agency released July 2016 estimates for 382 metros and 3,142 counties across the nation. American City Business Journals, the parent company of Triangle Business Journal, used the new federal data to calculate weekly growth rates. Topping the list was the Houston metropolitan area, which soared from an April 2010 population of 5.92 million to a July 2016 estimate of 6.77 million, translating to a net increase of 2,612.3 persons per week. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was second with a weekly net gain of 2,474.6 persons. Rounding out the top five were the New York City, Atlanta and Miami-Fort Lauderdale metros, all with population increases larger than 1,500 persons per week. The other metros above the weekly threshold of 1,000 were Washington, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco-Oakland and Austin.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) turns 70 FXE IS 70 AND STILL SOARING: March 11, 2017 was a historical day in the City of Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) turned 70! Formerly a training center for World War II Navy pilots, including former President George H.W. Bush, today FXE is home to more than 900 based aircraft. Nearly 160,000 aircraft take off and land at the airport annually, ranking it as one of the top 10 of busiest general aviation airports in U.S. Located in the heart of the City's Uptown Business District, Executive Airport plays a vital role in South Florida and the national airport system, serving a variety of private, corporate, and government aviation needs through services and amenities including four fixed-base operators; a 24-hour Air Traffic Control Tower; a Customs and Border Protection facility; 24-hour on-site aircraft rescue, firefighting services, and airport security; a Fort Lauderdale Police Substation; and the John Fuhrer Downtown Helistop (DT1), the only public-use helistop in Florida. A dedicated team of 23 Community Builders provides a safe and secure environment for the 900-acre facility, manages 37 leases, fosters continued business growth for existing tenants, and continually builds community with neighbors. In addition, the City's Aviation Advisory Board makes recommendations to the City Commission regarding airport planning, development, construction, improvements, maintenance, operations, regulations, etc. With a direct economic impact of more than $839 million, FXE creates jobs, promotes business, provides critical general aviation and emergency services, and serves as a reliever airport for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and other nearby airports, when needed.

Click to LauderWorks website NEW PUBLIC WORKS ‘LAUDERWORKS’ WEBSITE (getting the scoop on Neighborhood Projects underway): Wondering what infrastructure improvements are underway in your neighborhood? The City of Fort Lauderdale has launched a new website that maps-out Public Works projects throughout the City. The fascinating clickable map highlights each of the projects that are underway or planned for the near future. A pull-down feature provides the project title, detailed project description, location, project phase, budget amount, Commission District and managing department. The clickable map is color-coded to indicate the type of project, such as bridges, canals, parks, roadway improvements, seawalls, stormwater, water and sewer.

Sergeant Monica Ferrer was recognized
SGT MONICA FERRER GETS AWARD
RECOGNIZING AN OFFICER’S EFFORTS: Sergeant Monica Ferrer was recognized for her work in helping Fort Lauderdale obtain the designation of a Purple Heart City. Sergeant Ferrer brought this to the Commission’s attention after she discovered a member of her staff was a veteran. There was an overwhelming response thus creating a proclamation “Recognizing the City of Fort Lauderdale as a Purple Heart City.” The Purple Heart was the first American service award or decoration made available to soldiers and is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a declared enemy of the United States. The original Purple Heart was designated as the Badge of Military Merit and was established by George Washington in 1782. The City has a large highly decorated veteran population including many Purple Heart recipients, and appreciates the sacrifices the recipients made in defending our freedom and believe it is important that we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned. This proclamation was presented at a regular commission meeting. Thank you Sergeant Ferrer for making this possible!

Click to Best of the Web Digital Government Achievement Awards - 2016 Winners GREAT AMERICAN BEACH PARTY: The Great American Beach Party returns Saturday, May 27 with rock legend Eddie Money! The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at A1A and Las Olas Boulevard and will feature live bands, a kid’s zone, classic car show, sandcastle contest, art show, military tribute and an amazing precision parachute jump by the U.S. SOCOM Para-Commandoes! Take the stress out of driving and parking by using the Water Shuttle, Water Taxi or Sun Trolley to get to the beach. Look for details soon on the City website.

Click to Walk of Fame in 2017 2017 WALK OF FAME HONOREES: One of the best parts of the Great American Beach Party is the annual Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony. The City of Fort Lauderdale established the Walk of Fame in 2010 at the inaugural Great American Beach Party to pay tribute to the legendary Connie Francis on the 50th Anniversary of "Where the Boys Are," the 1960 film which made Fort Lauderdale an overnight sensation and a "must see" destination for visitors. Walk of Fame Honorees are recognized for their outstanding work and positive contributions to the City of Fort Lauderdale. This year's inductees are Kaye Pearson, founder of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show; the Motwani Family, longtime leaders in Fort Lauderdale's Tourism and Hospitality industry; Dr. George L. Hanbury, former Fort Lauderdale City Manager and current President and CEO of NOVA Southeastern University; and the Zloch Brothers - Senior U.S. District Judge William, Jim and Chuck Zloch - for their judicial, business, legal and civic leadership. The Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 27 at 6 p.m. immediately following Eddie Money's performance at the Great American Beach Party. The Walk of Fame is a great way to recognize the contributions of our neighbors and their integral role in building community in Fort Lauderdale.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Stormwater Master Plan TELEPHONE TOWN HALL MEETING: The telephone town hall meetings facilitate public access to our government and provides us with an opportunity to obtain essential input from our neighbors on a variety of services, initiatives and ongoing projects. The feedback we receive from the questions and polling results help ensure that we are focusing on the issues that matter most to our neighbors and allocating our resources appropriately. If you are available, I will be hosting the evening of June 13 from 7 - 8 p.m. To join, simply call toll free 855-840-6970 from your home or cell phone. Each of our elected officials will host a call this year. To get more information, visit our web page:

http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/city-manager-s-office/public-affairs-office/telephone-town-hall-meetings.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Drug Deaths; Flag Etiquette; Hurricane Preparations, Beach Bud

Commentary

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca at Segment II Staging Area
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
June 5, 2017 - In his May 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca details how to respectfully dispose of old, tattered and torn American flags that are no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, explaining how they should be properly folded before being placed in a specified retirement box at one of eight locations in Broward County; admonishes constituents to adequately prepare for the June 1 through November 30 Hurricane Season, and perhaps attend the annual “Eye of the Storm” event at the Museum of Discovery and Science; encourages those seeking a new pet to drop in on the special “Beach Bud” adoption event, which heavily incentivizes animal lovers to consider welcoming a larger dog into their families. LaMarca opens with a summary of measures taken by Broward County to combat a nationwide epidemic of opioid overdose deaths, a devastating scourge that's overwhelmed South Florida morgues, decimated thousands of families and claims a record number of victims each month. How the campaign to close Pill Mills helped catalyze this crisis will be posted in the Tallahassee section. For LaMarca’s May 2017 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

May 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your county commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Opioid Epidemic in Broward County

Click to Executive Order 17-146 Our nation is in the middle of an unprecedented opioid epidemic with more deaths from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. And, the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than 6 out of 10) involved an opioid. The rate of overdose deaths in the nation has nearly quadrupled ce 1999. The effects of this epidemic are on the rise in the State of Florida as well. Broward County has also seen staggering increases of drug overdoses. After compiling an extensive amount of data, Broward’s Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services has announced that 582 people lost their lives to drugs in Broward in 2016, more than double the amount in 2014, and up by 260 deaths from 2015.

Governor Rick Scott and Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT AND SURGEON GENERAL DR. CELESTE PHILIP
After several counties urged Governor Rick Scott to declare a Public Health Emergency in the State of Florida, on May 3rd following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declaring a national opioid epidemic, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 17-146 declaring a Public Health Emergency across the state. By signing the Emergency Order, it allows the state to immediately draw down on more than $27 million in federal grant funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Opioid State Targeted Response Grant which was awarded to Florida on April 21st to provide prevention, treatment and recovery support services. In addition to declaring a Public Health Emergency, Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip issued a standing order for Naloxone, an emergency treatment for opioid overdose. This will ensure that first responders have immediate access to this lifesaving drug to respond to opioid overdoses.

With the rising numbers of overdoses in Broward County, I sponsored a resolution to extend our support for the Governor’s Executive Order declaring a Public Health Emergency for the State of Florida and the Board of County Commissioners unanimously supported this resolution. The Board also supported the efforts of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice, and the National City-County Task Force to curtail the overprescribing of opioids with more physician education and better risk assessment of patients. These are a few of the steps that Broward County is taking to ensure that we are doing everything possible to raise awareness, stop drug abuse and save lives.

Proper Flag Disposal

Click to Broward County Flag Disposal Website I was inspired when I heard about a program that the National Association of Counties was doing with the National Flag Foundation and the National Sheriff’s Association. When a flag is worn, tattered, ripped or soiled beyond repair, it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country and should be retired and disposed of properly. As part of the program, residents can now dispose of old, tattered and torn flags at Broward County Government Center locations and various other locations around Broward County. Flags deposited in designated boxes will be collected and disposed of properly and should be folded appropriately before being placed in the box. I am proud to have brought this resource to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. This program is part of a national campaign to support flag etiquette, ensuring a dignified retirement for our U.S. Flag.

roward County Flag Disposal

Click to Broward County Flag Disposal Website Governmental Center East
115 S Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, 33301
Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm

Governmental Center West
1 N University Drive
Plantation, 33324
Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm

Broward County Library Beach Branch
3250 NE 2 Street
Pompano Beach, 33062

Click to National Flag Foundation Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center
3403 Galt Ocean Drive
Fort Lauderdale, 33308

City of Deerfield Beach
BSO Substation
300 NE 2 Street
Deerfield Beach, 33441

City of Fort Lauderdale
100 N Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, 33301

Click to  National Sheriff’s Association Town of Hillsboro Beach
1210 Hillsboro Mile
Hillsboro Beach, 33062

Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
4501 Ocean Drive
Lauderdale by the Sea, 33308

Community Hurricane Preparedness Event

Click to Eye of the Storm Hurricane season is quickly approaching and preparations are now underway for the “Eye of the Storm” community hurricane preparedness event sponsored by the Florida International University Hurricane Research Center, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Broward County, City of Fort Lauderdale and the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS). This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th, from 10AM to 5PM at the educational MODS facility located at 401 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, 33312.

Click to MODS Eye of the Storm event Activities include; interactive demonstrations with tropical weather briefing and hurricane hunters, presentations by hurricane experts, the opportunity to explore the museums storm center while meeting local TV meteorologists, and live theater shows for all ages. Free museum admission is granted for the event and this is a wonderful way to get the entire family to begin preparing for hurricane season which runs June 1st thru November 30th.

Be sure to visit Broward's Hurricane website for preparedness tips.

“Beach Bud “Adoption Event

Click to Broward County “Beach Bud” adoption event On May 20th from 11AM to 4PM, Broward County Animal Care and Adoption will host a special “Beach Bud” adoption event at the Animal Care Adoption Center located at 2400 Southwest 42nd street in Fort Lauderdale. In order to put the spotlight on big dogs that are typically not adopted as quickly as smaller dogs, a promotion of all adoption fees on larger–sized dogs (40lbs or more) will be waived. Additionally, adopters who select a big dog that day will receive a special keepsake “Beach Bud Bag” filled with items to help care for their new pet.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Galt Mile Community Association Advisory Board
GALT MILE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION ADVISORY BOARD
June 21, 2017 - At the
February 18, 2010 GMCA Advisory Board meeting, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, lamented an explosion of disreputable local pain clinics, noting that within a few years, their numbers in South Florida jumped from 4 to 176. Drawing on his long experience as the City’s top cop, Roberts knew that the vast majority of drugs dispensed at these clinics wind up on the street. Having unwittingly become the lynchpin of an East coast drug network seemed more intolerable than the thousands of lives it abruptly extinguished. Seven years later, as the Pill Mills fade into an embarrassing historical footnote; South Florida autopsy tables have never been busier. Here’s what happened...

Painkiller Capital

State Attorney Michael J. Satz
STATE ATTORNEY MICHAEL J. SATZ
In the spring of 2009, State Attorney Michael J. Satz of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit convened a Grand Jury to study the Proliferation of Pain Clinics in South Florida. On November 19, 2009, the Broward County Florida Grand Jury Report on Pain Clinics was released. It confirmed facts that were essentially old news to the local drug world and the DEA - that South Florida - specifically Broward County - anchored the State’s reputation as the nation’s Painkiller Capital

Click to Proliferation of Pain Clinics in South Florida Grand Jury Report Referring to DEA statistics, the report confirmed that in 2006, more oxycodone was distributed in Florida than in any other state - 40 percent more than in second-ranked California. In 2008, Florida was home to the nation’s top 25 pain clinic dispensers of prescription drugs as well as the top 50 physicians who dispensed the most oxycodone in the United States.

Click to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration web site The DEA described how the pain clinics supplied product to “mules” from Eastern Kentucky who would keep a portion of the haul and bring the rest to distribution sites controlled by the “James Marsillet II” drug ring in Kentucky. South Florida pill mills similarly supplied statewide networks in Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. Not to be outdone by competing drug rings in other states, local dealers replenished their Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach inventories at these one stop shops. Market exchange rates were remarkably seductive; as pills picked up by mules for $5 each brought $30 from dealers who sold them on the street for $80 apiece.

Former Senator Mike Fasano
FORMER SENATOR MIKE FASANO
Despite a mountain of Federal evidence that Florida supplied neighboring states with most of their illegal prescription drugs through this network of pill mills, state lawmakers ignored the problem. Fed up with his peers’ passive neglect, former Senator Mike Fasano filed Senate Bill 2272 in 2010. His “Pill Mill Bill” prohibited clinics from dispensing more than a 72-hour supply of a controlled substance to patients who pay by check, cash or credit card. Since third party carriers maintain current provider and client utilization databases for ascertaining potential abuse, clinics billing insurance coverage or worker compensation could dispense larger amounts of the regulated medications. His bill required physicians practicing in a pain clinic to complete a pain medicine fellowship or residency, or be recognized as a pain management specialist by the appropriate licensing board. Additionally, Pill Mills had to register with the Department of Health and could not advertize their products and services.

Click to the Florida Department of Health web site With a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) capable of tracking the illegal distribution of narcotic drugs authorized by the Legislature in 2008 and the new statutes regulating pain clinics, the last piece of the puzzle was left to the Department of Health. Having campaigned on reversing Florida’s reputation for coddling drug dealers, newly elected Governor Rick Scott charged the State’s medical board with drafting rules governing pain clinic operations.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Pain Clinic Ordinance Until the State provided them with the statutory tools to effectively address this fast-growing threat in their own back yard, on March 2, 2010, Commissioner Roberts and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler prompted the City Commission to pass a stopgap measure – Ordinance No. C-10-07 – establishing a 180-day moratorium on licensing pain management clinics. Working with state health authorities, D.E.A., F.B.I., and the Broward Sheriff, Fort Lauderdale police initiated a campaign to cripple the South Florida supply chain of legal drugs that fuel the street market.

Raiding the Rat Nests

Click to Fort Lauderdale Pain Relief Center Reassured that statutory help was on the way, our City cops participated in multi-jurisdictional raids to close pain clinics on a weekly basis. On April 5, 2010, the Florida Department of Health shut down the Fort Lauderdale Pain Relief Center at 201 W. Oakland Park Boulevard. Two weeks after suspending the clinic’s main physician, 85 year-old Dr. Michael Lazzopina, for over-prescribing thousands of painkillers, the Health Department closed the clinic for operating without a “designated physician” responsible for ensuring medical standards. The Fort Lauderdale Pain Relief Center is owned by Integra Health Services, a company run by chiropractors Michael Rechter and David Romano, who operated similar clinics in Dania Beach, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville. Not surprisingly, they also ran pain clinics in Minnesota and Kentucky - one of several states flooded by South Florida prescription drugs.

On May 4, 2010, the Health Department closed the Broward Chronic Pain and Recovery Center on Powerline Road after suspending the medical license of Dr. Alfred E. Boyce on April 28th for prescribing 10,800 tablets to six patients over a six month period. The pills were predominantly oxycodone and Xanax, two highly addictive drugs that are Mother’s milk on the Black Market. The 80-year old Dr. Boyce was a local medical “Hall of Famer”. His license was also suspended in 2004 and 2005 when the chiropractor running an Oakland Park cosmetic medicine clinic left four people comatose from overdoses of botulinum toxin shots ordered in Boyce’s name. The Pill Mill was owned by businessman William D. Benton.

Health Dept, FBI, DEA, BSO and Fort Lauderdale Police load Impounded Documents During Raid
HEALTH DEPT, FBI, DEA, BSO AND FORT LAUDERDALE
POLICE LOAD IMPOUNDED DOCUMENTS DURING RAID
Five days earlier, on April 30th, Fort Lauderdale police and state agents raided the Mercy Wellness and Recovery Center on Northeast 48th Street, another of Benton’s cash cows. Benton also owned the Fort Lauderdale Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic in a strip plaza on Commercial Boulevard around the corner from his Broward Chronic Pain operation. Doctors working in these clinics were paid between $800,000 and a $1,200,000 a year, based primarily on the number of people they’d plied with pills. The daily take for each clinic was about $50,000.

Dr. Bernard Cantor
DR. BERNARD CANTOR
On May 24, 2010, Fort Lauderdale police and Florida Department of Health officials raided the Broward Urgent Care clinic at 1409 SE First Ave. The clinic’s medical director was Dr. Bernard Cantor, an obstetrician and faculty member at Florida International University medical school.. The clinic’s president was Alan Daley.

At the same time, Federal agents arrested Boca Raton internist Dr. Michael Roy Shook, owner and supervising doctor of the Lauderhill Medical Clinic at 2762 W. Oakland Park Boulevard. Although state health authorities filed a disciplinary case against the 52-year-old Shook on February 10, 2010 and barred him from prescribing narcotic drugs, he and the clinic’s listed president, ultrasound technician Gary Adams, continued hawking up to 700 pills a month to drug mules from Eastern Kentucky. Following a two-year investigation by a federal task force in Kentucky and South Florida, members of the “James Marsillet II” drug ring in Kentucky identified Shook as their primary supplier.

Jeff George
JEFF GEORGE
Chris George
CHRIS GEORGE
After an intensive 14-month investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local police agencies served search warrants on three dispensing pain clinics in Lake Worth and West Palm Beach, two of which were less than a mile apart. The 29-year-old twin brothers who owned the pill mills – Jeff and Chris George - had no medical training, and their criminal records didn’t preclude them from acquiring a license to operate medical clinics, hire physicians and accrue a $40 million nest egg by selling truckloads of painkillers. According to prosecutors, each of 5 staff physicians ordered about half a million oxycodone tablets in one year. While serving 15 years on Federal drug charges, on December 2, 2015, Jeff George was sentenced to another 20 years for drug trafficking and second degree murder for a clinic customer that overdosed.

Urinalysis & the PDMP

Scott Closes Office of Drug Control
Governor Rick Scott
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT - YES - NO - MAYBE
Following his swearing in ceremony, Governor Rick Scott’s first Executive Order (11-01) froze all new regulations. He then eliminated the state Office of Drug Control, which had been coordinating the war on pill mills. When Governor Scott ordered the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to submit new rules for monitoring prescription drugs and pain clinics, as mandated in Senator Fasano’s “Pill Mill Bill”, local efforts to close pain clinics were placed on hold. City officials in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach anticipated that the new State rules would provide a more effective legal platform for closing the clinics.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Pain Relief Center Urinalysis impact on Private Sector On January 7, 2011, when the Florida Board of Medicine (the licensing arm of the DOH) delivered to Scott the regulations he requested, agency officials and Medical Board physicians stressed their urgency and requested implementation within 7 days. Instead, the Governor authorized an economic study to determine how much these rules would cost the private sector. Most of the estimated $69 million was for urinalysis, enabling clinics to determine patient intoxication. Although the $15 cost is paid by the patient, Scott’s new “Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform” is still debating the potential financial impact of urinalysis.

newly elected Attorney General Pam Bondi
ATTORNEY GENERAL PAM BONDI
Click to Fort Lauderdale Pain Relief CenterAs weeks passed, newly elected Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose campaign was anchored by repeated promises to close pill mills, said she would talk to the Governor about approving the rules he requested from DOH. A week later, she called a press conference to describe a nightmare she had in which someone died from a new party drug known as MDPV. Sold in head shops as “bath salts”, Bondi sought to ban the drug for its linkage to several deaths and suicides. She forgot to mention the pain clinics that dispense Vicodin and Xanax like chicklets and kill thousands of Floridians every year.

Former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear
FORMER KENTUCKY GOVERNOR
STEVE BESHEAR
More weeks passed. Although approved by the DEA, every police group and medical association, Governor Scott blocked implementation of a privately funded prescription drug database (PDMP) that the 2008 Legislature created to track over-dispensing physicians and drug dealers and addicts that go “doctor-shopping.” At that time, thirty-eight states used similar databases to track oxycodone and other painkillers that had become the most widely abused (and lethal) drugs in the country (currently, 49 states have PDMPs, Missouri the sole exception). Scott commented “I don’t support the database. I believe it’s an invasion of privacy.” When top law enforcement officials, legislators and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (since drugs from Florida annually kill thousands of his constituents), pleaded with Scott to reconsider, he blew them off.

Dave Aronberg
FORMER PILL MILL BOSS DAVE ARONBERG
Unable to convince the Governor to stop protecting the pill mills and approve the State Medical Board’s pain clinic rules, Attorney General Bondi appointed former State Senator Dave Aronberg to spearhead her statewide campaign against the pill mills. When asked about his progress, Aronberg announced that he was still waiting for Scott’s regulation squad to determine whether urine tests create an unfair financial burden on “narco-tourists” (AKA drug mules).

Former Senate President Mike Haridopolos
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT
MIKE HARIDOPOLOS
Initially perplexed by the Governor’s refusal to inconvenience drug dealers, many Tallahassee lawmakers didn’t agree with his inexplicable decision to treat criminal enterprises as if they were legitimate businesses worthy of State protection. New Port Richey Republican Senator Mike Fasano, who’s “Pill Mill Bill” finally provided the statutory wherewithal to stifle the growth of Florida’s street drug trade, vowed to actualize the prescription drug database. Since every law enforcement agency in the State declared it an indispensible tool in the war on drugs, former Senate President Mike Haridopolis said public funding would be used if necessary.

Vincent Colangelo
VINCENT COLANGELO
While able to stall State and local efforts against the pill mills, Scott had no control over Federal authorities, who had begun raiding pain clinics from Miami to West Palm Beach in February 2010. Operating seven clinics in Broward and Miami-Dade, convicted heroin dealer Vincent Colangelo allegedly distributed more than 660,000 oxycodone pills over a two-year period, netting $150,000 a day. The raids revealed clinic techniques used to assist pill brokers trying to avoid detection. An undercover agent witnessed a clinic nurse coach a roomful of mules to avoid filling prescriptions at pharmacies that use a computerized database such as Walgreens. She sternly warned, “Do not go to Walgreens. I can’t say this enough. They are not your friend; they are the enemy.”

Administrator Michele Leonhart of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
DEA ADMINISTRATOR MICHELE LEONHART
Calling the crackdown “Operation Snake Oil,” administrator Michele Leonhart of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said “Prescription drug abuse is our country's fastest growing drug problem, and pill mills such as those in Florida are fueling much of that growth.” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer added “According to recent estimates, Florida prescribes ten times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined.”

Former Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe
FORMER PALM BEACH COUNTY
STATE ATTORNEY MICHAEL MCAULIFFE
Forced to the sidelines by Governor Scott, State and local law enforcement was fuming. Intimating that Scott’s pro-pill mill maneuvers weren’t unintentional missteps, former Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe commented “I hope and expect that the new governor’s office, when they say they want the most favorable climate in the world for business, that they’re talking about legitimate businesses. These aren’t legitimate businesses, and that’s the heart of the matter. They haven’t been regulated, and they’ve mushroomed in our communities.”

Scott - It's not Working - I think
SCOTT - ITS' NOT WORKING - I THINK
Early on, the public rationalized the new Governor’s dissolution of the state Office of Drug Control as a political preview of his intended deregulation policy. After proposing to abolish the narcotics database in documents he submitted to the Legislature along with his budget proposal, Scott told a roomful of journalists on February 7, “The program has not been working.” Stunned reporters looked at one another as Scott’s staffers cringed. Evidently, Scott was the only one in the room – possibly the state – who didn’t know that the database had never been implemented.

Hoping to defuse mounting concern about Scott’s inexplicable behavior, some of his supporters cited an intractable commitment to minimizing the role of government. Law enforcement officials and lawmakers opined that the Governor’s vision of a pro-business agenda doesn’t distinguish between legitimate and criminal enterprises. Others intimated that he pops pills and shares a bond with the overmedicated.

City Commissioner Bruce Roberts
CITY COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
Like local jurisdictions across the State, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission’s reaction blended anger and confusion. The eerie events in Tallahassee placed their plans to close down more pain clinics on ice. When asked for his take on the Governor’s enigmatic behavior, Commissioner Bruce Roberts stated “It doesn’t make any sense, maybe he’s a Libertarian.”

The DEA Hammers Healthcare

Former Florida Surgeon General Frank Farmer, MD
FORMER FLORIDA SURGEON GENERAL FRANK FARMER, MD
Despite Scott’s opposition, in early April, 2011, former Florida Surgeon General Frank Farmer, MD, ordered officials to proceed with implementation of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Paul Sloan, president of the Florida of Pain Management Providers, echoed concerns by medical and law enforcement officials Society about two crippling program loopholes. First, pharmacists had a 15-day window to enter the prescription data, sufficient time for doctor-shopping drug mules to hit scores of other outlets without detection. Secondly, physicians weren’t required to check the database prior to issuing a narcotic prescription, thereby relegating the program’s primary benefit. Finally, proponents agreed that it would take years to realize palpable results.

As local jurisdictions closed their illegal pain clinics while Tallahassee played “Where’s Waldo?” with drug policy, DEA officials snatched up an opportunity to massage their long-tarnished image. After spending decades neck-deep in media sludge for a failed war on drugs, the agency jumped in with both feet.

In 2010, the DEA issued a decision that greatly expanded the guidelines for corresponding responsibility – a decades-old federal mandate that requires drug dispensers to ensure that prescriptions for controlled substances are issued for a “legitimate medical purpose.” Typically, pharmacists complied by contacting the prescribing physician to verify the prescription’s legitimacy. Since the new DEA guidelines intimated that pharmacists should do more, albeit without explaining how, confused pharmacists either profiled the customer or solicited diagnostic feedback from the physician.

Having set the stage for a proxy war between physicians and pharmacists, the agency engineered crackdowns with hefty fines for some of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains and distributors, pulling the plug on providers red-flagged for violating the new reporting requirements.

Walgreens fined $80 million In 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration hit Walgreens with the largest fine in agency history because certain outlets didn’t report an increase in narcotic prescriptions. When the DEA suspended the controlled substance licenses for Walgreens' Jupiter distribution center and six of its 831 Florida pharmacies, the corporate goliath agreed to an $80 million settlement to prevent similar actions in Colorado, Michigan and New York from eroding the stock price.

Scott Closes Office of Drug ControlCardinal Health Fined $34 million CVS Funed $22 million When two CVS stores in Sanford failed to report what the DEA considered “a suspicious increase in controlled prescriptions,” the agency barred the pharmacies from dispensing the drugs until CVS coughed up $22 million. Also, drug wholesaler Cardinal Health temporarily lost its license to distribute controlled substances from its Lakeland facility. The wholesaler paid $34 million to settle DEA claims that it failed to report having filled some large orders of hydrocodone for Florida pharmacies and another $10 million for sloppy record keeping in New York - for a total of $44 million.

Dr. Steven Rosenberg
DR. STEVEN ROSENBERG
On July 1, 2014, the CDC released a report describing a mixed blessing. While announcing a 23 percent reduction in prescription drug deaths in Florida from 2010 to 2012 (the first such decrease in the country), it added that 68 people died from heroin overdoses in the first six months of 2013, more than double the same period in 2012. In crediting the closure of more than 250 Pill Mills for the reduction in prescription drug deaths, the report intimated that prescription pill-poppers cut off by the crackdown switched to the more readily available street drug.

Dr. Steven Rosenberg, a West Palm Beach physician who sat on the joint committee that wrote the rules governing pill mills and “doctor shoppers” that were incorporated into State Law, said that 2010 reports of seven daily prescription drug deaths were actually understated, explaining “There were reports of 11 per day just prior to the legislation being enacted.” Four years earlier, the CDC announced that Florida was home to 98 of the nation’s top 100 dispensers of oxycodone. In contrast, the 2014 report confirmed that none of the top 100 oxycodone prescribers were in Florida. Rejoicing by the CDC, DEA, State officials and local Florida jurisdictions over the drop in prescription drug deaths obscured the concomitant increase in fatal opioid overdoses.

Fearful Pharmacists

While State and local officials were successfully shuttering Pill Mills and jailing “narco-tourists” who funnel product to the thriving street drug trade, Federal authorities had a different agenda. Faulting lax oversight by physicians and pharmacists for the prescription drug crisis, the agency used the highly publicized crackdown to threaten healthcare providers who don’t proactively help police their own industry. While culling some shady doctors and drug mules, agency officials also targeted providers who failed to meet the tougher dispensing quotas and reporting standards. Although the DEA claimed that exceeding the quota would simply trigger a red flag, pharmacists soon learned that this was agency spin for a license suspension.

Along with the high profile corporate take-downs, the DEA permanently revoked the licenses of 13 Florida pharmacies, and brought dozens of others to the brink of dissolution by suspending their licenses – sometimes for months – before restoring them after conceding that the pharmacies hadn’t done anything wrong.

Faced with an agency policy that indiscriminately threatened their livelihood, pharmacists across the state sharply curtailed access to prescription pain medication, turning away legitimate pain patients in droves. Fearful that exceeding the arbitrary agency quota would place their licenses at risk, pharmacists began reserving their minimal supply of controlled pain medication for regular customers. Even then, many would typically request an MRI report, or contact the doctor to inquire about alternative treatment modalities.

Pharmacist Randy Margrave
PHARMACIST RANDY MARGRAVE
Also of concern was a state law that included a trigger for distributors to red flag retailers who order more than 5,000 dosage units per month of controlled substances, the kind of one-size-fits-all legislation that generally wreaks havoc on the target industry. Two issues dogged the legislation. After the DEA slammed distributor Cardinal Health with a $34 million fine, wholesalers began treating the dosage limit as a cap, not a trigger. Secondly, applying the same limit to a large pharmacy with 4 or 5 pharmacists and a Mom and Pop operation with a part-time pharmacist was impractical as a trigger and inequitable as a cap.

Scott Closes Office of Drug ControlCardinal Health Fined $34 million Randy Margrave, a pharmacist at the Holly Hill Pharmacy in Daytona Beach, said wholesalers are also under pressure from the DEA. “They monitor and report dispensing patterns and limit the number of doses provided to pharmacies.” When Margrave placed a slightly larger order in advance of a price hike, the pharmacy was flagged by the wholesaler. Due to wholesaler overreactions and DEA mandates, Margrave doesn’t accept new chronic pain patients, and ignores 15 to 20 calls a day from people inquiring about the availability of painkillers. Margrave commented “They’ve got the wholesalers shaking in their boots.”

Collateral Damage: The Access Crisis

Pharmacist Roger Accardi
PHARMACIST ROGER ACCARDI
Orange City pharmacist Roger Accardi observed “There has been collateral damage and those are patients who have legitimate pain. In this climate, there are going to be patients who are turned away. Some are going to be legitimate, and that is terribly unfortunate.” Florida pharmacists and drug wholesalers intimidated by an overzealous DEA and the failure of its current drug policy to distinguish between legitimate pain management patients and drug mules has precipitated an access crisis. Thousands of cancer patients, patients with spinal cord injuries and surgical patients newly discharged from hospitals were sent on “pharmacy crawls”, forced to visit a dozen or more pharmacies – often in different neighborhoods – in order to fill a prescription. Professionals who need the medication to continue working, and seniors who use the drugs to stay mobile became “opioid refugees”.

Michael A. Jackson, executive vice president and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association
CEO MICHAEL A. JACKSON OF THE
FLORIDA PHARMACY ASSOCIATION
Click to Florida Pharmacy Association “Opioid refugee” is the term used by doctors, pharmacists and patient advocates to describe a pain patient who was abandoned by pharmacists or physicians fearful of federal sanctions. Michael A. Jackson, executive vice president and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association, explained “Pharmacies and physicians are scared to provide pain medication to people who legitimately need it, including terminally ill cancer patients.” Linking DEA policy to the growing shortage of medication, Jackson said that when Physicians and Pharmacists fear DEA accusations of “overprescribing” or “overdispensing”, “You have a chilling effect because they don't want their licenses taken away from them.” He concludes. “We now have a situation where access is a problem. The pendulum has swung too far to the right. We have to find a way to bring the pendulum back to the middle.”

Lesley and Chris Young
LESLEY AND CHRIS YOUNG
4-year-old Aiden Lopez after Surgery
4-YEAR-OLD AIDEN LOPEZ AFTER SURGERY
Awash in complaints about the access crisis, the Florida Board of Pharmacy's Controlled Substances Standards Committee held a series of meetings to explore solutions. The committee verified testimony from some of the thousands of complainants. For example, Lesley Young traveled to more than a dozen Jacksonville-area pharmacies before finding one that would fill prescriptions for her husband, a former mechanic who was crushed by a car the fell off a lift and left him paralyzed.

Florida Medical Association General Counsel Jeff Scott
FLORIDA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
GENERAL COUNSEL JEFF SCOTT
Diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, Suzy Carpenter spent three days pleading with pharmacists at 13 drug stores before she received her pain medication. Three pharmacies rejected 4-year-old Aiden Lopez’s prescriptions for narcotics after the child underwent surgery for kidney cancer. Physicians who testified at the Board of Pharmacy meeting identified patients who committed suicide because no one would fill their prescriptions.

Susan Langston, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s divergent program manager
SUSAN LANGSTON, DEA MIAMI OFFICE
Florida Medical Association General Counsel Jeff Scott did the "pharmacy crawl" in Tallahassee in an attempt to locate pain medication for his elderly father who was diagnosed with cancer. Scott said “Pharmacists need to fill the damn prescription. If a doctor orders it, they need to fill it. Period! - unless they have reason to believe it's fraudulent.”

Senator Aaron Bean
STATE SENATOR AARON BEAN
Having attended some of the pharmacy board meetings, Susan Langston, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s divergent program manager for the Miami Field Division, said that the DEA’s Miami staff “is horrified to hear the heartbreaking stories of cancer patients, hospice patients, surgery patients and legitimate pain patients being forced to endure needless suffering,” adding that 4-year-old Aiden Lopez’s story was “deeply troubling.” Langston later explained that the passionate reaction by her DEA staffers was rooted in first-hand experience, as several were forced into pharmacy crawls while trying to fill controlled prescriptions for family members suffering from critical illnesses. After delivering lengthy prepared remarks, Langston said. “This has to stop, and it has to stop now.”

Allison Dudley, executive director of the Florida Board of Pharmacy
FBOP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALLISON DUDLEY
Allison Dudley, executive director of the Florida Board of Pharmacy, said “Pharmacists are worried if they order too many narcotics, they’re opening the door to a raid by the DEA or a state criminal investigation.” When the issue surfaced in Tallahassee, Senator Aaron Bean (R – Jacksonville), who chaired the Senate Health Policy Committee, said “The 5,000 dose trigger for wholesalers in Florida Law is blocking pharmacists from ordering what they need to serve all of their patients", and agreed to file legislation to revise the controversial red flag quota. In 2016, Bean’s Committee enacted Senate Bill 1604, which now provides that if an order exceeds 7500 doses, the wholesaler only needs to determine if the purchase is reasonable, eliminating the incentive to reject legitimate orders.

Jeffrey Walsh, assistant special agent in charge of DEA's Orlando office
JEFFREY WALSH, ASST SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE OF DEA ORLANDO OFFICE
Although Langston has since clarified that the DEA’s expectations of pharmacists doesn’t include withholding pain medication from patients with legitimate prescriptions, the agency has repeatedly refuted claims that its actions caused the shortage of prescription pain medication. “All we are asking is for the pharmacies to use their training, education and experience and look at the totality of circumstances to determine if the prescription is legitimate,” said Jeffrey Walsh, assistant special agent in charge of DEA's Central Florida office in Orlando. “Nobody has been the subject of an enforcement action that hasn’t been a longterm, egregious and habitual offender.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) disagrees, having issued a report holding the DEA responsible for inflaming the shortage. Specifically, the GAO states that the DEA contributed to the shortage by “mismanaging its quota system for the production of controlled substances.”

Pyrrhic Victory: Oxy to Heroin

Pompano Beach First Responders - Herion Overdose
POMPANO BEACH FIRST RESPONDERS - HERION OVERDOSE
While the Pill Mill crackdown has reduced the number of prescription drug overdose deaths to 2007 levels, and transferred Florida’s dubious distinction as the nation’s “Painkiller Capital” to neighboring Georgia, the total number of opioid overdose deaths has skyrocketed. When oxycodone, Xanax and hydrocodone grew scarce, they were replaced by heroin. Unlike prescription drugs, heroin is typically laced with a lethal menu of other unknown chemicals, either to stretch the supply or enhance the effect. More than 1400 people in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties fatally overdosed last year, almost a third of the 4400 overdose deaths in the State. In 2016, 592 people died in Palm Beach County, 582 in Broward and more than 250 in Miami-Dade. Medical Examiners attribute roughly 90% of the fatalities to heroin. While communities in Hollywood, Overtown and Pompano are hot spots, the most egregious abuse appears to surround Delray Beach. To slow the scourge in their county, Palm Beach Commissioners are considering a $3 million emergency war chest.

Opioid Potency The variants responsible for roughly half of the recent deaths are cut with synthetic forms of heroin such as fentanyl (50% stronger than heroin) or carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer that’s a hundred times stronger than fentanyl. Synthetic narcotics are slapped together in Chinese laboratories and mailed to a worldwide clientele in nondescript packages. Drug dealers stretch inventories by mixing the heroin variants with a variety of other substances, ranging from the relatively harmless lactose (milk sugar) to deadly rat poison or weed killer. Although fentanyl and carfentanil were banned in China as of March 1st, Chinese chemists will simply begin churning out and exporting a new legal chemical analog of the drug until it too, is analyzed and classified by the DEA and banned by Chinese authorities.

Oxycodone to Heroin The customer base is huge – and growing. Although the Pill Mills’ clientele spanned the East Coast, the drug mules also supplied an army of local addicts. When shuttering the clinics thinned the supply of prescription opioids, users turned to cheap and plentiful heroin. Drug dealers are also breaching thousands of supposedly drug-free “Sober Houses” that pepper South Florida. After undergoing detoxification, addicts in recovery often live in an emotionally supportive group home, a “Halfway House” that provides therapy sessions, crisis management, and a healthy supply of naloxone (brand name Narcan), a competitive antagonist of opioid receptors that neutralizes opioid overdoses. The Narcan often determines whether house-members who fall off the wagon spend the following day on the beach or the Medical Examiner’s autopsy slab.

Narcan Nasal Spray A drop in the number of South Florida fatal overdoses in 2017 is attributed to the increased availability of naloxone and other overdose reversal drugs. The Department of Children and Families, the state’s lead agency on substance abuse, provided nearly 2,500 Narcan nasal spray kits to treatment providers between August and December. Naloxone was also made readily available to Medicaid patients when added to the State’s Medicaid preferred drug list in 2017. Until recently, a single dose of these opioid antagonists was sufficient to rescue victims on the brink of death. If the heroin is mixed with fentanyl or other synthetic narcotics, first responders often need to administer a dozen or more doses to revive a victim, quickly burning through their supply.

$3 million Sober Home in Delray Beach
$3 MILLION SOBER HOME IN DELRAY BEACH
Over the past four decades, Recovery has grown from a niche business into a $billion industry in South Florida (predominantly Palm Beach), as local treatment centers offering an opportunity to clean up on a subtropical beach drew addicts from across the planet. Many decide to remain here after their rehab. While attracting hundreds of physicians, clinical therapists, psychologists and nurse practitioners who specialize in Recovery Medicine, the unique environment also drew a tidal wave of drug pushers.

Sober Home Shooting Gallery in Delray Beach
DELRAY BEACH SOBER HOME SHOOTING GALLERY
Since health insurance funds treatment for the vast majority of recovery patients, unscrupulous clinic operators will jerk profits by shepherding newcomers through a lucrative battery of unnecessary tests. Since a relapse will trigger a new round of benefits after a beneficiary’s coverage is exhausted, patients who fall off the wagon can double – or triple – the clinic’s windfall. Not surprisingly, few operators complain when drug dealers rent a house across the street. “You have what are so-called ‘sober homes’ next to houses that sell drugs,” says Sgt. Ed McCabe of the Delray Beach Police Department. Incredibly, shooting galleries masquerading as “Sober Homes” are notoriously difficult to evict or otherwise regulate, since these corrupt cankers are constitutionally cloaked by federal disability laws.

Political Pipedreams

Click to Trump Wall Many of the proposed plans to combat this nationwide epidemic are politically prompted pipedreams, such as a White House solution to “wall off Mexico”, which won’t prevent easily masked heroin stashed among thousands of trucks from crossing the border each day; or any of ten thousand points-of-entry currently used.. While teaching physicians to perform a better risk assessment of patients may reduce questionable pain management prescriptions in the future, it will have little impact on the daily heroin overdoses at the heart of this crisis. Filling the prisons with drug-addicted street-level dealers may satisfy some moral imperative, but since thousands of potential replacements view such events as sterling business opportunities, it has a negligible impact on the drug trade.

Drug Consumption Facility in Vancouver
DRUG CONSUMPTION FACILITY IN VANCOUVER
To reduce fatalities, Australia, The Netherlands and Canada have implemented “Harm Reduction” policies – such as needle exchange programs and consumption facilities. Instead of jailing addicts or watching them die by the thousands, New York, California, Maryland and the City of Seattle are also considering “Consumption Facilities”, sites where addicts receive clean needles and syringes and use their heroin, or other addictive drugs under the supervision of trained authorities that also provide primary medical care and immediate access to free rehab beds. Implemented in Vancouver since 2003, these “Treatment Gateways” reduce the number of addicts as well as the spread of H.I.V. and hepatitis.

Click to Opiate Action Plan An “Opiate Action Plan” was proposed in Fort Lauderdale last year by a group of addiction specialists and law enforcement officials at a forum hosted by the United Way of Broward County. In short, it proposed to educate neighborhoods about heroin and fentanyl while stocking truckloads of naloxone. In 2016, most States, including Florida, passed new laws providing for the purchase of naloxone without a prescription. Available as an intramuscular injectable or nasal spray in many Walgreens and CVS outlets, emergency administration should be accompanied by rescue breaths and a call to 911.

Click to Executive Order 17-146 On May 3, 2017, after dragging his feet for years, Governor Rick Scott finally signed Executive Order 17-146, classifying Florida’s opioid crisis as a public health emergency. The declaration will pump $27 million in federal funds – and another $27 million next year – into the state cookie jar, ostensibly for prevention, treatment and recovery services. Specifically, the grant will fund treatment modalities for the uninsured and under-insured, including $17 million for methadone and $3.8 million for Vivitrol (naltrexone), a drug that suppresses opioid cravings. While some of the federal funds will assist drug-addicted newborns, Scott instructed Surgeon General Celeste Philip to order a standing supply of naloxone. The grant will also fund overdose response training, behavioral-health consultants for child-welfare workers, peer-mentoring programs and other initiatives. Since the funds will be distributed based on each jurisdiction’s number of overdose deaths and estimated number of addicts, Broward should be a major beneficiary.

Click to CDC February 2011 Drug Epidemic Statement In his May 3 press release, Scott said that he decided to take action “following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declaring a national opioid epidemic.” The CDC has been calling this plague an epidemic since February 2011. Tick Tock...

Narcan Overdose Kits
NARCAN OVERDOSE KITS
Since 2010, the Justice Department has hinged a strategy on attacking two factors unique to the current crisis, the explosion of new addicts generated by the Pill Mills and the increasing availability of dirt-cheap high-purity heroin. With the Pill Mills mostly in our rear view mirror, the DEA has returned to dismantling drug pipelines.

While no one knows the extent that this new plague will burn through our communities and decimate families, a daily battle for survival is being waged on local streets. Racing from crisis to crisis, first responders will need a virtually unlimited supply of Narcan to bring people back to life and thousands of addicts will need access to treatment. As the CDC and local governments work through schools, physicians and civic programs to illuminate danger signs and recovery options, families will once again take point, and do what they must to keep one another safe. It may not be elegant, but it works.


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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Retail Markets || Sun Trolley || Tax Cut

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
July 2, 2017 - In his June / July 2017 message to constituents, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts notes how the values of South Florida retail markets are currently among the highest in the nation, as Fort Lauderdale's prosperity is bolstered by a robust economy, an unemployment rate below the national average, and total employment figures that reached a record high in 2016; announces the Sun Trolley's 25th year as the city's Community Bus Service; outlines a snakebit plan to insure the navigability of the city's canals by charging the cost of dredging to the owners of properties that line the canals. Ironically, a week after Roberts placed the article this newsletter, the plan was vaporized. Roberts laments how the legislature's placement of an additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption on the November 2018 ballot will tank City revenues; applauds 4 District 1 participants in the City of Fort Lauderdale's first Neighbor Leadership Academy Class and reviews a litany of planned improvements to the stretch of Sunrise Boulevard from Searstown eastward to the Gateway Shopping Plaza, an FDOT brainchild waitlisted for funding by Broward MPO.

Retail Ring Toss

Ten-X Retail Markets Ten-X.Com is a leading online real estate transaction marketplace. The Ten-X report referenced by Roberts highlights the nation’s 5 most and least attractive retail environments. The brightest retail market opportunities are in Florida and Texas, where Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa are joined by Houston and Austin in defying pessimistic national trends, primarily due to robust local economies nourished by consistent job and population growth. On the down side, retail assets in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Oakland, Memphis and Cleveland are dubiously distinguished as top flight selling opportunities.

Ten-X Retail Markets In the past, retail market ratings were spun from the housing climate, employment opportunities, population growth, etc., in competing regional or municipal economies. Currently, both flourishing and languishing markets are under siege, as e-commerce has evolved into the single largest secular threat to traditional retail. The online market now hosts more than 13 percent of all retail sales, and shows no sign of weakening, prompting retailers to either close or downsize brick and mortar outlets.

Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio
TEN-X CHIEF ECONOMIST PETER MUOIO
By shorting real estate investment trusts and bonds that underwrite shopping malls, Hedge funds are intensifying sector obstacles. According to Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio, “The problems inhibiting retail’s growth are anything but a passing phase, and the mounting shift toward online shopping ensures the sector will continue to face a steep climb on its road to recovery.” Even in regions like South Florida, where healthy economic conditions and strong housing markets are carrying the sector, Muoio fears that retail “would bear the brunt of weakening absorption and falling rents that could push vacancies to recession-era levels in the event of any cyclical economic headwinds.” If Wall Street sours, Muzio advises all retail investors to duck and cover – not exactly a revelation.

BCT: Sun Trolley Folly

Sun Trolley 25 Anniversary As Sun Trolley officials welcomed its 25th year, the slimy bureaucrats at Broward County Transit (BCT) celebrated by defunding the Galt Mile Route. Not to worry - the Galt Link will continue to serve our residents. As observed by Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci “BCT is no friend to the Galt Mile.” A BCT Bus layover has been blocking a handicap access ramp near Playa Del Mar ever since construction began along A1A. The busses often park on the sidewalk, and extend into the street, impeding traffic along Galt Ocean Drive.

Former Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Manager Connie Hoffmann
FORMER LBTS TOWN MANAGER
CONNIE HOFFMANN
Click to Broward County Transit After causing significant damage to town property, and ignoring official requests to avoid parking on the sidewalk, BCT was evicted from a layover site in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea by former Town Manager Connie Hoffmann. At the November 24, 2015 LBTS Commission meeting, Hoffmann advised Town Board members “I have given the County Mass Transit folks the 30 days’ notice that we promised them - that we are withdrawing our approval of their use of El Mar Drive as a rest layover for their busses. The reasons for this action are excessive noise, documented damage to our property, and their drivers’ failure to follow instructions on where to park the busses. The County will cease to use that area by December 21st and has promised to repair the damage they have done to light fixtures, our sidewalks, and water meters.”

Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
FDOT protocols require that bus layovers be located on thoroughfares with multiple lanes in the direction of traffic, enabling vehicles to bypass busses that are either double parked, or parked a sufficient distance from the curb to accommodate handicap devices. Although the street is too narrow to safely support a layover, BCT moved the ousted Route 72 layover to a privately owned Galt Ocean Drive cutout near Playa Del Mar and Regency Tower, where the busses damaged the curb and sidewalk, trampled sidewalk beds and crashed into a sign. In selecting the site, BCT determined that endangering residents was an acceptable collateral consequence of providing bus drivers with convenient access to robust luncheon options. Nearly two years ago, Broward County Transit officials promised to expeditiously remove the layover from Galt Ocean Drive. They didn’t.

Click to Route 72 Layover Rider Alert
Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
SUN TROLLEY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ROBYN CHIARELLI
These beacons of public safety pulled the funding plug from the Galt Mile Sun Trolley when ridership dipped below 7.1 passengers per hour. Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli has tendered assurances that the service will not be interrupted or reduced. As for the bus barricade, BCT has vowed to relocate the Route 72 bus layover to its original site at 41st Street and A1A when construction along A1A is complete, presumably in September. Given their track record, we'll believe it when we see it. That said; if you haven’t tried the latest incarnation of the Galt Mile Sun Trolley, give it a whirl. It’s convenient, comfortable, cheap as dirt, and sure beats trying to remember where you parked your car when shopping in Galleria.

Slippery Tallahassee Tax Cut

Statehouse Speaker Richard Corcoran
STATEHOUSE SPEAKER RICHARD CORCORAN
As lawmakers in Tallahassee pump $billions into pork projects that benefit business partners, family members, or high dollar campaign contributors, they often ignite political fireworks aimed at distracting a potentially antagonistic electorate. Florida Representative Richard Corcoran (R - Land O' Lakes) is arguably the most prolific Statehouse Speaker in decades. As a testament to his tenure, Corcoran sought to enact the largest tax cut in Florida History. To immunize this legislative “selfie” from a prospective veto, Corcoran decided to place it on the November Ballot, since a Constitutional Amendment is outside the lame duck Governor’s purview.

Florida State Senator Tom Lee
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR TOM LEE
Corcoran is dangling an opportunity to snag an additional $25,000 homestead exemption - but only on homes valued in excess of $100,000. Sponsored by Senator Tom Lee (R-Thonotosassa), House Joint Resolution 7105 (HJR 7105) scored a green light in the Senate by a vote of 28 Yeas vs. 10 Nays, as six Senate Democrats joined 22 Republicans in approving the measure. It was later approved on the House floor by a vote of 83 Yeas vs. 35 Nays. By placing this ad valorem carrot on the November 2018 ballot, State lawmakers can claim credit for a huge tax cut, while distancing themselves from the unavoidable fiscal fallout.

Tax Cut Of course, the tax cut won’t affect the State piggy bank. Instead, roughly $645 million will be siphoned from cities and counties - placing local officials between a rock and a hard place. Since the lost property tax income ordinarily funds public services, City and County Commissioners will be forced to offset the shortfall. They can cut funding for police and fire-rescue, EMS, parks, libraries, code enforcement, community health centers, fighting the drug plague, fixing streets, sewers, and other heavily eroded infrastructure, or they can raise local taxes.

Click to Police Executive Research Forum By raising millage [tax] rates, local governments transfer much of the outstanding tax burden to businesses, renters and low-income residents - those who can least afford it. Local officials in every Florida jurisdiction - spearheaded by the Florida Association of Counties - are apoplectically lobbying voters to deprive the measure of the 60% approval required for Constitutional incorporation.

Big Deficit Big Deficit None of this will matter. Since the average savings for homeowners is about $200 - the November amendment will pass with a bullet. Roberts points out that the exemption will annually cost the City about $2.5 million. In contrast, Broward County - including all of its cities and special taxing districts - would lose a combined $73.5 million. If the City and County both tweak their respective millage rates, a sizable slice of the $200 savings for homeowners will be added back to their TRIM notices, which should cloud the measure's appeal.

Home Rule Hypocrites The Legislature has recently embarked on a troubling campaign to usurp the right of local jurisdictions to self-governance – supplanting decisions traditionally reserved for cities and counties with one-size-fits-all state mandates. The beneficiaries of deep-pocketed industry lobbyists, key lawmakers tried to bar local governments from regulating local businesses, enforcing zoning regulations, addressing neighborhood issues with illegal vacation rentals, or creating Community Redevelopment Agencies. Ironically, the same legislative leadership relentlessly accuses Congress of violating the right of Floridians to Home Rule.

Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR JEFF CLEMENS
Not surprisingly, the bill strained longstanding working relationships between local officials and their counterparts in Tallahassee. To help mitigate the pressure on lawmakers from their home districts, Corcoran personally lobbied wavering Senators. In doing so, he revealed that the damage to local governments wasn’t an unavoidable consequence of the amendment, but its primary objective, exclaiming “I’ve had numerous conversations with tons of senators about making sure that we fight for the people, and not wasteful, unaccountable, lazy governments.” Angered by Corcoran’s intention to starve local governments without disclosing how the statewide funding shortfalls would cripple local services, Senator Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) told colleagues “It’s absolutely unfair and irresponsible for us to pass a potential tax cut without telling people what the cuts are going to be.”

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD COUNTY MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
Corcoran also equipped potential supporters with political boilerplate inveighing how they were not cutting taxes, but empowering voters. If a lawmaker remained recalcitrant about triggering a statewide blizzard of local deficits, Corcoran unveilfd his legislative “WMD.” Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief joined scores of other local officials from across the State to lobby against the bill in Tallahassee. While trying to convince Broward lawmakers to oppose placing the exemption on the ballot, Sharief learned that several were told that that their local projects wouldn’t survive the budget process unless they supported the amendment.

Florida State Senator Lauren Book
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR LAUREN BOOK
Lobbyist Ron Book
LOBBYIST RON BOOK
In voting for the measure, Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) created a dilemma for the local city and county officials who helped Book win her Senate seat. Her father is Ron Book, a lobbyist whose client list of 23 cities and six counties includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas, where deficits will skyrocket. Having deliberately undermined key supporters, political allies and her Dad, when asked why she voted for the bill, Book whipped out Corcoran's playbook, “This is a matter for all Floridians to decide.” Corcoran's boilerplate won't help in November, when some incumbent candidates for state office in 2018 seek endorsements from the same local officials they plastered with deficits. It could get ugly – just ask Roberts. For Commissioner Roberts’ June / July 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Click to The Real Deal
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
MIAMI, FORT LAUDERDALE RANK AS TOP “BUY” MARKETS FOR RETAIL ASSETS (as reported in the RealDeal)! As the nation’s retail market struggles amid store closings and mounting pressure from online shopping, South Florida stands out as a top market for retail assets, according to a newly released report. Ten-X’s Retail Market Outlook ranked Miami as the top long-term “buy” market, based on demand, followed by Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Austin and Tampa. In Miami, retail vacancies dropped by 0.05 percent to 5.7 percent at the end of last year. Rents averaged $23.37, and are projected to rise to $25.79 by 2020, according to the report. Fort Lauderdale retail vacancies fell to 8.9 percent last year, with rents averaging $17.86. Rents in Fort Lauderdale are forecast to rise to $20.20 in 2020. Overall, retail vacancies were 9.9 percent nationwide at the close of 2016 and are projected to remain at that level in 2020.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Sun Trolley SUN TROLLEY CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY: In 1992, the transit service launched with Lolly the Trolley. Today, it's fully modernized with a new Tracker App that lets customers track each bus in real time; an updated website and a 24/7 customer service hotline. Riders run the gamut from snowbirds who spend a few months in town to locals who take the trolley to work. The nonprofit LifeNet4Families depends on it to deliver meals to the needy. Its busiest route - based on ridership per hour - is the airport link. Folks ride between Fort Lauderdale's international airport and the city's historic arts and entertainment district downtown. Additionally, the free on-demand Riverwalk Water Trolley ferries riders to eight points around the channel and to the Las Olas shopping and restaurant row. Folks can call the hotline and take the option to speak with the captain for personalized service. In the future, the association plans to start guided tours for visitors. Areas under consideration include the developing Flagler Village Arts and Technology District.

Canal on Bayview Drive
CANAL ON BAYVIEW DRIVE
PROPOSED CANAL CLEANING ASSESSMENT! The City of Fort Lauderdale owns 57 miles of navigable canals that require periodic dredging to remain navigable. In an effort to improve the level of service to our neighbors and maintain property values, we are considering implementing a proactive program to dredge City-owned canals on a seven-year cycle. The first two years of each seven year cycle of the dredging program would consist of surveying the condition of the City-owned canal system, prioritizing the dredging program for the upcoming five years, and designing and permitting of the canal dredging plan. During each year of the dredging plan, the canals to be dredged that year would be surveyed again to verify the current conditions prior to commencing dredging. A canal must also be surveyed after dredging to confirm that the construction work authorized was completed according to the specifications set during the design stage and shown in the plans.

Funding Needed Improvements: Implementing a proactive canal dredging program will incur costs associated with surveying, permitting and dredging. In order to fund the associated dredging costs, the City is considering an annual assessment for properties along the City-owned navigable canals. Click to Fort Lauderdale Dredging program An ongoing dredging program could benefit property owners by maintaining access to the navigable canal and preserving property values. The assessment would be based on the number of linear feet of private property that front a City-owned canal. Only the cost of dredging navigable canals will be included in the assessment – the cost of dredging non-navigable drainage canals will be funded through the City’s stormwater program.

For more information you can visit www.fortlauderdale.gov/canal. As part of the public input, please email or call us with your viewpoint on this issue.

ESTIMATED IMPACT OF APPROVED HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION BILL! As you may be aware, the Florida House voted 83-35 to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would allow homeowners to shield an additional $25,000 of the value of their home from most property taxes. The additional exemption would not apply to taxes charged by school districts. The Senate approved the measure (HB 7105) in April. The measure calls for the average homestead exemption to jump to $75,000 from $50,000 on the first $125,000 of a home’s taxable value. The measure must be approved by at least 60 percent of voters to take effect. As a proposed statewide amendment to Florida’s constitution, it cannot be vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. If approved by voters, this would apply to over 25,000 parcels in the City and the estimated annual revenue loss at the current millage rate would be $2.5 million or 2.1% of the city’s current ad valorem revenues. I will keep you updated as time goes on.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Neighbor Leadership Academy
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts and Neighbor Leadership Academy Class from District 1
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS AND DISTRICT 1 MEMBERS
OF FIRST NEIGHBOR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CLASS
RECOGNIZING PARTICIPANTS OF THE FIRST NEIGHBOR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY: Office of Neighbor Support recognized the participants in the first City of Fort Lauderdale's Neighbor Leadership Academy Class at a Commission Meeting. The goal of the Neighbor Leadership Academy is to build community leaders. The first 20 participants in the Neighbor Leadership Academy are from all four Districts and were selected in conjunction with the Council of Civic Associations. The participants are ready to put their learned skills into action and will be organizing a Meet Your Neighbor Block Party in September 2017 as part of a Community Service Project. Each participant was presented with a City of Fort Lauderdale's Neighbor Leadership Academy Certificate and a Neighbor Support Pin in recognition of their participation. The following people represented District 1:

  Peter Cooper, Coral Ridge Country Club Laura Depenbrock, Imperial Point
 
  Roy Grimsland, Coral Ridge Diana Hanford, Knoll Ridge
 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DISTRICT ONE PARTICIPANTS!

Searstown on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale
SEARSTOWN ON SUNRISE BOULEVARD IN FORT LAUDERDALE
RECOMMENDED IMPROVEMENTS FOR SUNRISE BOULEVARD BETWEEN THE SEARSTOWN AND GATEWAY SHOPPING PLAZAS: The Florida Department of Transportation, District 4, Planning and Environmental Management Office (FOOT) recently completed a planning study focused on improving traffic operations and safety along SR 838/Sunrise Boulevard between SR-5/US-1 at Searstown Shopping Plaza and the Gateway Shopping Plaza. Under existing conditions, the corridor is operating at capacity with heavy vehicular congestion and queues throughout the day. By year 2040, traffic volumes are expected to increase up to 66,500 vpd (vehicles per day). In general, existing intersection delays can be expected to double and vehicular queues are expected to increase up to 34% at the critical left-turn movements. More notable, the existing triple eastbound left-turn lane at US 1/Gateway will exceed its capacity and significant delay and queues are expected. FDOT recommends the following improvements to address existing and expected conditions:

  • Corridor wide Improvements: Includes upgrades to crosswalk ramps and sidewalks within the project limits to comply with ADA requirements, and signage modifications and additional pavement marking at specific locations.

  • Click to Broward MPO TIPs Program Sunrise Boulevard at US 1/Searstown: Improving the operations of the intersection by constructing an additional westbound left-turning lane (provides queue reduction of 28%) and installing a queue detection system on the eastbound direction. The queue detection system will be designed to relieve eastbound stopped traffic if queues reach a point close to the railroad tracks.

  • Sunrise Boulevard at NE 15th eastbound direction: Install a dynamic lane system for the eastbound direction. It consists of the use of the inside through lane to be converted to a shared through/left by using a dynamic display signal creating an effective dual left-turn lane which will operate during peak hours only. It includes widening in the north approach to receive the dual lanes.

  • Sunrise Boulevard Roundabout and Flyover Ramp
    SUNRISE BOULEVARD ROUNDABOUT AND FLYOVER RAMP
    Sunrise Boulevard at US 1/Gateway: Convert the existing signalized intersection to a multilane roundabout with an eastbound to northbound grade separated movement. This proposed 'flyover' ramp carries traffic destined to US 1 northbound relieving the at-grade movements. The combined improvements are expected to reduce delays by up to 58% during the peak hours. In addition, the roundabout conversion is expected to reduce the total intersection crashes by 44% based on nationwide studies and creates fewer pedestrian conflicts with less crossing distance. Bicyclists were considered in the roundabout concept for the Sunrise Boulevard intersection at Gateway. Bicycles are accommodated in the proposed design by providing a bike ramp from the roadway to a multiuse path around the circle.

Click to Broward MPO TIPs Program A Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study for the improvements recommended above is proposed as an addition to the 2018/2019 Multimodal Surface Transportation Priorities List which will enable the programming of future available funds through the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization's 5-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) as well as the Florida Department of Transportation's Draft Tentative Work Plan. The PD&E will further evaluate the recommendations listed above to determine the associated social, economic, natural and physical environmental impacts in order to develop the best solution for the multimodal, operational and congestion management challenges in this area. If you would like the entire memo and drawing attachment, let Robbi know and she will email it to you.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Budget; Port Everglades; E-911 Radio; Online Vets

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca July 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA JUNE 2017 MESSAGE
July 15, 2017 - In his June 2017 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca concludes that a significant increase in local property values should sufficiently enhance the County’s ad valorem revenues to cut taxes without impacting services; details competitive improvements to Port Everglades’ Southport Turning Notch, describes how a long-term agreement between the Port and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will mutually enhance revenues; observes how these improvements helped elevate the Fitch Rating outlook on Port bonds from “stable” to “positive”. LaMarca applauds a Broward County Libraries Division program that temporarily enables free internet access for veterans, active military members and their dependents; congratulates ten County departments for winning a record 16 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards; invites participation in the Broward Academy’s ten-week educational series that examines the panoply of County Government services; and verifies that a key County E-911 Dispatch upgrade was approved for installation - as 30-year old intermittently operational radios are recycled into bullets and bottle tops.

Tax Bill with a Poison Pill

The Florida Association of Counties After examining the County Budget process and the Property Appraiser’s rosy June 1, 2017 Estimate of Taxable Values, LaMarca suggests benchmarking survival of the recession with a celebratory tax cut. Armed with data drawn from the “FY 18 Tax Supported Funds Update” distributed at the June 6 Broward Budget Workshop, LaMarca shopped his concept to the other County Commissioners.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD COUNTY MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
Not surprisingly, LaMarca’s plan failed to resonate with his Commission peers at the June 15 Budget Workshop, where his millage reduction was unilaterally rejected. Undeterred, LaMarca aspires to recruit his District 4 constituents to assist with convincing the Broward Board to reconsider his proposal. His timing might have been better. A few days earlier, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief returned from Tallahassee, where she lobbied Broward lawmakers to oppose a bill specifically designed by Senator Tom Lee for House Speaker Richard Corcoran to wreak fiscal havoc in Florida’s local governments.

Statehouse Speaker Richard Corcoran
STATEHOUSE SPEAKER RICHARD CORCORAN
House Joint Resolution 7105 (HJR 7105) will place an amendment on the November ballot propog an additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption on properties valued from $100,000 to $125,000. When queried about his hardline support for the bill, Corcoran clarified that his real objective is to usurp the right of local officials to regulate local issues – maliciously characterizing City and County governments as “wasteful, unaccountable and lazy,” (see related commentary accompanying Bruce Roberts’ June / July 2017 newsletter).

Florida State Senator Tom Lee
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR TOM LEE
Corcoran has repeatedly stated that Florida legislators better represent the interests of constituents than local governments because “State lawmakers are more responsive to their concerns and less susceptible to special interests.” Notwithstanding whether this questionable epiphany was sourced from a California Psychic or some heritable polemic, Corcoran’s marginalization of Home Rule is largely anathematic to the Conservative Republican culture in Tallahassee.

When an analysis of the amendment’s fiscal impact revealed that it would wholly obliterate the local economies in 29 Florida Counties, lawmakers were forced to file a second bill (HB 7107) that would serve as a safety net – and replace the lost revenues in those counties. If the measure is approved by the electorate in November, of the estimated $645 million that would be lost to local governments across the State in 2019, a whopping $73.5 million would be stripped from Broward County and its 31 municipalities.

Click to June 2017 Tax DataAlthough LaMarca intimates that the 9.3% jump in property values will flesh out a substantial ad valorem dividend, the annual 3% “Save our Homes” tax cap on Homesteaded properties will sharply limit the resulting increase in tax revenues, and preclude local governments from monetizing recovering property values sufficiently to offset the looming deficit.

Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry
BROWARD ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
Given the county’s intention to mitigate a shortage with spending cuts instead of a tax increase, Broward Administrator Bertha Henry has already advised the county’s constitutional officers to trim their respective budgets. The County Board will soon have to decide where else to drop the budget axe. Traditionally, it begins with programs scheduled to sunset followed by a selective hiring freeze that understandably exempts public safety job titles.

Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry
BROWARD ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
Since one County Commissioner habitually recommends defunding resources in other Commissioners’ districts, Galt Mile residents may once again be forced to circle the wagons around the Galt Mile Library. A key destination site for thousands of local residents, this small rented site on a shoestring budget is the only resource provided to the neighborhood in exchange for being one of Broward’s largest annual contributors of tax revenue.

Currently working with the Galt Mile Community Association and local Library advocates on a long overdue expansion, LaMarca has helped shield the Library from similar budget-based threats in the past. Should the need arise; he vowed to do so again.

Port Everglades’ Largest Expansion Project

Click to Panama Canal Web Site
Post Panam=x Vessels Navigate Panama Canal
POST PANAM=X VESSELS NAVIGATE PANAMA CANAL
The Panama Canal expansion (completed on June 26, 2016) provided faster and cheaper shipping of goods between the United States and Asia while enabling American farmers and manufacturers to better compete with South American and European counterparts, including providers that currently benefit from cheap labor and primitive, low-maintenance infrastructure. The expansion triggered a frenzy of construction by East Coast seaports competing for a piece of the Post-Panamax Golden Goose. Managing the huge ocean going monsters that can now leapfrog between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is generating huge windfalls for the handful of east coast ports configured to accommodate the 50% wider, 25% longer vessels with 50-foot drafts (AKA post-Panamax).

Compare Panamax and Post-Panamax After 18 years of bumping up against foot-dragging Federal bureaucrats, Congressional gridlock and play for pay politicians while imploring the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake planned improvements, in March of 2015, the Corps finally released its Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for Port Everglades Harbor Navigation Study, a prerequisite for implementing three major Master Plan improvements. Click to Port Everglades Harbor Navigation Study The plan would deepen Port Everglades’ channel from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus two feet of allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet), widen the channel entrance to allow entering and departing ships to safely skirt by vessels docked inside the Port, expand and deepen the Southport turning notch, build 5 new berths, replace any lost mangrove wetlands or coral and add an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility.

Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opens an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY OPENS IN JULY 2014
Instead of hauling containers to and from off-port rail terminals, or bucking road traffic on the Turnpike or I-95, on July 14, 2014, a public-private partnership funded by the port and the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opened an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) to enable the seamless transfer of international containers between ship and rail, trimming the time required for bringing goods to market - and vesting the port with a significant competitive advantage over other Florida East Coast ports (like Port Miami).

Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approves Port Everglades Dredging
CIVIL WORKS REVIEW BOARD APPROVES DREDGING
In Washington D.C., the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board assesses whether locally approved projects provide national economic and environmental benefits - an eligibility prerequisite for Federal cost-sharing. On February 27, 2015, the Civil Works Review Board vetted the final environmental and economic feasibility studies before unanimously approving an appropriation of $190 million to the $374 million total cost of dredging the Port Everglades channel.

Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick of the Army Corps of Engineers signed the Chief of Engineers Report
LT. GENERAL THOMAS P. BOSTICK SIGNS CHIEFS REPORT
On June 26, 2015, Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick of the Army Corps of Engineers signed the Chief of Engineers Report for the Port Everglades improvements, certifying the project as environmentally sound and economically beneficial to the United States. The Chief’s Report was a prerequisite for including the project in the 2016 federal legislation authorizing water and navigation-related projects (WRDA 16).

President Barack Obama Signs WIIN Act
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SIGNS WIIN ACT
After hammering out a 2016 version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 16) in September, Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act on December 10, 2016. Signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 16, 2016, the Act provides for the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water resources infrastructure critical to the Nation’s economic growth, health, and competitive muscle.

Click to Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act While the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA 16) is incorporated into Title I of the WIIN Act, Title II includes improvements to drinking water infrastructure around the country and addresses control of coal combustion residuals, Title III improves water storage and delivery to drought-stricken communities, addresses federal dam maintenance backlogs, and approves water settlement agreements that benefit taxpayers and several Native American jurisdictions.

Click to Water Resources Development Act of 2016 Most importantly, the Act loosens the Congressional stranglehold on seaport funding, pumping nearly $16 billion into the Corps’ cookie jar for waterways projects. Specifically, the law authorizes 30 USACE “Chief Reports” submitted to Congress since the enactment of the WRDA 2014 bill. Since Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick filed his Chief of Engineers Report on June 26, 2015, Port Everglades is one of the eight new navigation projects that were recommended for funding.

Click to Turning Notch Info With the ICTF in full swing, Post-Panamax shippers have been flocking to Port Everglades like moths to a flame. As a result, Port Everglades has become berth constrained. Additional dock space for cargo ships is desperately needed, especially as the Port has become Florida's leader for containerized cargo volumes. As observed by LaMarca, the $437.5 million Southport Turning Notch Expansion (STNE) will lengthen the existing deepwater turn-around area for large cargo ships from 900 feet to 2,400 feet and allow the Port to berth and service five additional monster vessels.

Port Everglades Gantry Cranes
PORT EVERGLADES GANTRY CRANES
new Super Post-Panamax container gantry cranes
SUPER POST-PANAMAX CONTAINER GANTRY CRANES
To utilize the existing cranes, the gantry crane rails will be extended to the full length of the enlarged Turning Notch. A separate $41.4 million agreement to purchase three new Super Post-Panamax container gantry cranes at $13.8 million apiece, to be delivered in 2019, was approved by the Broward County Commission on June 6 – with an option to purchase three additional cranes during the next 5 years.

Click to Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Due to the seaport's proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), the three new cranes will be specially constructed by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Inc. (ZPMC) to meet federal height restrictions. The new low-profile cranes will be capable of handling containers stacked eight units high while reaching across 22 containers on a ship's decks. Port Everglades' existing seven gantry cranes in the Southport area, where the majority of the Port's containerized cargo handling takes place, are limited to containers stacked five units high and can reach out across 16 containers on a ship's deck.

Chief Executive and Port Director Steve Cernak
CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND PORT DIRECTOR STEVE CERNAK
It was originally anticipated that deepening the channel would spur a sufficient increase in Post-Panamax traffic to warrant comparably enhanced berthing and cargo management capabilities. To clarify why the project was expedited, Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steve Cernak explained, “Cargo ships are getting larger and several shipping lines already coming to Port Everglades from Europe and South America need Super Post-Panamax cranes now. The longer we wait, the higher the price, in addition to increasing our chances of log important business. We cannot afford to wait until our harbor deepening and widening project is completed because the cranes are needed now.” In short, the Port has become a victim of its own success.

Click to Moss/KiewitThis two-part expansion project is the most expensive capital improvement agreement awarded in Port Everglades’ history. “Moss/Kiewit” – a joint venture of Moss & Associates and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co. has been named the managing general contractor for the STNE and Southport Crane Infrastructure Improvements project. The STNE is projected to yield a $10.7 billion annual increase in economic activity related to the Port, and create 2,227 construction jobs in the near term and 5,529 regional jobs by 2027 when it is expected to be fully utilized at its maximum capacity. For LaMarca’s entire June 2017 constituent message, Read on... – [editor]

 

June 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County:

Preliminary Budget Forecast for Fiscal Year 2018

Broward County Budget As your Broward County Commissioner, a priority of mine has always been to advocate for the needs of our community. Broward County’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget is well underway, and discussions have already begun for the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. The County Commission began initial discussions in March and will proceed through a series of workshops that culminate with two public hearings in September. At that time, the Operating Budget, Capital Budget and Five-Year Capital Program will be adopted and the new fiscal year will begin in October 2017.

Broward County Commission
BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION
One of the largest contributors to the County’s overall budget is ad valorem property taxes. The Broward County Property Appraiser establishes the value of property and exemptions and also prepares and certifies the tax roll. The Board of County Commissioners, and other taxing authorities, set the millage rates, which are the rates at which property is taxed. In order to calculate a property tax rate, you can multiply the taxable value of the property by the millage rate and divide by 1,000.

Broward County Property Appraiser In the month of June, the Broward County Property Appraiser was able to provide the Board of County Commissioners with preliminary numbers for the County’s taxable value. These numbers are then finalized in July. The preliminary June 1st estimate provided by the Property Appraiser for FY 2018 is $177.3 billion. After adjustments by the Value Adjustment Board, this is a 9.3 percent increase from FY 2017. appropriation increase of 6.3 percent The overall General Fund Outlook as of June 2017 is a maximum appropriation increase of 6.3 percent for operations if there is no millage rate reduction. However, as your County Commissioner, it has been my goal to cut your taxes. To do this I have always advocated for the need to reduce the millage rate for Broward County residents. Looking at the FY 2018 budget, it will require a $9.5 million reduction from property-tax supported budgets to reduce the millage rate by 1 percent. Providing I have the support of the rest of the County Commission, this reduction will still provide Broward County Government with sufficient funds to run the necessary services for our residents while also providing a financial relief for residents in Broward County.


UPDATE: At of our recent June 15th Budget Workshop, no other County Commissioner was willing to join me in reducing the millage rate even slightly as described above. There will be additional budget meetings when the County Commission comes back from summer recess. If you agree with me that we should reduce the impact of property taxes on Broward County property owners, then you may want to reach out to the other County Commissioners and let them know your concerns. Remember that we ALL represent you in local government.


Port Everglades Update

Port Everglades Turning Notch
PORT EVERGLADES TURNING NOTCH
The Broward County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a $437.5 million expansion project to add new berths for larger cargo ships and install crane rail infrastructure for new Super Post-Panamax Cranes. The Southport Turning Notch Expansion project will lengthen the existing deep water turn-around area for cargo ships from approximately 900 feet to 2,400 feet, which will allow for up to five new cargo ship berths. The existing gantry crane rails will be extended to the full length of the extended Turning Notch berth to utilize the existing cranes.

Port Everglades Cruise Terminal 25
PORT EVERGLADES CRUISE TERMINAL 25
The County Commission also recently approved a long-term agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) replacing the current RCCL agreement, which expires at the end of 2017 and continues through September 2026. The agreement includes the investment of more than $100 million for a complete makeover of Cruise Terminal 25, which is the preferential berth for RCCL. This will allow for the Port to build a facility that meets RCCL’s expectations for the new generations of larger cruise ships.

Click to Fitch Ratings for Broward Outlook In other Port related news, Fitch Ratings recently affirmed the ‘A’ rating on Broward County’s Port Everglades outstanding $167 million port facilities senior revenue and refunding bonds while also providing a revised Rating Outlook from Stable to Positive. This Positive Outlook is great news for Broward County as it reflects the expectation that the Port will continue to demonstrate strong financial performance in terms of coverage and leverage. Additionally, it reflects an anticipation that the Port will maintain its diverse maritime operations and increasing revenue growth.

For more updates and information please visit Port Everglades.

Emergency Radio Upgrade

Motorola P25 system ce consolidation of the new Regional 911 system in October 2014, Broward County has initiated many projects and system upgrades to improve and enhance the performance of public safety response in Broward County. Most recent, the Board of County Commissioners voted to invest nearly $60 million to replace a 30 year old public safety radio system. The system will be replaced in 2018 with one of the most advanced systems in the industry, a Motorola P25 system. The new system will improve communication between responding units during an emergency as well as with federal, state and regional agencies.

New Library Program Provides Free Wi-Fi Hotspots to Veterans

Veterans Connect Hot Spots
VETERANS CONNECT HOT SPOTS
The Broward County Libraries Division recently launched an innovative initiative in conjunction with T-Mobile that provides 450 free Wi-Fi hotspots to local veterans, active military members and their dependents. The Veterans Connect Hotspots Program provides unlimited access to T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network and increased access to information and technology for their users. The free hotspots will be loaned for one month to veterans, active military members and their dependents with valid military identification cards. Users then have the option to renew the loan three more times.

Broward Libraries Program for Veterans
BROWARD LIBRARIES PROGRAM FOR VETERANS
Many veterans have difficulty transitioning to civilian life. This program will now better assist veterans by encouraging education, self-development and career advancement through technology. In addition, the program encourages the use of Broward County Libraries’ vast resources and services by members of the military community. Veterans, active military members and their dependents interested in participating in the Veterans Connect Hotspot Program will be able to check out the free hotspots at nine Broward County Library locations valid military identification.

For more information, please call 954-357-7444 or visit Broward.org/Library/Veterans.

Broward County Receives Awards

National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently awarded Broward County with 16 Achievement Awards. The annual awards recognize innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents in a variety of areas. Several County divisions were recognized specifically for initiatives that promote environmental preservation and conservation, improvements in customer services, programs that help pets and persons experiencing homelessness, and internal activities relating to purchag, risk management and employee communications. The award winning divisions are: the Human Resource Division, Libraries Division, Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division, Records, Taxes and Treasury Division, Enterprise Technology Services Division, Animal Care and Adoption Division, Purchag Division, Public Works, Transportation Department and the Risk Management Division.

Broward County Academy

Click to Broward Academy Website Class VI of the Broward County Academy will begin in just a few months and applications are now being accepted. The goal of the Academy is to increase resident involvement in local government, improve communication with the community, inform the community on the role, structure and complexity of County government, encourage community participation in volunteer opportunities, and build potential community leaders. The 2017 Academy sessions will begin on Tuesday, September 12th followed by nine consecutive Thursdays from 6-9PM concluding with graduation ceremonies on November 16th. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 14th. Applications for the Broward County Academy are available by clicking the link below, by emailing BrowardAcademy@Broward.org, or calling the Broward County Office of Public Communications at 954-357-6990. For more information please visit Broward County Academy.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

Click To Top of Page


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Ft Laud Airport; Job Growth; Hurricane Preparations, Zika

Commentary

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
August 8, 2017 - In his July 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca explores how improvements to Terminal 1 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) - jointly funded by the County and Southwest Airlines - benefitted both stakeholders and travelers; cites the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance for contributing to the County’s regional leadership in job growth; and warns constituents to prepare for the seasonal threat of hurricanes through November and the active transmission of Zika by mosquitoes that proliferate during South Florida’s May through October rainy season.

FLL & Southwest Terminal 1 Windfall

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Terminal 1
FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TERMINAL 1
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport LaMarca’s airport update welcomes a long overdue opening of the Concourse A passenger facility - a $200 million renovation project anchoring the $333 million modernization and expansion of Terminal 1 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). This springboard for air travelers will primarily serve Southwest Airlines ticket-holders aboard a panoply of new international flights scheduled by the airline this year.

Southwest Airlines These include daily nonstop flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica; Belize City, Belize; Cancun, Mexico and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - which all began in June. On November 5, Southwest will begin new daily nonstop service to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. Flights to San José, Costa Rica and to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic will commence on November 6.

Having scored only 18.3 percent of FLL’s passenger traffic in March, Southwest has persistently taken a back seat to front running carrier JetBlue Airways (24.6 percent) and was again nosed out by number 2 Spirit Airlines (18.4 percent) - begging the question, “Why did Broward County cough up a third of a $billion for improvements that uniquely benefit the airport’s number 3 airline?”

FLL CEO and Aviation Director Mark Gale
FLL CEO AND AVIATION DIRECTOR MARK GALE
On June 1, while escorting officials from Broward County and Southwest Airlines, the media, and a few tourism representatives from other countries on a tour of the upgraded facilities, FLL CEO and Aviation Director Mark Gale provided the fiscal context. By July, Southwest offered 21 percent of the scheduled available airline seats at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a capacity increase of 41 percent from July 2016. While JetBlue is the nation’s number seven airline, and Spirit number 10, Southwest is the third largest carrier in North America – with more “Elusive Spondulix” than JetBlue and Spirit combined, so the Broward Board wisely selected their cookie jar for fiscal fondling. It worked.

Southwest chairman and CEO Gary Kelly
SOUTHWEST CHAIRMAN AND CEO GARY KELLY
Gale observed, “That’s an incredible and enviable statistic for any airline to achieve.” In short, the investment re-ranked Southwest as the airport’s number two carrier and fueled a windfall dividend for FLL while significantly enhancing the region’s tourism economy – an industry four-bagger. Southwest chairman and CEO Gary Kelly echoed Gale’s optimism, citing FLL as one of the Dallas-based airline’s five most important hubs, and announcing “We do want to grow in this market. I think Fort Lauderdale will continue to elevate itself in terms of the significance to the total Southwest network.” FLL is also Southwest’s largest international hub.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD COUNTY MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
In her choreographed response, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief presented Kelly with a proclamation declaring June 1, 2017 as “Southwest Appreciation Day”. Reading from the proclamation, Sharief said “Since Southwest began operations in Fort Lauderdale in January 1996, the airline has carried more than 55 million passengers on more than 500,000 flights to and from the airport.”

Tech on the Go on Concourse A
TECH ON THE GO - CONCOURSE A
During the preview tour, LaMarca focused on the facility’s connectivity, exclaiming “My favorite part is that it connects to the rest of Terminal 1 and ultimately Terminal 1 and 2 will connect, just like 3 and 4. So, once you get behind security, as a traveler you will be able to experience all the great restaurants and retail behind security.”

Terminal 1 Gate Area Seating W/USB Outlet
GATE SEATING W/ USB OUTLETS & CUP HOLDERS
Hungry passengers can dine at Burger Fi, La Familia Tacos & Tequila, or a super-sized Starbucks. New shops on the Concourse include 5th and Sunset, Tech on the Go (for overpriced electronics), Hudson Booksellers and a CNN newsstand. In his update, LaMarca neglected to mention a spectrum of new amenities at departure gate waiting areas, where each seat is equipped with an embedded USB electrical charging outlet for mobile devices, A/C and a cup holder.

Terminal 1 Pet Relief Area
TERMINAL 1 - PET RELIEF AREA
Baby Changing Area
TERMINAL 1 - BABY CHANGING AREA
Although an avid animal advocate, LaMarca also omitted how pets will get their own bathroom. As a growing number of travelers are accompanied by pets or service dogs, airports are increasingly adding pet relief areas to comply with Federal law. Artificial turf covers the floor of the pet relief room. Since pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets, don’t be surprised if an adjacent onsite merchant drops a $60 price tag on a $12 pooper scooper.

Dodging Zika

Click to Pan American Health Organization Zika warning list Mistakenly rumored as a mildly uncomfortable inconvenience, Zika is no joke. This mosquito-borne flavivirus is part of the same viral family as Yellow Fever, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus and Dengue fever. Spread through the bite of the Aedes aegypti species mosquito, symptoms include fever, rash, and joint pain.

Click to Zika Worldwide In April of last year, the CDC confirmed what had been suspected throughout the 2015 Zika epidemic in Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean - for the first time in history, a virus transmitted by a mosquito bite was found to cause birth defects (microcephaly), a condition that impedes growth of the baby’s head, and can only be diagnosed when the head’s size is two standard deviations below the average (less than the 3rd percentile). In other words, if the head is smaller than those of 97 newborns out of 100, the child is technically microcephalic.

The CDC has linked microcephaly to seizures, developmental delays (problems with speech, sitting, standing, and walking), intellectual disability (learning and functioning in daily life), problems with movement and balance, feeding problems (swallowing, etc.), hearing loss and vision problems - ranging from mild to severe and often spanning a lifetime.

Click to Zika and Pregnant Microcephaly may also develop because of a genetic problem, certain environmental exposures during pregnancy (severe malnutrition; harmful substances like alcohol, certain drugs and toxic chemicals while in utero; an interruption of the blood supply to the baby’s brain during development), or if the mother was infected with rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus (also called CMV, a type of herpes virus).

Click to Zika and microcephaly A very rare condition according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as state birth defects tracking systems have estimated that microcephaly ranges from 2 to 12 babies per 10,000 live births in the U.S. Even so, pregnant women should take particular care to avoid mosquito bites. The threat is complicated by the lack of observable symptoms in four out of five infected women. As a result, health officials assert that the infected population is roughly three or four times the number of confirmed cases – placing every pregnant woman at risk.

Click to Zap Zika Suspected cases of the virus are being monitored by the Mosquito Control Section of the Highway and Bridge Maintenance Division in conjunction with the Florida Health Department. While the virus has been confirmed in travelers who recently visited Latin America, there are currently no locally acquired cases in Broward County.

Click to Tip! Toss! Treat! The protective measures described by LaMarca are component to a program known as “Tip! Toss! Treat!” - tipping over vessels that ordinarily collect standing water, tosg out those that aren't needed, and treating those that can’t be tipped (i.e. bird baths, rain barrels) with larvicide. For those of us living in associations, these protocols should be incorporated into the daily maintenance regimen throughout the rainy season (May to October).

Mosquito Spray Truck
MOSQUITO SPRAY TRUCK
VectoBac WDG
VECTOBAC WDG
Broward County periodically dispatches trucks to known mosquito breeding sites – most at night - which spray a larvicide called VectoBac WDG about 100 feet into the air. This commercial product features impressive safety credentials. Its active ingredient – the AM65-52 strain of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) - is a naturally occurring, biodegradable bacterial mosquito larvicide which is not harmful to humans, pets, aquatic habitats or environmentally sensitive areas. Certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), registered for use by the US Environmental Protection Agency and listed by the World Health Organization as a recommended formulation for control of mosquito larvae, the product contains spores which produce toxins that specifically target mosquito, blackfly and fungus gnat larvae.

Click to Biomist for Browared Aerial Spraying Funded by a $801,900 grant, this year the County is distributing 5,000 to 10,000 surveillance traps throughout Broward. While killing mosquitoes without chemicals, the traps will feed back data about proliferation sites. In residential areas plagued by mosquitoes, homeowners can request an aerial (airplane) spraying with a CDC endorsed chemical called Biomist 3+15. The spraying must be approved by the Mosquito Control Manager after performing tests affirming compliance with state requirements. All residents are urged to protect themselves when outdoors by wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants, and/or using a mosquito repellent containing DEET, PICARIDIN OR IR3535, all of which are registered with the EPA and endorsed by the CDC. For information about spraying and other mosquito-related questions, call Broward County mosquito control at 954-765-4062. After all, you paid for this service. For LaMarca’s July 2017 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

July 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your county commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

FLL Update

Click to Southwest Airlines Broward County and Southwest Airlines partnered to bring a new world-class experience for passengers who use Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 1 is now open. The new Concourse A facility is now open, bringing additional gates and the additional capacity of the world’s most modern international procesg facility for air travelers. The preliminary construction began in June 2015 and ended at the end of June 2017. The final phase of Terminal 1 construction will be in the summer of 2017 and will be completed by the end of this year.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - Terminal 1

Southwest Airlines in Terminal 1
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES IN TERMINAL 1
The overall major goal of the project is to improve the customer experience by offering a more modern terminal that offers more international and domestic destinations through additional gates. Some of the key features include a new Customs Inspection Facility with five gates that can handle both international and domestic flights. The new facility also provides connectors for all three concourses, A, B, and C - post security, which increases concession space both post security and pre security. This project also creates one centralized security checkpoint for all three concourses on the ticketing level, which enhances the existing restrooms and adds new restrooms near the new centralized security checkpoint. The new facilities will also provide improved and expanded seating areas near the gates in the new Concourse A.

Public Art in Terminal 1
PUBLIC ART IN TERMINAL 1
This $200 million, 307,000-square-foot concourse features moving walkways, new stores and restaurants, as well as public art installations including an interactive sculptural play area. The modernization and expansion plan will eventually connect all three concourses in Terminal 1 for a seamless and improved passenger experience.

Broward County Job Growth

Click to Broward County Flag Disposal Website Broward County continues to lead job growth in South Florida with 31,100 jobs created in a year and a ten-year-low 3.8 percent unemployment rate. May 2017 was the 82nd consecutive month with positive over-the-year job growth in Florida, indicating the great strength of our local and state economy. Florida’s statewide unemployment rate for May 2017 was 4.3 percent, which is 435,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10,147,000. Florida’s unemployment rate is down 0.2 percentage point from 4.8 percent in April 2017, and down 0.6 percentage from a year ago. Additionally, the state gained 228,000 jobs over the year, an increase of 2.7 percent. Florida’s over-the-year job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s rate since May 2012.

An unknown fact is that there are over 350,000 unfilled jobs throughout the State of Florida and there is an effort by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and the business community to retrain and equip those in need of a job with the skills needed to fill these high-paying jobs. As a longtime member of the Alliance Board of Directors, this is a major effort that I have been involved with and will continue to stay involved until every willing member of our community is in a great job.

Click to Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance In Broward County, we see year over year job growth and continued improvement in the local economy. The major industry sectors that added jobs over the year in the Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield metro area were professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, construction, trade, transportation, and utilities and manufacturing. Broward County, with the assistance of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, continues to help companies create, expand and retain high-wage jobs, which in return help to develop more vibrant communities and improve the quality of life for our residents.

Hurricane Preparedness

Click to Eye of the Storm We are officially in hurricane season and now is the time to prepare. The Broward County Emergency Management Division is closely monitoring weather activities in the tropics and it is especially important that residents have their emergency plans in place. Individuals with special needs are also encouraged to make arrangements in advance, for sheltering and evacuation transportation, if needed. Following these 5 simple steps will help you in becoming prepared for this hurricane season.

Consider your shelter options and include information in your plan

  1. Pre-register for important services (Vulnerable Population Registry)

  2. Make arrangement for your pets (pet registration and shelter options)

  3. Prepare important documents

  4. Prepare equipment and collect supplies

For more information and tips on becoming prepared this hurricane season please visit Broward.org/Hurricane.

You can also check out this video for even more information on what to do before, during and after a hurricane strikes South Florida.

Zika: Mosquito Control

Click to Broward County Zika The rainy season has officially begun and that means more mosquitos. While there are no areas of ongoing active transmission of Zika by mosquitos in Florida, it is still important to remain vigilant about mosquito bite protection by draining all sources of standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding and by always wearing bug repellent. The Broward County Mosquito Control Section of the Highway and Bridge Maintenance Division encourages community member to assist in keeping mosquitos from spreading the Zika virus. Besides draining, dumping standing water and covering any areas that may retain water, residents are encouraged to apply larvicide to keep mosquito larvae from developing into flying mosquitos that can bite.

If you need assistance identifying breeding habitats around your property, please contact the Broward County Mosquito Control Division at 954-765-4062, or visit Broward.org/ZapZika for more information.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


June LaMarca Letter Technical Errors

Typo I would like to take a moment to apologize for several technical errors that were published in the June LaMarca Letter. As you may have noticed, there were some inadvertent punctuation marks inserted when the file was sent out, but this did not take away from the message that I intended to convey regarding the fiscal year 2018 budget. I look forward to continuing to provide valuable information to the residents of District 4. I hope you’re having a great summer.


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Lolloy the Trolley at Burdines
LOLLY THE TROLLEY AT BURDINES
August 22, 2017 - In 1974, to promote his uncle's Buffalo New York supermarket chain,
Jody Perez purchased San Francisco cable car look-alikes which he named for his grandmother, Lolly. After driving Lolly the Trolley down to Fort Lauderdale in 1977, Perez nurtured his niche business over the next two decades. By 1994, Lolly’s Trolleys were flourishing in 13 states and 33 cities, including Puerto Rico. In Broward County alone, the bright red and British green fleet of 30 trolleys were hauling 5 1/2 million passengers a year.

Jody Perez with Lolly the Trolley in 1978
JODY PEREZ WITH LOLLY THE TROLLEY IN 1978
In 1992, to launch a long-awaited community transportation service in Fort Lauderdale, the City Commission voted to pay Perez’ company - South Florida Trolley Co. - $28,300 annually for the next three years to unleash Lolly the Trolley along the beach. Amid a growing ridership, Project Manager Linda Flynn of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA),
TMax Express Shuttle
TMAX EXPRESS SHUTTLE BUS
replaced the elegant 32-seat Trolley with a small inexpensive bus in 1995, initiating the 20-seat TMax Express Shuttle. A few years later, some municipal marketing genius affixed TMax with a catchier moniker - birthing The City Cruiser. Ditching the shuttle bus concept in favor of reviving the popular trolley, the first red and yellow Sun Trolley vehicles began navigating City thoroughfares in 2006.

City Cruiser Community Bus
CITY CRUISER COMMUNITY BUS
The DFLTMA, parent agency to the Sun Trolley, selected certain neighborhoods for inexpensive or free local shuttle service. Each of its 9 initial routes were designed to relieve traffic congestion in a targeted community.
Galt Link Sun Trolley
GALT LINK SUN TROLLEY
The Sun Trolley is one of 19 Community Bus Services in Broward that receive capital and/or operating assistance from Broward County Transit (BCT). Based on an interlocal agreement, BCT annually provides the Sun Trolley with a $13,295.20 capital cost allowance per vehicle. The BCT stipend is one of 19 different revenue streams that keep the system afloat, including a chinese menu of Federal, State and private grants, contributions from destination site merchants like Galleria, and rental income when chartered for private events. Revenue can be supplemented by milking the local option gas tax or from the sale of advertising splashed across the buses, the bus shelters, and bus benches. The Sun Trolley also books in-kind contributions from the private sector.

The Budget Axe

2007 Tax Cut in Tallahassee
CRIST, PRUITT AND RUBIO PLEDGE TO CUT TAXES
In 2007, to help beleaguered taxpayers weather the recession, Florida lawmakers enacted a $31.6 billion tax reform package. Specifically, it forced local governments to roll back FY 2008 property tax assessments to FY 2006 levels. After decades of casually burning through tax revenues with wild abandon, Broward Commissioners were skull-blocked by a statutory obligation to slice $100 million from the County’s $billion 2008 spending plan.

In a marathon of turf protection, County Commissioners fought to cut appropriations for services in neighboring districts while fiercely cloistering their own pork projects.
2007 Broward County Commission
2007 BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION
When the dust settled, along with cutbacks to libraries, parks and other low hanging fiscal fruit, underutilized local bus venues were fair game for the budget axe. Broward County Transit concluded that Community Bus routes must minimally carry 7.1 passengers per hour to dodge the guillotine. Due to a glitch in compiling ridership statistics, the Sun Trolley’s Galt Mile route was placed at risk.

Click to Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association web page Hoping to insulate the city's local bus service from adverse impacts threatened by the budget carnage, DFLTMA appointed Les Hollingsworth as the Sun Trolley’s Executive Director. Hollingsworth pledged to scare up additional funding and stretch available resources sufficiently to preserve the local routes. Unfortunately, Hollingsworth never delivered.

Surviving Hollingsworth

Former Sun Trolley Executive Director Les Hollingsworth
FORMER DIRECTOR
LES HOLLINGSWORTH
Click Termination Letter to Enlarge
TERMINATION LETTER - CLICK TO ENLARGE
While promising GMCA officials that he would protect the Galt Mile route from recessionary cutbacks, on October 10, 2008, Hollingsworth furtively filed a termination notice announcing its funeral! When the GMCA discovered Hollingsworth’s duplicity, a phalanx of angry residents stormed the October 21, 2008 City Commission meeting and convinced Commissioners to abort the termination. By the time that the DFLTMA Board finally realized that Hollingsworth’s management skills were limited to glad-handing at rubber chicken dinners (and learned that he was sending out resumes), the entire enterprise was facing insolvency.

Click Abort Termination to Enlarge
ABORT TERMINATION - CLICK TO ENLARGE
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE G. ROBERTS
A City investigation revealed that the problem had less to do with declining ridership than inept leadership - and an obsolete mission protocol. After ousting Hollingsworth, DFLTMA Executive Director Chris Wren stepped in as the Sun Trolley’s Interim Director. A few months later, District 1 Commissioner Bruce Roberts and Wren met with GMCA officials to explore a plan to salvage the beleaguered Community Bus Service by recapturing its credibility and increasing local ridership.

Click to Galleria web page
Former Interim Sun Trolley Executive Director Chris Wren
FORMER SUN TROLLEY INTERIM
DIRECTOR CHRIS WREN
Instead of only carrying vacationers from Port Everglades and beachfront hotels to the usual blood-letting tourist clip joints, by adapting the service to also accommodate the shopping needs of local residents, it would not only boost ridership, but jump-start business for vendors stung by the economic downturn. Click to Harbor Shops website Wren restructured the Sun Trolley - extending the Galt Mile route south to the Galleria and interlinking it with routes to the Harbor Shoppes and Las Olas Boulevard, enabling Galt Mile residents to access high end shopping without paying for gas or parking.

Back from the Brink

Former Sun Trolley Managing Director Patricia Zeiler
FORMER SUN TROLLEY MANAGING
DIRECTOR PATRICIA ZEILER
Click to Galt Mile Sun Trolley Route Over the next five years, then Managing Director Patricia Zeiler and Wren aggressively expanded the service to exploit the annually increasing influx of tourists while transporting locals to and from municipal events, the airport and new shopping venues. The monthly ridership jumped to 32,000 in December, 2012, and reduced the area’s carbon footprint by the equivalent of 7000 gas guzzlers.

DFLTMA Chairman Alan Hooper When Zeiler floated her now-stellar resume in the private sector, she was quickly snatched up by the prestigious Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, where she now serves as Executive Director. Following a frenetic search for Zeiler’s replacement, on December 2, 2014 DFLTMA Chairman Alan Hooper announced the appointment of Robyn Chiarelli as Sun Trolley Executive Director.

An acclaimed management virtuoso whose career in public transportation was built on leadership roles with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), Tri-Rail, and a term as Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 4 Project Manager, when Chiarelli supervised a laundry list of State-approved transportation projects in Broward and 4 other Southeast Florida counties.

Enter Robyn Chiarelli

Newly Appointed DFLTMA Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
DFLTMA EXECUTIVE DIR. ROBYN CHIARELLI
Since taking the reins, Chiarelli has combined ridership statistics with community input to quash certain underutilized routes and expand others – while pumping up monthly ridership to nearly 40,000 (with another 10,000 on the Water Trolley). On February 2, 2015, Chiarelli joined City Commissioner Bruce Roberts at the Fountainhead Condominium to address the Galt Mile Presidents Council. She affirmed that ridership was strong on the Galt Mile route section along A1A south to Sunrise, as hundreds of Galt Mile residents mount regular excursions to Las Olas Boulevard and the Galleria. When recounting the disturbing ridership data for the Oakland Park Boulevard route segment, Chiarelli assured attendees that although the route was not in immediate danger, its future was uncertain.

Click to Sun Trolley Survey Chiarelli also kept her promise to solicit community input prior to implementing changes to the Galt Mile route. In September 2015, Chiarelli distributed a questionaire to Galt Mile residents, probing community interest in maintaining service to Holy Cross and Imperial Point Medical Centers and adding destination sites in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS). Based on the accrued feedback, Chiarelli extended the Galt Route into Lauderdale-by-the-Sea for an annual $25,000 LBTS stipend, while discontinuing sparsely traveled access to Holy Cross and Imperial Point Hospitals, terminating the underutilized Oakland Park Boulevard route segment at the Coral Ridge Mall. Click to Sun Trolley Galt Mile Route Web Page However, residents who travel the extended Galt Link to LBTS can transfer to the Pelican Hopper (the LBTS Community Bus Service), which provides weekday and weekend stops at Holy Cross Hospital. In April, 2016, Chiarelli sent each Galt Mile association hundreds of copies of a confusing 25-quuestion survey for distribution to its unit owners, who were asked to mail back the completed surveys or drop them at the Galt Library by April 18. Since many of the questions were awkwardly personal in nature, the response was negligible.

Click to Sun Trolley Tracker Among the operational changes implemented by Chiarelli was a tracker app that allowed passengers to wave down a Sun Trolley as it approached, thereby obviating the need for route schedules. While the use of smart phone apps has exploded during the past decade, they remain anathematic to many elderly Galt Mile residents. Depriving them of the schedules they relied on for decades effectively turned this sizable demographic into ex-passengers - including many of those who used to benefit from the former access to local medical centers. Mitigating this generational disparity should yield a palpable ridership dividend.

BCT: A Study in Spite

Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci
GMCA PRESIDENT PIO IERACI
Sun Trolley 25 Anniversary Throughout its struggle to survive these evolutionary tripping hazards, the Sun Trolley has provided Galt Mile residents with free transportation to key destinations across the City of Fort Lauderdale. In his June 2017 Newsletter, District 1 Commissioner Bruce Roberts marked the Sun Trolley's 25th anniversary by applauding a litany of new services. Not surprisingly, he failed to mention that petulant bureaucrats at Broward County Transit (BCT) celebrated by defunding the Galt Mile Route. Not to worry - the Galt Link will continue to serve our residents. As observed by Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci “BCT is no friend to the Galt Mile.” A BCT Bus layover has been blocking a handicap access ramp near Playa Del Mar ever since construction began along A1A. The busses often park on the sidewalk, and extend into the street, impeding traffic along Galt Ocean Drive.

Former Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Manager Connie Hoffmann
FORMER LBTS TOWN MANAGER
CONNIE HOFFMANN
Click to Broward County Transit Prior to erecting their Galt Mile bus barricade, BCT officials secured permission from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS) to establish a layover on El Mar Drive between Hibiscus and Palm Avenues (in front of the old Holiday Inn). After causing significant damage to town property, and ignoring repeated official requests to avoid parking on the sidewalk, BCT was evicted from the layover site by the LBTS Town Commission on the recommendation of former Town Manager Connie Hoffmann. At the November 24, 2015 LBTS Commission meeting, Hoffmann advised Town Board members “I have given the County Mass Transit folks the 30 days’ notice that we promised them - that we are withdrawing our approval of their use of El Mar Drive as a rest layover for their busses. The reasons for this action are excessive noise, documented damage to our property, and their drivers’ failure to follow instructions on where to park the busses. The County will cease to use that area by December 21st and has promised to repair the damage they have done to light fixtures, our sidewalks, and water meters.”

Signpost tilted by BCT Collision
SIGNPOST TILTED BY BCT COLLISION
Traffic must drive around BCT Bus Gauntlet
YIKES! FOUR BUSSES BLOCKING TRAFFIC ON GALT
FDOT protocols require that bus layovers be located on thoroughfares with multiple lanes in the direction of traffic, enabling vehicles to bypass busses that are either double parked, or parked a sufficient distance from the curb to accommodate handicap devices. Although the street is too narrow to safely support a layover, BCT moved the ousted Route 72 layover to a Galt Ocean Drive cutout near Playa Del Mar and Regency Tower, where the same BCT drivers duplicated the casual abuse previously perpetrated at the LBTS layover – as busses damaged the curb and sidewalk, trampled sidewalk beds and crashed into a road sign (as witnessed by association security personnel and a dozen Galt Mile pedestrians). When a Fire-Rescue EMT racing south on Galt Ocean Drive was blocked by a driverless double-parked bus, it was forced to circle back to A1A and re-enter Galt Ocean Drive from 35th Street, delaying response to a medical emergency.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
FORT LAUDERDALE CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
County Administrator Bertha Henry
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
On January 29, 2016, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman sent County Administrator Bertha Henry pictures of the damages along with a request to relocate the Galt Ocean Drive layover “to a more suitable location outside the City of Fort Lauderdale.” He also complained about the blocked EMT. Henry passed the message to Broward Transportation Director Chris Walton. Precluded from returning the layover to an alienated Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Walton denied BCT responsibility for the damage, ignored the EMT incident and marginalized the nearly flattened road sign as “wear and tear typical on any city street.” In selecting the site as a layover, BCT determined that endangering residents was an acceptable collateral consequence of providing bus drivers with convenient access to robust luncheon options (i.e. Dunkin Donuts, DaVinci's Pizza, Winn Dixie lunch specials, etc.). For almost two years, complaints from angry residents (and drivers) have been pouring into the city and county, demanding removal of the bus blockade.

Click to Route 72 Layover Rider Alert
Broward Transportation Director Chris Walton
BROWARD TRANSPORTATION DIR. CHRIS WALTON
In response, these beacons of public propriety spitefully pulled the funding plug from the Galt Mile Sun Trolley. Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli has tendered assurances that the service will not be interrupted or reduced. As for the bus barricade, BCT has vowed to relocate the Route 72 bus layover to its original site at 41st Street and A1A when construction along A1A is complete, presumably in September. Given their track record, and a seemingly pathological predisposition to play fast and loose with the truth, we'll believe it when we see it.

Traffic must drive around BCT Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST DRIVE AROUND BCT BUS BLOCKADE

Use it or Lose it!

That said... if you haven’t tried the latest incarnation of the Galt Mile Sun Trolley, give it a whirl. It’s convenient, comfortable, free, and sure beats trying to remember where you parked your car when shopping in Galleria. Additionally, whenever anyone boards the Galt Trolley, they help solidify its survival as a neighborhood asset, a legacy primarily governed by ridership stats. A dozen other Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods would love to inherit our local bus service if deemed "unappreciated". Once each week, grab a ride to the Library, the pizza place, pick up some milk in Winn Dixie or have Sunday brunch on Las Olas. Simply put, we either use it or lose it.


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Budget Bump; Port Stats; FLL News; AlertBroward & Arts Challenge

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca August 2017 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
September 18, 2017 - In his August 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca regrets the Broward Board’s decision to decline a replay of the nominal FY 2017 millage reduction he successfully spearheaded last year; notes that WorldCity’s annual compilation of Port Everglades’ trade statistics heralds a rebound after several years of tentative growth; reviews the fast-growing number of new routes that contributed to FLL’s status as the fastest growing large hub airport in the country; advises constituents to enroll in AlertBroward, a new emergency notification system that provides subscribers with important information about an emergency; and closes by inviting Broward students to participate in the Mayor’s Art Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Broward Cultural Division.

Broward Budget Bump

Broward County Budget
Statehouse Speaker Richard Corcoran
STATEHOUSE SPEAKER RICHARD CORCORAN
Although last year’s increasing property values plumped revenues in the proposed FY 2018 Broward budget, LaMarca’s Commission peers feared how the Florida electorate’s likely approval of a Constitutional amendment placed by lawmakers on the November ballot would shrink County revenues. House Speaker Richard Corcoran configured a plan to neuter “Home Rule” and shift the regulation of local issues to State lawmakers. In preparation, Corcoran would first fiscally destabilize local governments sufficiently to prompt tax increases and/or service cuts, which he would use to disparage City and County governments as “wasteful, unaccountable and lazy.”

Click to Fiscally Constrained Counties Solely conceived to starve City and County governments, House Joint Resolution 7105 (HJR 7105) will place an amendment on the November ballot propog a third $25,000 homestead exemption (on homes valued in excess of $100,000). When a Statehouse analysis of the amendment’s draconian fiscal impact concluded that it would wholly obliterate the local economies in 29 Florida Counties, lawmakers were forced to file a second bill (HB 7107) that would serve as a safety net – and replace the lost revenues in “fiscally constrained” counties.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD COUNTY MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
Of the estimated $645 million that would be lost to local governments across the State, a whopping $73.5 million would be stripped from Broward County, its special taxing districts and 31 municipalities. Upon returning from an unsuccessful lobbying effort to dilute or quash the measure in Tallahassee, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief assured Broward taxpayers that County Commissioners will not address lost revenues with a tax increase. To avoid service cuts threatened by an estimated $32 million General Fund shortfall in FY 2020, an $11 million budget reserve (mentioned by LaMarca) will be repeated in the FY 2019 and FY 2020 spending plans, thereby mitigating the anticipated deficit.

WorldCity: Seaports Rebound as MIA Glows

Click to Worldcity Click to US Census Trade Data Reviewing how the newly released U.S. Census Bureau trade statistics were analyzed by WorldCity (a Coral Gables media and data research company), LaMarca laments a 12.19 percent drop in trade at Port Everglades in 2016, while anticipating a rebound in 2017. This is, in fact, among the rosier versions of the trade picture for the area’s most lucrative economic engines. WorldCity observations are derived in the US by crunching customs data at international trade hubs, about 450 of the nation’s busiest airports, seaports and border crosgs.

Click to PortMiami In South Florida, where the “Miami Customs District” includes airports and seaports from Palm Beach County to Key West, the three major players include PortMiami (POM), Port Everglades (PEV), and Miami International Airport (MIA). 2016 was the fourth consecutive year that the US Customs Bureau reported a decline in South Florida’s trade with the world, slipping from $106.85 billion in 2015 to $104.5 billion last year - a 2.2 percent loss of trade value. Although the region’s collective exports decreased 4.23 percent last year, as imports gained .23 percent, the district still recorded a healthy 2016 trade surplus of $7.76 billion.

Click to PortMiami Observing how the 2016 trade statistics generated by each of the District’s three “Big Dogs” differ significantly, WorldCity notes that exports from Port Everglades tumbled 11.6 percent to $11.7 billion while total imports dropped 12.8 percent to $10.4 billion - comprising its trade total of $22.14 billion. The value of exports departing PortMiami decreased by 7.8 percent to $9.5 billion as imports fell 3.47 percent to $14.5 billion - a total of $24 billion in trade value. In contrast, exports from Miami International Airport increased .03 percent to $32.8 billion, and imports jumped 22.4 percent to $26.2 billion – adding an impressive $59 billion to the District’s total trade value.

Click to Port Everglades The WorldCity analysis attributed the declining value of trade in both seaports and the increased trade value in MIA to shifting commodity prices. While both seaports handle comparable inventories of cargo containers, the value of Port Everglades' imports has been additionally pummeled by plummeting oil and gas prices, given how the port provides petroleum, including jet fuel, to 12 counties in Florida. Roughly 20% of the State’s energy requirements are met by petroleum stored and distributed by companies located at Port Everglades.

WorldCity president Ken Roberts
WORLDCITY PRESIDENT KEN ROBERTS
WorldCity president Ken Roberts explained “Port Everglades depends on the prices of gas and oil. Lower fuel prices dropped the value of Port Everglades’ imports.” In 2016, Port Everglades’ imports of gasoline and other fuels fell a whopping 61.4 percent to $875.4 million.

Click to Miami International Airport In contrast, higher gold prices were largely responsible for the glowing trade stats at MIA. Miami has long been one of the nation’s major hubs of the gold trade. ce local gold entrepreneurs generally maintain a low profile and many gold-related firms are family businesses, Floridians were taken by surprise when the Census Bureau trade data revealed that gold was the Miami District’s top import and export in 2012 - most of which entered or departed the country via Miami International Airport.

Not surprisingly, gold was again MIA’s top imported commodity last year, with the value of gold imports increasing 7.54 percent to $4.55 billion. Gold exports were up 3.6 percent to $1.8 billion. Gold mined in Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru - or from the Curaçao-Multi Commodities Centre Worldwide (C-MCC) Free Trade Zone, are typically flown to Miami and then routed to Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and/or the Dominican Republic. MIA also benefitted from imports of plasma, vaccines and blood, which increased 191 percent to $1.4 billion.

What About the Steroidal Growth at FLL?

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Why isn’t Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) – the fastest growing large hub airport in the country – among the region’s top trading venues? Although separated by a mere 30 miles, the relative strengths of the international airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale are a world apart.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport According to an American City Business Journals analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation statistics from 2010 to 2015, Miami International Airport is the No. 7 best-run airport in America, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is No. 52. The “best run” analysis weighs productivity and growth metrics. To mitigate size disparity, these include revenue per employee, operating income per employee and overall growth rate in the past five years.

MIA’s total operating revenue grew 39 percent during the five-year period – more than double the revenue growth rate of FLL – at only 16 percent. MIA also generated more revenue and operating income per employee than FLL, despite a 12 percent reduction of its workforce. MIA reduced its debt by 4 percent during the five-year period, while FLL debt skyrocketed 107 percent as the airport embarked on large scale Master Plan renovations.

FLL Terminal 1 Seating W/WiFi
GATE SEATING W/ USB OUTLETS & WiFi
In a separate ranking that measured the impact of amenities and conveniences, FLL took the brass ring, receiving a grade of B+, while MIA only rated a C+. FLL’s higher score was due to cheaper fees for parking and valet, and its proximity to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. FLL’s Free Wi-Fi, which MIA is planning to install, was also a major factor.

However, planned improvements are likely to enhance FLL’s trade standing in the near future. The analysis underscores how airports achieving the most growth and profitability are investing in modernization and an increasing inventory of retail and restaurants to better accommodate growing passenger traffic (as compared to larger, often outdated, air hubs).

Click to HMS Host Click to Delaware North In addition to undergoing comprehensive renovations, roughly 30 vendors are being replaced by 100 new food, beverage and retail locations in FLL’s four terminals. Following the 2013 expiration of a decades-long exclusive contract with an FLL vendor that provided food, beverage and retail options within the airport, new concession agreements were executed with HMS Host and Delaware North, which offer much more variety for travelers pasg through the airport’s terminals. Between 2013 and 2016, the airport’s total food and beverage gross sales grew to $99.55 million – a 63 percent increase.

Yasmi Govin, director of the airport’s business and properties management division, explained “FLL has started to revamp its entire concession program in the past few years. Almost all of the food and beverage locations have been rebranded or refaced, with many of these locations to be completely replaced as we move through our terminal modernization project.” FLL is also contemplating plans to develop the adjacent property with a common use club and an affiliated hotel. In the next few years, FLL may pilfer some spotlight from its high profile transportation siblings. For LaMarca’s August 2017 message to District 4 constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

August 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County:

Broward County Budget Update

Click to FY 2018 Broward Budget-in-Brief The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Broward County recommended budget will be discussed at the August 29th Final Budget Workshop. The total budget for FY18 is $4.83 billion, which encompasses all tax-supported and non-tax supported funds. The overall total budget increases by $48.5 million, with operation budgets higher by $128.7 million, debt services relatively unchanged and capital budgets $81.4 million lower than the budget for FY17. The tax roll for FY18 increases by 8.8 percent compared to the roll used for the adopted FY17 budget. The County has recommended a budget reserves of 11 million (about 1 percent of recurring General Fund revenues) in FY18 due to the potential reduction of $32 million in property tax revenues starting in FY20 if the legislative constitutional amendment to expand the homestead exemption passes in the fall of 2018.

Broward County FY 2018 Budget Data

Click to FY 2018 Broward Budget-in-Brief Homestead properties are expected to see increases in tax bills of 2.1 percent. Therefore, median valued homestead property owners will see an increase for FY17 - FY18 of $18. Based on the percent change in the average taxable value for all residential properties, other property owners will see an increase of $89. Last year in FY2017, I spearheaded a millage rate decrease and the County Commission was able to reduce the millage rate by 1 percent (from 5.723 in FY2016 to 5.669) which provided property tax relief with no increase for homestead residents with a home valued at the median property value.

Click to 'A Way Home' As your County Commissioner, I will continue to advocate for a decrease of the millage rate in order to cut your taxes and provide financial relief. It will require a $9.5 million reduction from property-tax supported budgets to reduce the millage rate by 1 percent, which will still support the necessary government services for the community. Unfortunately, my colleagues have not supported this initiative for FY18. However, you will have two opportunities to make your voices heard. The first Public Budget Hearing is scheduled for September 14th at 5:01PM and the second Public Budget Hearing is scheduled for September 26th at 5:01PM at the Broward County Governmental Center in the Commission Chambers, Room 422.

For more information on Broward County’s Budget, please visit Office of Management and Budget.

Port Everglades Trade Numbers

Click to Worldcity Port Everglades This year’s edition of WorldCity’s Port Everglades Trade Numbers provided interesting facts and figures about how Port Everglades (PEV) ranks nationally, the commodities traded through the port, imports and exports and where goods are coming from and going to. While this publication is completely independent, it does examine international trade through Broward County’s PEV based on data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection in calendar year 2016.

Click to Worldcity According to the publication, Broward County’s Port Everglades’ trade with the world totaled $22.14 billion in 2016. With exports of $11.70 billion and imports of $10.44 billion, PEV registered a $1.27 billion surplus its ninth year in a row. Although the port’s trade was down 12.19 percent in 2016, PEVs’ top 19 exports topped $100 million in value with the top outbound shipments, printers, topping $400 million. The publication also stated that while we are halfway through 2017, PEVs’ trade industry is shaping up to have a rebound year with a 2.32 percent increase in the port’s trade

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Update

Commissioner Chip LaMarca at British Airways inaugural landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

British Airways Inaugural Flight

British Airways inaugural landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Broward’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) continues to grow with the addition of British Airways’ inaugural flight from London’s Gatwick Airport this past July. This is the second international carrier to offer nonstop flights between Fort Lauderdale and London. Additional services coming to FLL include: Norwegian with flights to Barcelona in August and Martinique in October, JetBlue and Delta with flights to Salt Lake City in November and Allegiant with flights to Milwaukee and Norfolk in November.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Broward County’s FLL is the fastest growing large hub airport in the country. The total traffic for May 2017 was 2,629,156, which is up 9.9 percent over May 2016. Furthermore, domestic traffic was up 8.2 percent and international traffic was up 16.9 percent. May was the 38th consecutive month of growth in total traffic. It was also the 10th consecutive month of double digit growth in international passenger traffic. January to May 2017 traffic was up 11 percent.

New AlertBroward Emergency Notification System

Alert Broward Emergency Notification System

Alert Broward Emergency Notification System Broward County has activated a new emergency notification system called AlertBroward. This system enables the County to contact residents within seconds so they can receive important information about an emergency. Residents with landlines listed in the Yellow or White Pages have been automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, but AlertBroward also allows members of the public to self-register and provide additional contact information. Unlisted numbers are not provided. Residents are encouraged to register to begin receiving alerts. Sign up is quick, easy and secure on the AlertBroward website.

County Wide Arts Challenge for High School Students

Click to Mayor's Art Challenge Broward residents in grades 9-12 who attend public, private or home school are eligible to submit work for the Mayor's Art Challenge. All Broward County Commissioners will select one first place winner and one runner up from each of the nine districts in the County. The deadline for students to submit their application is Friday, September 8th and the application can be found on the Cultural Division’s Calls-for-Artists page. Students will need to submit their application with digital images of the artwork (up to two entries), a parental release form and indicate their County Commission District to llopez@broward.org.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Click Here to Utility Billing September 30, 2017 - On August 28, 2017, Galt Mile officials Pio Ieraci, Eric Berkowitz and Fred Nesbitt met in City Hall with Commissioner Bruce Roberts, City Manager Lee Feldman and staffers from the utility billing department - specifically - those who generate invoices for water and sewer services. It was the latest in a series of meetings convened to correct a longstanding billing inequity that unfairly inflates water and sewer charges for association homeowners. Curing this discriminatory invoicing policy should shave thousands of dollars from Galt Mile association budgets.

Seeding the Rate Rancor

Blurb on Fort Lauderdale WebsiteIn 2009, the City of Fort Lauderdale announced a new set of water and sewer rates for 250,000 customers in Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Oakland Park, Sea Ranch Lakes, Wilton Manors, parts of Davie and Tamarac and parts of unincorporated Broward County. To dilute blowback, an informational flyer inserted in monthly invoices, placed on the City website and shared with the local media exclaimed “The rate changes will result in an increase of less than $10 per month for 72 percent of single family residential customers.”

Fort Lauderdale Water & Sewer Invoice Water  Billing Department Within months of implementation, when association managers called the Water Department to inquire about skyrocketing water and sewer bills, department supervisors shot back a colorful array of transparently vapid rationales, including the prospect of a mysterious leak somewhere on the building premises, a broken water meter and finally, “Your unit owners must be using much more water than last year.” With association invoices exceeding the prior year's charges by 60 - 80%, Galt Mile officials took a closer look at the City’s new rate formula.

Association Homeowners Ripped Off It was no accident that the City spin specified “single family residential customers” as beneficiaries of a relatively painless increase. Multi-family homeowners, such as those living in associations, were being charged far more for identical services than customers in single-family homes. Rate inquiries about the billing disparity between single family and multi-family homeowners were met with a boilerplate half-truth by Water Department officials, “The rates for single family homes and multi-family residences are identical.”

While the rates are identical, how they are applied is not. Drawn from the billing formula first introduced in 2009 (and since inflated by 44% through a series of annual rate hikes), identical multi-tier rate scales that increase with consumption (water charges) - or discharge (sewer charges) - are applied to water & sewer customers in single family and multi-family homes. In FY 2017, the 5 tiers or “rate multipliers” for water usage are $2.10, $4.65, $5.81, $7.84 and $11.37. The two tiers applicable to wastewater are $3.71 and $8.22. Used as billing coefficients, these rate tiers were uniformly applied to $3.71 and $8.22all Fort Lauderdale residential customers (along with fixed commodity charges, fees and taxes).

However, a second formula component that measures actual consumption and discharge (in gallons per month) openly punishes residents living in condominiums and cooperatives. This block rate formula, which differs for single- and multi-family homeowners, determines which of the 5 rate coefficients (or 2 for wastewater) is applied to each customer’s usage totals.

Block Rates & Billing Coefficients

apples to apples comparison Since the monthly usage charges for single-family homeowners are based on every 1,000 gallons of water consumed (or discharged) while associations are invoiced for the total amount of water (and wastewater) parsed by its membership (1000 gallons per month multiplied by the number of dwelling units), an “apples to apples” comparison requires some 3rd grade math. After eliminating fixed charges for commodities (i.e. water meters), service fees and taxes, dividing the association’s usage charges for water and sewer by the number of dwelling units yields an average unit owner’s consumption charges.

Click to Fort Lauderdale 2016 - 2017 Water and Sewer Rates Except for customers who use or discharge less than 1000 gallons of water per month, rates from a higher tier are invoiced to multi-family homeowners who use or discharge the same amount of water as single-family homeowners. An association’s unit owners, who pay for these water and sewer charges in their regular maintenance dues, can pay up to 86% more than a single-family homeowner for identical water consumption and sewer discharge.

Click to Fort Lauderdale 2016 - 2017 Water and Sewer Rates For example, the block rate for a single-family homeowner who uses 2000 gallons per month is $2.10 for each 1000 gallons (total of $4.20). A condo owner who consumes the same 2000 gallons is billed at a block rate of $2.10 for the first 1000 gallons, and at a block rate of $4.65 for the second 1000 gallons (total of $6.75) - 61% more than the single-family homeowner.

The disparity also applies when these 2 homeowners dump their 2000 gallons of water. The single-family homeowner is charged a sewer block rate of $3.71 for every 1000 gallons expunged (total of $7.42). The comparable sewer (wastewater) block rate for our condo owner is $3.71 for draining the first 1000 gallons, and $8.22 for the second 1000 gallons (total of $11.93) or 61% more than the single-family homeowner. As monthly consumption and/or discharge increases, the discrepancy widens, forcing association customers to shoulder nearly twice the burden (a premium approaching 86%) placed on Single-family homeowners. Squaring this fiscal splinter will save the average association homeowner hundreds of dollars each year.

Shopping for Long Green

Click to Waterworks Budget web site Click to Waterworks 2011 web site Shunning a titanic tax alternative, many municipalities issue bonds repaid by ratepayers to finance their utilities - a vehicle used by Fort Lauderdale to fund its mammoth “Waterworks 2011” modernization (which replaced widespread septic systems with modern sewers) and later to bolster the City’s deteriorating water and sewer infrastructure.

Click to Burton and Associates web siteTo help generate the nosebleed profit margins that intoxicate prospective bond investors, the City repeatedly retained the St. Augustine firm of Burton and Associates (acquired in May 2016 by Canadian design juggernaut Stantec) to compile a Rate Study before each venture into the bond market. These blueprints for enhancing the utility’s bottom line are indispensable to attracting investment at terms favorable to the City.

Click to Stantec web site Conservation lowers Water Sales In fact, it was Burton who advised the City to hike rates by 20% (a series of 5% annual increases) before entering the bond market in 2009, given how a 23% drop in water sales attributed to the City’s successful 2005 conservation measures threatened to lower the bond rating, explode the cost of money and deter future investment. Since then, Burton’s regular input has nurtured the utility’s appeal to investors while providing most customers with one of the lowest rate scales in Broward County (as per GMCA Treasurer Fred Nesbitt – the 6th lowest in 2016).

Click to Burton and Associates 2009 Rate Study To assure investors that the Water & Sewer Enterprise Fund is swimming in cash, each bond issue incorporates a bulletproof City agreement to adjust rates as required to sufficiently fund the system’s operational needs while fleshing out special accounts for Renewal, Replacement and Improvement; Subordinated Indebtedness; Rate Stabilization; and an overstuffed reserves fund. Additionally, a Rate Covenant couched in the Bond Resolution contractually requires the City to cover 130% of its Olympian debt service.

Click to Standard & Poor’s Rating Since the City plans to revisit the bond market for additional resources, it must also insure that the utility demonstrates profits minimally deserving of “AA+” bond ratings (Standard & Poor’s). As a result of this combination of obligations and incentives, the fund balance generally approaches 200% of the outstanding debt.

Christmas 2015 Water Main Break
MUCKY CHRISTMAS - WATER MAIN BREAK ON SUNRISE BLVD
Consistent with the Fund’s organizing documents, “best practices” dictate the return of profits to customers in the form of a rate reduction, or funding non-emergency upgrades to the system. Also, on the City website “New Utility Rates” page, it states “The City’s Water and Sewer Fund and the Stormwater Fund are enterprise funds. This means all funds collected are maintained within the Water and Sewer or Stormwater Funds and are used for water, wastewater, and stormwater related expenses only.” Unfortunately, its hogwash.

To circumvent these protocols, City officials turned to a 30-year old Florida Supreme Court decision that allows municipalities to earn a reasonable dividend from a City-owned utility (like any other shareholding investor), which the City could use for whatever purpose deemed in the public interest. The City has been moonwalking through this loophole for years.

Since there is no Florida statute or administrative code that restricts municipalities from using Enterprise Fund revenues for General Fund expenses, roughly $20 million a year in water utility profits is diverted to plug unexpected budget deficits – ostensibly to preclude a millage increase. Of course, the $18 million expended annually to beat back floods from broken water lines and clean up exploding sewage barely keeps the City from floating away on a river of sludge.

Two Bites at the Apple

Galt Mile Treasurer Fred Nesbitt
TREAS. FRED NESBITT
Commissioner Bruce Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
After first learning of the billing inequity at the January 21, 2010 Advisory Board meeting, Commissioner Roberts brought several water department supervisors to the February 1, 2010 Presidents Council meeting, where they stonewalled an inquiry by association officials, claiming they were legally barred from discussing the invoices of single-family customers without their written permission. Preoccupied with the elusive beach renourishment, a threat to close the Galt Library, and a costly mandate to retrofit sprinklers, Galt officials shelved the issue.

Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci
GALT MILE PRESIDENT PIO IERACI
Galt Mile Vice President Eric Berkowitz
V.P. ERIC BERKOWITZ
Six years later, at the February 18, 2016 Advisory Board meeting, Playa del Mar President Fred Nesbitt (subsequently named Galt Mile Treasurer) complained about inexplicable spikes in the water bill invoiced to Playa del Mar – and several other associations. Galt officials asked Commissioner Bruce Roberts to arrange a meeting with the utility officials to explore these billing anomalies.

Accompanied by GMCA President Pio Ieraci and Vice President Eric Berkowitz, on February 25, Nesbitt aired his concerns to Roberts, City Manager Lee Feldman and Revenue Collection Supervisor Arnette Torrence, who agreed to look into Nesbitt’s complaint. When the meeting was reconvened on June 9, 2016, after Torrence informed Nesbitt that the invoices appear to be accurate, Ieraci and Berkowitz revived the long-delayed inquiry into the department’s discriminatory multi-family billing formula.

Investors vs. Ratepayers

Director of Finance Kirk Buffington
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
KIRK BUFFINGTON
Having altered the meeting agenda, Galt Mile officials addressed a Chinese menu of City trepidations about correcting the rate disparity, refuting attempts to either justify or marginalize the extra cost for condo customers. Finally, Commissioner Roberts and Director of Finance Kirk Buffington conceded that the formula is inequitable - and should be corrected – but not at the expense of the City’s credibility in the bond market.

Click to Reiss Engineering By the time Broward voters doused a City plan to fund infrastructure improvements with a sales tax increase, most of that eroding infrastructure had exceeded its serviceable life. Neck-deep in exploding water mains, after Reiss Engineering completed a $1.9 million structural snapshot of the City’s aging water and sewer infrastructure in April, Fort Lauderdale Public Works Director Paul Berg noted the “high price tags” on past-due capital improvements to seawalls, water and wastewater distribution and collection systems, treatment plants, pumping stations and well fields.

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
After reviewing the 839-page report, Berg affirmed that the immense expense of this endeavor will not be borne by taxpayers, but investors. The City finance team is walking on eggshells as it prepares to strap up for a $1.4 billion 20-year bond issue – nearly twice the resources raised for the $786 million Waterworks 2011 feedbag. To reel in the kind of whales required to fully subscribe this unprecedented bailout, the utility will need to radiate the impression that it prints money.

To help achieve rate parity without inadvertently belaboring the impending bond issue, City Manager Lee Feldman brought consultant Mike Burton to the meeting with Galt officials. Burton explained how he configures a rate schedule by combining consumption costs based on the class of a property with a base charge – which is determined by meter size for multi-family customers. Feldman and Roberts suggested that the Galt Mile contingent meet privately with Burton to hash out an understanding.

Burton’s Fix

Water & Sewer Consultant Mike Burton
CONSULTANT MIKE BURTON
At an April 2017 meeting, Burton admitted to ignoring the rate disparity during the eight years since he first revised the rates in 2009. In 2008, Fort Lauderdale featured 3-tier rate schedules for residential customers, a relatively mild schedule for single-family homeowners and a tougher scale for multi-family homeowners. Instead of correcting the inequity, Burton simply expanded the 3-tier scales into 5-tier scales, while preserving the disparity. Burton explained that he expanded the scales to encourage conservation by penalizing extremely heavy usage. However, the same penalty was applied to multi-family residences that used 8,000 gallons and single-family residences that used 20,000 gallons.

Click to Reiss Engineering Burton asserted that he could close the gap between the two residential schedules by redefining the base charge to “Recover a portion of the fixed costs of the water and sewer systems based upon the potential demands of the customer, such as debt service, a base level of staffing at the treatment plants, overhead, and management costs.” Burton was particularly partial to including “...a cost for maintaining system readiness,” as it isn’t a factor impacted by usage.

Click to Reiss Engineering Burton explained that since the cost of delivering water and sewer services to multi-family residences is significantly less than the comparable cost for single-family homes, a base charge reflecting that cost would diminish the differential by lowering the charges to condos.

Reminding Burton that Commissioner Bruce Roberts and Director of Finance Kirk Buffington had already agreed that water and wastewater usage charges should be identical for all residential customers in Fort Lauderdale, Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci suggested that he simply synchronize the consumption schedules for Multi- and Single-family homeowners. When Burton offered to achieve parity by revising both the consumption and base charges, Ieraci agreed.

Observing that monthly water and wastewater usage for a unit owner rarely exceeds 6000 gallons, Burton offered to connect the first 6000 gallons in the multi-family consumption schedule to the same rate tiers (billing coefficients) provided for single-family residences. The parties agreed that this minor adjustment would eliminate the inequity. As the meeting closed, Galt Mile Vice President Eric Berkowitz asked Burton to send a memo summarizing the revision.

Synchronizing the Schedules

Moving Money On June 12, 2017, Finance Director Kirk Buffington forwarded a technical report from Burton containing a description and analysis of the proposed adjustment. Evidently, Burton was less than satisfied with simply leveling the playing field, and turned the base charge into a flexibly defined variable for the sole purpose of additionally manipulating the final charges.

Wet Money Upon synchronizing the consumption schedules, Burton observed that condo homeowners used less water and much less wastewater than single-family residents, which would result in an unexpected incremental savings. To offset this unanticipated potential for lost revenues, Burton artificially boosted the gross multi-family cost by adding his largely arbitrary base charge. Galt Mile officials were skull-blocked by Burton’s proposal to reverse engineer a financial penalty specifically for multi-family customers who conserve water.

At the August 28 meeting with Feldman and Roberts, Ieraci affirmed support for synchronizing the monthly residential consumption scales up to 6000 gallons while noting his concern about Burton’s “other proposed changes.”

Feldman’s Quandary

Wet Money Based on previous meetings, Galt officials anticipated that Feldman would aspire to a resolution that didn’t lower overall fund revenues, and surmised that decreasing the system’s planned income from association homeowners would require a comparable increase elsewhere - presumably from single-family ratepayers. However, the City Manager announced that parity would have to be achieved without burdening single-family homeowners.

Instead, Feldman would ask his financial staffers to estimate the projected loss of income. If the shortfall could be managed by tweaking the budget, the changes would be approved immediately, dodging the delays of a regulatory gauntlet. However, if savings postulated for multi-family homeowners exceeded a few $million, the City would have to first order another Rate Study from Stantec (Mike Burton), ostensibly to confirm that the fiscal impact doesn't violate the City’s bondholder obligations.

Wet Money A few weeks later, Feldman informed Galt Mile Officials that the estimated lost revenue exceeded an amount that he could reasonably offset with budget tweaks, triggering the need for another rate study. Feldman’s news is a mixed bag for the Galt Mile. While his staffers’ findings seem to forecast a substantial savings for association customers, Galt officials must now wait until the rate study is completed before they can verify that it contains the corrected consumption schedule without unjustifiably inflating a multi-family “base charge” – as replacing one inequity with another could postpone the endgame.

Clearly cognizant of his constituents’ disappointment with Feldman’s prospective delay, when the meeting was adjourned, Roberts added a Post Script, “I know that eliminating this inequity is the right thing to do, and if I’m still here when the study is completed, I promise to see this through.” Although Roberts’ attempt at consolation was offered in good faith, Galt officials won’t be happy campers. until we can verify that Burton’s handiwork was delivered as advertised. Hopefully, the book will close on this blood blister in the next few months. Stay tuned...

 


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Galt Mile Community Association Advisory Board
GALT MILE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION ADVISORY BOARD
October 10, 2017 - On September 26, 2017, the Galt Mile Advisory Board convened an 11 a.m. luncheon meeting at Casa Calabria in the Ocean Manor Hotel. Not surprisingly, the meeting agenda was dominated by Hurricane Irma. Following a series of association damage reports submitted by officials from a dozen member condominiums and cooperatives, GMCA President
Pio Ieraci announced that Galt Mile homeowners, tenants and business owners are eligible for financial relief from FEMA, and could apply in person, online or by calling the agency. After detailing his experience with the process, Ieraci concluded, “If a claim is approved, funds can either be mailed to the applicant, or deposited directly into his or her bank account.”

Recovery Resources

Click to FEMA Hurricane Irma Florida web page In fact, storm victims in 37 Florida counties have been invited to apply for federal disaster assistance for life-sustaining resources or to offset uninsured or under-insured damages and losses caused by Hurricane Irma. Although FEMA suggests that applicants register their claims by completing an online questionnaire at DisasterAssistance.gov, those who lack online access - or shun the internet as the devil’s playground, can register by calling 1-800-621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.- seven days a week.

Click to FEMA Hurricane Irma Florida web page An applicant should be prepared to provide his or her Social Security number; daytime telephone number; current mailing address and the address and ZIP code of the property that sustained damages - or was the site of losses. If relevant, also provide private insurance information. Certain types of coverage, including Homeowners insurance, may reduce the amount of approved assistance. Although optional, FEMA will offer to electronically transfer funds for approved claims directly into an applicant’s bank account. Those who select this option will be asked to provide the name of the institution, the type of account, the routing number and the account number.

Click to FEMA Hurricane Irma Florida web page Once the application is filed, FEMA assigns it a unique registration number, which can be used to check its status, get updates by text or email, and to upload documents supportive of the claim (such as before and after pictures to better illustrate damages). While under review, disaster victims may be asked to document proof of occupancy (i.e. homeowner deed, tenant lease), ownership, income loss, etc. Applicants who aren’t U.S. citizens should be prepared to document status as a non-citizen national or qualified alien. By the way, save receipts from the replacement of hurricane-related losses or damage repairs - since such outlays are often reimbursable.

Click to FEMA Hurricane Irma Disaster Assistance web page Within 10 days of submitting a claim, a FEMA representative will call to schedule an appointment for a home inspection. If the inspector qualifies your claim, FEMA will either mail a U.S. Treasury check or electronically transfer the funds into your account, along with a letter that outlines how the money should be used. Although the assistance is ordinally limited to 18 months following the disaster declaration, depending on the circumstances, it can be extended. If funds are misused (a “4-1” Exacta at Gulfstream Park), FEMA will demand full reimbursement while assessing your competence to withstand a Second District fraud prosecution.

Click to DisasterAssistance3.gov If the claim is denied, FEMA will mail a letter explaining why and describing how to appeal. Applicants who disagree with FEMA’s reason for denying a claim or the limits imposed on fund expenditures, have the right to appeal within 60 days of the date on the award or denial letter from FEMA.

Bob Stafford Comes to Broward

Trump Declares Hurricanr=e Irma a Disaster
TRUMP DECLARES HURRICANE IRMA A DISASTER
On September 10, 2017, as Irma pounded Broward County, the White House issued a major disaster declaration under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”), authorizing FEMA to provide Individual Assistance, assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B) under the Public Assistance program in the designated areas, Hazard Mitigation throughout the State, and any other forms of assistance under the Stafford Act, subject to completion of Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs).

HELL - Superdome after Hurricane Katrina
HELL - SUPERDOME AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA
Once the White House triggers the Stafford Act, FEMA tailors a menu of relief resources based on an algorithmic diagnosis of the named disaster, replacing the agency’s former libretto of preconfigured responses – like the one that sent a “Chemical Attack” package filled with cases of the anti-Anthrax drug Cipro to thousands of dehydrated Katrina refugees desperately awaiting water in the Superdome.

FEMA Administrator William 'Brock' Long
FEMA ADMINISTRATOR WILLIAM 'BROCK' LONG
Upon receipt of the Presidential Declaration, FEMA Administrator Brock Long posted the agency’s initial notice (FEMA-4337-DR), declaring all 67 counties in the State of Florida eligible for debris removal, emergency protective measures and assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program while specifying Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties for Individual Assistance.

Eligibility for individual assistance qualifies storm victims for resources critical to their survival and recovery. For instance, when the inhabitants of a storm devastated home are forced to seek the safety of a shelter, after the storm passes, qualifying for FEMA Individuals and Households Program (IHP) will entitle them to funding or reimbursement grants for temporary housing, home repairs, transportation, medical and dental expenses, childcare assistance, or funeral and burial costs. Funding is also allocated to uninsured or under-insured storm-related personal property losses.

Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel pressure White House
TED DEUTCH AND LOIS FRANKEL LOBBY FEMA
FEMA claims to select counties for individual assistance based on hurricane forecasts. Although South Florida coastal counties were subject to largely identical threats from Irma, FEMA declared residents of Miami-Dade eligible while excluding storm victims in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Shortly after FEMA released the notice on Sunday, a bipartisan contingent of South Florida members of Congress began FEMA Individuals and Households Program to include Broward and Palm Beach in the list of counties eligible for individual assistance.

Broward approved for Individual Assistance On Monday, September 11, Democrat U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel and Republican Brian Mast released a joint statement protesting the exclusion, exclaiming “When a hurricane stretches over 400 miles across the state, there is going to be devastation whether the eye crosses the county or not. Residents of Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie counties, as well as residents of other counties not included on the list, have experienced severe wind and water damage to their homes and property.” Later that day, in the second of nine amended notices filed by FEMA through September 21, 2017, Long additionally named Broward and Palm Beach Counties for Individual Assistance. Bingo!

Like Moths to a Flame

FEMA Team visits Storm Victims
FEMA TEAM VISITS STORM VICTIMS
Of the 54 FEMA teams sent to knock on doors and proactively assist local residents in Florida communities deemed most at-risk, 6 were assigned to Miami-Dade and 2 navigated Broward neighborhoods in Sunrise (where looting was viral during the storm) and Lauderdale Lakes. Not surprisingly, dozens of slime balls are mimicking the outreach teams to line their pockets by squeezing storm victims.

By asking questions similar to those elicited in the FEMA online questionaire, each fraudulent encounter provides them with social security and bank account numbers they can use to open bogus new credit accounts or monetize in a Dark Web fire sale. More ambitious scammers solicit exorbitant deposits to repair property damage, offer to process disaster applications for a fee, or automate phone bank “robo-calls” to hawk bogus insurance coverage.

Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief warns about scams
BROWARD MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF WARNS AGAINST SCAMS
Broward approved for Individual Assistance FEMA specifically advised the public to beware of individuals posing as agency staffers. Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief added that the FEMA teams are adorned in clothing emblazoned with FEMA logos and will volunteer their official identification. Sharief also warned that scammers were asking to enter people’s homes while impersonating Florida Power & Light Co. workers, admonishing “FPL workers do not ask to go into people’s houses.”

Temptation

GMCA President Pio Ieraci
GMCA PRESIDENT PIO IERACI
In contrast with FEMA’s historical predisposition for adopting unnavigable regulatory gauntlets, Pio confirmed that the application process is a cakewalk, although cautioning patience - given the huge number of impacted properties. Ascribing his insight to first-hand familiarity with the process, Ieraci remarked, “After I registered according to the agency’s instructions, FEMA deposited a check into my account. The process is simple - anyone can do this.” While some of our neighbors sailed through unscathed, thousands more were forced to purchase airline tickets and inland hotel rooms - or replace food that spoiled when power was interrupted. These expenses may be reimbursable via FEMA’s Individual Assistance benefits. Galt Mile residents who sustained losses shouldn’t hesitate to apply for relief, especially since it was funded by your prior contributions to Internal Revenue. That said, those who consider embellishing their plight with imagined losses might take note the following:

Hurricane Irma Waterspout
HURRICANE IRMA WATERSPOUT
In describing its anti-fraud machinery on the FEMA website, the agency states, “FEMA uses a number of methods to detect fraud among the applicants. An automated system crosschecks information with other agencies and insurance companies to weed out duplicate applications. Field inspections are conducted to verify losses and damages for every person who applies. Potential cases of fraud or misuse are referred to the U.S. Justice Department for prosecution.” They conclude this thinly veiled threat by listing the kind of actionable cases for which they nurture an affinity:

  • People who fraudulently claim a property as their primary residence.

  • Self-inflicted damages.

  • Spouses claiming different addresses.

  • People who fail to disclose insurance coverage

If you still find yourself lusting for drama, consider this agency Post Script. “People who are caught trying to claim false losses can be charged with a felony and, if convicted, face a maximum five- to 10-year prison term and up to $250,000 in fines.”


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Irma; Recovery Resources; Beach; Flying Pets; Disposal

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca September 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA SEPTEMBER 2017 MESSAGE
October 19, 2017 - In his September 2017 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca inventories the impacts of Hurricane Irma, lists Recovery Resources that serve as a financial safety net for individuals, repairs damage to their homes, offsets Businesses losses, and provides low interest Small Business Administration Disaster loans that help return storm victims to solvency; lists important Telephone Numbers that help residents restore lost access to communications, protect against post-storm scams and report price gouging for survival necessities. He observes that the Segment 2 beach renourishment exceeded expectations as a bulwark against Storm Surge while protecting $billions in upland property; and describes how the County teamed with the Humane Society to rescue abandoned pets and rebuild their strength before boarding them on flights to shelters across the country.

Irma Impacts LaMarca closes with a constituent primer about the removal of storm debris, detailing how residents can either expedite or impair a critical recovery measure belabored by controversy. In short, after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma steamrolled Texas and Florida, the resulting shortage of recovery resources triggered a bidding war that spanned the southeastern states and impacted emergency waste contractors across the country. A more expansive exploration of how this issue fueled a regional epidemic of price gouging and actionable contract violations is forthcoming. For LaMarca’s entire September 2017 constituent message, Read on... – [editor]

 

September 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County:

Response and Recovery Associated with Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Season Continues

Broward County Budget This month, our Florida community faced the wrath of Hurricane Irma, one of the largest and most destructive storms on record. Although the storm has passed, we must remain vigilant and remember that Hurricane season does not end until November 30th. As we continue to recover and get our community and our lives back in order, we can also learn from the events that occurred before, during and after Hurricane Irma. Residents are encouraged to continue to prepare by restocking supplies and making sure you have all emergency numbers readily available in case we face another natural disaster. Below are several helpful recovery resources as well as important numbers to know.

Recovery Resources

  • disasterassistance.gov Homeowners are enouraged to register early for FEMA Disaster Assistance, if you have damage or sustained impact you believe may result in future damage. Register either online at disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.

  • Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center Businesses can contact the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center for a Damage Assessment Survey form.

  • Broward Office of Economic Development Find out if you qualify for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program, the Internal Revenue Service tax relief for survivors of disasters, or Disaster Unemployment Assistance for individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted by visiting http://www.broward.org/EconDev

Important Numbers

For more information about hurricane preparation, please visit Broward.org/Hurricane or contact us at 954-765-4999.

Beach Efforts

Irma Tornado slams Broward Beach
IRMA TORNADO SLAMS BROWARD BEACH
Regarding to the Segment II Project area, the beach is narrower and at a lower elevation than pre-storm conditions. The County’s initial rough estimate is approximately 30 feet of average shoreline loss. We had our consultant conduct pre-storm and post-storm surveys every 3000’, and we should have that preliminary assessment within a couple of days. Additionally, Broward County put in a request for rehabilitatio assistance to the Corps of Engineers and is working with Purchag for an emergency procurement to perform a full survey of both Segment II and III. This survey will be used to determine official losses.

Monday - the day after Irma
MONDAY - THE DAY AFTER IRMA
Although the beach experienced losses, the renourishment project did perform as intended and prevented damage to upland infrastructure. In areas where dunes were constructed, they prevented the water from advancing further. The City of Fort Lauderdale has started to remove the sand from A1A and estimates that it will be clear within 30 days. This includes initially removing the sand from the roads and then grading the sand back onto the beach.

Broward County Animal Care Helping Displaced Pets

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Pets prepared for flight to San Francisco Shelter before Hurricane Irma
DOGS BOARD FLIGHT TO SAN FRANCISCO SHELTER
Prior to the hurricane's arrival, Broward County Animal Care partnered with the Humane Society of the United States; Humane Society of Broward County, and South Florida Wildlife to transport 109 cats and 24 dogs out of Hurricane Irma's path to shelters throughout the nation. The project helped to provide shelter space to house pets that would need sheltering after the storm. Currently, Animal Care is assisting residents find their lost pet, as well as admitting pets that are being brought into the shelter. Pets that have been abandoned will be assessed and placed into the adoption process or transferred to one of the many rescue shelters and organizations that partner with Animal Care to rescue, care for, and find a new home for an adoptable pet. After the storm, it is the goal of Animal Care staff to ensure that every dog or cat that is now in need can recover from the stress of their current situation, and do anything to either reunite a pet with their owner or pave a pathway to a new and loving home.

For more information on the efforts of the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption division please visit Broward.org/Animal.

Disaster Debris Removal

Mayor Jack Seiler and 300,000 Cubic Yards of Collected Debris
MAYOR JACK SEILER AND 300,000 CUBIC YARDS OF COLLECTED DEBRIS
Broward County and Solid Waste and Recycling Services (SWRS) play a major role in the cleanup efforts after hurricanes or other disasters that generate large amounts of debris. Below are several key points to keep in mind regarding disaster debris removal post Hurricane Irma.

Do:

  • Watch the news for information regarding the reinstatement of garbage and recycling services.

  • Understand that all services will resume as soon as possible after an emergency, although it may be several weeks before bulk waste collections are reinstated and hurricane debris is removed. The first priority will be to remove hurricane debris prior to reinstating bulk waste collection.

  • Keep waste separated at the curb for easier collection (household garbage, tree trimmings, and miscellaneous debris and trash).

  • Cut tree limbs into sections 4 feet in length and 50 pounds or less. Stack neatly at the curb.

  • Place all debris curbside. Collection contractors can only pick up debris from the curb. It may take several weeks to clear debris, even in the event of a weaker hurricane.

  • If FPL or AT&T cuts down branches or trees in your yard, it is your responsibility to properly prepare the debris for collection as indicated above.

Residents toss their garbage into the storm debris
RESIDENTS TOSS THEIR GARBAGE INTO THE STORM DEBRIS
Don’t:

  • Use garbage bags, plastic bags, paper bags or cardboard boxes for putting out household garbage.

  • Rely on County personnel and collection contractors to remove debris from locations other than curbsides or public roadways.

  • Risk property damage or personal injury by placing debris near a fence, mailbox, poles or on top of power line equipment.

  • Place garbage and recycling at the curb until an announcement has been made that these services have resumed.

  • Place items in front of vacant lots - they won’t be collected.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to eNews and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection

Fort Lauderdale Pickup Plan

Association Homeowners Ripped Off Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection October 28, 2017 - Shortly after Hurricane Irma pummeled Broward on September 10. Fort Lauderdale officials announced that the storm buried the city in 1 million Cubic Yards of debris. After first clearing the roadways (an estimated 60,000 cubic yards of sand was removed from A1A within two days of the storm), bulk trash haulers were scheduled to remove the debris by making three passes in each of 11 City Zones - as mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) regulations.

Click Here to Map of Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection Zones The first pass targeted storm-generated debris, which includes loose vegetation (whole trees, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks, etc.); construction and demolition debris (damaged components of homes, buildings and structures including lumber and wood, fencing, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings, and fixtures); appliances & white goods damaged by the storm (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters).

Residents were asked to withhold household hazardous waste (materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive such as paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.) and electronic waste (computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.), which can be dropped off at any of the monthly HHW events designed for their safe disposal.

Click Here to Irma Debris Collection Report A month after the Hurricane pounded Broward County, Zones in the north and west were cleared of storm debris, marking the end of first pass pick-ups in these neighborhoods. According to the Daily Debris Collection Report posted on the City website, as of October 19, 428,258 cubic yards of debris had been collected. Earlier that day, when debris-filled trucks departed the central and southern zones, it marked the end of first pass pick-ups citywide. This included Zone 11, which encompassed the entire beach - and the Galt Mile neighborhood.

Click Here to Irma Debris Collection Report While reporting “Contractors are picking up debris in every zone of our City seven days a week from sunup to sundown,” the City website added “Regular bulk trash collection remains suspended until further notice so that bulk crews can continue to assist with our debris removal.” Although the City resumed servicing residential yard waste carts on Monday, September 25th, residents were specifically barred from cloaking their regular garbage inside the carts to smuggle it onto the truck.

Debris Removal Breakdown

Rat Feast
RAT FEAST
Rationalizing that the City’s inconvenient regulations were an unfair burden – and not worthy of compliance – some impatient residents proceeded to dump bagged and unbagged ordinary trash or kitchen garbage on the curb, including rotting food and other organic waste. Others decided to clear their garages of junk accrued over months - or years. After capriciously contributing to a dangerous health hazard, these scofflaws then joined their neighbors in complaining to the City about a proliferation of rats and other vermin. By mixing their regular garbage with storm debris, they not only created a Winn-Dixie for critters, but slowed the pickup schedule, as the trucks were forced to bypass debris mixed with bagged garbage.

Click Here to Andrew and Irma Not surprisingly, this counterproductive behavior was mirrored in cities across the State, as residents ignored collection protocols designed by their respective cities to expedite debris removal while preserving their eligibility for federal reimbursement. Ultimately, this became one of several factors that fueled a statewide breakdown in debris removal.

Click Here to Andrew and Irma When Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida into a wasteland, it served as a wake-up call, prompting the statewide implementation of hurricane preparation standards. Why were seemingly well-prepared Florida jurisdiction unilaterally stumbling over debris removal? A local waste contractor remarked, “The process would be faster if we were allowed to simply send out trucks to pick up the mess. “

Click Here to FEMA Debris Removal Rules However, to be reimbursed for the cleanup cost, municipalities must meticulously comply with FEMA’s regulatory roadmap. FEMA determines who can pick up debris, approves where debris can be deposited and details how the amount of debris should be estimated and recorded. Once collected, the agency specifies how debris must be tagged, measured and mulched. Omitting any step will render the jurisdiction ineligible for reimbursement, leaving local taxpayers to foot the bill.

Bulk Waste Bidding War

Click Here to Bergeron Emergency Services As Irma traveled up the State, its huge girth tore a coast to coast swath through cities and counties from Key West to Georgia, leaving only the Florida panhandle relatively unscathed. According to Ron Bergeron, proprietor of Bergeron Emergency Services, a waste disposal company with debris removal contracts in several South Florida cities, “We had 48 counties implement a state of emergency. There’s 100 million cubic yards of debris. It’s never happened in the history of Florida.” While asserting that only 3,000 trucks in the state are capable of removing storm debris, Bergeron and other legacy haulers estimated the need for 8,000 to 10,000 trucks to effectively clear the debris left by Irma in Florida. While imprudent residents and FEMA regulations slowed the recovery process, this resource shortage pushed municipalities into a state of siege.

Ron Bergeron
RON BERGERON
When Waste removal companies with municipal contracts need additional trucks and/or manpower, they ordinarily turn to subcontractors that accept each City’s respective contract rate. However, the subcontractors that comprise this safety net are currently neck-deep in a Statewide bidding war that pits City against City, and despite State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s threat to legally neuter vendors that engage in price gouging, Cities and Counties pressured by angry residents are grudgingly scaring up the additional funding required to ransom streets immersed in debris and garbage.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL PAM BONDI
While the unprecedented damage left by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey critically diluted regional recovery resources, it was a plan deliberately implemented by the City of Miami that triggered the Statewide breakdown in post-storm cleanup. Initially informed that the post-Irma cleanup might take six months, the Miami City Commission more than doubled its contract rate from $7.22 per cubic yard to $15 – paid to its two prime contractors – who in turn used the windfall to hire more subcontractors. Still dissatisfied with the pace of debris collection, on September 28, the City Commission empowered the Administration to hire additional contractors at its sole discretion, and unilaterally hike rates as required to lure them to Miami, with or without FEMA approval.

Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez
MIAMI COMMISSIONER FRANCIS SUAREZ
When Assistant City Manager Nzeribe Ihekwaba admonished “Keep in mind you’re going to be stealing [crews] from one of the other municipalities, he was roundly blown off. Explaining their rationale for disregarding FEMA regulations, Commissioner Francis Suarez said , “If we go a dollar above [what FEMA approves] everybody will flood to the city of Miami. It won’t be reimbursable. Let’s not kid ourselves. But we will get our city clean. And it will be protected in the event there is another storm, which I think is a huge issue.” Like moths to a flame, haulers flocked to Miami, whether or not they were under contract elsewhere.

Click Here to Ashbritt Environmental
Miami Assistant City Manager Nzeribe Ihekwaba
MIAMI ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER NZERIBE IHEKWABA
Across the State, contract haulers are under fire by client municipalities for failing to deliver the emergency cleanup mandated in their agreements. When legacy waste hauler Ashbritt Environmental failed to secure sufficient manpower to expeditiously clear the debris in several South Florida cities under contract, respective client city officials Ashbritt Environmental while deferring possible enforcement actions in favor of clearing their streets. North Miami Beach replaced Ashbritt with 3 small local contractors while Key Biscayne amended their Ashbritt agreement by increasing their contract rate from $9 to $15 per cubic yard (matching the rate paid by the City of Miami), thereby providing the hauler with sufficient resources to meet the demands of price-gouging subcontractors. Deerfield-based Ashbritt is also under contract to remove debris for $5.50 per cubic yard in fiscally constrained Hendry County – one of the state’s poorest, but their subcontractors are demanding $8, which Hendry County administrator Charles Chapman explained “We just don’t have.”

Hendry County administrator Charles Chapman
HENDRY COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
CHARLES CHAPMAN
Ironically, when Miami raised its contract rates, Miami purchasing director Annie Perez anticipated that adjacent municipalities would be forced to bootstrap their contract rates to effectively compete for haulers – more than doubling their costs. If the Miami scheme backfires – and the debris doesn’t quickly evaporate – Miami Commissioners will have a tough time explaining why a $50 - $60 million price tag wasn’t reimbursed by FEMA, but affixed to local TRIM Notices.

Miami purchasing director Annie Perez
MIAMI PURCHASING DIRECTOR ANNIE PEREZ
Perez isn’t worried, having observed that FEMA doesn’t have a maximum reimbursement rate, but determines if a contract rate is appropriate to the applicant’s economy. Click Here to Bergeron Emergency Services In the spirit of complaining that you can’t see after kicking up the dust, by skyrocketing its contract rate, and forcing its neighbors to do likewise, Miami officials plan to claim that they are simply paying the area market rate for haulers. When asked about the FEMA requirement that applicants comply with agency procedures, Perez responded, “The city consults with FEMA while making decisions on disaster-related expenses.” Needless to say, many cities and counties across the State do not wish them well.

Extorting a Windfall

Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge
PEMBROKE PINES CITY MANAGER CHARLES DODGE
Unfortunately, many of these subcontractors previously consummated accords to clear debris in other cities, which they breached for a bigger payday. When vendors that reached agreements with Pembroke Pines reneged in favor of a more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge knew that conceding to the haulers’ demand for more money would imperil the City’s eligibility for reimbursement, and complained “We are not, according FEMA guidelines, allowed to re-negotiate our rates with our current hauler to increase rates, which puts us in a big disadvantage.”

Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell
CORAL SPRINGS MAYOR SKIP CAMPBELL
A former State Senator, Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell defined the dilemma, “There’s just not enough trucks, there’s not enough haulers, not enough individuals picking it up, so that’s the major problem.” As to the bad faith by price gouging haulers, Campbell added “They could face lawsuits, but the question is ‘Is that going to remove the trash?’ And that’s the problem all cities have.”

Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
Offering assurances that the debris will be cleared from Broward cities despite this exploitive impediment to their recovery, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief announced “The competitive bidding process, people abandoning their hauling contracts to get more money in Dade County – we’re dealing with that, but slowly but surely, it’ll be cleaned up.”

Governor Rick Scott's Deputy Communications Director McKinley Lewis
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT'S DEPUTY
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR MCKINLEY LEWIS
Since most of the haulers accused of price gouging are subcontractors hired by waste haulers with municipal or county contracts, the lack of a direct contractual obligation to the client jurisdiction complicates its legal recourse. While aspiring to punitive damages may be a stretch, price gouging is squarely in Pam Bondi’s wheelhouse. Hopping on the bandwagon, Governor Rick Scott directed deputy communications minion McKinley Lewis to offer some political boilerplate “The Governor is fighting for consumers, not businesses that are attempting to take advantage of our communities after a disaster.”

Lobbyist Ron Book
LOBBYIST RON BOOK
Ron Book, a skilled Tallahassee lobbyist whose client list includes Ashbritt Environmental and many South Florida Cities, is seeking a solution that would enable the cleanups without pushing haulers to the brink of bankruptcy. While it may be too late to dodge legal consequences for contract defaults or price gouging violations, Book said he is seeing the rates come down from the peaks that left his hauler clients unable to hire crews needed to clear city streets and fulfill their contract obligations.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection Municipalities hunting for waste removal resources are complaining that the shortage is actually regional. Since Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas a few days before Irma hit Miami, Florida cities reaching out for emergency vendors in other states soon found themselves bidding against cities in Texas and Florida as well as parts of Alabama and Georgia pounded by Irma. Lamenting the paralyzing recovery costs fed by the bidding war, Bergeron suggested “We should have a regional plan.”

How do the haulers and their client cities envision the endgame? Observing how a storm that affects six to 10 counties may typically take three months to clear the debris, Bergeron projected how long it would take most cities to clean up after Irma, remarking, “We’re looking at about six months.”

Galt Mile Cleanup

Galt Mile Advisory Board
GALT MILE ADVISORY BOARD
Although Galt Mile associations contract with private companies to collect and dispose of waste, we still rely on the City to clear storm debris. Upon learning that City removal protocols would migrate from the northwest to the southeast City Zones, Galt Mile officials asked the City to expedite the recovery, citing its elderly demographic as highly vulnerable to the health hazard posed by decaying vegetation (it was worth a shot).

Association Homeowners Ripped Off At the October Presidents Council meeting, Galt Mile officials considered leveraging the neighborhood association’s modest cookie jar to expedite removal efforts. Although well-intentioned, the intense regional competition for recovery resources could have turned the plan on its head.

Since haulers are harvesting exorbitant rates for months at a time by clearing huge tracts of competing cities or counties, it might have taken weeks – or months – to find a vendor willing to settle for short-term employment along the Galt Mile. Since the city projected completing the critical first pass in our Zone 11 by the third week in October, the overpriced help would likely arrive just in time to collect their check, express their gratitude, and head to the next job.

Fortunately, Galt Mile officials let the plan slide, leaving us with a largely nondescript cautionary tale. On the bright side, your money is still in the bank. Unfortunately, Florida cities and counties that pan-fried their eligibility for FEMA reimbursement by raising their rates to lure avaricious haulers can’t make the same claim. Happy Halloween...

 


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach $$$; FLL Expand; Digital Media; King Tides & Big Dogs

Commentary

Click to October 2017 LaMarca Letter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
November 11, 2017 - In his October 2017 constituent update, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca anticipates legislation that may provide a reliable funding source for renourishing eroded beaches and maintaining (and/or sand bypasg) coastal inlets - where 85% of the downdrift sand is lost to tidal erosion. LaMarca thanks FDOT for awarding Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) $27 million, half the $54 million pricetag of a planned five-gate remote terminal east of Terminal 4, reviews a plan by President and CEO Stacy Ritter of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to increase the agency's investment in digital advertising while using predictive analytics to harvest consumer feedback, welcomes prospective pet owners to "Roll with the Big Dogs", an incentivized invitation to bring home a supersized pet pooch with a Hefty Bag of free supplies. Since the county finally awoke to the need for a regional plan to fortify infrastructure increasingly overwhelmed by rising sea levels, LaMarca closes by recruiting constituents to help document tidal flooding in their neighborhoods during the autumn King Tides - generating data useful for curtailing the local impacts.

Sand Bags and Rubber Boots

King Tide flooding
KING TIDE FLOODING
On October 5, 2017, when an adjacent lake and nearby canals overflowed, every front yard off Southeast Ninth Street in Fort Lauderdale was submerged in water within hours. At the same time, as picnic tables floated along a section of Dania Beach, a beach shower was carried out to sea. The next day, as rain intensified the massive King Tide flooding, about 20 feet of that beach also disappeared. On A1A, traffic was slow as vehicles immobilized by flooded engines were skirted by others risking the same fate. As cities and the County toy with anti-flooding tools and technologies to diminish how the seasonal floods impact low-lying neighborhoods, residents have learned to go “old school”, using sand bags and rubber boots to cope with the mess.

Click to King Tide Web Page Although the sea level here has risen between 8 and 10 inches over the past 100 years, Broward County natural resource planning officials claim that the rate is accelerating - anticipating that is will rise another 9 to 24 inches in the next 50 years. The King Tides provide a snapshot of our future, when these seasonal inundations will become daily events. King tides occur twice annually when the earth reaches a point in its rotation that aligns with the gravitational fields of the moon and sun to maximize gravitational pressure on the oceans, yielding monstrous high tides and lower low tides.

President Barack Obama 2014 UN Climate Change summit
OBAMA AT 2014 UN CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT
Over the last several decades, these tidal extremes have grown increasingly severe - exacerbated by rising sea levels, and the rate of rise is accelerating. In effect, these king tides provide us with a snapshot of daily coastal conditions in a few decades. At a 2014 UN Climate Change summit, President Barack Obama identified the South Florida coast as among the nation’s regions most vulnerable to flooding.

Click to Aquifer Florida’s vulnerability to tidal flooding is inflamed by its geological architecture. Since a thick layer of porous limestone sits under the Sunshine State, climate scientists and advocates have likened their challenge to “trying to control water with a wall of marbles.” During king tide flooding, saltwater can overrun seawalls or simply seep through the ground adjacent to canals, rivers or the ocean.

By backing up through the pipes that ordinarily discharge stormwater to the ocean, king tides regularly flood inland areas. Built a half century ago to drain the Everglades, the system of canals and flood control structures that cover much of South Florida only made matters worse - threatening infiltration of the Biscayne Aquifer - the primary source of water for Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Also at risk is the Floridan aquifer that provides 90% of central and north Florida's drinking water.

Sea Level Statute

Click to Fort Lauderdale’s 2015 Community Investment PlanIn 2011, the Florida State legislature passed sweeping change to Florida’s growth management laws by enacting the landmark Community Planning Act (“CPA”), enabling a local government with a Comprehensive Plan Coastal Management Element to add a plan for sea level rise impacts. Fort Lauderdale and Broward County have ce completed pilot projects that entitle them to funding designated by statute for Adaptation Action Areas, sites subject to coastal flooding and/or adverse impacts from rising sea levels. In Fort Lauderdale’s 2015 Community Investment Plan, the City Identified 16 AAAs and secured funding for 38 projects.

Infrastructure Task Force Committee
INFRASTRUCTURE TASK FORCE COMMITTEE
Currently scrambling to design and implement long delayed plans to repair or replace the City’s eroding underpinnings, Fort Lauderdale appointed an Infrastructure Task Force Committee (ITFC) to identify, prioritize and explore funding options for Capital Projects required to effectively manage the growing strain on municipal infrastructure, while the County “crowdsources” data for ancillary or overlapping objectives.

ce it will take years to plan, fund and build these improvements, the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County could realize immediate relief in swamped neighborhoods by complementing Stormwater and Seawall Master Plans with a variety of stormwater control mechanisms and devices that cushion the local consequences of tidal flooding. The legislation includes resources to develop promising home-grown tools they may stumble across while fighting the floods.

Tidal Tools

Riviera Isles Flooding
RIVIERA ISLES FLOODING
Tidal valves used in the City were actually the brainchild of a local neighborhood association. ce high tides usually morphed Riviera Isles into a slop k, in 2010, the Riviera Isles Homeowner's Association cut a deal with the City to test one-way tidal control valves manufactured by Tideflex. Having fronted the city most of the $176,000 cost for installing 17 valves as part of a pilot project, the City returned $144,399 in 2012, when staff confirmed that the valves performed as advertised. By adding $541,600 to a $700,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the program was expanded to Las Olas Isles, Venice Isles and Rio Vista Isles in 2014; when the City installed 44 tidal control valves.

Click To Tideflex website
Tidal Control Valves
TIDAL CONTROL VALVES
The valves serve as backflow preventers, allowing stormwater to flow through the drains, but slam shut as the water level rises, preventing seawater from entering the sewer system. Next, the valves were placed in Hendricks Isle and Victoria Park. As of last year, 133 valves had been installed, and another 17 are in the pipeline.

Recharge Drainage Well
RECHARGE DRAINAGE WELL
Other tools in the anti-flooding arsenal are Recharge Drainage Wells (which collect water from the stormwater system and pipes it directly to the aquifer), exfiltration trenches (sixteen miles of perforated pipes – French Drains – through which water soaks into the subsoil and the aquifer), Pumping Stations move rapidly accumulating water into adjacent waterways and pervious pavers and PaveDrain Systems (water seeps through pavered sidewalks into the soil and the aquifer instead of ponding and burdening stormdrains).

Click to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity In partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Emergency Management, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) established the Community Resiliency Initiative, which provides technical assistance to coastal communities pursuing innovative planning and development strategies that address current and future coastal flooding risks. The FDEO asked the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County to serve as the Project of Special Merit pilot for adaptation planning in Florida, ostensibly due to their extensive involvement with the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.

Pasg the Buck

Click to 6th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit Web Page However, since State and local funding opportunities lack the scope and outreach required to roll back the dilemma’s worldwide root cause, absent federal resources, local governments are constrained to playing catch-up with Mother Nature. Ironically, instead of helping to bankroll their struggle with king tides, the FDEO recruited Fort Lauderdale and Broward County to serve as the State’s poster children for tidal flooding. While their elected officials hunt for resiliency, City and County residents in low-lying neighborhoods are wisely laying in a long-term supply of sand bags and rubber boots – as sea levels rise, the flooding spreads and their numbers grow. For Commissioner LaMarca’s October 2017 constituent newsletter, read on... – [editor]

 

October 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County.

Beach Preservation

Senator Jack Latvala
SENATOR JACK LATVALA
The 2017 Legislative Session resulted in a win for Florida’s beaches when the Legislature provided unprecedented annual funding of $50M, as well as recognizing and funding the top three ranked inlet management projects as part of the traditional beach management program. This included our Port Everglades Sand Bypass Project. While this was a great accomplishment for the beaches of Florida there is still much more that can be done. On August 18, 2017, Senator Jack Latvala filed Senate Bill 174 (SB 174) for consideration during the Florida Legislature's 2018 regular session. SB 174 updates the criteria for ranking and funding beach management, erosion control, and inlet management projects to consider (i) the environmental and economic importance of proposed projects, (ii) the use of regional sand management strategies to conserve sand and reduce project costs, (iii) the use of dune enhancement or restoration to reduce future upland storm damage costs, (iv) the use of environmental habitat enhancements, and (v) the overall readiness of the project. SB 174 also creates a three year work plan to help maximize federal and local funding matches and establishes a dedicated funding source from Amendment I revenue in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

Click to King Tides I proposed a resolution in support of the passage of SB 174 and this resolution was passed unanimously by the Board of Broward County Commissioners. Passage of SB 174 would support the long-term planning and continued State funding necessary for the success of projects including the Broward County Shore Protection Projects. It is critical that we continue to advocate and support Florida's beaches as they provide both environmental and economic benefits, including a return on investment of $5.40 for each $1 spent on beach renourishment and erosion control. Furthermore, Broward's award winning beaches enhance the quality of life for residents and are vital for tour community’s tourism industry, while also providing protection to our infrastructure.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport Receives $27 Million

Terminal 4 at FLL
TERMINAL 4 AT FLL
The Florida Department of transportation (FDOT) has awarded Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) $27 million to build a five-gate remote terminal. This funding, in addition to a $27 million investment from airport funds, will support the design and construction of the terminal, estimated to cost $54 million. Tentative plans are to build the remote terminal to the east of Terminal 4. It will be accessible to passengers via buses from a new bus station at Terminal 4. Travelers will benefit from the additional gates by improving their travel experience, relieving congestion, and allowing airlines to offer additional service. The addition of these five gates is a cost effective way to meet FLL’s significant growth, with increased flights from several airlines.

For more information on FLL’s expansion please visit Broward.org/Airport.

Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Unveils Digital Brand Initiatives

2018 Tourism Marketing Plan theme is Big Data
2018 TOURISM MARKETING PLAN THEME IS BIG DATA
Greater Fort Lauderdale increased its domestic market in 2016 by 4 percent with 12.27 million visitors and increased international visitation by 13 percent over 2015 with 1.01 million visitors while the rest of the country saw a 2.1 percent decrease in overseas visitors. Recently, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (GFLCVB) unveiled marketing initiatives which included an increased media spend of $5 million, 25 percent more than last year, with at least 60 percent of the total media budget in the digital space, including multi-lingual digital visitor collateral. Additionally, in order to overcome negative perceptions of the recent hurricane impact on South Florida, despite minimal damage to Broward County/Greater Fort Lauderdale, the GFLCVB pledged an early spend of $1 million to defend the winter high season and increase the destination’s presence in key feeder markets in the Northeast, Midwest, Texas and California on social media channels, radio, and television.

King Tides

Click to King Tides Low lying areas in Broward County are extremely vulnerable this time of year due to high tides. Flooding in low-lying areas is more likely with the close proximity of the moon, higher than average tides called King Tides, rising sea levels, and inclement weather conditions combine to intensify flooding risks. These often time occur during the fall (August-November) with the peak usually occurring the King Tide (Highest tide of year) in October.

Click to King Tides Broward County is calling all citizen scientists interested in helping document tidal flooding in the community. If you individually or you have a community group and want to "adopt" a site to monitor and report, download and read the King Tides Initiative Citizen Science Guidebook and then submit a Group Signup Form. Individuals do not need to sign up. You can participate by uploading photos of flooding you observe in your neighborhood or community.

To sign up and for additional information please visit Broward.org/NaturalResources.

Animal Care and Adoption Make an Offer

Roll with the Big Dogs
ROLL WITH THE BIG DOGS
This fall, from September 1 to November 17, adopt a Big Dog (40 lbs. or more) and receive free pet supplies! Adopters can name their own adoption fee for all dogs, additionally fees for cats continue to be waived. $20 non-refundable deposit applies to hold a stray/lost dog or cat. All adoptions include spaying/neutering, all necessary vaccinations, a Broward County Rabies Registration License tag and a microchip!

For additional information please visit Broward.org/Animal.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Beach Funds, Hot Spot & the Wish List

Building New Beach
Segment II - Galt Mile Beach
SEGMENT II - GALT MILE BEACH REPLENISHED
November 21, 2017 - After twenty years of navigating Congressional gridlock in Washington DC, fighting with
foot-dragging Tallahassee bureaucrats, and fending off demagogues who view tidal erosion as the “wages of sin” for befouling pristine barrier islands, delighted Galt Mile residents spent 2016 watching an armada of trucks ferry sand from upstate mines to severely eroded north Broward beaches. For two decades, officials advocating for beach renourishment argued that the beaches were indispensable to State and local tourism economies and provided the only real protection for people and property threatened by hurricanes and tropical storms. They also knew that the protection would soon be tested.

Sharp’s Assurance

Irma Hits Broward Beaches
IRMA HITS BROWARD BEACHES
In September 2017, when Hurricane Irma whipped across South Florida, North Broward Segment II beachfront properties that were shredded by Katrina, Wilma and Sandy were left relatively unscathed. Structures and adjacent roadways (i.e. A1A) dodged extensive damage when waves of cyclonic storm surge were stripped of energy as they crashed against the newly broadened beach reinforced with sand dunes.

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
The Segment II renourishment successfully shielded $billions in upland property and protected vulnerable infrastructure. If you also noticed that some of our new sand was reclaimed by the ocean, you might recall assurances provided by Broward Beach Administrator Nicole Sharp when she addressed Galt Mile residents attending a December 16, 2015 pre-project meeting in the Sonesta Hotel.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Hosts Beach Renourishment Meeting
LAMARCA HOSTS BEACH FIX MEETING
Upon taking the reins as Broward Beach Administrator, Nicole Sharp outlined a sea change in the County’s Shore Preservation protocols. Describing the historical “segmented” approach to beach management as “an outmoded and futile strategy,” Sharp adopted a long-term regional plan. Mindful of the accelerated rate that natural resources are degraded by climate change and rising sea levels, Sharp’s beach management program would proactively meet the growing risks while reducing the frequency and scope of future renourishments.

Click to FDEP Segment II State of Florida Beach Permit Instead, occasional beach fills could address “hot spots” along a more stable County coastline. She explained, “It’s a cheaper way to put sand into the system.” Armed with Federal and State Permits that extend to 2020 and 2029, Sharp can unilaterally repair stretches of beach reduced by accelerated erosion or cyclonic weather events (hurricanes, tropical storms, etc.). She may soon realize this opportunity.

Click to USACE Segment II Federal Beach Permit A few days before the storm, Sharp dispatched her minions to survey the Broward coast. They returned the day after the storm, having documented sand loss, dune impacts and “Hot Spots” crippled by acute erosion. On September 13, 2017, Sharpe sent evidence of the damage documented with photographs to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), along with a request for assistance with rehabilitating beaches widened via the county’s federal shore protection project.
Broward Beach Boss Nicole Sharp
FSBPA AWARDS NICOLE SHARP
She plans to follow up the request with a detailed post-storm beach survey supporting the need to restore the Segment II and Segment III beaches to pre-storm conditions.

Sharp’s relentless efforts resonated with beach advocates across the State. On September 28, the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association capped its 60th Annual Conference with awards to Sharp and LaMarca for having realized the Segment II beach fix – while furthering plans to stabilize the Broward coast with a Port Everglades Sand Bypass and a second Segment III (South County) renouirishment.

LaMarca Lobbies Lawmakers

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
As the sole Republican on the Broward Board, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca is annually charged with carrying the County’s legislative package to Republican Tallahassee, which typically includes a presentation designed to unlock resources for the next in a series of projects planned to stabilize the entire Broward shoreline. Anticipating election year chaos, lawmakers voted to schedule the 2018 legislative session a few months early. Since the 60-day span will run from January 9 through early March, the pre-session committee weeks began this fall.

Click to Port Everglades sand bypass project Beach projects in LaMarca’s 2018 wish list include the Port Everglades sand bypass project, which would transfer 50,000 to 80,000 cubic yards of sand annually from the north to the south side of the Port entrance channel, bridging a disruption in the littoral drift that starves South County beaches of sand. Once the inlet no longer impedes the natural southerly flow of sand along the Broward coast, the county plans to renourish the depleted South County shoreline with a $53.7 million truck haul project in 2020. Completing these projects will also realize Sharp’s vision for a stable Broward coast.

By ghosting a 1998 mandate that annually delivered $30 million in documentary stamp tax funds to the Beach Management Funding Assistance Program (BMFA), lawmakers have allowed 410 miles of the State's shoreline to become critically eroded, almost half of the 825 miles of sandy beaches visited each year by millions of tourists who generate $billions for the state budget.

Click to Port Everglades sand bypass Permit In recent years, LaMarca and Statehouse Representative George Moraitis have teamed with officials in coastal jurisdictions across Florida to replace an unworkable funding formula that has cost the State $billions in Tourism revenues. Environmental funds holstered in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) are annually plundered by the Governor and Budget wonks to plug operational deficits – in violation of a 2014 Constitutional Amendment. The fiscal scraps are then distributed according to a skewed ranking system.

FDEP Bungles Beach Wallet

Click to Land Acquisition Trust Fund The Land Acquisition Trust Fund was supported by every Florida Administration since its 1963 inception – until Governor Rick Scott began gutting appropriations to virtually every State environmental program, and pinched off revenues to the LATF. When he quashed funding for the enforcement of safe drinking water standards, angry Florida voters approved Constitutional Amendment 1 in 2014, restoring a funding source for the State’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund that the Governor couldn’t molest.

Florida Governors Claude R. Kirk, Jeb Bush, Robert Martinez. Seated: Wayne Mixson, Reubin Askew and Farris Bryant
PRO LATF GOVS CLAUDE R. KIRK, JEB BUSH, ROBERT MARTINEZ
SEATED: WAYNE MIXSON, REUBIN ASKEW AND FARRIS BRYANT
Since Amendment 1 organized LATF as an environmental catch-all that included the aquifer, wetlands, drinking water, the Everglades, clean air, fish and wildlife habitat, rivers, lakes, beaches, forests and a panoply of other natural resources, as an unintended consequence, eroded beaches would have to compete with water quality projects, wetlands restoration, the Everglades and other environmental projects for funding. Although charged with crafting an equitable system for distributing the resources, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) instead devised the ranking system from hell.

Click to Florida’s Constitutional Amendment 1 in 2014 Each year, FDEP hosts an environmental smackdown for applicants in every category. To rank local beach projects for state support, FDEP assigns applicants up to 115 points among 29 criteria. In violation of its mandate, the ranking system favors big projects over smaller ones, prefers projects that receive federal money, rewards spans of beach that were previously renourished and buries communities that can’t afford to match the state allocation.

Hurricane Sandy Hits Fort Lauderdale Beach
FDEP SAID - NO BEACH EROSION FROM HURRICANE SANDY
FDEP is supposed to ascribe points to measure the impact of tidal erosion on a beach. When Hurricane Sandy washed out a stretch of State Road A1A in 2012, FDEP inexplicably decided the area didn’t merit points for erosion, ignoring a study by the Army Corps of Engineers that measured significant prior erosion as well as the huge volume of sand stripped away by Sandy. Incredibly, FDEP claimed the beach actually grew. “I can’t say I have a lot of confidence in how the list is produced,” said state Rep. George Moraitis (R-Fort Lauderdale). Broward Beach Administrator Nicole Sharp remarked “It’s hard to tell a city that had a road fall into the ocean that they don’t have erosion.”

Senate President Joe Negron
SENATE PRESIDENT JOE NEGRON
former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli
FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER STEVE CRISAFULLI
The FDEP beach list also serves as a rubber duck for legislative leaders. From 2012 to 2016, $52 million of the $149.5 million that lawmakers approved for beaches went to the five counties represented by former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R - Merritt Island) and Senate President Joe Negron (R - Stuart). When asked if politics played a role in how he and Negron cornered one-third of the state's beach renourishment funds over four consecutive years, Crisafulli said “I wouldn’t say politics. I would say the push by local communities to lay out their case, the push by members of the Legislature to make their case.” YIKES!

Beach Marketing: Playground or Money Magnet?

Click to EDR Beach Report In January 2015, the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR – research arm of the Florida Legislature) released a study that focused primarily on the fiscal impact of beach renourishment. Entitled “Economic Evaluation of Florida’s Investment in Beaches”, the EDR report calculated the Return on Investment (ROI) of Beach Restoration, assessed the economic risk of disasters and concluded that beaches are the most important feature of Florida's “Brand”. During the study’s 3-year review period (covering FY 2011, 2012 and 2013), the state invested $44 million in the Beach and Management Restoration Program (roughly 30.5% of the total cost shared by Federal, State, and local sources). This investment directly increased State GDP an average $2.4 billion per year.

Click to EDR Beach Report By identifying each revenue source and calculating its tax impact, the study tracked how the incremental GDP plumped state revenues by $237.9 million over the three year period. After crunching complex funding formulas to validate the raw data, the report concluded that $44 million invested in the State Beach Program “generated a positive return on investment of 5.4”, based solely on tangible financial gains or losses to state revenues. The study also uncovered another flaw in the FDEP ranking system. When calculating the economic impact on candidates for beach renourishment, the FDEP decided to omit the tax revenue they provide to a community and the State, thereby grossly understating the fiscal repercussions of neglecting beaches degraded by tidal erosion.

Click to EDR Beach Report The study triggered two significant responses. Having repeatedly stripped tax dollars from Florida beaches, Governor Rick Scott suddenly asked lawmakers to approve a $50 million cash bucket for beach projects during the 2017 legislative session, doubling the negligible $25 million he proposed in each of the past four years. Secondly, lawmakers who were historically recalcitrant about subsidizing beach neighborhoods enthusiastically approved a beach funding boost once their in-house bean counters monetized the investment’s windfall dividend.

Beach Funding Bill – Round I

Chip LaMarca & Statehouse Representatives George Moraitis
CHIP LAMARCA & REP. GEORGE MORAITIS
FSBPA President Debbie Flack
FSBPA PRESIDENT DEBBIE FLACK
During the 2017 legislative session, LaMarca headed to Tallahassee with President Debbie Flack of the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association to once again lobby lawmakers to create a reliable funding source for beach projects. In order to file the relevant legislation, they met with Statehouse Representatives George Moraitis (R – Fort Lauderdale), Evan Jenne (D – Dania Beach), Broward Commissioner Steve Geller's brother Joe Geller (D – Aventura) - and other members of the County’s legislative delegation. Soliciting support for the proposed legislation, when they distributed copies of the EDR study to their peers, even inland lawmakers who disparage beach funds as coastal pork reversed course, and agreed to support reliable funding for beach and inlet cost-sharing projects.

Senator Jack Latvala
SENATOR JACK LATVALA
Click to Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association In the Senate, they had an ally in Chairman Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who said that he considers increasing annual beach funding to at least $50 million “a top priority”. Latvala said, “There is no doubt in my mind the impact of beaches on our Florida economy. They kind of define Florida. I mean, who goes to Texas to go to the beach?” On March 3, 2017, Latvala filed Senate Bill 1590, which would revise how Florida prioritizes beach and inlet projects while annually cloistering $50 million in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to rehabilitate eroded beaches.

On March 3, 2017, Representatives George Moraitis (R – Fort Lauderdale), Bill Hagar (R – Delray Beach), and Kathleen M. Peters (R – Treasure Island) co-filed the companion bill – House Bill 1213. On April 27, 2017, the full Senate unanimously approved Latvala's bill (37 Yeas vs. 0 Nays) before sending it to the House for consideration. After unanimously sailing through two of its three vetting committees, Moraitis' House Bill was throttled on the calendar while awaiting a hearing by the House Government Accountability Committee, where it died.

Beach Funding Bill – Round II

Representative Kathleen M. Peters
REPRESENTATIVE KATHLEEN M. PETERS
Representative George Moraitis
REPRESENTATIVE GEORGE MORAITIS
During the Committee weeks prior to the early 2018 session, an undeterred Latvala refiled his legislation as Senate bill 174 on August 18, 2017. On October 9, it was unanimously approved in the Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation by 10 Yeas vs. 0 Nays. On October 25, it was unanimously found favorable by 7 Yeas vs. 0 Nays in the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources and forwarded to its final committee stop - the Committee on Appropriations, which Latvala Chairs. In the Statehouse, Representatives George Moraitis and Kathleen M. Peters filed companion House Bill 131 on September 1, 2017.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran
HOUSE SPEAKER RICHARD CORCORAN
In assessing the bills’ prospects, Latvala admonished that the legislation’s fate was in the hands of the powerful new House Speaker Richard Corcoran, exclaiming “I think there's a lot of people would like to see it passed. If (House Speaker) Richard Corcoran heeds the requests he gets, they will get it done. Or if we don’t get it done, he’ll be responsible.” With Corcoran’s recent ascendance, a substantial number of House votes have devolved into knee-jerk formalities.

In addition to $50 million in annual funding and a reasonable ranking system, Latvala said the bills will implement a three-year planning process that would enable communities to schedule these projects rather than what he called the year-to-year “grab bag” they face now. Since Nicole Sharp is sitting on long-term Federal and State cost-sharing agreements, this final piece of the puzzle should clear the way for a Segment II hot spot hunt at her discretion, which should make you smile.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

District 1 || Go Big Go Fast || Events

Click to Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts March/April 2017 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
November 30, 2017 - In his November/December 2017 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner & Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts updates progress for "Go Big, Go Fast!”, a comprehensive initiative launched by the City of Fort Lauderdale Public Works Department that was designed to improve, upgrade, and enhance the City's wastewater system and strengthen our infrastructure. Roberts details the status of 18 projects central to the enhancing the City's water and wastewater management. He enumerates ongoing District 1 projects in Palm Aire West, Bayview from Sunrise to Commercial Boulevards, Twin Lakes and Lake Estates. Completed projects include the installation of speed humps, radar signs, striping/swale work and flexible delineators in 8 District 1 locations. Roberts provides a County email address for reporting downed stop signs and lists upcoming November and December events. As always, he closes with contact information for Robbi Uptegrove, his invaluable Commission Assistant.

Mopping up the Mess

As the Utilities Division raced from disaster to disaster with its hair on fire amid a crescendo of exploding water mains and sewer lines, city officials finally fast-tracked preparations for a long-delayed plan to replace elements of the water and wastewater system that are obsolete, maximize the lifespan, integrity, and sustainability of underground infrastructure that remains viable, and for the first time, mitigate against the crushing impact of tidal flooding from rising sea levels.

Click to Reiss Engineering In April, Reiss Engineering completed a $1.9 million structural rollout of the City’s aging water and sewer infrastructure. The 839-page report recommended improvements over a twenty-year period ending in 2036. The data was crunched into a Comprehensive Utility Strategic Master Plan (CUSMP), which the City Commission will use to populate the Community Investment Plan with a Chinese menu of quick fixes and capital projects through 2035. It also serves as a short-term roadmap, prioritizing high-risk "rescue" projects for the ensuing five fiscal years.

Infrastructure Task Force Committee
INFRASTRUCTURE TASK FORCE COMMITTEE
Input from a 9-member Infrastructure Task Force Committee (ITFC) appointed in May will also help the Commission set project priorities. The Committee's wheelhouse is massive. A March 7 resolution charged the Task Force with meticulously parsing City infrastructure, specifically roads, sidewalks, airports, seawalls, water and wastewater distribution and collection systems, treatment plants, well fields, parks and all City facilities and structures.

Click to Resolution 17-46 Committee members will examine their current condition, match each to a respective repair (or replacement), and finally explore funding options. After soliciting public input, they will report their findings and recommendations to the City Commission, as detailed in Resolution 17-46.

From now through 2022, the City plans to invest close to $400 million in projects to bolster elements of sewer, water, and stormwater infrastructure overstressed by development and tidal flooding, many of which had exceeded their useful lifespans years ago. The funds are divided as follows:

Click to Resolution 17-46This is the tip of the iceberg, as the City also plans to invest millions of dollars each year to maintain and structurally upgrade roads, parks, sidewalks, airports, well fields, seawalls, bridges – and every structure owned by the City of Fort Lauderdale – from City Hall to the beachside rest rooms. To preclude a staffing shortage from hampering infrastructure priorities, the City filled more than 45 new positions in the Public Works Department during the past year. Also, municipal infrastructure consultant Mike Burton from Stantec has begun preparing the fiscal documentation that City Manager Lee Feldman will need for a five-alarm run at the bond market. For Vice Mayor Roberts’ November / December 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Happy Holidays
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
The Holiday Season is fast approaching and before we know it we will be ringing in a New Year. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas. It is time to take a break from our hectic lifestyles and spend time with family, loved ones and friends. It is also a time to help those in need and, perhaps, less fortunate than us. Fort Lauderdale Neighbors demonstrated that capacity during Hurricane Irma and I am confident we will see more of the same during the holidays.

Along with public safety, infrastructure remains one of my two top priorities. WE HAVE A PLAN AND IT IS MOVING. Please see the weekly progress reports on the City’s webpage. While tropical storm Philippe may be remembered as a short-lived and disorganized weather event, it did drop five inches of rain on the Fort Lauderdale area, exacerbating issues with sewer pump stations and slowing construction progress. None-the-less, the City did move forward with progress on new force mains, lift station projects and inflow & infiltration reduction projects.

  1. Phase I: New 30-inch Sewer Main from SW 2nd Street and SW 8th Avenue to SW 6th Avenue and SW 7th Street; Status: 2,288 linear feet of 30-inch sewer main has been installed; connections (also known as “tie-ins”) to the new pipeline are underway as Phase I nears a December completion date.

  2. Lift Station on Fort Lauderdale Beach at Riomar Street
    LIFT STATION ON FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH AT RIOMAR STREET
    Phase II: Drilling is 90% complete for the new 30-inch Force Main along SW 2nd Street from SW 4th Avenue to SW 8th Avenue; Status: Drilling is 95% complete and installation of the new pipeline is underway with completion expected later this month.

  3. Phase III: New 30-inch Force Main along Sistrunk Boulevard from NW 19th Avenue to NW 4th Avenue; Status: Installation of 6,400 linear feet of the sewer main is underway with completion in mid-December.

  4. Phase IV: Work has begun on the installation of 8,300 linear feet of Force Main from a Lift Station on Sistrunk Boulevard to the intersection of SW 8th Ave and SW 2nd St. Status: Construction us underway; estimated completion in May 2018.

  5. New Fort Lauderdale Beach Lift Station at Riomar Street and Antioch Avenue; Status: Construction underway; crews have encountered several layers of coral rock which have slowed progress; sheet piles are being driven through the coral rock breaking the rock into pieces that can be more easily removed to accommodate space for a new wet well; estimated completion in March 2018.

  6. New Isle of Venice Lift Station at 217 Hendricks Isle; Status: Bids for construction to commence in December 2017.

  7. New Imperial Point Lift Station at 2152 Imperial Point Drive; Status: Contract has been executed, notice to proceed has been issued; contractor is acquiring permits; and construction is scheduled to begin in December.

  8. New Downtown Area Lift Station at 200 SE 2nd Court which includes the construction of a new submersible triplex sewage Lift Station and valve vault, and a new Gravity Main and Force Main; Status: Contract execution and construction scheduling is underway; construction expected to begin within 2-3 months; estimated project completion set for September 2018.

  9. New Harbor Beach Lift Station at 2 Harborage Drive; Status: Contract approved; construction expected to begin within 2-3 months; estimated completion in July 2018.

  10. Victoria Park Basin Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 625 NE 19 Avenue; Status: Bids reviewed and contract was awarded on 11/6/17.

  11. New 30-inch Water Main
    NEW 30-INCH WATER MAIN
    Rio Vista Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 1200 Cordova Road; Status: Construction underway Downtown Basin Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 203 SW 1st Avenue; Status: Construction underway.

  12. Downtown Basin Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 203 SW 1st Avenue; Status: Contract approved; construction expected to begin within 1 month.

  13. Flagler Heights Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 630 NE 2nd Avenue; Status: Contractor cleaning project area; lateral lining will begin when high volume, surcharge conditions are alleviated; construction expected to begin within 1 month.

  14. Dorsey-Riverbend Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 1410 NW 4th Street; Status: Contract approved; construction is pending the completion of the 30-inch Force Main.

  15. 1,900 linear feet of 12-inch sewer main under canals and streets intersecting with Las Olas Boulevard
    1,900 LINEAR FEET OF 12-INCH SEWER MAIN UNDER CANALS AND
    STREETS THAT INTERSECT WITH LAS OLAS BOULEVARD
    Central Beach Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 729 N. Birch Road; Status: Project complete.

  16. Lake Estates Water Mains in the area of NE 27th Avenue to Bayview Drive; Status: Construction underway; Installation of a new water main along NE 60th Street has been completed; water service line installation to property water meters has been completed; installation of 1,300 linear feet of new water main along NE 28th Ave has been completed; estimated project completion in March 2018.

  17. Second Avenue Tank Restoration on NW 2nd Avenue near NW 6th Court; Status: Contract scheduled to be considered for approval by the City Commission on December 5th.

  18. Las Olas Boulevard Force Main Replacement; Status: The City is changing the approach to a design-build project using trenchless technology and is moving forward with the new bid opening scheduled for 12/4/17.

  • Palm Aire West: we are finalizing the task order for the 53 speed humps and anticipate the construction to begin late November and completed end of December 2017.

  • New Lake Estates Water Main along NE 60th Street
    NEW LAKE ESTATES WATER MAIN ALONG NE 60TH STREET
    Bayview from Sunrise to Commercial: Approval of the re-milling and surfacing contract will be brought up at the Commission Meeting end of November – we will update you on this $880,000 project as it moves forward; this will be followed a $740,000 traffic calming project.

  • Twin Lakes: Traffic Mobility Plan was discussed with the HOA last month and the permit application for BC Highway Construction and Engineering Division was submitted and is currently being reviewed -construction is projected to start first quarter of 2018; City Attorney’s Office is preparing the easement deed(s) for the entryway monuments.

  • Lake Estates: new water lines are being installed throughout the neighborhood.

  • 6 radar signs in the Coral Ridge Community

  • 2 Speed humps on NE 29 Ave north of NE 68 Street

  • 4 speed humps on NE 68 Street east of NE 31 Ave

  • Striping/swale work on Yacht Club Blvd

  • District-wide speed hump restriping including Bayview Drive

  • 1 Radar sign on NE 55 Street west of bridge

  • Speed hump installation on NE 24 Terrace north of NE 62 Street

  • Installation of flexible delineators on NE 62 Street east of NE 18 Av

Staff is also working with Broward County to install Speed Radar Signs along Cypress Creek Rd/NE 62nd Street in partnership with Broward County

We have received many calls from neighbors who want to report a downed stop sign. To save time, you can email directly to STOPSIGNDOWN@broward.org to report. It will go directly to the Broward County department that handles downed stop signs!

Light Up the Beach - Wednesday, Nov. 22, 5:30 - 9 PM, A1A and E Las Olas.

City Hall Closed November 23 and 24 for Thanksgiving

Click to Christmas on Las Olas 55th Annual Christmas on Las Olas – Tuesday, Nov. 28, 5:00 - 10 PM; E Las Olas from SE 6 to SE 11 avenues

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov In addition to hosting two pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web pageIf you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Ft Laud Airport; Port; Climate Summit; Taxes; Vets

Commentary

Click to November 2017 LaMarca Letter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
December 8, 2017 - In his November 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca outlines how the recent expansion of Slip 2 in Port Everglades will enable the berthing of today's longer ships adjacent to the newly renovated Terminal 4, including Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships, Princess Cruises’ Royal-class ships, and those of Carnival Cruise Line - currently the primary user of the newly extended berth; welcomes the 9th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit to the Broward County Convention Center in mid-December; exhorts Broward taxpayers to take advantage of early-payment discounts for recently received property tax bills; applauds County Veterans Services Officers for helping Broward’s 127,000 veterans navigate the Veterans Administration System for benefits. While noting how the recently elevated ratings of bonds issued by Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will enhance the airport's long term financial stability, LaMarca also observes how FLL cured an FAA dilemma that might have cost hundreds of $millions by instead implementing a $2.5 million high-tech solution.

Teeing off at FLL

Fort Lauderdale aviator Merle Fogg
FORT LAUDERDALE AVIATOR MERLE FOGG
Named in memory of Fort Lauderdale’s pioneer aviator, Merle Fogg Airport opened on May 1, 1929, on the abandoned nine-hole Southside municipal golf course. Although sufficient for training World War II naval aviators to fly carrier-based, torpedo attack planes, it was a land-poor choice for what eventually became Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Control Tower
FLL CONTROL TOWER
Ordinarily, airports are designed to provide air traffic controllers with unobstructed line of sight visibility of aircraft and gates. Hampered by its postage stamp site plan, FLL must stash planes and operate gates in areas that aren’t visible from a control tower. Given its high traffic and airside infrastructure limitations, FLL typically docks aircraft overnight at each of its 57 gates, plus another 15 or so parked in two remote zones.

Southwest Airlines A company called Robinson Aviation provides ramp control services at FLL. Each day, Robinson would send ramp employees to the gates that were out of controllers' line of sight to log which aircraft were on block and pass that information to the controllers – who tracked the. reports on a dry erase board throughout the day.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Runway
FLL RUNWAY
The problem was exacerbated by the airport’s recent explosive growth, when a 9000-foot runway that opened in 2014 enabled FLL to anchor over 20 scheduled airlines, 5 charter operators, 3 air cargo carriers and launch non-stop international flights across the planet. From the FAA air traffic control tower, there were still a handful of non-movement areas that were not visible to controllers - even after a second tower was pressed into service.

Amadeus As the airport's maximum annual capacity skyrocketed to 425,000 flights - an effective increase of 40% - FAA officials grew increasingly nervous about the blind spots. Future expansion would either require hundreds of $millions for construction of a skyscraper capped by a 360-degree observatory, or roughly $2.5 million to implement a pioneering new technology known as Virtual Ramp Control. Created by Amadeus (formerly AirIT), the program was installed in June, and exceeded expectations. Before the new system was installed, controllers could view 65% to 70% percent of the airfield at any given time. The virtual system provides full visibility.

Windows in a Windowless Room

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Virtual Ramp Control
VIRTUAL RAMP CONTROL AT FLL
Installed in a windowless room, the company’s Virtual Airfield Management System (VAMS) features two six-panel video walls that provide ramp controllers with a panoramic window-like view of the entire airfield. An aerial view of the airport includes accurately scaled images of terminal buildings, gates, stands, remote parking positions, cargo facilities and maintenance areas. The system also includes an interactive, real-time map display that allows them to click on any gate for a thermal high definition pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) view, providing controllers with on-block and off-block status updates not available in brick and mortar control towers.

Amadeus To depicts airfield traffic, feeds from strategically placed video cameras are channeled into a remote video management system by Searidge Technologies. Integrating the feeds with the virtual airfield allows the overall system to monitor aircraft from the time they land until they pull into their assigned gates.

In addition to providing FAA air traffic controllers with an unparalleled view of the entire airfield, scalability that enables seamless switching to any specific area, and real-time operational status updates for aircraft and gate activity, it enables the airport to redeploy costly personnel and resources no longer needed to compensate for the controllers impaired airfield visibility. Once the bugs that ordinarily afflict new technology are worked out, the savings could pay for the entire system within a few years. For LaMarca’s November 2017 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

November 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County:

Fort Lauderdale International Airport Update

Click to Moody’s Investors Service Recently, as part of Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) current bond issuance (Broward County, Florida Airport System Revenue Bonds Series 2017), several Broward County officials, along with members of the bond team, gave presentations and provided additional pertinent County and Airport information to the three rating agencies (Moody’s, S&P, Fitch). Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an A1 rating to Broward County’s FLL Airport enterprise’s $325 million Airport System Revenue Bonds. Concurrently, Moody’s affirmed the A1 rating on the enterprise’s outstanding parity debt, and stated the outlook is stable. Click to Fitch Ratings S&P Global Ratings assigned its 'A+' long-term rating to Broward County for $325.4 million Series 2017 Airport System Revenue Bonds issued for FLL. At the same time, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'A+' underlying rating on the County's Airport System Revenue Bonds outstanding, while also confirming the outlook is stable. Additionally, Fitch Ratings has upgraded approximately $1.3 billion of outstanding Broward County Airport System Revenue Bonds issued on behalf of FLL to 'A+' from 'A', and is revig the Rating Outlook to Stable from Positive. This is great news for the long term financial stability of our airport and continued value for our FLL customers.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Virtual Ramp Control
VIRTUAL RAMP CONTROL AT FLL
In other airport news, FLL is among the first airports in the nation to implement pioneering technology that is expected to direct aircraft more efficiently and safely to and from airport gates. The new $2.5 million system will assist in reducing delays that the airport can control. Virtual Ramp Control is the first solution of its kind, was introduced in June 2017, and has been fully operational for the past few months. Specially trained operators work inside a dedicated room where they coordinate and monitor the movement of aircraft arriving and departing FLL with a virtual camera-based system. The camera system is integrated with specially developed software to manage more than 700 flights each day at FLL. Officials from other airports are interested in the system and have come to Broward County to see how it works. For more information please visit Broward.org/airport.

Broward County’s Port Everglades Update

Port Everglades Slip 2 construction project
PORT EVERGLADES SLIP 2 CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
Broward County’s Port Everglades Cruise Terminal 4 can now tend larger cruise ships, as long as 1,100 feet without extending into the Intracoastal Waterway. The $18-million Slip 2 construction project, adjacent to the recently renovated Cruise Terminal 4, lengthened the slip by 225 feet from the original 900 feet. The total 1,125-foot slip length meets the needs of most of today's modern cruise ships.

Click to Port EvergladesPort Everglades is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County government that does not rely on local tax dollars for operation. Therefore, no local taxes were used for the Slip 2 extension project. The total value of economic activity related to Port Everglades is nearly $30 billion. Each cruise ship call at Port Everglades generates an estimated $2.2 million in business revenue for the local community. We are very proud to be an industry and statewide leader.

Broward Hosts Climate Leadership Summit

Click to Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact The 9th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit will be held on December 14th and 15th at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. The annual summit is coordinated by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a partnership between Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, their municipalities and other partners. The Climate Leadership Summit is a major regional event focused on facilitating climate-related collaboration and knowledge sharing. The summit attracts innovative thinkers and leaders from business, government, academia and the non-profit community to exchange ideas and dialogue at panel discussions and networking breaks. This year’s summit focuses on “The Business of Resilience” and will engage the community through critical discussions on adaptation, climate and energy solutions, and resilience. I will be a panelist for one of the opening sessions on “Flood and Risk Management.” For more information please visit Broward.org/NaturalResources.

Property Tax Bills in Mail and Online

Click to Southwest Airlines The 2017 Broward County property tax bills have been mailed to residents and payments must be made no later than March 31, 2018 to avoid delinquency interest, fees, and penalties. Early-payment discounts for payments made in full are as follows: a 4-percent discount if paid in November; a 3-percent discount applies in December; a 2-percent discount in January; and a 1-percent discount in February. The discounted amounts that apply to each month between November and February are already reflected on property tax bill coupons. These discounts apply only to full tax payments. Making a partial payment of property taxes forfeits any applicable discount otherwise available for full tax payments. For more information, call 954-831-4000 or visit broward.org/RecordsTaxesTreasury. Payments can be made online at Broward.county-taxes.com.

Taking Care of Our Veterans

Click to Southwest Airlines Broward County is home to approximately 127,000 veterans and dependents and last year, our Veterans Services Officers helped advocate for 1,400 of them, resulting in $11 million in approved claims. Veterans themselves, Broward’s Veterans Services Officers help those who have served our country, and their dependents, navigate the Veterans Administration System. They assist with acquiring disability compensation, pension benefits, home care services, and other aid, also including for dependent survivors. If you are a veteran or know a veteran who could benefit from these services, visit Broward.org/HumanServices and select ELDERLY & VETERANS, or call 954-357-6622.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Firefighters Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue December 17, 2017 - Dispatched from each of the City's eleven Fire Stations, Fort Lauderdale firefighters annually respond to 55 thousand reported fires and medical emergencies. Anyone who enters a burning building to save lives is a hero. As a rule, the respect and admiration earned by our firefighters and Fire-Rescue EMS paramedics typically extends to the department’s leadership. Specifically, a Fire Chief who used to walk in their shoes.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Fire Marshals don’t rescue people endangered by fire, or provide those threatened by medical emergencies with a chance to survive a harrowing ordeal. In describing their “mission”, the City website observes how inspectors and investigators directed by the Fire Marshal “effectively utilize the principles of engineering, education and enforcement to protect our citizens, our workplace, our homes and our environment from the ravages of fire.”

Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE MARSHAL JEFF LUCAS
In the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Fire Prevention Bureau is answerable to Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, whose unique talent for engendering cooperation has manifested a sea change in Bureau operations. By crafting enforcement policies that incorporate the concerns of homeowners, merchants, neighborhood associations and civic organizations – while enlisting their assistance – Lucas has measurably limited the number and severity of fires in Fort Lauderdale, an achievement that merited official recognition by the City and his peers.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Inspectors
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE INSPECTORS
The Bureau’s Fire Inspectors are dually certified as fire-fighters and its investigators are among the most highly-credentialed professionals on the City payroll. Working seamlessly with the Building Department’s Design Review team, after FPB Fire Inspectors scrutinize all building plans submitted by permit applicants to enforce compliance with national, state and local fire and life-safety codes, they verify compliance onsite prior to approving a certificate of occupancy (CO) or completion.

Association Homeowners Ripped Off Each year, notices posted on association bulletin boards announce the annual fire safety inspection, when our Fire Marshal ensures the availability of proper egress and certifies that code compliant fire protection systems are being carefully maintained. Required for all structures in his jurisdiction with a certificate of occupancy, these annual inspections enable Lucas to keep our homes safe.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Police Department Click Here to Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives The Bureau’s Fire Investigation Unit (FIU) is charged with diagnosing a fire’s origin and cause. Five on-call fire investigators are available to an on-scene Incident Commander (IC) to help ascertain those conditions that triggered or contributed to a fire, and if intentional, provide insight into prospective motives. When their findings lead to a criminal investigation, they will work closely with FLPD arson detectives, and investigators from the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Fire & Arson Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Teaming with emergency management agencies, the Unit also helps displaced families find lodging while helping to restore habitability to their decimated homes.

Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl
FIRE CHIEF ROBERT HOECHERL
Fire Chief Jeffrey Justinak
FIRE CHIEF JEFFREY JUSTINAK
Since his appointment less than three years ago, Lucas and Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl have transformed Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue into one of the nation's most formidable fire services. When Deputy Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl replaced the retiring Jeffrey Justinak as Fort Lauderdale’s Fire Chief, he launched a plan to upgrade the department’s Public Protection Classification (PPC), which insurance companies use to measure risk (and calculate premiums) for properties within the department’s fire district.

Click Here to Insurance Services Office (ISO) The Insurance Services Office (ISO) uses factors included in their proprietary Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) to evaluate a fire department’s capabilities. While Hoecherl could address FSRS requirements for the adequate staffing of engine crews and ladder companies, deploy appropriate apparatus and equipment, improve training and communications, increase water supplies, and adapt the department’s organizational structure, he would need a savvy, impressively credentialed Fire Marshal to meet the rigorous FSRS Fire Prevention standards. Lucas was perfect.

Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl, Captain Greg May, Deputy Fire Chiefs Doug Stanley and Tim Heiser, Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, Deputy Fire Chief Bob Simac and City Manager Lee Feldman
FIRE CHIEF ROBERT HOECHERL, FIRE MARSHAL JEFF LUCAS
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN AND OTHER FIRE RESCUE OFFICIALS
At their September 1, 2015 meeting, City commissioners honored Fire-Rescue officials and City Manager Lee Feldman when Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue earned “ISO 1” – the highest Public Protection Classification offered by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) – and national accreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The top-level ISO 1 insurance rating would reduce citywide fire insurance premiums through the year 2020 by up to 2 percent for homeowners and up to 12 percent for commercial properties. At that time, only 32 of the nation’s more than 47,000 fire departments had achieved the ISO 1 rating. Of the 32, two other Broward jurisdictions met the uncompromising ISO-1 standard – the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue in Weston and Deerfield Beach. The nationwide list currently features 241 fire districts classified as ISO 1).

Assistant Fire Marshal / Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber Award
ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL JO-ANN LORBER SNAGS AWARD
Click Here to Center for Public Safety Excellence The City Commission additionally recognized Lucas for having merited a Fire Marshal Designation from the prestigious Center for Public Safety Excellence in Chantilly, Virginia. Since the program’s inception, only 133 candidates worldwide have earned this unique accreditation. Evidently, hitting one’s mark is infectious in Lucas’ wheelhouse. A few months earlier, Assistant Fire Marshal / Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber was named Florida’s Executive Fire Officer of the Year for 2014.

Click Here to Declaratory Statement Case No. 189152-16-DS Lucas proactively seeks opportunities to partner with local communities, inviting unfettered communications. When enforcing the Fire Code, our Fire Marshal works with area homeowners and merchants to maximize the level of fire protection each can afford. During emergencies, you’ll often find him at ground zero. When a broken water line threatened the fire protection capabilities of a Galt Mile association last year, they didn’t have to solicit a sub-grade excavation clearance from Sunshine State 811 and an emergency permit to tear up the street. Instead, when Lucas arrived, he personally took charge of locating an unknown control valve and ended the flooding.

Click Here to Fire Marshal of the Year In contrast with many of his peers, Lucas has proven fair-minded and forthright. Shortly after Fire Sprinkler association lobbyists circumvented State Law by engineering a Declaratory Statement exhorting high-rise associations that legally opted out of retrofitting a $multi-million fire sprinkler system to instead install a $multi-million Engineered Life Safety System (which includes fire sprinklers), Lucas informed Galt Mile officials that he disagreed with the "revised" interpretation of the Fire Code, and observed “I would think if you opt out, then you opt out of all.” He suggested that associations “pursue this with the State”. Heeding his advice, Galt Mile officials are working to capsize this corporate extortion.

On November 9, 2017, the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association” named Lucas, “Fire Marshal of the Year”. Of course, this is the Venice of America, where those who distinguish themselves are often snatched up by another jurisdiction, or price tag their moral compass and disappear into the private sector. That said, Fort Lauderdale homeowners and merchants who meet with Lucas are usually struck by the same observation – “We’re lucky to have him.” As always – time will tell...

 


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

LEED; Port Cruise Guide; Manatees & Saving H2O

Commentary

Click to December 2017 LaMarca Letter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca at Segment II Staging Area
DISTRICT 4 BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
January 5, 2018 - In his December 2017 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca cites the newly built Ravenswood Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility and the new Animal Care and Adoption Center for having respectively scored Gold and Silver certifications for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council; apprises travelers about using the recently released 2018 Port Everglades Cruise Guide to build an entire vacation around a cruise; reminds Broward boaters to heed the slower seasonal speed limits to avoid collisions with migrating Manatees; and applauds the Broward Water Partnership and the Conservation Pays Program for saving a record breaking 1.5 billion gallons of water as of October 2017 - primarily attributable to a rebate program that rewards participants for replacing old toilets with high-efficiency models that conserve water.

While LaMarca’s Holiday Season missive extolls two recent County projects for meriting LEED Certification, few of his Broward constituents are conversant with the LEED Program, or why their elected officials celebrate LEED certified projects.

What is LEED?

What is LEED A brainchild of the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The rigorous LEED platform uses a consensus based, continuous improvement process to blend assessment factors distilled from science, specialty fields and industry expertise. Since its inception in 2000, the LEED program has evolved from a single standard for new construction to an interrelated system of standards applicable to virtually all new and existing building, community and home project types in over 165 countries and territories.

LEED Categories LEED projects deploy a wide range of criteria to focus on achieving environmentally responsible, frugal and resource-efficient design and construction, cost-effective maintenance and post-construction operational efficiency in commercial buildings and homes. To combat sprawl, the factors were reconfigured to yield safer, better-connected neighborhood-scale projects. In turn, the assessment criteria are sorted into 5 different overall categories specified by project type: Green Building Design & Construction (BD+C); Green Interior Design & Construction (ID+C); Green Building Operations & Maintenance (O+M); Green Neighborhood Development (ND); and Green Home Design and Construction (Homes).

LEED certifications Projects pursuing LEED certification accrue credits by meeting objectives selected by project planners across several categories (i.e. energy use, purchag oversight, site density and diversity, construction materials, water use, air quality, etc.) Credits earn points. The number of points achieved by a project determines the level of certification it receives. There are four LEED rating levels: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points) or Platinum (80+ points).

LEED Categories In his December Newsletter, after describing the LEED certified building's impact on “human and environmental health,” LaMarca exclaims, “As a lifelong construction professional, this is very important to me.” Most construction professionals are primarily concerned with a LEED building's impact on their bank account – a mindset shared by developers, lenders, investors as well as building owners and operators. Since LEED buildings attract tenants, cost less to operate and boost employee productivity and retention, the ecological premium accompanies a steroidal impact on profits.

Fattening the Bottom Line

LEED Categories Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As the demand for more sustainable building options increases, green construction is becoming increasingly profitable and desirable within the international construction market.

LEED Categories In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions and out-consume both the industrial and transportation sectors. In contrast, LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water. They’ve also diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.

LEED Categories As a result, the black ink realized by LEED-certified buildings in the United States between 2015 and 2018 was derived from $1.2 billion in lower energy costs, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in reduced maintenance overhead and $54.2 million in waste savings. More importantly, the savings are sustainable.

LEED Categories LEED buildings report almost 20 percent lower maintenance costs than generic commercial buildings, and green building retrofit projects typically decrease operation costs by almost 10 percent in just one year. For investors, the reduced overhead enhances a property's value by an estimated 4 percent, while expediting its return on investment. By virtue of lowered maintenance and energy costs, green retrofit projects generally make investors whole within seven years.

The Market Turns Green

Dodge Data & Analytics Dodge Data & Analytics The market is responding to these cost savings and environmental benefits at a dramatic rate. According to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, the global green building sector continues to double every three years, with survey respondents from 70 countries reporting 60 percent of their projects will be green by 2018.

Green Building
GREEN BUILDING
Already outpacing overall construction growth in the United States, by 2018, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs – more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector (9.6 million jobs in 2015) – and generate $190.3 billion in labor income to working Americans. The industry’s direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015-2018.

Although theoretically unburdened by a downside, exploring the program’s performance-based data revealed that certain LEED projects failed to meet post-construction objectives. While tailoring a building’s design features to its intended use will generally enhance efficiency and cut overhead, if the building is sold, and used for some other purpose, those same design features can actually impede efficiency to the extent that maintenance and operational costs can exceed those of an uncertified, conventional structure. Since additionally funding a LEED Certified retrofit would recapture the benefits, proponents argue that the prospective downside is limited to a delayed return on investment – an expense appropriate to refitting any commercial plant.

Trouble on the Horizon

LEED vs Green Globes Recently, LEED has come under fire by competing systems such as the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes rating system. Citing LEED as too strict and exclusionary, a movement to adopt other rating systems or promote legislative bans against the use of LEED on government projects has taken root in states like Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. At the heart of the conflict is politics and control.

Pro and Anti-LEED States The Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the American Tree Farm System claim that LEED harms the wood industry by only recognizing certification by the competing Forest Stewardship Council. As result, the lumber industry convinced North Carolina lawmakers to purge LEED from public projects. Since the most recent LEED version (LEED v4) drills down into the chemical makeup of building materials, and rates how each component impacts the environment, the Chemical Industry went berserk. ANSI (American National Standards Institute) complained that only USGBC members can vote on LEED criteria. Their assertion that LEED is therefore exclusionary is largely ignored by the industry since USGBC membership currently includes almost 200,000 LEED professionals and 13,000 member organizations. While other Green systems have established a foothold, LEED remains the 600-pound gorilla of environmental sustainability.

The growing number of celebratory media snippets about LEED certified projects by elected officials aren’t solely vehicles for harvesting political capital. More than 400 municipalities, 32 states and 14 federal agencies cite LEED as a best practice for achieving sustainability objectives, and either require or reward LEED certification. Meriting certification will often earmark projects for a regulatory goodie bag. Such benefits might include variances for ordinarily immutable population density or building height zoning restrictions and expedited or no-cost permitting. Financial incentives include tax credits, grants and low interest loans. For the rest of LaMarca’s December 2017 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

December 2017 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County:







LEED Certification for County Facilities

Ravenswood Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility
Ravenswood Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility


Click to US Green Building Council The new state-of-the-art Ravenswood Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility and the new Animal Care and Adoption Center have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification and Silver certification respectively from the U.S. Green Building Council.

As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. As a lifelong construction professional, this is very important to me.

The Ravenswood Bus operations and Maintenance Facility project included the construction of a new 3-story parking garage, operations and maintenance buildings, fuel station and bus wash.

The Animal Care and Adoption Center set new standards by becoming the first LEED climate controlled shelter in the state of Florida.

 Animal Care and Adoption Center
Animal Care and Adoption Center


Port Everglades Cruise Guide

Click to Port Everglades Cruise Guide Click to Port Everglades Cruise Guide Broward County’s Port Everglades is Florida’s leading seaport for containerized cargo and the third largest cruise port in the world. Ten cruise lines sail 40 ships and a ferry from Port Everglades and now you can access the 2018 Port Everglades Cruise Guide that provides great vacation tools. More than 701,000 passengers, approximately 20 percent of the Port’s cruise business, will set sail during the holiday season. The Cruise Guide provides information on cruig, hotels, dining, entertainment, and transportation to many destinations from Port Everglades.

To access the 2018 Port Everglades Cruise Guide and for more information, please visit PortEverglades.net.

It's Manatee Season

Manatees begin moving south
MANATEES BEGIN TO HEAD SOUTH
Broward's Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division cautions boaters to be on the lookout for manatees moving throughout our waterways. November 15th marked the beginning of manatee season and seasonal manatee protection zones are in effect thru March 31st. As air and water temperatures drop, Click to ‘I Spy a Manatee’ mobile app manatees begin moving south for warmer water such as springs and energy center discharge canals for refuge, and slower seasonal speed limits go into effect. For information about manatee protection zones by County, including seasonal changes, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website and click on "Data and Maps." At the bottom of the page there is information on Manatee COLD-weather changes to speed zones.

Broward County now also offers a new innovative manatee reporting mobile app that can be used to report the location of manatees and their activities, view manatee protection zones and boating safety zones in County waterways. The ‘I Spy a Manatee’ mobile app can be used by Broward residents and visitors to report manatee sightings. Download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Broward Water Partnership and Conservation Pays Program

Click to Broward Water Partnership Saves MoneyClick to Broward Water Partnership and the Conservation Pays Residents, business and nonprofits in Broward County had record breaking water savings through the Broward Water Partnership and the Conservation Pays Program. The Community has saved 1.5 billion gallons of water combined as of October 2017. Much of the savings were achieved through the regional toilet rebate program that provides property owners with rebates when they upgrade older model toilets to high-efficiency water-saving models. The Broward Water Partnership provides rebates through ConservationPays.com, with just five steps including filling out an application and attaching required documentation. Applicants can receive up to $100 rebate per toilet.

For more information and to check your availability, please visit ConservationPays.com.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

One final note, as we celebrate the holiday season and prepare for an exciting new year, I offer you a very Happy Hanukkah, a very Merry Christmas and the most prosperous 2018 for you and yours.

As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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