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Broward History

In addition to the State of Florida and the City of Fort Lauderdale, Galt Mile residents are subject to the jurisdictional regulations and standards of Broward County. Nine district County Commissioners take turns exercising Mayoral prerogative for rotating one-year terms. Charles "Chip" LaMarca ably represents the Galt Mile community on the County Commission. County government actions and intentions are monitored, evaluated and revealed here. Of course, a priority concern to Galt Mile residents is the value of their homes. Another county institution, the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office, determines the property values that serve as the basis for our tax obligation as well as our equity access. Appraiser Lori Parrish is hungry for input. She wants to know what’s on your mind. In the B.C.P.A. page, she answers queries by county residents about appraisals, “Save our Homes” amendment concerns and an assortment of important tax exemptions. If the answer to your question isn’t there, just Ask Lori!

Click to Broward County Web Site
BROWARD COUNTY
Comparable to the ecosystems blanketing South Florida, Broward County’s prehistory is remarkably rich. Skeletal remains of big-game hunters who lived 10,000 years ago have been found as near as Vero Beach on the east coast and Charlotte Harbor on the west. Indians designated by archaeologists as “Archaic”, Broward’s first permanent residents, turned to a diversified pattern of hunting and gathering from 4,000 to 2,000 years ago. The major village of Tequesta, near the mouth of Miami River, probably was not more than a couple of centuries old when the Spanish visited it in 1567. While the Tequesta and Calusa Indians successfully resisted European imperialistic agendas, they succumbed to the diseases with which they were “gifted” by the Spanish. When the Spanish ceded Florida to Great Britain at the end of the French and Indian War, the roughly 80 remaining Indians in southeast Florida left for Havana in 1763. Following the American Revolution, the British ceded the area back to Spain in the Treaty of Paris after holding sway for only 20 years.

Ohio Born Frank Stranahan
FRANK STRANAHAN
Enter - from the Bahamas - the Robbinses: Joseph, and his wife and daughter moved to the south side of the New River, possible just above the mouth of Tarpon River. Farming farther upstream were the Lewises: Surlie, Frankee and at least two children who, like Robbins, were British. Although the Spanish feared that they were a fifth column for a possible British reoccupation of the peninsula, in 1793 Spain was too preoccupied with preparing for war with France to evacuate the settlers. The United States obtained Florida from Spain in 1821. Colonel James Gadsden, who conducted the first survey in 1825 of today’s Broward County, was not impressed. A road would be impractical, he wrote, because “the population of the route will probably never be sufficient to contribute to [its maintenance], while the inducements to individuals to keep up the necessary ferries will scarcely ever be adequate.” ...not exactly a visionary.

Railroad Magnate Henry M. Flagler
HENRY M. FLAGLER
Resentful of being pushed southward by settlers who coveted their rich north Florida pastures, Seminole Indians attacked and killed Major Francis L. Dade and 104 of his 107 officers and men in an ambush north of Tampa that set off the Second Seminole War on December 28, 1835. After three years of skirmishes, a force of Tennessee Volunteers and army regulars, commanded by Major William Lauderdale, established a stockade on New river. Not surprisingly, he named it after himself, thus establishing Fort Lauderdale. After the war, Seminoles who had escaped “relocation” (internment) to Oklahoma had the area pretty much to themselves for the next 50 years, where they cultivated gardens in Pine Island, west of present-day Davie, and roamed the Everglades in search of game. By 1891, enough settlers arrived to justify a post office and the Bay Stage Line, operating over a shell-rock road between Hypoluxo at the south end of Lake Worth and Lemon City, now part of Miami. Passengers on the two-day trip stopped overnight at New River, where they stayed at an overnight camp run by an Ohioan named Frank Stranahan.

Former Florida Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
GOVERNOR NAPOLEON
BONAPARTE BROWARD
When Henry M. Flagler learned that Miami was unaffected by the great freeze of February 1895, he decided to extend his railroad south from Palm Beach, reaching the New River by February 22, 1896. Realizing that he needed to lure paying passengers to South Florida, Flagler’s land companies sought immigrants from both North and South. Swedes from the Northeast formed the nucleus of Hallandale, and Danes from the Midwest founded Dania. Southern farmers, lured by better land and milder winters, joined the Danes and Swedes and founded Pompano and Deerfield. Southern and Bahamian blacks did much of the fieldwork. Dania became the area’s first incorporated community in 1904, followed by Pompano in 1908 and Fort Lauderdale in 1911. Formed from portions of Dade and Palm Beach counties in 1915, Broward was named for a former Florida governor who drained the Everglades to open land for development, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. After World War I, the county’s population went from 5,135 to 14,242 between 1920 and 1925 for a gain of 9,107. This first land boom actualized the area’s value as a tourism destination.

Joseph Young - Architect of the City of Hollywood
JOSEPH W. YOUNG
In the 1920s, Joseph W. Young turned a low-lying tract between Hallandale and Dania into his dream city of Hollywood-by-the-Sea. The lakes, the broad boulevard, the eastern golf course and the traffic circle were all part of Young’s master plan. By 1925, charters were granted to Hollywood, Deerfield, Davie, and Floranada, north of Fort Lauderdale. Early in 1926 Hollywood absorbed both Dania and the unincorporated Hallandale community. To handle the transportation-dependent influx, the Seaboard Coast Line was extended southward toward Miami. Northern newspapers crashed the speculative market by painting a hurricane’s flattening of Hollywood as a world class disaster, predating the Depression by three years. In 1927 Dania regained its independence, Hallandale became a city and Floranada, shorn of much of its territory, was reincorporated as Oakland Park. On December 19, 1939, the British cruiser “Orion” chased the German freighter “Arauca” into Port Everglades, where she remained until 1941 when seized by the United States. As far as Broward’s future was concerned, however, the most significant thing about the war was the plethora of training bases that were established. Every airfield in the county, plus the future site of Broward Community College’s central campus became a World War II training facility.

1926 Hurricane Flattens Hollywood - Crushes Burgeoning Real Estate Market
1926 HURRICANE FLATTENS HOLLYWOOD
In the 30 years from 1940 to 1970, Fort Lauderdale’s population shot from 17,996 to 139,590. Hollywood went from 6,239 to 106,873; Pompano Beach from 4,427 to 38,587; and Hallandale from 1,827 to 23,849. Plantation, which was just getting started in 1950, had grown to 23,523 by 1970. Thousands of servicemen stationed in Broward were permanently infatuated by the fantasy lifestyle they tasted. Hillsboro Beach, Hacienda Village and Wilton Manors were added by 1947. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was next in 1951, followed by Plantation and Lazy Lake in 1953; Margate and Miramar, 1955; Lighthouse Point, 1956; Pembroke Park, 1957; Lauderhill, Cooper City, Sea Ranch Lakes, and Pembroke Pines, 1959; Sunrise, Davie, and Lauderdale Lakes, 1961; North Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Parkland, and Tamarac, 1963; and Coconut Creek, 1967. In 1974, after the county’s population soared toward a million, the speculator-driven hot South Florida market again became the victim of a recession which swept the nation. In 1976, the market revived and the 50,000 unsold condominium units were finally absorbed. A new county charter gave Broward’s government broad powers to monitor and improve the quality of life and the environment. Passage of the 1977 Land Use Plan limited urban sprawl and helped insure that the area’s natural, economic and social resources would be balanced against growth. Following a twenty-year lull, growth exploded again after the Millenium. Fueled by dollars relocated from the deflated equities market and foreign investment due to the weak dollar, Broward’s current real estate boom has also been superheated by unrestrained speculation. Some industry consultants envision a “best case scenario” as one in which the current overdevelopment is reasonably absorbed in 2006. Some, however, don’t anticipate this “soft landing”. Broward’s 1.7 million residents anxiously await the conclusion of this chapter! So do I.

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Chip LaMarca's March 2015 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's Early Spring 2015 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's May - June 2015 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's July 2015 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's August 2015 Galt Mile Update

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Chip LaMarca's October 2015 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's November 2015 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's December 2015 Galt Mile Update

Route 72 Bus Back on Galt Mile

Chip LaMarca's January 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's February 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's March 2016 Galt Mile Update

Calling For Help - Emergency 911 Still on Hold

Chip LaMarca's April 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's May 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's June 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's July 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's August 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's September 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's October 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's November 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's December 2016 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's January / February 2017 Galt Mile Update

Evolution of a Homeless Plan

Chip LaMarca's March / April 2017 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's April 2017 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's May 2017 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's June 2017 Galt Mile Update



New Fire Safety Mandate



Beach Renourishment Project



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Broward County Property Appraiser



Politics & Parlor Tricks in Tallahassee



AEDs - Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)



Calypso Deepwater Port and Pipeline



32nd Street Alley



Fort Lauderdale/Galt Mile Crime Statistics




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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 proposing 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 losing 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 Since 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 purchasing, 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, Purchasing 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.

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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 since 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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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 since 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 processing 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, processing 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. Since “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 since 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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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, surpassing 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. Since 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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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 housing 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 (HPRP), 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 HPRP 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 (HPRP) resources, they must submit plans to expeditiously house homeless individuals and families, and assist those at risk for losing their homes. Once the HPRP 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 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, expressing 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 crossing 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 disinterring 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
Since 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, closing 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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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
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. 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).

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 addressing 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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Animal Center; Port; Airport; TechGateway, Vets & Manatees

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
November 30, 2016 - In his November 2016 LaMarca Letter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca announces the grand opening of the newly constructed Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center, welcomes the world’s largest cruise ship - Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas - at Port Everglades, notes how the decision by Air Emirates to service the Greater Fort Lauderdale area will enhance international services at Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport, describes the TechGateway Iniative - a partnership between the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and Broward County Public Schools that will symbiotically benefit local students and the region’s fast-growing Tech Industry, applauds Broward County Parks for providing Veterans with an assortment of free camping services in November, and reminds boaters to avoid collisions with manatees that seasonally return to local waterways - usually in November.

Animal House

Click to New Broward Animal Care and Adoption Division In the past few years, pet advocates worked with the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Division to increase the live release rate while closing in on a long-sought objective – becoming a “No-Kill” County. The County recently completed construction of a state-of-the-art facility tailored to this purpose – a $16.5 million Animal Care and Adoption Center. The facility will help the Division realize its mission parameters – reuniting owners with lost pets, rescuing neglected and/or abused animals, facilitating the placement of stray, surrendered or impounded animals into nurturing homes (adoptions), configuring innovative and humane programs to control pet overpopulation (sterilization programs) and promoting responsible pet ownership (providing Rabies Clinics and pet identification resources).

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center
BROWARD COUNTY ANIMAL CARE AND ADOPTION CENTER
Click to LIVS Associates The 40,000 square foot, fully air conditioned animal haven is LEED certified and deploys cutting edge technology to improve and maintain the health and well-being of lost or abused animals. Architect LIVS Associates and contractor Stiles Construction crafted an environment that incorporates natural light with a modern floor plan to create bright and spacious areas dedicated to customer service and animal care.

Click to Stiles Construction Following an inspection of the facility prior to the October 27 ribbon-cutting ceremony – LaMarca enumerated some of the Division's successes during the past year, remarking “This new building will allow us to build on this success.” Also attending the event, Broward Commissioner Beam Furr added “This building is beautifully designed and will encourage people to adopt an animal. My own pets would be happy here.”

Port Everglades – Ups & Downs

Harmony, Allure and Oasis of the Seas
HARMONY OF THE SEAS, ALLURE OF THE SEAS AND OASIS OF THE SEAS
Newly arrived at Port Everglades, Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, and Holland America’s MS Koningsdam, are their lines’ biggest and most expensive floating billboards. Harmony of the Seas joined Royal Caribbean’s two other Oasis Class vessels at Port Everglades, Allure of the Seas and its sister ship - Oasis of the Seas, temporarily clustering the world’s three largest Cruise ships in our back yard. Port Everglades is the closest port to the Caribbean (a license to print money for the cruise industry) with facilities capable of accommodating these maritime goliaths – but not for long.

Holland America’s MS Koningsdam
HOLLAND AMERICA’S MS KONINGSDAM
This mini-armada’s sizable PR dividend to Port Everglades will soon fade, as Oasis of the Seas is being transferred to Port Canaveral. In two years, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will probably abandon their shared Terminal 18 in Port Everglades and relocate to PortMiami. In July 6, 2016, Miami-Dade County approved construction of a massive $247 million Cruise Terminal funded by Royal Caribbean Cruises to manage the company’s huge Oasis Class vessels in PortMiami. Called the “Crown of Miami”, the new facility is scheduled for completion in 2018. The Miami deal has an estimated economic impact of $500 million and will generate approximately 4,000 jobs. Of these, many of the more substantial permanent jobs will be lost to Port Everglades.

Crown of Miami at PortMiami
CROWN OF MIAMI AT PORTMIAMI
Port Everglades seems to be taking some fiscal body blows - having served as the home port for Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class vessels since Oasis of the Seas arrived in 2009, followed by Allure of the Seas in 2010. Last year, Royal Caribbean sent its Quantum Class ships, the world's second largest cruise vessels, to home ports in New Jersey, Australia and China. Although the company hasn't yet disclosed how much of their business will be stripped from Port Everglades when the new PortMiami Terminal comes on line, port officials have indicated that Royal Caribbean currently accounts for 15% of PortMiami passenger traffic, which will jump to 30% in 2018, increasing the port’s annual head count from 5 to 6 million passengers. Royal Caribbean will also reclassify its home port as PortMiami.

Assembling Harmony of the Seas at STX France
ASSEMBLING HARMONY AT STX FRANCE
Click to STX France An as yet unnamed sister ship to Harmony of the Seas is currently being assembled at the bankrupt STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, birthplace of all four Oasis Class ships, and is scheduled for completion in 2018. As per cruise pundits, while both Oasis class vessels may make the transition to Miami, the company is unlikely to abandon the hugely profitable Broward market, and may replace the departing ships with the vessel currently under construction in France – or not.

Carnival Splendor
CARNIVAL SPLENDOR
As turnabout is fair play, a new agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines and Broward County will relocate the Doral-based company’s cruise operations from PortMiami to Port Everglades. In 2017, Carnival will begin the transition by moving the Carnival Splendor to Port Everglades from PortMiami, where it will join the Carnival Conquest and 3 new vessels that Carnival is planning to launch. Broward’s new deal with the world’s largest cruise company will make Port Everglades Carnival’s home port through 2030, with a 5-year option.

Crystal Serenity
CRYSTAL SERENITY
The accelerating implementation of Port Everglades’ Master Plan improvements continues to attract new business. As LaMarca observes, Crystal Cruises – having earned more “World’s Best” accolades than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history – will also be returning to Port Everglades after an eleven-year hiatus, beginning with the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in 2017.

FLL Expands International Service

Click to Emirates Airlines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport In updating constituents about the addition of Fort Lauderdale to an exclusive list of North American cities serviced by Emirates Airlines (especially those unfamiliar with the airline’s meteoric evolution), LaMarca understates the size, scope and international prominence of Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport’s (FLL) newest air provider.

Click to STX France Emirates Airlines is ranked 4th worldwide for the annual number of international passengers, 6th by revenues, 7th for the number of countries served and 4th for the number of passenger miles flown. It’s the 5th largest airline in Asia - and only Federal Express delivers more freight than Emirates SkyCargo service.

Click to STX France Long deemed the “Academy Awards of the Aviation Industry”, the Skytrax World Airline Awards are highly coveted accolades measuring quality of service – the world airline industry’s global benchmark of airline excellence. This year’s World Airline Awards event was held at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, England, where Skytrax announced the world’s Top 100 Airlines in 2016. By a vote of airline customers around the world, Emirates Airlines took first place.

Manatees and Last Call

Manatee Season
MANATEE SEASON
The Florida manatee is a native species found in many of Florida’s waterways. Reduced to a handful of survivors and bordering on extinction, manatees were finally listed as a federal endangered species in 1966. Although the Florida manatee population has grown to over 6,000 animals (as of 2012), their seasonal migration from warmer springs and energy center discharge canals to local waterways takes a toll on the still small keystone species.

While disease, cold snaps and other environmental factors claim hundreds each year, many of the boater collisions that killed 86 manatees in 2015 were preventable. Since remaining attentive is rarely an option if inebriated, by adopting a “designated driver” policy while on board, Florida boaters can significantly reduce that statistic – while dodging a trip to the tank – or the morgue. For the rest of LaMarca’s November 2016 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

November 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.

Animal Care and Adoption Center Grand Opening

Chip LaMarca, Commissioner Lois Wexler, Animal Care Director Thomas Adair, Broward Mayor Marty Kiar, Commissioner Beam Furr
COMMS CHIP LAMARCA, LOIS WEXLER, ANIMAL CARE DIR
THOMAS ADAIR, MAYOR MARTY KIAR, COMM BEAM FURR
The new Broward County Animal Care Adoption Center opens to the public on Tuesday, November 15th at 11AM. The new facilities provides shelter and care for up to 500 stray, surrendered and/or impounded dogs and cats. Last year more than 6,000 animals were adopted and the unprecedented growth in the sales of licenses has resulted in additional revenue of nearly $1 million that will be used for future sterilization programs. The many new features in the new facility will allow for the Animal Care staff to build upon that success and continue the efforts of reducing pet overpopulation through innovative programs and services.

New Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center
NEW BROWARD COUNTY ANIMAL CARE AND ADOPTION CENTER
The new shelter is located on six acres at 2400 SW 42nd Street in Fort Lauderdale. It features the latest in modern sheltering with an expanded clinic to service and care for shelter pets, centralized cleaning and disinfection system, specialized isolation rooms for advanced disease management and a stand-by generator in the event of unforeseen power outages. Customers and pets will now be able to enjoy a special outdoor interaction area and meet and greet rooms for adoption considerations. Best of all, the entire building, including all kennel areas, is air conditioned. Providing the best space for our four legged friends to feel safe from rain and heat while also having the opportunity to use the outdoor interaction area for playtime. More...

Port Everglades Update

Harmony, Allure and Oasis of the Seas
HARMONY OF THE SEAS, ALLURE OF THE SEAS AND OASIS OF THE SEAS
Broward County’s Port Everglades continues to expand services to residents and travelers from around the world by welcoming two newly built cruise ships this month. Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest Oasis Class ship, Harmony of the Seas will be welcomed this month to Port Everglades, offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings for up to 5,497-passenger guests. This is the largest cruise ship in the world and she will share Terminal 18 with the Allure of the Seas. Holland America Line's new 2,650-passenger MS Koningsdam cruise ship is one of the new additions to Port Everglades cruise lineup. Click to Port Everglades The cruise ship will sail to the Caribbean on itineraries ranging from four to 11 days from Fort Lauderdale starting in November 2016 and running through March 2017. Another new cruise ship will be added to the summer 2017 roster with Carnival Cruise’s Carnival Splendor, and luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises will begin sailing from Port Everglades in October 2017. More...

Fort Lauderdale International Airport Update

Click to Emirates Airlines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Click to Emirates Airlines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) recently announced the launch of Emirates Airlines, with a new daily service between FLL and Dubai International Airport, starting December 15, 2016. Fort Lauderdale will now be the 11th city in the United States to have service provided from Emirates for South Floridians as well as travelers from around the world. Emirates Airlines will operate a GE-powered US-built Boeing 777-200LR aircraft in a three-class configuration on the route, offering eight First Class suites, 42 Business Class lie-flat beds and 216 Economy Class seats for travelers. Most recently, British Airways added a nonstop flight from Fort Lauderdale to London, launching July 6, 2017. The route will be operated by a 777-200 aircraft three days a week (four per week during peak summer). The aircraft features 275 seats across three cabins: 48 in Club World (business), 24 in World Traveler Plus (premium economy); and 203 in World Traveler (economy).

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Website FLL continues to improve to meet the demands of travelers through a series of expansions and renovations. Since opening the new South Runway in September 2014, FLL is focused on expanding its international gates at Terminal 4 from 10 to 14 and adding gates in Concourse A in Terminal 1 for both international and domestic flights. Terminal modernization continues in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. The addition of the South Runway alone has grown passenger traffic an average of 9% since the runway opened, commercial operations have increased an average of 7% per month and August 2016 vs August 2014 had 80 more daily aircraft operations. More...

Broward County Public Schools and Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Partner

Click to Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Click to Broward County Public Schools In order to promote the technology industry, education and careers in South Florida the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance (GFLA) has partnered with the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). This partnership assists in creating a bright future for the technology industry in our community and local students in the tri-county area. The TechGateway initiative showcases technology companies in South Florida and, through the partnership with BCPS, students are becoming aware of the needs in the technology industry.

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Website In addition, BCPS middle and high school students are encouraged to take part in a TechGateway App Challenge. The TechGateway App Challenge allows students to use their computer science skills by designing, storyboarding and creating an app that incorporates the TechGateway map to increase awareness about technology companies doing business in South Florida. The student creations will be showcased on December 6, 2016, at the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Center, as part of National Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, 2016.

Broward County Parks Offer Specials for Veterans

Click to Broward Parks November 11th is Veterans Day, a day we honor and give thanks to our Veterans, both past and present, as well as to their families for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country. Broward County Parks are showing their appreciation this month to our Veterans and their families by offering camping specials for Veterans in several Broward County Parks. The specials apply for all active-duty and honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserve Units. Different types of specials are available in C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park and Target Range, Quiet Waters Park, and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park.

For more information on the specific specials in each park please call the park of your choice.

Manatee Season

Manatee Season
MANATEE SEASON
Manatee season is upon us, beginning November 15th, 2016 and lasting to March 31st, 2017. As the temperature cools, manatees begin to move south towards warm waters. Boaters are encouraged to be on the lookout for greater numbers of manatees moving into Broward County’s waterways. Click to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Manatee Web Page Manatees can be difficult to see as they often swim and rest just below the water's surface. To avoid striking manatees, vessel operators should obey all posted speed limits, wear polarized sunglasses to help them spot the creatures in the water, and watch for the large, tell-tale circular slicks on the surface of the water (manatee "footprints") that indicate the presence of manatees. If you see a sick, injured, or dead manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Wildlife Alert Number at (888) 404-FWCC (3922), *FWC or # FWC on a cell phone or with a text to tip@myfwc.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.

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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Segment II Beach Fix; Airport Updates; Animal Division Kudos

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca April 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca at Segment II Staging Area
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA AT BEACH STAGING AREA
November 10, 2016 - In his October 2016 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca announces a resumption of the Segment II Broward Beach Project couched in a “before and after” comparative pictorial, outlines an award winning water main project at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and congratulates airport director Mark Gale for his appointment to the Board Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, applauds Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Division for upping its live release rate and participating in the Perfect Exposure Project - which equips staff with shutterbug skills to facilitate animal adoptions.

Former Broward Beach Administrator Stephen Higgins
FORMER BROWARD BEACH
ADMINISTRATOR STEPHEN HIGGINS
New Segment II Beach Plan Project Limits
SEGMENT II PLAN PROJECT LIMITS
As LaMarca reports, the final stage of the Segment II Broward Shore Preservation Project will expand the Fort Lauderdale beach between Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and Terramar Street. Although that beach doesn’t qualify as a particularly popular destination site for Galt Mile residents, its renourishment should spin off a fiscal dividend.

The Beach plan’s original architect was former Broward Beach Administrator Stephen Higgins. In characterizing the backbone of his beach maintenance policy, Higgins observed, “The sustainability of any beach segment depends on the structural integrity of the adjacent segments.” Prior to his 2011 retirement, Higgins hammered home that tidal erosion can be diminished to the extent that the County shoreline is inclusively addressed as a single structural entity.

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
While subsequent beach bosses Eric Myers and Nicole Sharp reconfigured the Segment II plan as required to meet evolving regulatory concerns, they remained faithful to Higgin’s strategy. Simply put, since completing the final leg of Segment II will help stabilize the entire Broward coast and extend the useful life of the beach fill, it will also serve to delay the need to bang taxpayers for the next “shared cost” round of sand, a consequence that should resonate favorably on the Galt Mile. For LaMarca’s October 2016 newsletter in its entirety, Read on... – [editor]

 

October 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 a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Beach Renourishment Project Set to Resume

Click to Fort Lauderdale Conference of Minority Transportation Officials On January 4th, 2016, after nearly twenty years in the making, the Segment II Shore Protection Project commenced. The project was 80% complete by the end of April when it was temporarily halted for the peak of sea turtle nesting season. Nearly four miles of beach were built and renourished with approximately 800,000 tons of sand and miles of protective dune habitat were restored. New dunes were also constructed along the new beach, complete with sea grape and sea oat plantings. 1.4 miles in Pompano Beach and northern Lauderdale-By-The-Sea was completed in full from Southeast 4th Street in Pompano Beach to Sunset Lane in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, north of Anglin’s Pier. The southern Lauderdale-By-The-Sea/Fort Lauderdale beach was completed from Datura Avenue, south of Anglin’s Pier to NE 14th Court in Fort Lauderdale, which is the northern limits of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.

Beach Renourishment north of NE 14th Court in Fort Lauderdale
BEACH NORTH OF NE 14TH COURT IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Work stopped in front of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and will resume on November 1, 2016, following the end of sea turtle nesting season. At that time, sand delivery operations will recommence using the NE 18th Street and Sunrise Boulevard access points in Fort Lauderdale. Approximately one mile of beach remains to be completed, from Hugh Taylor Birch State Park at the north to Terramar Street to the south. The remaining portion of the project is scheduled to be completed by mid-January 2017.

With the devastating conditions that we could have experienced from Hurricane Matthew recently, it is essential that we continue the efforts of saving and renourishing our beaches in Broward County. South Florida beaches are an economic engine that attract more than 9.3 million visitors per year, while contributing $548 million to Broward County’s economy and creating 17,700 full time equivalent jobs.

For more information please visit http://www.broward.org/beachrenourishment. You can also learn about the importance of beach renourishment by watching Video: Beach Renourishment Explained.

Fort Lauderdale

Pre-construction conditions Fort Lauderdale near NE 16th Street (March 2016)
Pre-construction conditions Fort Lauderdale near NE 16th Street (March 2016)

Post-construction conditions Fort Lauderdale near NE 16th Street (June 2016)
Post-construction conditions Fort Lauderdale near NE 16th Street (June 2016)

Galt Ocean Mile

Mid-construction conditions along Galt Ocean Mile (February 2016)
Mid-construction conditions along Galt Ocean Mile (February 2016)

Post-construction conditions along Galt Ocean Mile (March 2016)
Post-construction conditions along Galt Ocean Mile (March 2016)

Pelican Grand

Pre-construction conditions near Pelican Grand (March 2016)
Pre-construction conditions near Pelican Grand (March 2016)

Post-construction conditions near Pelican Grand (April 2016)
Post-construction conditions near Pelican Grand (April 2016)

Pompano Beach

Pre-construction conditions Pompano Beach south of SE 12th Street (January 2016)
Pre-construction conditions Pompano Beach south of SE 12th Street (January 2016)

Post-construction conditions Pompano Beach south of SE 12th Street (March 2016)
Post-construction conditions Pompano Beach south of SE 12th Street (March 2016)

Fort Lauderdale International Airport Update

Pavement restoration after water main installation
PAVEMENT RESTORATION AFTER WATER MAIN INSTALLATION
Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) “FLL West Side Water Main Improvements Project” was recently awarded first place for the Project of the Year Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Broward Branch which recognizes projects that demonstrate design and construction excellence. In order to meet the water needs of today and the future development engineers designed, and installed more than 5,000 feet of underground pipes, with minimal disturbance to traffic and airport operation during construction.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Conference of Minority Transportation Officials In other FLL related news, our very own airport director, Mark Gale was recently appointed by the Broward County Aviation Departments as a Member of the Board Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). The COMTO’s mission is to ensure a level playing field and maximum participation in the transportation industry for minority individuals, businesses and communities of color through advocacy, information sharing, training, education, and professional development. Mr. Gale has been a long time active member and was chosen because of his leadership, efforts and accomplishments.

Animal Care and Adoption Initiatives

Click to New Broward Animal Care and Adoption Division Broward County Animal Care and Adoption is dedicated to helping animals in every way possible. Live Release Rate is an important way Animal Care measures success and it is a measure of how many dog and cats are rescued, adopted, returned to their owner or released in a given timeframe. The estimates revealed that several changes implemented this year could produce a live-release rate of 70% or greater for FY2016. In FY2015 the total live-release rate was 59%. As of this summer, the live-release rate is approximately 76%. Some of these initiatives included the Portable Sterilization Unit, new Spay and Neuter Programs and the creation of a Community Cat Management Program. We are very proud of our progress and are working hard to become a “No Kill County.”

Click to Perfect Exposure Project Additionally, Broward County Animal Care recently participated in the Perfect Exposure Project in early October in order to enhance the staff’s photography and marketing skills. The Perfect Exposure Project is designed to develop the creative and marketing skills of shelter staff and volunteers. The goal is to save more lives through effective photographing and promotion of adoptable pets. Along with hands-on training the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption staff also received photographic supplies at no cost to the county.

For more information on these programs and other animal care information please visit http://www.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 subscribe 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.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Tax Cut; Convention Center; E 911 & Animal Adoptions

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
October 21, 2016 - In his September 2016 constituent update, Broward District 4 Commissioner Chip LaMarca reports having realized a political objective central to his ideological zeitgeist – a tax cut. Sweetened by the fact that the 1% millage reduction will take place in Broward County, where LaMarca recently observed how voters “never met a tax they didn’t like.” Exercising his longstanding advocacy on behalf of local and regional economic engines, LaMarca applauds a property purchase that will expedite complementing the County’s Convention Center with a Headquarters Hotel and retail campus, notes how new technology and a consultant’s recommendations may smooth contentious stakeholder concerns about the Countywide E-911 service, describes how grant funding will help facilitate kitten adoptions and announces the opening of the new Animal Care and Adoption Center in October.

New County Spending Plan

Click to Budget Info In describing how the $4.7 billion County budget for FY2017 justifies a tax reduction, LaMarca attributes a spending plan increase of $505 million primarily to costly infrastructure projects. These allocations include $286 million to modernize and improve airport terminals and fund new technology at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, $55 million to improve cargo and cruise passenger operations in Port Everglades and an $82 million appropriation to upgrade deteriorating County water and sewer infrastructure.

Click to Budget Info
Broward County Homeless Assistance Center
BROWARD HOMELESS ASSISTANCE CENTER
As usual, approximately half of all county property tax revenues will be funneled to the Broward Sheriff's Office. The $460.2 million earmarked for the Sheriff in FY2017 exceeds last year’s allocation by $24.2 million. Most other County Agencies and Constitutional Offices (excluding the Property Appraiser’s Office) will realize an increase of 5.5&. The homeless budget will be increased by $1.9 million in 2017. A total of $13 million will fund programs such as rapid rehousing and homeless assistance centers, hopefully thinning its adverse impact on the Galt Mile.

Rebuilding a Regional Economic Engine

Click to Matthews Southwest Holdings For the past decade, the County has been leaking $100 million in annual revenues as longtime customers of the Broward County / Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center relocated their business to competing venues that offered an integrated hotel. The objective of this project is to stop that leak. County Commissioners are convinced that investing in a full service Convention campus will reverse the trend, and turn the aging exposition showcase into a vital economic engine.

Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering
BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL RENDERING
In April, Texas developer Matthews Southwest Holdings presented plans for a 400,000 square foot expansion of the existing 600,000 square foot convention center. Following discussions with hotel operators Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and Omni, Matthews reduced its initial 1,000-room project, conceding that an 800-room AAA 4-diamond rated convention center headquarters hotel was more feasible. Purchasing the Portside Yachting Center was critical to its evolution into a destination site for residents and visitors. With the additional 4 acres, the convention center and hotel could be nested in an area peppered with retail stores, entertainment venues, night clubs, and restaurants - all serviced by intermodal transportation. It also enables the design team to better exploit the open space and maximize access to the adjacent Intracoastal Waterway. The hotel would meet the requirements for LEED Gold certification. Revenues raised by user fees will help lower the County tax bite.

County E-911 Buys a Back-Handed Plaudit

Dispatch Center at Broward Sheriff's Office Communications Center
BSO COMMUNICATIONS DISPATCH CENTER
Office of Regional Communications and Technology
RICK CARPANI WALKS
Since the Broward County Office of Regional Communications and Technology (ORCAT) was empowered to install, oversee and govern the newly 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 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 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 bolt - including Fort Lauderdale.

Click to Fitch & Associates E911 Report The first of two consecutive Fitch and Associates E-911 studies was released on August 29. Specifically contracted by County Administrator Bertha Henry to comparatively assess the system’s performance metrics against national best practices, it was crunched and issued prior to the planned January 2017 implementation of new system technology. Given the longstanding conflict between BSO and the County Commission, a study recommendation to better define stakeholder roles was something less than an epiphany. Another suggestion to measure response performance by collecting public feedback might have proven productive if every high profile staff-gaffe wasn’t first 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.

County Administrator Bertha Henry
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
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. If the same rote strategy is rubber-stamped into the second report, turning to the consultant will have proven a consummate waste of time and county resources. Since the staffing issues targeted by the consultant fall squarely in ORCAT’s management wheelhouse, perhaps the County Board will finally provide ORCAT with a fully credentialed Director, qualified to manage one of the nation’s largest E911 projects. For the rest of LaMarca’s September 2016 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

September 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.

Property Taxes Decrease in FY2017

Broward Mayor Marty Kiar and Commissioner Tim Ryan Discuss Budget
BROWARD MAYOR MARTY KIAR AND COMM. TIM RYAN ON BUDGET
As your County Commissioner I have always advocated strongly for the need to reduce the millage rate for Broward County residents. After six years of advocating this issue, the County Commission has finally agreed that they could support a reduction, while still maintaining the high level of services that Broward County residents have come to expect from their county government. The proposed one-percent reduction sets the FY2017 millage rate at 5.669. Based on this recommended budget and millage rate reduction, the average median-priced homesteaded property taxpayer will see no increase in County property taxes. The median homesteaded value in Broward County this year is $214,100. I believe that this is still too high, but I am grateful to my fellow commissioners that we are starting the process of reducing the cost of government.

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Website The total recommended budget for FY17 is $4.7 billion, which includes all tax supported and non-tax supported funds. Overall the total budget increases by $505 million with substantial funding provided for large projects at Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Water and Wastewater services. It is also important for me that you know that both Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are enterprise operations and they are not funded with property taxes. They are businesses that create their revenues through customer fees to operate at the port and airport. The FY2017 budget won't be final until the public has a chance to comment. Click to Port Everglades Public hearings are set for September 15th and September 27th, beginning at 5:01 p.m. at the Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Avenue-Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale. Final budget approval is expected after the second public hearing. The fiscal year 2017 budget takes effect on October 1, 2016.

Moving Forward with Convention Center Hotel and Expansion

Broward County Convention Center Vision Plan
BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER VISION PLAN
This past month we took a major step forward in the plans to expand our existing Broward County Convention Center and build a new Convention Center Headquarters Hotel. We are advancing with developer Matthews Southwest Holdings, a Dallas-based developer with expertise in hotel and convention center development, with the addition of Balfour Beatty Construction to the development team, a leading U.S. commercial developer with their state headquarters located in Broward County. The Commission also approved a pre-development agreement for the design and build the project. Another major component of this project was the approval of the purchase of development rights for over four acres of land adjacent to the current convention center known as the Portside Yachting Center. This $30.3 million investment provides Broward County additional development entitlements for the overall project and will allow for better access to the Convention Center campus and expand design options to meet the needs of the City and the County.

Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering
BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL RENDERING
The planned expansion and new on-site hotel at Broward County's Convention Center is expected to bring economic benefit not only to the local community, but also throughout the state which will include more annual events, as well as new, permanent full time jobs. It will also create over $96 million in future annual tax revenues (in present value) – over $70 million to the State of Florida and $21 million to Broward County and $2 billion in recurring economic impacts over a 20-year period. Incorporating a convention center hotel and expanding our current convention center will allow Broward County to become a leading destination for conferences and expositions of all sizes.

For more information and updates on the Convention Center expansion and hotel project, please visit www.broward.org/CCExpansion.

Broward County Regional 911 System Update

Click to Broward Emergency 911 Broward County’s Office of Regional Communications and Technology has been working extensively to ensure that the Regional Consolidated Communications System is efficient, effective and performing to meet and exceed the national standard. Recently, Phase one of a two phase consultant’s report highlighted that the Regional 911 system is meeting and exceeding the national standards quantitatively. The report also identified several opportunities for improvement which include; overstaffing issues, defining stakeholder roles, and addressing operations and system improvements. The County has already started to address some of these issues by introducing new policies and procedures, training and investing $113 million in operations and systems improvements. The new multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency web-based CAD will replace a 22-year-old system the County inherited in 2012 and interface to the E-911 System, Radio System, Regional Law and Fire Records Systems, and Paging and Toning Systems - all systems vital to receiving, processing and implementing rapid response to 911 calls for help. Phase 2 report will include the consultant’s recommendations for improvements and we expect that report in the coming months.

Broward Emergency 911 Call Center
BROWARD EMERGENCY 911 CALL CENTER
Another effort to enhance the quality of service experienced by residents using the Regional System is the launching of a new online feedback form, which is now available at www.Broward.org/911. This new feature will provide residents the ability to submit details about their experience including the location of their E-911 call, a brief description of their call experience, and provide contact information such as phone number and/or email, if they wish to be contacted about the call. By implementing these efforts, we are continuously committed to enhancing public safety in our community in order to keep our residents and visitors safe.

For more information and updates on Broward County’s Regional 911 System, visit Broward.org/CommunicationsTechnology.

Animal Care Receives Funding

New Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center
NEW BROWARD COUNTY ANIMAL CARE AND ADOPTION CENTER
Broward County’s Animal Care and Adoption department has received grant funding from the Community Foundation of Broward. The funding will provide more than 100 Foster Kits for the Foster Care Program. On average, more than 1,300 kittens are fostered each year. Kittens stay in the Foster Program until they are at least two months old, or weigh at least two pounds. At that time, they are placed into adoption. The grant of $30,000 will help to provide a special Foster Kit to Foster Care parents which includes; a supply of kitten food, feeding bowls, cat pan and liners, litter and a scoop, and a special carrying bag to hold all of the supplies. I am also very pleased to announce that our brand new 40,000 square foot, state-of the-art Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center will be opening to the public in October. Every kennel in this new facility will be air conditioned and will have the best of creature comforts for our visitors. For more information, please go to www.broward.org/Animal/Shelter2016.

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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

NACo; Port; Airport; Zika Virus; Hurricane Plan; TaxSYS

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca August 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA AUGUST MESSAGE
September 20, 2016 - In his August 2016 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca congratulates eleven County departments named by the National Association of Counties for Achievement Awards (four snagged by the Risk Management Division); notes that Port Everglades rated Green Marine Certification and won German-based Hapag-Lloyd as a new customer; cites Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) for a Green Practices Program that earned the J. Bryan Cooper Environmental Award for its Sustainable Strategic Initiatives in Terminal 4 and newly opened Concourse G; warns constituents to prepare for Hurricane Season and introduces a new mobile access to online tax data. LaMarca also details State and County efforts to choke off the slippery Zika Virus. After racing across South America and the Pacific, this mystery pandemic surged into South Florida, where health authorities worldwide know little more than we do about stamping it out.

Rockefeller and the Monkey Bugs

John D. Rockefeller, Senior and Junior
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, SENIOR AND JUNIOR
On May 14, 1913, Master of the Universe John D. Rockefeller, his son John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Rockefeller’s principal advisor for oil and gas matters and philanthropic endeavors - Frederick Taylor Gates, chartered the Rockefeller Foundation in New York State. A fiscal midwife for scores of medical keystones, the $3.4 billion lunch bucket funded the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the Foundation established the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Harvard School of Public Health, annually ranked numbers 1 and 2 nationally for such institutions. In Canada, it opened the School of Hygiene at the University of Toronto.

Virologist Dr. Max Theiler
VIROLOGIST DR. MAX THEILER
Click to Rockefeller Foundation With more government funding cascading through this multi-headed medical research juggernaut than any other family of institutions, it’s no surprise that their medical benchmarks include the 1937 development of attenuated live vaccine “Stem 17D” by South African virologist Dr. Max Theiler, which prevents Yellow Fever. A graduate of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Theiler directed the virus laboratory at the Rockefeller Institute. A year before Theiler developed his Nobel Prize-winning vaccine; the Rockefeller Foundation funded the Yellow Fever Research Institute in Entebbe, Uganda. Later renamed the East African Virus Research Institute, it was nationalized in 1977 after winning regional acclaim and reorganized as the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Click to Uganda Virus Research Institute
Rhesus Macaque
RHESUS MACAQUE
In 1947, the Institute’s scientists caged a rhesus macaque at a field station in a nearby forest. The monkey developed a fever, and researchers finally isolated a transmissible agent from its serum in 1948. The new virus was named Zika after the site of the field station near Entebbe, the Zika Forest. Other noteworthy arboviruses discovered at the institute include Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, Bwamba virus, Semliki Forest virus, O'nyong'nyong virus, and Kadam virus.

Measuring the Damage

Like dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses, Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, and is primarily spread by the mostly diurnal female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Researchers later found the virus in other arboreal mosquito species of the Aedes genus, such as A. africanus, A. apicoargenteus, A. furcifer, A. hensilli, A. luteocephalus, A. vittatus – each with an incubation period of about 10 days.

Click to Guillain–Barré syndrome Causing mild symptoms or none at all, in most cases, the infection known as Zika fever or Zika virus disease is similar to a very mild form of dengue fever. Symptoms generally last for less than seven days, and may include fever, conjunctivitis (red eyes), malaise, joint pain, headache, and a maculopapular (bumpy red) rash. While the illness cannot be prevented by medications or vaccines and there is no specific treatment, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and rest may relieve the symptoms. In rare cases, Zika infections in adults have been linked to Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Click to Zika and Pregnant Zika can spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, potentially resulting in microcephaly (an underdeveloped brain and skull), severe brain malformations, and other birth defects. In January 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel guidance for enhanced precautions in affected countries, and a recommendation that pregnant women consider postponing travel. When detected locally, health officials in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Jamaica advised women to postpone pregnancy until more is known about the risks. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact or blood transfusion.

Click to Zika and microcephaly Prevention is currently limited to decreasing mosquito bites in areas where the disease occurs (and proper use of condoms). Efforts to prevent bites include the use of insect repellent, pesticides, larvicides, mosquito nets, covering much of the body with clothing and eliminating the carrier mosquitoes’ breeding habitat (getting rid of standing water where they reproduce).

Through the 1950s, Zika had been restricted to a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia. Like Yellow Fever, the vertebrate hosts of the virus were primarily monkeys in a so-called enzootic mosquito-monkey-mosquito cycle, with only occasional transmission to humans. From the first reported human spillover in 1952 until 2007, there were only 14 confirmed human cases of Zika infection from Africa and Southeast Asia. From 2007 to 2016, the virus spread eastward, across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas, leading to the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic.

Racing across the Planet

Click to Pan American Health Organization Zika warning list In April 2015, the outbreak began in Brazil, where an estimated 1.5 million people were infected by Zika, triggering a case cluster of Guillain–Barré syndrome and over 3,500 cases of microcephaly reported between October 2015 and January 2016. It spread to other countries in South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, prompting the Pan American Health Organization to publish a list of countries and territories that experienced “local Zika virus transmission.” The list included Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Click to Zika Worldwide By August 2016, more than 50 countries had experienced active local transmission of Zika virus, including the United States. According to the CDC, more than 3,000 people were diagnosed with Zika across the U.S.; 731 were pregnant women. Of the 17,000 cases reported in the territories – mostly in Puerto Rico – more than 1,000 were pregnant women.

Local transmission in Florida was initially confined to two small areas in Miami-Dade County. With no evidence of active transmission for 45 days, on Monday, September 19, 2016, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) – the lead agency for repelling the pandemic – lifted an alert from the one-square mile Wynwood arts District just north of downtown Miami. Following the discovery of 4 new cases on Friday, September 16, the second active transmission zone was expanded from 1.5 square miles to 4.5 square miles in Miami Beach between 8th and 63rd Streets. Aerial insecticide spraying to combat mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus started in Miami Beach on Friday, September 9. By September 17, 93 locally transmitted cases were reported in Florida (35 in Miami Beach) along with 670 travel-related cases.

Click to Rockefeller Foundation By mid-September, the department was conducting 17 active investigations, including 13 in Miami-Dade, one in Pinellas and three in Palm Beach counties. The department continues door-to-door outreach and targeted testing in Pinellas, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties while conducting mosquito abatement and reduction activities in neighborhoods under investigation. As of September 17, the 109 reported cases in Broward are supposedly travel-related – and there are conflicting reports about the number of infections that were locally transmitted.

Neutering Broward Mosquitoes

Click to Pan American Health Organization Zika warning list Two of the carrier mosquito species (AKA vectors) thrive in Broward County, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (the Tiger Mosquito). Neither species breed in the lakes, canals, roadside ditches or retention ponds that cover the county; opting instead for artificial containers that hold standing water - such as uncovered buckets, flower pots, fountains, ornamental ponds, children’s toys, planters, gardening equipment, pet bowls and discarded tires.

VectoBac WDG
VECTOBAC WDG
Broward County periodically performs preventive aerial spraying during daylight hours, targeting mosquito larvae with a commercial product called VectoBac WDG. Unlike the pesticide Naled used for aerial spraying in Miami Beach, where it was rumored by neighborhood protesters to cause birth defects, VectoBac WDG 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. The product is 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.

Broward Emergency Management announces Zika Spraying
BROWARD EMERG MANAGEMENT ANNOUNCES ZIKA SPRAYING
In addition to disseminating FDOH Zika Updates, the City of Fort Lauderdale has dispatched a Code Enforcement Special Response Team and crews from Parks and Public Works to eliminate mosquito breeding habitat citywide. As directed by FDOH, Broward County and Fort Lauderdale are requesting help with control and prevention from homeowners and merchants. Associations can cooperate by emptying water from outdoor trash containers, garden and pool equipment, buckets, ash trays, and equipment or vehicle tarps that catch water. Discard container tops, cans and bottlecaps. Sedentary decorative fountains should be drained. Active fountains and swimming pools that are properly maintained pose no threat. Assigning a maintenance staffer to these tasks for 10 minutes each morning will help protect our families for pennies a day. For LaMarca’s August 2016 message to constituents, Read on... – [editor]

 

August 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 a 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.

Broward County Receives Innovation Awards

Click to NACo Achievement Awards Presentation The National Association of Counties (NACo) has awarded Broward County eleven Achievement Awards recognizing several effective and innovative county government programs. The Broward County Human Resources Division received two awards, one award for an employee assistance program and another for an educational roadshow for County employees. The Office of Economic and Small Business Development was recognized for developing the Technical Assistance Training program which provides certification and training for local small businesses to boost their ability to bid on Broward County projects. The Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division was awarded for developing hydrologic models that help bridge the communication gap between scientific research and policy makers to provide a more proactive response to future climate scenarios and sea level rise. This department was also recognized for the County’s commitment to enhancing community resilience and protecting the environment. The Libraries Division was awarded for creating a year-long program of events and education outreach in support of a mayoral initiative "Broward Means Business," which promoted County, state and federal programs that help mentor and finance Broward County businesses.

Broward Risk Management Division - 4 Awards
RISK MANAGEMENT DIVISION
The overall winning Division was Risk Management with four awards. The first was for Safety and Occupational Health for providing an Exceptional Automated External Defibrillators (AED) Program Enhancement. Next was an award in the Liability Claims Section for providing innovation in a liability video that demonstrates a more timely and efficient way to handle claims. The Risk Management Division was also recognized for an innovative Property Insurance Premium Savings Program and a Workers’ Compensation Medical Cost Reduction Program.

The services provided by Broward County divisions and departments are a great example of residents’ tax dollars at work providing the best quality of life for residents in our community.

Port Everglades Update

Click to Green Marine Broward County’s Port Everglades has recently earned its first Green Marine certification. Green Marine is the largest voluntary environmental program for the maritime industry in North America. The Port earned this certification by benchmarking specific environmental performance indicators including air emissions, water standards, community impacts and environmental leadership.

Click to Green Marine Port Everglades recently welcomed a German-based shipping line as part of its Mediterranean Gulf Express (MGX). Hapag-Lloyd has announced the addition of Port Everglades to its MGX rotation from Valencia, Spain. It is expected to add approximately 300 to 400 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, the industry's standard container measurement) weekly at Port Everglades providing additional shipping options for customers. More information about Broward County's Port Everglades is available at porteverglades.net

Fort Lauderdale International Airport Update

Click to Florida Airport Council J. Bryan Cooper Environmental Award Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) received the J. Bryan Cooper Environmental Award for its Sustainable Strategic Initiatives. Broward County’s Aviation Department (BCAD) successfully implemented Sustainable Strategic Initiatives at FLL to help conserve and protect our natural resources. A Green Practices Program and a Water Resources Protection Program were implemented in the maintenance facility. The expansion and modernization project of Terminal 4 also included numerous green design and construction elements. The features reduce water use by 40 percent and provide 90 percent natural light, which reduce electric energy usage. Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport The building also used reflective roofing materials to reduce heat and workers recycled more than 50 percent of the construction debris. Recognition was also given to the Aviation Department for its use of electric cars and the new “Park Assist” system in the parking garages that helps reducing idle time, fuel consumption and air emissions.

New Concourse in Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
NEW CONCOURSE IN TERMINAL 4 AT FLL
FLL has also opened Concourse G in Terminal 4 with new concession areas and five new gates. The next phase of the expansion and modernization project will include an Interactive Walkway and nine new gates. This project is expected to be completed by mid-2018 which will include 12 international gates and two domestic gates. Additionally, construction at Concourse A is currently underway in Terminal 1. This addition will include a Customs Inspection Facility with five gates handling both international and domestic flights, to be completed May 2017.

Zika Virus

Zika Virus Mailman
ZIKA DELIVERY
Zika virus cases have recently been confirmed in South Florida. According to the Florida Department of Health, some of these cases have been transmitted locally. The Broward County Mosquito Control Division is working closely with the Florida Department of Health and Code Enforcement partners in Broward's 31 municipalities. The Mosquito Control Division is also actively involved in the effort to reduce breeding sites. These efforts include: conducting door-to-door back pack spraying, draining standing water where possible, treating standing water with long-lasting larvicide, eliminating mosquito habitats, setting up mosquito traps and sampling adult mosquitos to gauge effectiveness of the above-mentioned treatments.

Click to Broward Online Zika Info Residents are also encouraged to help reduce the mosquito nuisance by remembering to drain and cover. You can also contact the Mosquito Control Division and request spraying in your neighborhood by calling 954-765-4062 or completing the online Mosquito Spray Request Form. For more information on protecting yourself from mosquito-borne diseases, visit Broward.Org/Streets/Mosquito.

Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?

Click to Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide While summer is almost behind us, South Florida residents should still be on alert since we are in the height of hurricane season. For the months of August and September, it is important to continue to use the Broward County Hurricane website in order to be informed during hurricane season. Resident are also encouraged to be prepared for any emergencies that might occur. Being prepared means having a plan and knowing what to do before, during and after a tropical storm or a hurricane. Testing your hurricane preparedness knowledge can also help you become more prepared for hurricane season. Test your hurricane preparation knowledge by clicking on the link and check to see if you can identify proper evacuation procedures, shelters, supplies, and notifications that can keep your family safe during this hurricane season.

For more information please visit Broward.org/Hurricane

Mobile-Friendly Property Taxes Website

Click to Browrd County Taxes Click to Broward Mobile The Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division recently launched a mobile-friendly version of Broward.County-Taxes.com. The website now offers citizens a more efficient and easily accessible way to print receipts and bills, pay bills, and do searches by name, address, or account number. All the functions that can be accessed through the original website format can now be accessed by tablet or mobile devices. The County continues to make strides in offering more easily accessible options for all Broward County citizens. For more information, visit the County's Records, Taxes and Treasury website or call 954-831-4000.

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.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach ROI; Seaport ROI; Port Everglades; Broward Library

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca July 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA JULY MESSAGE
August 15, 2016 - In his July 2016 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca explains his recognition by the Florida Association of Counties for successfully lobbying Tallahassee lawmakers to boost allocations to beach renourishment projects and Seaport improvements, examines a new funding source for homeowners and businesses planning energy-saving property enhancements, reviews how a litany of new partnerships, improvements, and business agreements have strengthened Port Everglades’ operational and economic underpinnings, and applauds a new Broward Library Division service model that increased certain branch hours of operation without exploding the budget.

Tactics and Timing in Tallahassee

The Florida Association of Counties The Florida Association of Counties (FAC) bestows its annual Presidential Advocacy Awards on county commissioners from across the state who advance its legislative agenda. As mentioned in the newsletter, LaMarca was recognized for having successfully “secured increased state funding for beach renourishment and key Port Everglades projects.”

Click to EDR Beach Report For years, LaMarca and other local officials in coastal communities lobbied Tallahassee lawmakers for additional beach renourishment funds. Annually, they would futilely explain to lawmakers how a healthy beach promotes tourism while providing the only real protection against storm surge devastation, which threatens lives, property, and the local coastal economy in oceanfront communities. In 2016, LaMarca and eleven other visiting coastal county commissioners revised their tactics, replacing the empathetic appeal with a fiscal risk – reward analysis of beach renourishment projects. Using the lawmakers’ own research, they documented the projects’ return on investment (ROI).

Click to EDR Beach Report Drawing on a January 2015 study by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (research arm of the Florida Legislature), when LaMarca provided Florida’s legislative leadership and key members of budgeting committees with statistical evidence of how every dollar plowed into beach renourishment projects returns $5.40 to the State economy, the lawmakers responded with a 50% increase in breach renourishment funding, raising the allocation from $25 million to $37 million.

2006 Seaport Study 2006 Seaport Study - Return on Investment Using a similar tactic to thicken funding for seaport improvements, LaMarca and other members of the Port Everglades Advocacy Team turned to a 2006 study by the Florida Department of Transportation and Cambridge Systematics. Teaming with District 93 Statehouse Representative George Moraitis, the group provided key lawmakers and State transportation officials with documentation demonstrating that every $1 invested in Florida Seaports pumps $6.90 into Florida’s economy. This advocacy “primer” prompted lawmakers to approve a 40% boost in resources – from $15 million to $25 million – allocated to the Florida Seaport Transportation Economic Development program (FSTED), the funding spigot for improvements to Florida Seaports.

Port Everglades Advocacy Team meets with George Moraitis
PT EVERGLADES ADVOCACY TEAM & GEORGE MORAITIS
Another factor facilitated LaMarca’s 2016 four-baggers in Tallahassee (and his subsequent FAC accolade). While successfully framing each issue with a cost benefit analysis before exploiting the enlightened self-interest of vetting lawmakers, LaMarca’s agenda was also expedited by the budgetary lovefest that punctuated the 2016 legislative session. Since every seat in both chambers is up for grabs in the upcoming election, lawmakers carefully weighed how the home folks would feel about coughing up tax revenues that might otherwise have been contributed by healthy beaches and seaports. Whether primarily promulgated by tactics or timing, at the end of the day, LaMarca brought home the bacon.

The Price of PACE

Click to PACENation After flourishing in California and other states, the PACE program addressed in LaMarca’s newsletter was finally authorized when Florida lawmakers approved House Bill 7179 in 2010, enacting Chapter 163.08, Florida Statutes. The loans generally extend to 20 years and feature a 7 percent interest rate. A funding cap equal to 20% of a property’s just market value can be increased with lender approval or if an energy audit verifies that energy savings exceed the cost. In some cases, loans financing certain energy-saving improvements pay for themselves, as savings on electric bills meet or exceed the loan payments.

Solar Panel Array
SOLAR PANEL ARRAY
The funds are repaid via a voluntary non-ad valorem assessment attached to the borrower’s property tax bill. A property owner’s credit rating doesn’t impact eligibility as long as the borrower has no bankruptcies within 7 years and is 3 years current with property taxes and mortgage payments. If the property is sold, the assessment can be repaid as a condition of sale or transferred to the new owner, who continues to receive the benefit and cost savings of the improvements.

Impact and Regular Glass Windows Depending on an association’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R's) as well as the physical design of a particular unit, Galt Mile homeowners may be eligible for PACE funding, although they may need to obtain written association authorization affirming that the property owner is allowed to install the proposed eligible products. While these are generally energy efficiency and water conservation products and renewable energy systems, they include impact windows and doors commonly installed by Galt Mile homeowners, water heaters, and high efficiency HVAC systems. The construction is generally turnkey, as it requires no money down, is performed under permit, and the vendor gets paid only after the completed work is approved by the property owner.

Impact and Regular Glass Windows While PACE financing was flowing to approved borrowers across Florida (including Miami-Dade County since mid-2013), it was denied to homeowners and businesses in Broward and Palm Beach Counties until last October. Legal challenges by the Florida Bankers Association delayed the program’s expansion into Broward, as County officials hesitated to approve a program clouded by legal uncertainty. Lenders objected to the higher lien priority ascribed to PACE loans versus their standard mortgages. PACE loan repayments are included in the borrower's property taxes. Since the taxman sits at the head of every table, the PACE debt takes precedence on the lien line.

Renew Financial Companies that provide PACE financing apply for validations on their bonds that back the loans. Instead of using the court as a forum to directly challenge the lien priority or the enabling legislation, lawyers representing the Bankers Association contested these bond validations, arguing that PACE loans should not be allowed to leapfrog mortgages when collateralized assets are plundered following a default. Ultimately, the conflict made its way to the Florida Supreme Court, which docketed the case last October.

Ygrene Energy Fund Click to PACE Broward On Thursday, October 15, 2015, Banker Association attorneys were “zugzwanged” by the State’s high court. Before they could once again recycle their lower court arguments, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the Florida Bankers Association lacked the standing to argue this issue. Once relieved of prospective legal entanglements, Broward officials finally approved the program. 11 Broward municipalities initiated programs until the Broward Commission launched a county-wide approval on June 14, 2016, along with a 120-day window within which municipalities could opt out. The County cut deals with two PACE funding providers, Renew Financial, administering the “RenewPACE Program”, and Ygrene, managing the “Clean Energy Program”. Their terms vary, so solicit proposals from both.

Federal Housing Finance Agency The PACE program is burdened by similar concerns on the Federal level. On December 22, 2015, the Federal Housing Finance Agency proclaimed that its lending units wouldn’t refinance mortgages on homes with PACE financing, asserting that the PACE loans would first have to be repaid. The Obama administration has been working with federal agencies to address the repayment questions and to encourage PACE lending nationwide. Despite these impediments, the program continues to gain momentum.

While the PACE program’s unusual advantages have triggered a race by homeowners and businesses to participate, borrowers are admonished to carefully explore the benefits and liabilities of incurring a debt to the taxman. For LaMarca’s entire July 2016 constituent message, Read on... – [editor]

 

July 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 a 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.

2016 Presidential Advocacy Award from the Florida Association of Counties

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca recieves FAC 2016 Presidential Advocacy Award
CHIP LAMARCA GETS FAC AWARD
As your Broward County Commissioner, a priority of mine has always been to advocate for the needs of our community. In my efforts for Broward County, the most effective way to move our legislative priorities forward has been to head to Tallahassee to fight for our community at our State Capitol. This year it was an honor to be the recipient of the Presidential Advocacy Award from the Florida Association of Counties for my efforts in advocating for two very important state funding sources.

This year, we have been able to secure increased state funding for beach renourishment and key Port Everglades projects. The result was an increase from $25 million to $37 million for beach renourishment projects and an increase from $15 million to $25 million for the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) program. While these efforts have been productive, there is still so much more we need to do. I will continue to advocate for the needs of Broward County and its residents.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Programs in Broward County

Click to PACE Broward The Board of Broward County Commissioners recently approved a county-wide property assessed clean energy (PACE) program that will allow property owners to receive up-front financing and repayment of debt for a variety of energy related home improvements. Homeowners and businesses now have an opportunity to obtain financing for solar panels and other energy saving updates, as well as important hurricane resistant upgrades like impact windows and doors. This financing method will allow people to make these types of improvements that otherwise would be very expensive, without impacting their credit scores.

This program includes several provisions that enhance consumer protections. These provisions include PACE-funded improvements, which must be properly permitted and installed by licensed contractors, and they must meet applicable federal, state, and local energy, wind, and building code standards.

For more information on the PACE program please visit Broward.org/NaturalResources or call 954-519-1265.

Port Everglades Update

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
There are many exciting new things happening at Broward County’s Port Everglades: partnership agreements are being made to continue the port’s environmental stewardship, pilot programs are being created, luxury ships are returning, new cargo ships are being welcomed, and agreements for existing cargo ships are being renewed. Port Everglades is in the heart of one of the world's largest consumer regions, including a constant flow of approximately 110 million visitors statewide and 6 million residents within an 80-mile radius. With all of this exciting news, it is great to see that Port Everglades will continue to handle future growth in all areas.

Port Everglades - EPA Agreement Port Everglades has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study air emissions. The Port already meets environmental standards for air quality and this agreement will take the port’s commitment to environmental stewardship to another level. As part of the partnership agreement, the port is providing a baseline emissions inventory for EPA's analysis. A consulting group will collect the data needed to generate a 2015 emission inventory for the port. The partnership will allow the EPA to develop future methods, provide lessons learned, and provide practical examples to be shared with other ports, related agencies and stakeholders to support and encourage sustainable development. The port is truly an example of good stewardship.

Automated Passport Control Kiosk at Port Everglades
AUTOMATED PASSPORT CONTROL KIOSK
AT PORT EVERGLADES
In cruise related news, Port Everglades will be the first U.S. cruise port to test and launch Automated Passport Control Kiosks and Mobile Passport Control Kiosks that are designed to help facilitate and expedite secure entry into the United States after a cruise vacation. Broward County's Port Everglades and its cruise line partners, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, are working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to launch these two pilot programs this summer. The Port is also welcoming the return of Crystal Cruises, the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line. Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will sail a total of eight sailings to and from Port Everglades beginning October 27, 2017.

Crowley operates the largest cargo terminal at Port Everglades
CROWLEY OPERATES PORT'S LARGEST CARGO TERMINAL
In cargo related news, Port Everglades welcomed Nordana’s newly built cargo ship M/V Frijsenborg, a 179.46 meter long cargo ship with gross tonnage of 21,970 that is equipped with modern air emission control scrubbers that can handle heavy lift, yachts, rolling stock and containerized cargoes. The Port also renewed a long-term agreement with Crowley Liner Services. The new 10-year, $157.8 million lease and operating agreement with the Broward County Board of County Commissioners is for a 99-acre marine terminal. This agreement also includes two five-year extension options. Under the terms of the new lease, Crowley's estimated annual regional economic impact, based on the projected level of activity by lease year six, will support 1,208 direct jobs, produce $209.5 million in personal income, yield $306 million in business services revenues, generate $103 million in local purchases and deliver approximately $19.5 million in state and local taxes over the term of the agreement. For more information on Port Everglades, please visit PortEverglades.net.

Library Hours Expanded

Click to New Library Hours Several Broward County Libraries will have expanded service hours starting this summer. In District 4, the Deerfield Beach Percy White and Imperial Point Branches will now be open to the public 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday. The Library Division’s new service model features increased hours of library operation within the system’s existing budget. It is directly related to a key initiative of the Library Division’s Long Range Plan to create service delivery models that reflect current trends.

These expanded hours give residents more access to the library system’s many resources and services such as free public-computers, events, literacy and computer classes, children's programs and more. Other libraries in Broward County with expanded hours are the Fort Lauderdale Branch Library that is now open five days a week instead of two. The Century Plaza/Leon Slatin, Lauderhill Towne Centre, Pompano Beach, Riverland and Sunrise Dan Pearl branch libraries will all now be open six days. In the coming months, Broward County Libraries will offer expanded library hours at more locations under the new service model. These new hours are reflected on the Library’s website at Broward.org/Library.

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.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Prop Tax; Wave Streetcar; Cargo Mass; Reclaimed H2O & Civics

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca June 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER LAMARCA
July 21, 2016 - The June 2016 message from Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca opens with a Property Tax primer, tracking an Ad Valorem dollar through the FY 2016 - 17 budget process. An ardent fan of Broward transportation infrastructure, our District 4 Commissioner recounts events at an FDOT-hosted Wave Streetcar Industry Forum and commends Port Everglades for helping client shippers comply with safety-based container weight verification requirements. After explaining how a joint Broward / Palm Beach water reclamation project will benefit both counties, LaMarca invites participation in the Broward Academy’s ten-week educational series exploring the panoply of County Government services.

The Wave: Developmental Crapshoot

Click to Wave Streetcar Website As reviewed by LaMarca, the Wave Streetcar Industry Forum took place on Friday, May 20, 2016 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Riverview Ballroom). The meeting was convened by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to inform candidate Design-Build teams about the elements and considerations that comprise a participating vendor’s contractual obligations. On May 25, a Wave Streetcar Public Information Workshop was also held at the Broward Center, enabling interested residents, business owners and vendors to solicit additional information, ask questions, and offer comments. Both meeting were earmarked by prayerful pot shots at an elephant in the room – as officials dropped hints about why a slow, expensive and intermittently reliable transportation experiment was justified by mythic economic development dividends.

Click to Wave Streetcar Map The project’s inaugural phase is a 2.8 mile segment spanning the New River that will link the hospital and courthouse districts on the south side with the downtown business core on the north side (i.e. it will ping-pong between from Southeast 17th Street and Sistrunk Boulevard). A circulator/distributor service with connections to regional bus and rail systems, its five (5) streetcars will make stops at 13 stations along the route.

Click to Downtown Development Authority Click to Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization The federal government currently subsidizes roughly half the project costs, and the balance is shared by the state, Broward County, the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA); the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMPO) and nearby property owners. State funding is appropriated annually by the Legislature.

Click to Wave Streetcar Assessment Resolution On July 9, 2013, the City Commission approved a special taxing zone in adjacent neighborhoods, where residents and businesses signaled strong support for the project. Soon afterwards, property owners within a half mile of the streetcar service paid the first of 25 annual $99 assessments. By 2038, more than 8200 taxpayers will have each paid roughly $2500, pumping $20,590,000 into the project.

Click to Wave Flagler Village Loop The project has been dogged by discouraging delays and a fiscal quagmire. The escalating cost of construction materials and a series of project tweaks have added $53 million to the original $142 million price tag, exploding the bottom line to $195.3 million. On October 21, 2014, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted to pay for a newly added $7.5 million loop at the northern end of the system in Flagler Village. Running along N.E. 6th Street, the loop was conceived to expedite the redevelopment of both Flagler Village and Sistrunk Boulevard to the west.

planned Vehicle Maintenance and Storage Facility
VEHICLE MAINTENANCE AND STORAGE FACILITY
Broward County kicked in an additional $5.8 million to fund an improved supervisory control system for the streetcars, which the county will operate and maintain. A residual deficit of 22.6 million will be funded according to a formula for cost overruns: 50% of unanticipated expenses will be paid by FDOT, 25% by the County and 25% by the City.

Click to South Florida Regional Transportation Authority When the Feds chipped in $71.21 million to cover half the original project cost in 2012, the operational kickoff date was projected for 2016. It has since been postponed to 2020, as construction is now expected to begin in late 2017. In part, the project was delayed when the planned Vehicle Maintenance and Storage Facility was relocated from Broward Boulevard to SW 18th Street and SW 1st Avenue at the southern end of the route. The structure will be perched on a two-foot base to mitigate flooding and hardened against Category 5 hurricanes.

Click to Federal Transit Administration Other delays are attributable to a change in management. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) - which operates the Tri-Rail - recently ceded control of the project to the Florida Department of Transportation, a transition that requires approval by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the execution of new Interlocal agreements. FDOT District 4 Secretary Gerry O’Reilly informed stakeholders that the revised timetable is reliable. When queried about the new cost estimates, O’Reilly assured the County Commission, “We’re really confident in this number.”

FDOT District 4 Secretary Gerry O’Reilly
FDOT DISTRICT 4 SECRETARY GERRY O’REILLY
A secondary Wave project would add 5 miles to the initial route, extending the system east to Port Everglades and the Broward County Convention Center, and south along Andrews Avenue and Federal Highway to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Noting that FDOT wouldn’t have been interested in managing the development of a simple downtown loop, O’Reilly observed, “This region needs a transportation system it can grow on,” and characterized the Wave as “the fundamental backbone for a transportation system for this county and this region.”

Click to Florida Department of Transportation While FDOT and the County envision streetcars as mainstays of a regional transportation system, other stakeholder aspirations are less ambitious. The Broward Board has expressed an intention to provide the western suburbs with Wave service, a plan endorsed by FDOT. In contrast, if the system simply helps expedite development in Flagler Village and the Sistrunk Corridor while pleasing some visiting tourists, City officials & the DDA will be delighted.

Galt Ocean Mile in 1993
GALT OCEAN MILE IN 1993
In 1996, after voting to create a dedicated taxing district, thousands of Galt Mile homeowners assessed themselves $690 or $390 apiece (depending on proximity to the project) to pay for neighborhood improvements. If you ask any of those residents to prioritize the specific enhancements they voluntarily funded, everyone’s top three answers will include “We buried the utility lines.”

Overhead Electric Lines Since streetcars are typically powered by overhead electrical lines, locals will have to suppress this instinct. The vehicles will also be equipped with batteries, which will power the streetcars for short distances without the overhead wire, such as over the Third Avenue New River Bridge.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler
FORT LAUDERDALE MAYOR JACK SEILER
Not surprisingly, the installation of overhead wires has become a growing source of consternation. In addition to tarring communities along the route with an infrastructure earmark suggestive of a factory town, many of the existing trees that interfere with the wire are targeted for removal. Among those angered by the impending revival of overhead lines is outgoing Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, who remarked “I keep picturing Las Olas with overhead wires and trees coming down to accommodate streetcars. I’m frustrated by this, too. It drives me nuts.”

Wave Streetcar rendering
WAVE STREETCAR RENDERING
When FDOT vehemently supported a regional streetcar plan, it triggered a sub-rosa conflict among transportation industry Gurus and government spending watchdogs. If measured by the factors ordinarily used to judge transportation infrastructure, streetcars are a dud. These rolling carbuncles are slow, expensive to build and operate, and difficult to schedule. However, if implemented properly, they appear to provide a backdoor cure for certain varieties of urban blight. With a few glaring exceptions, cities all over the country that have recently added streetcars to their transportation arsenals have reported economic development dividends in the $billions. In short, streetcars are a trade-off.

Portland Streetcar
PORTLAND STREETCAR
Unlike the dozens of Heritage streetcar systems that serve as mobile tourist attractions, cities like Seattle, Portland, Tucson and Atlanta integrated modern streetcar systems into their primary transportation infrastructure. Although their marginal impact on congestion - and the carbon footprint – was disappointing, these systems earned recognition as developmental assets.

Atlanta Streetcar
ATLANTA STREETCAR
In Atlanta, when a nearly identical 2.7 mile downtown loop with 12 stations opened a few years ago, ridership was marginally viable until they began charging a dollar fare, after which it plummeted to less than 1000 passengers per day, reducing projected 2016 fare income to less than 6% of operating costs (break-even). Despite triggering Federal scrutiny and repeated warnings about inept management and a pathetic safety record, the streetcars won modest praise from builders and local vendors.

Seattle Streetcar
SEATTLE STREETCAR
Claims by city officials that the streetcar generated $1.5 billion in real estate investment were debunked in an Atlanta Journal Constitution exposé, which disclosed the actual amount as far less, although still sufficiently substantial to merit a subsidy. For example, Atlantic Seafood Market proprietor Kim Seak reported realizing a 10% increase in business following the start of service and co-owner Octavian Stan of Condesa Coffee said his company moved to the Atlanta World Building to be close to the line. CEO Jay Clark of Southeast Capital Companies credited the streetcar for his decision to build a $50 million residential housing complex near Edgewood Avenue.

Tucson Streetcar
TUCSON STREETCAR
Tucson’s 4-mile route connects 40,000 students in the University of Arizona to the downtown core. Running every 10 minutes during peak hours, last year it had about 4,000 daily passengers – mostly students. City officials attribute a downtown economic development boom to the streetcar. Their $100 million streetcar investment in 2014 returned more than $1 billion – almost overnight. Nearby Scottsdale is exploring a similar project. Within two blocks of what is arguably the most successful streetcar system in the United States, Portland officials estimate incremental development at $3.5 billion. Since Seattle opened its South Lake Union Streetcar, $2.56 billion was invested into the neighborhood.

Washington D.C. Streetcar
WASHINGTON D.C. STREETCAR
Conversely, the outlook for new projects in Dallas, Washington D.C. and Salt Lake City is bleak (having spent more than $20 million to install less than a mile of track in the Anacostia neighborhood, Washington DC officials stopped cold – and moved the project to Union Station). Of course, other local factors influence the extent to which these systems catalyze community reinvestment, including the availability of commercial or government subsidies, pre-existing utility infrastructure, a supportive regulatory environment for public/private partnerships, government tax incentives and more importantly, the primary source of ridership – whether the system will transport tourists to Rodent World or actually help residents shop, play and/or go to work.

Whether the Wave takes a page from the whiz kids in Tucson or the whack jobs in Washington DC is a crap shoot. Either newly flush beneficiary neighborhoods will attract ever-relocating Yuppie Troglodytes or a stretch of Las Olas Boulevard will pointlessly be permanently imprinted with the industrial ambiance of an airport perimeter road. 6 to 5 and pick 'em. For LaMarca’s June 2016 message in its entirety, Read on – [editor]

 

 

June 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 a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County:

Property Tax Break Down

Property Tax Distribution The Broward County Fiscal Year (FY) 17 budget process is well in progress. In March, the Board held a pre-budget workshop to discuss preliminary general fund projections for the upcoming year, with subsequent meetings on May 17, June 7, and June 21, 2016. Additional workshops will be held throughout the process, and the budget timeline for FY 17 will conclude with two public hearings later this year. With a nearly 8 percent increase in overall property values in Broward County, the total value has increased to $150.4 billion. It is my thought that it is time to cut taxes, reduce the millage rate and return some of the tax dollars back to the people who know best how to spend it for the needs of their families. Having gone through a very difficult recession, the economy has recovered substantially and there are sufficient funds to run the necessary services of Broward County Government.

Property Tax Distribution The property taxes that residents pay, also known as ad valorem taxes, along with miscellaneous fees, transfers, fund balances, and sales tax amount to a County General Fund budget of approximately $1.1 billion dollars. This represents approximately 26 percent of the County’s overall $4.2 billion budget. The property tax revenues are allocated to fund several different areas. Every $1 from Broward County taxpayers is distributed in the following manner: 24 cents to County Government, 33 cents to the School Board, 23 cents to cities, and 20 cents to special districts. The County then divides its 24 cent portion: 12.34 cents to Sheriff's Office and other Constitutional and Judicial offices, 8.77 cents to County Commission programs, 1.31 cents to mandated payments to cities and the state, 1.04 cents to voter approved debt service, and .54 cents to capital projects.

Property Tax Distribution

 

The budget process for FY 17 will continue with a Workshop in August and two Public Hearings in September. For more information regarding the Broward County Budget process please visit Broward.org/Budget/.

Wave Streetcar Update

Wave Streetcar Forum
WAVE STREETCAR FORUM
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced the completion of the Wave Streetcar’s project design phase last month at the Wave Streetcar Industry Forum with partners such as Broward County Transit, the City of Fort Lauderdale and many other Wave Streetcar partners. FDOT will start a Design-Build procurement process for Design-Build teams to bid on the project. It is expected to be advertised in July 2016, which will lead to an opening of the construction bids in the spring of 2017. Funding is now in place to advance the project to the next stage.

Click to Wave Streetcar Website The Wave Streetcar will be a pivotal addition to the community by providing transportation and economic development. This transit system will encourage significant private investment, estimated at approximately $4 billion of new development by 2030, with an estimated $70 to $80 million in new tax revenue. It will create hundreds of engineering and construction related jobs, 40 new permanent streetcar system jobs and new office and retail employment from new development. The Wave Streetcar will also provide environmental benefits such as reduced carbon emissions, reduction in per person utility consumption and a reduction in vehicle miles travelled. The system will promote a more efficient usage of mass transit opportunities.

Port Everglades and New International Container Weight Verification Requirements

VGM Scales at Port Everglades
VGM SCALES AT PORT EVERGLADES
Broward County’s Port Everglades ongoing capital improvements and expansion ensures that it continues to handle future growth in container traffic. The Port is considered a world-class cargo handling facility which serves as an ideal point of entry and departure for products shipped around the world. Most recently, the availability of on-port scales are already in place to handle the new international container weight verification requirements which will go into effect on July 1, 2016. These certified scales are available at several locations in Port Everglades in order to weigh export containers and should help shippers meet the new requirements without providing for service delays. In order to ensure compliance with the new verified gross mass (VGM) requirements, ocean shippers are encouraged to confirm availability and fees with their contracted marine terminal operators.

Click to Florida International Terminal Website Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) the International Maritime Organization approved the new container weight verification rules. The new rules require the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to verify and provide the container's gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship.

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

Partnerships for Regional Solutions to Reuse and Conserve Water

Click to Broward County Water and Wastewater Services Website A new regional partnership has been formed between Broward County Water and Wastewater Services and the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department. The cooperative project that will be constructed will utilize reclaimed water and conserve drinking water supplies in South Florida. Both County Boards have approved an inter local agreement (ILA) that will be implemented and provide for the initial steps of engaging in the preliminary design of the project.

Click to Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department Website The project consists of three sections: expansion of the existing Broward County North Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant's reuse capacity from 10 million to 26 million gallons per day, installation of approximately 5.8 miles of a 42-inch reuse transmission piping as the source pipe for the reclaimed expansion into Palm Beach County and also the North Springs Improvement District, and expansion of the reclaimed system into the southern portions of Palm Beach County. This regional solution provides significant benefits to customers in both Broward County and Palm Beach County. The project is expected to be completed by 2020 in Broward and additional distribution components are set to continue to be enhanced in Palm Beach County beyond 2020.

2016 Broward County Academy

Broward County Government Center
BROWARD COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER
Broward County provides a community education outreach series that provides residents of Broward the opportunity to learn about County government and the many available services that the County provides to residents, businesses and tourists. The Broward County Academy is a ten week interactive program that helps create public awareness about County programs and services while also increasing community involvement in local government.

Click to Broward Academy Website The curriculum highlights the Airport, Seaport, Human Services, Emergency Management, Water and Wastewater, Cultural, Libraries, Parks, Community Wellness, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Enterprise Technology Services, Animal Care, Transit and several other County Agencies. Broward Academy will give participants a better understanding of what Broward County Government is, who it serves, how it serves residents, and what it does to improve the quality of life for all who live, work, and play here.

The 2016 Academy sessions will be held on ten consecutive Thursdays from 6-9PM beginning September 8 and concluding with graduation ceremonies on November 10. Classroom lectures will be combined with behind-the-scenes tours and interactive experiences. Applicants must be age 18 or older and reside in Broward County. The deadline for applying is August 5, 2016. Applications for the Broward County Academy are available here, by e-mailing BrowardAcademy@Broward.org, or by calling the Broward County Office of Public Communications at 954-357-6990.

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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach Fix; Airport; Conventions; Hurricane Meet; Water Month

Commentary

Click to Click to Chip LaMarca May 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA APRIL MESSAGE
June 16, 2016 - In his May 2016 constituent Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca snapshots the Segment II Beach Renourishment and outlines a planned 2020 Segment III South County beach fix. LaMarca also reviews recently expanded services at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, examines County progress in transforming the Greater Fort Lauderdale - Broward County Convention Center from a local meeting venue into a world class conference magnet, details how a May 14 Hurricane Preparedness Open House at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center helped frame links between planning and survival, and explains how SWIM Central, a County program that teaches kids how to swim, befits May’s designation as National Water Safety Month.

Sharp Opens the Sand Bank

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 gave legs to the Congressional intent by formulating the Broward County Shore Protection Project. After struggling with unprecedented regulatory obstacles for 14 years, Higgins stepped down after rehabilitating South County beaches.

Former Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers
FORMER BROWARD BEACH
ADMINISTRATOR ERIC MYERS
When Eric Myers revived the project two years later, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca agreed to run political interference in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. After scoring a hard fought State Permit (0314535-001-JC) with the help of LaMarca and Nicole Sharp, Myers faced County retirement protocols, and passed the baton to Sharp. To penetrate dilatory federal bureaucracies holding the project hostage, the Galt Mile association and LaMarca recruited Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, George Moraitis and Lois Frankel. It worked. Newly designated Broward Beach Administrator, Sharp finally brought the chronically snake-bit Segment II Project home.

Segment II Beach Construction Plan Begins
SEGMENT II - L'HERMITAGE BEACH REPLENISHED
When construction vehicles rolled into north Broward beachfront staging sites on January 4, 2016, longtime Galt Mile residents blew off two decades of mind-numbing frustration. In the wake of construction crews traveling north from Vista Park in Lauderdale Beach and south from Palm Avenue in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the beach behind each Galt Mile association was enlarged by 70 - 100 feet. Finally converging on Regency Tower and Galt Ocean Club by April, the crews embarked on a second pass along the Galt Mile Beach, popping thousands of sea oats into sand dunes configured to each association’s specifications.

LBTS - Palm Avenue Staging Area
LBTS - PALM AVENUE STAGING AREA
Beach Construction Vehicles at Vista Park
CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES AT VISTA PARK
After they plump the final mile of Segment II beaches in November (from NE 14th Street to Terramar Street), Broward Beach Administrator Nicole Sharp and Beach Program Specialist (and Dune-Meister) Greg Ward will turn their attention to skeletal south county beaches and building a sand-bypass at Port Everglades.

Point of Americas - and our old sand
POINT OF AMERICAS - AND YES - THAT'S OUR OLD SAND
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. The $53.7 million Segment III “replay” will rehabilitate sand-starved South County beaches.

Click to Port Everglades Sand Bypass The Port Everglades sand bypass project is intended to transfer 50,000 to 80,000 cubic yards of sand annually from the north to the south sides of the Port Entrance, restoring the currently disrupted littoral drift. The low-tech plan entails constructing an offshore sand trap to collect alongshore migrating sand for transport to the south side of the inlet. When adjacent Points of America 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.

Re-establishing the natural southerly flow of sand along the coast would also substantially reduce the frequency and scope of future renourishments. Instead, occasional beach fills could address “hot spots” along a more stable County coastline. Since all parties to the cost-sharing agreements ultimately allocate tax revenues to fund these projects, taxpayers would save $millions.

Former Broward Beach Administrator Steve Higgins
FORMER BROWARD BEACH BOSS STEVE HIGGINS
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 told Galt Mile officials “Every big deep-water inlet is a huge barrier to the drift of sand along the East Coast. Had we built the sand bypass at Port Everglades, beaches in South Broward County would still be healthy.”

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
Nicole Sharp describes the historical “segmented” approach to beach management as an anachronistic exercise in futility, opting instead for a long-term regional plan. Mindful of the accelerated rate that natural resources are degraded by climate change and rising sea levels, Sharp has developed a beach management program that proactively meets the growing risks.

Click to Project Partnership Agreement Despite her brief tenure as the County’s Natural Resources Administrator, Sharp impressed stakeholders who were initially skeptical about whether she could navigate unprecedented regulatory pitfalls and deliver a result that eluded predecessors for decades. While helping Eric Myers battle FDEP and Florida Fish & Wildlife for the State permit, Sharp was the main closer for the complex agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers, nailing the critical Federal Permit without giving up the farm.

Renourished Regency Tower Beach - and Dunes with Sea Oats
RENOURISHED REGENCY TOWER BEACH - AND DUNES WITH SEA OATS
When several Galt Mile associations – including Plaza East and Ocean Club – expressed trepidations about sacrificing recreational space for dunes and beach vegetation, Sharp promised to tailor their beaches to meet their needs, conceding the final decision to each association’s administration. Instead of mandating compliance, which falls squarely within her wheelhouse, Sharp and Greg Ward used lessons learned by Higgins and Myers to convince project stakeholders – including every Galt Mile association – to support the voluntary inclusion of dunes and dune vegetation on their respective beaches. Virtually the entire Galt Mile has since imparted how the final result exceeded expectations. Not a bad opening act for someone with two years in the driver’s seat. For LaMarca’s May 2016 message to constituents, Read on... – [editor]

 

May 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 a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Beach Renourishment Update

Click to Segment II Beach Renourishment Presentation Broward County’s beautiful beaches have never looked better! The Segment II Beach Renourishment project has been completed in most areas just in time for the sea turtle nesting season. The Segment II Shore Protection Project commenced January 4, 2016 and over 80 percent of the project has been completed. Approximately 800,000 tons of sand has been placed (total 1M tons) on our beaches. The 1.4 mile stretch in Pompano Beach and northern Lauderdale-by-the-Sea were completed in full from Southeast 4th Street in Pompano Beach to Sunset Lane in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. South of the pier in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and Fort Lauderdale beach we completed the work through The Galt Ocean Mile and the Lauderdale Beach neighborhood. The northern limits of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, from Datura Avenue to NE 14th Court, were also completed. In order to complete the Segment II Renourishment project, the remaining sand placement is planned to start after sea turtle nesting season concludes on November 1st, 2016. Sand placement will resume at Northeast 14th Court, which is the northern limits of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park south to Terramar Street. The project also provided for the construction of 1.5 miles of dunes. This will complete the project and we plan to keep the permits open in order to do periodic maintenance and in the case of an emergency due to a storm. This would save us from having to start the arduous permitting process over again from scratch.

Segment II Beach Renourishment - Before and After
BEFORE SEGMENT II BEACH RENOURISHMENT       AFTER SEGMENT II BEACH RENOURISHMENT
The Segment III Shore Protection Project is estimated to begin in 2020 with an estimated cost of $54 million. The Beach Management Plan was recently completed for the Segment III Shore Protection Project. A truck haul is planned for Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach and Hollywood Beach with an estimated volume of 980,000 cubic yards of sand. Dunes are another great resource that can help sustain local beaches. The Dune Grant Program was initiated in 2015 and is awarded on an annual basis. It assists coastal property owners to create, restore or enhance dunes along their residence. More...

New Services at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2016

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is making great strides by providing new services in 2016. JetBlue added flights to Barbados in April and Aguadilla (Puerto Rico) and Nashville in May. Click to Jet Blue Update Flights to San Diego and New Orleans will be added later on this year. Spirit added new flights to Philadelphia in April. Norwegian Air Shuttle will add a very exciting new service to Paris in July and Southwest will add the much anticipated entry into the international market at FLL with Nassau service starting in August. The outlook for 2016 is very bright. Based on published airline schedules and historical data, FY 2016 should end with total traffic up 9 percent over FY2015. It is also forecasted that FLL could reach 29 million passengers for the 2016 calendar year.

New Convention Center Hotel and Expansion Update

Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering
BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL RENDERING
Broward County’s Convention Center Hotel and Expansion project is moving forward. The initial plans presented by developer Matthews Southwest Holdings provides a starting point for the project to move forward with revisions that are expected throughout the entire design process. The developer presented plans for an 800 room Convention Center Hotel that would include retail space, restaurants and plenty of open space to take advantage of the Intracoastal Waterway and Broward County's Port Everglades. The hotel would also meet requirements to be LEED Gold certified. While there are still many details about the design, parking availability, transportation and traffic flow, the next steps of the process will provide for reconciliation of the design and negotiations for the final plan. Once the design plan is finalized, developers estimate that construction could begin in 2018 with a soft-opening in August 2020. More...

Hurricane Preparedness

Click to Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide Hurricane season is upon us and it is important to be prepared in the case of an emergency. Broward County held a Hurricane Preparedness Open House this month in order to assist residents with hurricane information. Hurricane season is between June 1st and November 30th and it is critical to start planning now. Featured presentations by the Emergency Management Division, Broward Sheriff's Office, American Red Cross-Broward County Chapter and others include topics on how to prepare your family for a hurricane, what to do before, during and after a storm, services available to those with special needs or who are at risk, how to register for important emergency services, and how to receive emergency alerts. More...

May Is National Water-Safety Month

Click to Swim Central Click to National Water Safety Month Broward County offers many water-based attractions including water parks, parks that provide beach access, cable water-skiing, fishing, boating, and more. This summer while residents and tourist enjoy the many attractions that Broward County has to offer it is important to be aware and understand how to be safe in the water. May is National Water Safety Month, and in observance residents and tourists are encouraged to make water safety a priority. Broward County’s primary resource and referral service for available swim programs, SWIM Central, has reached more than half a million children since its inception in 1999. More...

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.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Fleet Week; Air Show; Pet Fix; FLL Top 10; Turtle Signs

Commentary

Click to Chip LaMarca April 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA APRIL MESSAGE
May 15, 2016 - In his April 2016 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca welcomes Broward Navy Days Fleet Week festivities to Port Everglades, notes that the F-35 Lightning “Joint Strike Fighter” will make it civilian debut at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, enumerates “BrowardPetFix” spay/neuter programs such as SNIP, Portable Sterilization Units, Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), and Returned-to-Field (RTF), applauds two restaurants in Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (Shula Burger in Terminal 1 and Food Network Kitchen in Terminal 3) for their recognition by USA Today “10Best” Readers’ Choice National top 10 list, cites a Sea Turtle Conservancy grant that enabled Broward County to protect nesting Sea Turtles by crafting and installing Sea Turtle informational signs at county-wide beach access locations and invites constituents to "Stay Connected" using County social media.

17 Stars on the deck of the USS Cole
17 STARS ON DECK - USS COLE
Among the vessels visiting Port Everglades for Fleet Week is the USS Cole. For the men and women stationed on the ship, the war on terror began on Thursday, October 12, 2000. Nearly one year before the attacks of 9/11, while located off the coast of Yemen, the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole was attacked by suicide bombers from a cell within the al-Qaeda network; and supervised by Osama bin Laden. While the USS Cole was refueling at a port in Aden, Yemen, two suicide bombers navigating a small motorboat full of explosives sidled up along the ship’s port side, exchanged greetings with sailors who had begun lining up for lunch in the galley, and stood at attention just before the explosives blew a hole 40 feet wide in the side of the ship at 11:18 a.m. Bahrain time, killing 17 crew members and wounding 39 others. After more than 550 tons of steel was replaced for $250 million, the fully operational vessel was turned into a floating memorial - with 17 large gold stars on its deck.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighters
F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTERS
Despite the Thunderbirds renowned aerial acrobatics, the headliner at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Three years behind schedule and roughly $200 billion over budget, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program finally became operational in July of 2015. In development for nearly 15 years, the single-seat Lockheed Martin F-35 is the most lethal and versatile aircraft of the modern era. This 5th Generation fighter combines advanced stealth capabilities, radar-jamming abilities, supersonic speed, extreme agility and state-of-the-art sensor fusion technology and its specialized helmet display gives pilots a 360-degree view of their surroundings.

Click to New Broward Registration Tags Info Pet owners and animal advocates will appreciate the lineup of programs included in BrowardPetFix, the County Animal Care and Adoption’s comprehensive spay/neuter initiative. SNIP replaces the former SPOT Program, which sunset last year. Along with Portable Sterilization Units, Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), and Returned-to-Field (RTF), the program provides pet owners with spay/neuter services while humanely stemming the proliferation of feral cats.

Click to Airport Shula Burger Click to Food Network Kitchen Shula Burger and Food Network Kitchen at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport won recognition in the Best Airport Grab-And-Go Dining category in 10Best Readers' Choice travel award contest sponsored by USA TODAY. Chicago's O'Hare Airport is the only other airport on the list with two winning restaurants. Acquired by USA TODAY in January of 2013, 10Best.com uses a team of local travel experts who live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated, providing users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

Click to Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program Florida beaches serve as nesting grounds for approximately 80 percent of the global population of Loggerhead sea turtles - and 90 percent of the US population. Green sea turtles mostly nest along the southeast coast of Florida while Leatherbacks, the rarest species of sea turtle, nest almost exclusively on the east coast of Florida. Broward County is ground zero. As LaMarca points out, the signs were installed to warn English and Spanish-speaking beachgoers against disturbing the nesting sites - or placing their sticky mitts on the eggs. For the rest of LaMarca’s April 2016 message to constituents, Read on... – [editor]

 

April 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 a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Broward Navy Days Fleet Week

Click to Navy Days Fleet Week 2016 During Fleet Week 2015, more than 8,000 South Florida students, residents and veterans toured the visiting Navy and Coast Guard ships. Fleet Week 2016 is just around the corner. Beginning May 2nd through May 9th Port Everglades will host the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, the destroyers USS Farragut and USS Cole, and Coast Guard cutters Robert Yered and Dependable and others at the signature event. Due to security restrictions at Broward County's Port Everglades, tours must be reserved well in advance of the ship arrivals and each visitor must undergo security clearance. Registration to tour one of the vessels is open.

For more information, including schedules, ship tours and registration information visit http://www.browardnavydaysinc.org/

Fort Lauderdale Air Show

Click to Fort Lauderdale Air Show The 2016 Fort Lauderdale Air Show is back, set for May 7-8, 2016, and the promoters have many new aerial surprises for this year. The show will feature multiple jet demonstration teams from three nations. Our headliners, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, will perform along with their North American counterparts, the Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. We also welcome the Breitling Jet Team from France as they all perform over the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Fort Lauderdale’s beautiful beach. This year’s show will also be the very first civilian air show in history to feature the F-35 Lightning “Joint Strike Fighter”.

For more information, please check out the show’s Facebook page at Fort Lauderdale Air Show or their website at http://fortlauderdaleairshow.com/

New Comprehensive Spay/Neuter Initiative

Click to New Animal Care and Adoption Click to New Broward RAnimal Care and Adoption Division The Animal Care and Adoption's comprehensive spay/neuter initiative BrowardPetFix includes all spay/neuter programs designed to service Broward County residents and reduce the number of unwanted pets throughout the community. The programs include sterilization options for owned dogs and cats, as well as programs specifically for Community Cats.

Commissioner Chip LaMarca on Broward's spay/neuter initiative
COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA ON BROWARD'S SPAY/NEUTER INITIATIVE

Click to Broward SNIP Program Info The new programs are: SNIP, Portable Sterilization Units, Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), and Returned-to-Field (RTF). SNIP is open to all Broward County residents who have an owned dog or cat. SNIP services include spay/neuter surgery, a rabies vaccination, and a Broward County Registration License Tag. SNIP sterilization services are provided through a network of veterinary providers. Broward County residents must apply online to the program at Broward.org/Animal.

Click to New Broward Registration Tags Info The new portable sterilization unit also provides sterilization services for owned dogs and cats in the community, as well as Community Cats. The sterilization services are only provided by appointment and it is currently stationed at Delevoe Park, 2520 NW 6th St., Fort Lauderdale. The sterilization unit will stay at Delevoe Park for about six months and then it will move to another targeted area in Broward County where the services are in high demand. Spay/neuter services can be scheduled by calling the Humane Society at 954-463-SPAY.

Click to Broward SNIP Program Info Through the TNR program, Community Cats are sterilized, vaccinated against rabies, ear-notched, and returned to the neighborhood in which they were found. Broward County Animal care partnered with many veterinary clinics to provide these services. The RTF program is for healthy Community Cats that enter the Animal Care’s Adoption Center, where they are sterilized, given a rabies vaccination then placed back in the neighborhood in which they were found.

To apply to the SNIP Program, or for details regarding any other BrowardPetFix program, visit Broward.org/Animal.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Restaurants Recognized in National Top 10 List

Click to USA TODAY 10Best Readers Choice Awards Info USA Today and their readers have recognized two restaurants in Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in their National top 10 list. The contest sponsored by USA Today names the two winners, Shula Burger in Terminal 1 and Food Network Kitchen in Terminal 3, in the Airport Grab-And-Go Dining category in 10Best Readers’ choice travel award contest. See the full list of winners.

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport The contest is promoted across USA Today Travel Media Group’s digital and mobile products and social media outlets. Nominees are announced and promoted by USA Today and through Gannett media outlets, including the websites of its 81 local newspapers and 43 television stations.

Informative New Sea Turtle Signs

Click to Informative New Sea Turtle Signs Sea turtle season is well underway on the beautiful white sand beaches of Broward County. Broward's beaches support vital nesting grounds for loggerhead sea turtles, green sea turtles and leatherbacks. In order to help in the protection efforts during the sea turtle season the Sea Turtle Conservancy has awarded Broward County a grant to create and install permanent informational sea turtle signs at heavily-used public beach access locations throughout the County. In partnership with the municipalities, the County has selected the locations for the informational signs to be installed April 26-27, 2016. The signs will be in English and Spanish and will be beneficial in providing beach goers with safe sea turtle practices.

Click to Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program For more information on how to help create a more sustainable environment for sea turtles, contact the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program at 954-519-1255.

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.

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Emergency 911 Dispatch Operator
EMERGENCY 911 DISPATCH OPERATOR
April 26, 2016 - Ten years after
80% of Broward’s voters mandated a countywide consolidation of emergency dispatch services in 2002, public officials from the county and its 31 municipalities finally acknowledged that doing so would shave precious minutes from the emergency response time – where the difference between life and death is often measured in seconds. For decades, emergency calls that were fielded in one of a dozen dispatch centers throughout the county were chronically dropped or “misdirected”.

As defined in a 2012 study supporting a unified county system “Misdirected calls are those cell phone 911 calls routed by cell phone towers to a dispatch center other than one that can actually dispatch emergency units.” In other words, some people calling 911 about a robbery, break-in or a body on their front lawn might just as well have reported the incident to Dairy Queen. While eliminating the delays and dropped calls that epidemically dogged interstation transfers, consolidation would enhance responder safety, evolve a uniform set of performance metrics, roll back spiraling costs and actualize a longstanding mythical benchmark – county-wide closest unit response.

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan
SUNRISE MAYOR MIKE RYAN
Broward Commissioner Lois Wexler
BROWARD COMMISSIONER LOIS WEXLER
In 2011, a committee was constituted to explore the impacts of consolidation. Co-chaired by Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan and Broward Commissioner Lois Wexler, the Broward County Consolidation Communications Committee (BCCCC) included City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, city managers, municipal police and fire chiefs, mayors, city commissioners and Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, who served as medical director for emergency medical services in many Broward jurisdictions, including Fort Lauderdale’s Fire-Rescue EMS and the Broward Sheriff’s Office EMS (until he was recently found dead in his Lauderdale-by-the-Sea condominium, apparently a suicide).

Click Here to Fitch & Associates
the late Dr. Nabil El Sanadi
THE LATE DR. NABIL EL SANADI
In the four months from November 2011 through March 2012, the committee held 24 meetings and spent more than 300 hours on information gathering, analysis and debate before releasing a March 1, 2012 Final Report. A consolidation plan documented in the BCCCC report was vehemently endorsed by every police, fire and medical response agency in the county – and quickly approved by the Broward Commission.

The Consolidation Plan

Click Here to 2010 Feasibility Analysis web page The 2012 plan sought to replace 11 (reduced from 12 when Deerfield Beach merged operations with BSO) mostly flimsy “Public Safety Access Points” (i.e. dispatch centers or PSAPs) with three “category-5 hardened”, demographically centralized “flee to” sites; each fitted with sufficient communication capabilities, multiple power sources and data back-ups to either share the load or unilaterally manage the entire county. To win support from Broward towns and cities, especially those with independent dispatch services, plan advocates would have to demonstrate improved response times and lower cost.

In a letter to the County’s municipalities, Broward Administrator Bertha Henry tapped a 2010 feasibility analysis to outline how a consolidated 911 dispatch would yield an estimated annual $7.7 million windfall from a 20% reduction in telecommunications personnel. The elimination of administrative and support redundancies and reduced property maintenance cost (servicing 3 integrated dispatch sites instead of 11) would expand the projected annual savings to $10 million.

Click Here to 2010 Feasibility Analysis web page As recommended by the BCCCC, 28 city managers from participating municipalities, County Administrator Bertha Henry, Sheriff Lamberti, and representatives from the Broward County Police Chiefs Association and the Broward County Fire Chiefs Association coalesced into The Broward County Consolidation Implementation Advisory Board (BCCIAB). Empaneled to map the details for an independent county-wide response system, they submitted a Final Report on February 1, 2013.

BSO Bunco

Of the agenda items tackled by the Board, its single most difficult objective would be achieving consensus on who pays for what and how much. Since the Broward Sheriff’s Office had systematically obscured a decades-long tax-funded shell game, the Implementation Committee had to painstakingly unravel a Gordian Knot of ad hoc agreements, disparate pricing formulas, and a litany of sub-rosa cross subsidies prior to hashing out a final plan.

Click Here to Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) This Rubik’s Cube of emergency services featured 7 self-funded municipal programs, 14 cities that contracted with the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) for dispatch services while the remaining jurisdictions used BSO “on the cuff”, bleeding County taxpayers for their Emergency 911 (E-911) costs. In addition to servicing the County’s unincorporated areas, BSO used Broward tax dollars to fund dispatch services in cities without service contracts. Among these municipal deadbeats were Davie, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, Miramar’s police department (its fire department’s dispatch was self-funded) and the opulent towns of Sea Ranch Lakes and Hillsboro Beach.

As the County’s incorporated cities and towns matured, many established independent police and fire services. To cushion the budgetary impact of its shrinking jurisdiction, the Broward Sheriff’s Office marketed a Chinese Menu of “a la carte” Public Safety services. To sew up service contracts with reluctant municipalities, BSO would sweeten the package with a “below cost” garage sale on 911 emergency services.

North Broward Detention Center
NORTH BROWARD DETENTION CENTER
As a result, the smaller towns that usually contracted for comprehensive BSO police and fire services also received dispatch, as did towns that selected either police or fire services, while larger cities could augment their self-funded Police or Fire-Rescue with a BSO dispatch pact. County auditors alleged that deficits accounting for 3% - 21% of a municipality’s total BSO contract were often couched in obscure budget line items, such as administrative overhead or retiree health benefits. Buried in the huge BSO operating budget, these municipal shortfalls were systematically tucked into in the county millage.

The Sheriff’s Office also used the taxpayer-funded service as bartering currency, as in a 1991 arrangement with Hallandale Beach to provide future dispatch services in exchange for certain radio frequencies. To grease an expansion of the North Broward Detention Center in 1993, BSO gifted Pompano Beach with free dispatch, quietly burying the annual $2.5 million cost in our TRIM Notices.

County Administrator Bertha Henry
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
Exposing these slippery funding practices and pricing policies threatened to ignite a political dirty bomb. Homeowners in certain jurisdictions were double-taxed (invoiced for dispatch services in city and county tax bills) to provide others with a free ride. For Instance, while taxpayers in Fort Lauderdale funded their dispatch services with their city taxes, their county taxes were used to absorb the cost of BSO dispatch services for cities like Pompano. This inequitable funding practice had proliferated throughout the county for decades. When Lauderdale Lakes ran up a nearly $9 million deficit on its BSO service contract, Broward taxpayers unwittingly subsidized that city’s fiscal mismanagement.

County Auditor Evan Lukic
COUNTY AUDITOR EVAN LUKIC
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler
FORT LAUDERDALE MAYOR JACK SEILER
The political kindling exploded when County Administrator Bertha Henry announced that the free lunch had ended, and unless a credibly funded consolidated system was implemented, the County would bill every municipality for the actual cost of BSO dispatch. City Managers went berserk. Municipalities acclimated to freebies insisted they continue. Some angry officials in double taxed towns demanded reimbursement as others sought damages. Several municipalities countered with a threat to build their own systems, thereby depriving the County system of critical funding.

Histrionics by municipal officials who told constituents that they were suddenly blindsided by BSO fiscal antics were largely disingenuous, since County Auditor Evan Lukic warned in 2009 that taxpayers in cities with self-funded police and fire services were subsidizing BSO clients. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler explained the overnight epidemic of county-wide municipal hysteria “It wasn’t a big deal when they (the county) bore the cost of dispatch, but now it is.”

County and Cities Cut Deal

Click Here to Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) When tempers cooled and the political posturing abated, prospective litigants agreed to postpone threatened legal actions as county and municipal officials worked to grind out a final plan. In an agreement negotiated between the county and its municipalities (reluctantly spearheaded by Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman), Broward County would implement the restructured service. The County would fund the project by blending an existing annual allocation to the Broward Sheriff’s Office with a bump in county taxes.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
FORT LAUD. CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
After approving the plan on May, 6, 2013 by a 5 - 4 vote, the Broward Commission rechanneled $18.7 million originally headed to BSO and allocated $22.5 million of the $50.3 million realized by the 2014 property tax increase to fund the $42.6 system cost. The difference was temporarily plugged with general fund revenues. Those who opposed the plan, including LaMarca, did so because cities that would no longer have to pay for a county-funded dispatch hadn’t agreed to pass that savings to their taxpayers. The dissenting Commissioners contend that the increase in county taxes should have been complemented by a larger decrease in municipal taxes, since the county plan also costs $10 million less than the $53.1 million price tag of the retired fractured system. In rebuttal, city officials claimed that the savings would lessen the sting of planned municipal tax hikes necessitated by revenue shortfalls.

Click Here to Coral Springs Click Here to Plantation Going forward, the County will manage north Broward emergencies from a center in Coconut Creek; take mid-county calls at a Sunrise PSAP while a Pembroke Pines center will service the South Broward region. Leery of committing to an untested system, Coral Springs and Plantation opted out, saddling their taxpayers with the funding cost of their independent local dispatch as well as the County system - at least until the County system proves under fire that it can deliver better response times at a lower cost. So far, it hasn’t.

Training Disaster

Nationwide Scrutiny Shortly after the project launched in October of 2014, costs skyrocketed and response times took a dive. As one of the largest consolidation efforts ever attempted, along with vested municipal stakeholders and Broward residents, the plan was closely scrutinized by jurisdictions and Public Safety industry pundits across the country. Fearful of the political fallout from a fast-developing fiasco; formerly supportive officials threatened to bail. To restore the project’s credibility, glaring problems had to be resolved, including critical hardware glitches, insufficient staff training and obsolete software.

Office of Regional Communications and Technology
RICK CARPANI - REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY
Overseeing the transition was the former director of Broward County’s Office of Regional Communications and Technology (ORCAT), Rick Carpani. Poorly prepared for their new responsibilities, staffers who took calls were often rude or unprofessional, dispatchers regularly sent units to the wrong address – or the wrong city – and disconnected callers were rarely called back. In a backhanded stab at rallying his troops, Carpani announced “I am absolutely disappointed where it stands. Everybody has to give up the sandbox mentality and say, ‘We’re all in this together.’ His appeal to “Kumbaya” fell on deaf ears; as the problem was less about attitude than training.

Robert Pusins, Executive Director of the BSO Department of Community Services
ROBERT PUSINS, BSO
Robert Pusins, Executive Director of the BSO Department of Community Services, had been tasked with supplying the centers with trained personnel. Conceding that his Department underestimated the training required for dispatchers and call-takers who were new to the job and the cities to which they were assigned, Pusins admitted “We took in employees from other agencies that didn’t have the same level of training and certifications that we needed.” The diluted training regimen brought the project to the brink of failure.

A County database was created to track project complaints. Of 373 complaints lodged between October 2014 and the end of April, 2015, 157 (42%) were the fault of the operator or dispatcher. Only 10 were attributed to caller errors. A February County report observed “The operator-related tickets lead to delayed response times, first responder safety concerns and administrative overhead.”

County Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COUNTY COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
When BSO officials told attendees at a Broward Budget workshop about their planned solicitation of a 14.6 percent increase for dispatch services in last year’s budget, County Commissioner Lois Wexler – who had campaigned on behalf of consolidation – suddenly jumped ship and distanced herself from the project. In a blaze of political theatrics, Wexler announced “I’m not going to be part of that fraud. I’m just not. This onion’s going to have to be peeled way, way back.”

Click To Police Department’s Tips web page Wexler is somewhat less than popular on the Galt Mile, having repeatedly attempted to close the Galt Mile Library as a budget measure, while refusing to do the same for libraries in her district. She also sponsored a County ordinance that blatantly discriminates against Broward’s association homeowners.

Click Here to Fitch & Associates At the May Budget Workshop, Commissioner Chip LaMarca told participants “We’re now into this thing and we have to hire a consultant to find out what we did wrong.” An advocate of staying the course, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman maintained that the problem was fixable, noting how “its advantages outweigh its disadvantages.” LaMarca’s recommendation was realized on January 5, 2016, when the county hired consultant Fitch & Associates to examine the system and identify the changes required to meet stakeholder expectations.

Old Radios Old Radios Another systemic deficiency was known to the county long before the consolidation began - marginally functional antique radios. In June 2015, the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association complained to Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry about outages and static on the radios used by police and fire personnel to communicate with dispatchers. In a letter, they described how unreliable radios prompted police departments in Davie, Miramar, Pembroke Pines and Sunrise to perform hourly roll calls and implement two-person patrols. Having conceded that the obsolete Motorola radio system was nearing its “end of life,” Carpani had anticipated its replacement with a new system in 2018 – but not by him. When offered a private sector opportunity he described as “phenomenal”, Carpani grabbed the brass ring and hit the road on November 13, 2015.

Bouncing Back

Director Brett Bayag, Office of Regional Communications and Technology
ORCAT DIRECTOR BRETT BAYAG
Since then, the system has demonstrated steady improvement under the guidance of Carpani replacement Brett Bayag, as operators and dispatchers intensively trained with mapping tools to heighten their geographical IQ. The system now exceeds a State requirement that 90% of the calls be answered within 10 seconds – a benchmark that’s being met even when the system is heavily stressed by high call volumes.

computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system The beefed-up training protocols have also measurably 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. Enigmatically, the improvements haven’t extended to fire-rescue processing times, which remain below county standards.

computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system Thus far, calls routed to any of the three centers could only be fielded by that center’s operators (except for calls placed on the non-emergency line, 954-764-4357, which are answerable at all three call centers). Beginning in April, an automatic call distributor will make all incoming calls accessible to every center, buffering the impact of regional staffing shortfalls. Burned by past mistakes, Pusins ramped up county-wide geographical training for staffers who will now be responsible for navigating emergencies anywhere in Broward.

Click Here to Poppy's Pizza The importance of compensating for temporary staffing deficiencies was dramatically demonstrated by a September incident at the Sunrise Call Center. An optometrist’s office employee who called for help when a man passed out was ignored for eight minutes while an on-duty call taker discussed the vagaries of her luncheon order with Poppy’s Pizza. Eight staffers were busy with other calls while four others who were supposed to be on duty couldn’t explain why they weren’t. This near-fatal parody of a morose Three Stooges episode played out under the nose of an oblivious supervisor. Fortunately, the victim was revived. The employee later informed investigators that she had been making personal calls while on duty throughout her 12 years with the agency.

Future Improvements

computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system Looming large on Bayag’s timeline is a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system projected for implementation in 2017. At an estimated cost of $4.2 million, the new CAD is a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency web based system which will process and analyze data from a broad range of sources, communicating with the consolidated E-911 system, the radio system, regional law and fire records systems as well as the paging & toning systems. Capabilities integrated with the CAD software include automatic vehicle location, resource location and in-vehicle mobile mapping. If treated with respect, it will also cook breakfast.

Fire Alert System To expedite lagging fire-rescue processing times, a new fire station alerting (FSA) system will be interfaced with the existing Motorola Premier One computer-aided dispatch system and the Project 25 trunked radio system infrastructure, replacing the obsolete Zetron Model 26/6 system by 2017.

Click Here to Mission Critical Partners A year later, Bayag plans to drop-kick the antique analog radios (likely future collectibles on eBay) and install a $45 million APCO Project 25 digital radio system that will provide for built-in redundancy (add back-up capabilities if the primary system becomes impaired or overloaded) and penetrate dense inner city concrete canyons. Receive-only sites in Tamarac and Deerfield will be replaced with full transmit/receive towers and new towers will be added in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and North Lake. Endorsed by technical consultant Mission Critical Partners and county-wide police and fire stakeholders, the system will also feature a 5-Channel multicast site along Alligator Alley (I-75) for improved coverage in the western half of the County over the Everglades.

Fire Alert System Coral Springs, Plantation, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale have refused to use the County’s flawed radios. While exponentially increasing the risk for victims at crime scenes and medical emergencies, radios that randomly break off communications with dispatch also imperil first responders. Characterizing the danger the as intolerable; last year Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman approved a $5 million police and fire-rescue radio rehabilitation to insure their reliability until the County retires its snake-bit squawkers – theoretically in 2018.

Cell Phone Crisis

Cell Tower One persistent glitch has eluded correction. Since Coral Springs and Plantation have adamantly declined to participate until the County’s performance metrics meet or exceed those of their local systems, when incidents in adjacent towns and cities are reported by cell phone, if the cell tower that relays the signal is programmed to send 911 calls to a non-participating dispatch center, the call must be redirected back to the proper jurisdiction, burning precious minutes.

Click Here to FCC Cell Tower Info The problem’s footprint is large, since roughly 80% of emergency calls initiate from cell phones. Last year, roughly 9,000 calls mistakenly routed to Plantation had to be transferred, while Coral Spring had to re-route 3,881 emergency calls. Since this obstacle burdens every dispatch center on the planet, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently met with the nation’s four largest wireless providers to explore a resolution. In short, cell phones fitted with a methodology for pinpointing their locations in three dimensions would have to be interfaced with software that parsed entire neighborhoods in three dimensions. The problem isn’t “how,” but “how much?” The cost per carrier is estimated at $25 million and would save roughly 10,000 lives annually. Following the carriers’ intensive lobbying effort, the agency tanked requiring the expenditure. Until cost-effective technology cures this vulnerability – or the two cities agree to get with the program – emergencies along their borders that are reported via cell phones will remain prone to interstation ping-pong.

Waiting for Fitch

City Commissioner Bruce Roberts
CITY COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
While acknowledging palpable improvements to the County system, some participants have expressed trepidations about its future. Among them is City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, who imparted that the City is reconsidering its options. On February 18, Roberts described some recent dispatch failures to the Galt Mile Advisory Board; as Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue units were sent to the wrong address and prolonged delays hampered EMS response to medical emergencies – not to mention the September pizza meltdown – which the local media got wind of in January – before going viral. Roberts admonished, “Unless things improve soon, we may be better off funding our own center.”

Dispatch Center at Broward Sheriff's Office Communications Center
BSO COMMUNICATIONS DISPATCH CENTER
Process watchdogs are concerned about persistent in-fighting between the BSO, which has a contract to operate the new system, and the County Office of Regional Communications and Technology, which maintains the system’s technological backbone. The County is also at loggerheads with officials in local police and fire trade associations, who claim that the County has unilaterally made critical operational decisions, ignoring their input. Specifically, they have expressed resentment over not having been empowered to select the consultant.

Fitch Consultant Dr. Bruce Moeller
FITCH CONSULTANT DR. BRUCE MOELLER
Like Roberts, many of the project’s municipal and county participants are anxiously awaiting a diagnostic project report by Fitch & Associates, a highly regarded firm whose consultants specialize in identifying and correcting the problems that afflict dispatch programs. Contracted to customize solutions for the Broward program based on industry best practices, Fitch threw in an added benefit. Dr. Bruce Moeller, a former Sunrise Fire Chief and City Manager, is one of the Fitch consultants assigned to the Broward project. While Fitch technicians craft solutions to IT black holes and administrative missteps, Moeller’s 7 years as BSO Fire-Rescue Director may afford him the credibility to broker a truce in the BSO – County turf war.

Tamarac Fire Chief Mike Burton
TAMARAC FIRE CHIEF MIKE BURTON
If Fitch insights convince stakeholders that the program’s disheartening failures can be fixed, it would go a long way to reversing their waning confidence in the consolidated system. Fortunately, most of the project participants are less apprehensive about the transition, and try to remain focused on the benchmarks that objectively measure progress. At a recent consolidation workshop, Tamarac Fire Chief Mike Burton put his spin on the project’s status, “We have seen some improvements in the system. The number of misdirected calls have been cut by 90 percent. We have interoperability, which wasn’t always the case. The system will continue to develop and get better.”

Production Line Under the 2002 electoral mandate, the project was belatedly launched to save lives threatened by response delays often caused when incidents are reported by cell phone in areas bordering on two or more dispatch systems (it also saves $10 million annually). Until wireless companies retool production lines to install EXISTING location technology that eliminates the vulnerability, consolidation is the only cure. Of the 10,000 lives claimed by the glitch annually, a sizable number are ended in our backyard. Lives that could have – and should have – been saved.

Pizza OrderWhile the initial consolidation gaffes were implementation failures (i.e. inadequate training, etc.), the more recent foul-ups were caused by poor judgement, chronic indolence, irresponsible behavior, ineffective supervision, etc.; the type of errors that congenitally afflict Broward agencies. The young lady who spent eight minutes ordering pizza while neglecting a medical emergency admitted to making on-duty personal calls throughout her 12 years on the job. The problem had proliferated for a decade prior to the consolidation, and could have been corrected years ago by demanding a level of employee discipline commensurate with their responsibility to save lives. Instead, it was ignored.

Production Line Your Fired In the unlikely event that some municipality’s officials abandon the consolidation effort and build another self-funded system, once again placing their residents at risk (while inflating their tax bills), they may have to explain their supposition that sacrificing those lives was simply the cost of doing business – collateral damage. PSAPs inevitably face growing pains - and employees in any Broward municipality have no inherent immunity to poor judgment, chronic indolence, or irresponsible behavior. Ask Lee Feldman – who pink slips bad eggs with surprising consistency.

 


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Cruise $$; Port Lessor; Turtle Season; Saving H2O & E911 Radio

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
DISTRICT 4 COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
April 9, 2016 - In his March 2016 constituent update, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca cites a study that demonstrates how synchronicity between Broward’s key Transportation hubs fiscally fuel our community, reports that another lucrative Port Everglades tenant extended their relationship by 20 years, notes the onset of Sea Turtle nesting season, outlines how several competitive water conservation contests successfully met their objectives, describes Broward efforts to upgrade an antique county-wide Emergency 911 Radio System and details how unclaimed items abandoned on Broward County Transit busses are passed to charitable or educational groups for donation.

Port Poll

Click to Port Survey Report
Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak
PORT DIRECTOR STEVEN CERNAK
Entitled “Port Everglades Cruise Passenger Survey”, LaMarca refers to a May 25, 2015 survey (by Port consultants AECOM and Dickey Consulting Services) that explores how the region incrementally profits from the nine cruise lines, one ferry and more than 40 cruise ships that anchor the Port’s vital cruise industry. Commenting on the study’s conclusions, Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak observed “This study validates what we have long known - that our local economy benefits from the cruise industry. But, we are seeing that hoteliers are taking advantage of the opportunities that having a cruise port in their backyard offers. Just look at the number of new hotels that have opened around Port Everglades in recent years and the creative pre- and post-cruise vacation packages offered on Sunny.org in the Cruise & Play section.”

Click to Port Survey Report Click to Port Survey Report Although the largest percentage of cruise customers were characterized as “local” (from the southeast region of the country), the second largest number herald from the Midwest (i.e. wherein Toronto was #1) - followed by the Northeast, West and Southwest. To the dismay of the city’s Boutique hoteliers, cruise clients who descended on Fort Lauderdale from across North America largely gravitated to nationally familiar hotel chains, as Rodeway Inn and Holiday Inn topped the list of hotels where passengers stayed before the cruise.

Bagging the Blue Chips

US Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Committee
US ARMY CORPS OF ENG. CIVIL WORKS COMMITTEE
Click to Florida International Terminal Website Since cornering a seat on the County board, LaMarca has been stumping Tallahassee and Washington DC on behalf of county Transportation infrastructure, specifically - Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Once the US Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Committee approved the planned Port Everglades expansion last year, Port Everglades Director & CEO Steven Cernak got busy. While the Master Plan Improvements would undoubtedly attract new shipping customers, unless he could tie up those carriers primarily responsible for the Port’s fiscal growth, the anticipated gains could be diminished by the departure of these lucrative enterprises.

King Ocean Terminal
KING OCEAN TERMINAL
In January, Cernak announced a 20-year agreement with the Florida International Terminal LLC (FIT) - which serves as the first and last U.S. port of call for SeaLand and APL’s North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) to Latin America. In FY2015, FIT moved 156,045 TEUs (20-foot equivalent container units, the standard industry measurement for shipping containers). On February 10, 2016, Cernak signed a 20-year pact with King Ocean Services, a terminal operator and a carrier (with 15 company-owned vessels serving Central America and the Caribbean). Headquartered in Doral, Florida (11000 NW 29th Street, Suite 201), it operates terminals in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and Jaxport (Jacksonville).

U.S Attorney Wifredo Ferrer
U.S ATTORNEY WIFREDO FERRER
Click to King Ocean Website After shrugging off a PR hiccup in 2011, when U.S Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, DEA, ICE and BSO Officials nailed nine King Ocean employees for smuggling more than 150 kilograms of heroin and cocaine into the United States through Port Everglades, the company consolidated operations in the Port. In preparation for transferring two of its eastern Caribbean services from PortMiami that annually generated 47,500 TEUs, King Ocean increased its presence in Port Everglades to 41.1 acres in 2014, adding the 7.3-acre Midport marine terminal to its existing 33.8-acre Southport terminal. In FY2015, King Ocean moved a record 153,984 TEUs.

Turtle Time

Click to Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program Website With the return of Sea Turtle nesting season, association beaches will once again be patrolled by Nova students charged with reporting perceived lighting violations to the City of Fort Lauderdale. In the past, self-appointed “crusaders” have marched into association offices and fraudulently claimed that they were licensed to violate associations for breach. If this occurs, call the police and have the scammer arrested. Only Code Compliance officers from the City of Fort Lauderdale are empowered to enforce the municipal beach lighting ordinance. Following a meeting with Galt Mile officials, Code Compliance has agreed to discontinue the practice of introducing themselves with a letter threatening endless penalties for non-compliance. Instead, they will work with association officials to find resolutions that also address the security needs of homeowners - and the fiscal constraints of the association.

Diving for Dollars

Toilet Rebate Click to Conservation Pays Page As for LaMarca’s invitation to enter the Neighborhood Water Challenge; a quick trip to the “Conservation Pays” website reveals the announcement “Neighborhood Water Challenge has closed” - but you can still get a rebate for installing a Watersense Certified toilet that uses 1.28 gallons per flush or less. Initially, many water-saver fixtures were poorly engineered, and had to be flushed several times – defeating their purpose. They now function as advertised. Grab the rebate and see for yourself. In the aggregate, installing these puppies will significantly slice your association’s water bill, which you pay for in your assessments. Since Fort Lauderdale’s skewed billing formula inequitably burdens association unit owners with subsidizing the water & sewer charges invoiced to single family homeowners (more on that in the near future), we’ll gratefully take all the help we can get.

Radio Static

Old Radios Click to Broward Radio System Upgrade Info Replacing Broward’s Aging Emergency Radio System is part of a comprehensive effort to consolidate the dysfunctional patchwork of municipal and BSO emergency 911 dispatch services under a single County umbrella. While commonly perceived as a minor component of the larger project, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman – who helped negotiate the consolidation terms on behalf of Broward’s 31 municipalities, has come to terms with the timelines anticipated for these upgrades – save one. A radio system that garbles police, fire and medical emergency transmissions – and randomly stops working – was keeping Feldman “awake at night.” Asserting how such a dangerous deficiency should warrant an expedited replacement, Feldman remarked “The radio system is the part where people shouldn’t be sleeping.”

Old Radios
Maxwell Smart Shoe Phone
BSO ISSUE SHOE PHONE
Unconvinced by a 2015 County claim that its obsolete radio system would be replaced by 2018, Feldman asserted that a five-year timeline was more credible. Shunning the static-plagued County squawk boxes, Feldman spent $5 million to rehabilitate FLPD and Fire-Rescue radios – adding five years to their useful life – insuring reliable emergency communications until Broward completes upgrading the antique County system.

Bus Booty

BCT Bus Lightfingered Louie LaMarca rightfully applauds the Broward County Transit (BCT) policy of turning over unclaimed property to various charitable institutions for donation. Thanks to forgetful bus passengers and Broward Transportation Director Chris Walton, a steady stream of bikes, baby strollers, books and backpacks are redirected to local thrift shops or homes with tight budgets. Of course, BCT generosity seldom includes abandoned items of palpable value, which rarely survive the spontaneous predations of weak-willed passengers – or light-fingered drivers. For Commissioner LaMarca’s March 2016 constituent newsletter, read on... – [editor]

 

March 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 each day from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Port Everglades Cruise Industry Benefits Broward County’s Economy

Click to Port Everglades Passenger Survey A recent study identifies Broward County's Port Everglades as a growing tourism magnet for the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. The study confirms that our economy benefits from the cruise industry. Sixty-two percent of the cruise passengers surveyed for the study stayed at least one night prior to their cruise vacation, staying an average of 3.4 nights, and 21 percent planned to stay an average of 2.6 nights after their cruise. Expenditures before and after the cruise were nearly identical. However, guests planned to spend more money on land tours after the cruise than before the cruise, $80 spent on land tours before the cruise and $133 to be spent on land tours after the cruise.

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Website Another benefit to cruising from Port Everglades includes the Port's proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). More than 21 percent of the cruise guests surveyed said that they came directly from FLL, and an overwhelming 66 percent said they selected FLL because of its close proximity to the Port. The baseline study was conducted by Port consultants AECOM and Dickey Consulting Agency, and can be found on the Port's website at porteverglades.net/about-us by selecting STATISTICS in the left navigation.

Port Everglades Renews 20-year Agreement

King Ocean Terminal
KING OCEAN TERMINAL
King Ocean Services Limited Inc., which functions twice-weekly from Port Everglades with services to Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama, has renewed a 20-year lease agreement with Broward County's Port Everglades. The agreement calls for a minimum 72,000 container lifts annually over an initial 10-year term with two five-year renewal options. King Ocean has been operating in the Port since 1994 and recently celebrated its 22nd year at Broward County's Port Everglades. Based on King Ocean's minimum guarantee of 72,000 container lifts annually, this agreement will support an estimated 385 direct local jobs and 1,021 total jobs statewide that will generate more than $69 million in personal income and $6 million in state and local taxes each year. The agreement is estimated to generate approximately $56 million in revenue to the Port during the initial 10 years.

Click to King Ocean Website This agreement includes relocating King Ocean's terminal within the Port's Southport cargo area during construction for the Southport Turning Notch Extension project. The project will lengthen the existing deep water turn-around area from 900 feet to 2,400 feet, which will allow for up to five new cargo berths. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 and be completed by the end of 2019.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season is Here

Click to Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program Website Broward County is known for its beautiful beaches and every year from March through October, sea turtles make their way onto the beaches of South Florida to lay the eggs of the next generation. In 2015, the number of nests documented by the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, which is administered and funded by Broward County and carried out by Nova Southeastern University (NSU) was the second-highest number of documented nests since 1981 when the program began. In 2015 3,240 nests were found in total. Starting March 1st, Lighting Ordinances take effect in order to combat excess artificial lighting pollution along the beaches of Broward County. Every coastal municipality within the County is required to enact and enforce a lighting ordinance requiring people to turn off beachfront lighting during the sea turtle nesting season.

Nova Students Check Turtle Nest
NOVA STUDENTS CHECK TURTLE NEST
Click to Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Institute Website Also starting in March a team of nearly 40 researchers and students from NSU will make their way daily to the nearly 22-miles of Broward's shoreline to look for new turtle nests and check on existing ones. New hatchlings don't always make it out of the nest on their own and Broward's Sea Turtle Conservation Program team members will give them a helping hand.

County Water Partnership Results in Multi-Million Gallon Water Savings

Click to Broward Water Partnership program Since October 2012, residents, business and nonprofits in Broward County have save nearly 750 million gallons of water. Through the Broward Water Partnership program, which includes the County, 18 utilities and local governments in the county nearly 8,000 toilet rebates, 5,647 low-flow showerheads, 7,890 kitchen and bathroom aerators and 16 pre-rinse spray valves for commercial kitchens through the ConservationPays.com program.

Click to Capacity Building Conference Page Along with conservation support the Partnership engages in community an annual outreach in order to involve residents in the community while also rewarding people for becoming engaged in conserving water efforts and education about conservation. The 2015 Broward Mega Money Saving Record Breaking Wild Water Switcheroo made on very lucky Broward County resident who won a complete retrofit of water and energy saving devices and fixtures including toilets, faucets and showerheads, a new irrigation system, new refrigerator and dishwasher.

Click to Neighborhood Water Challenge Rules Web Page It is not too late to join this year’s Neighborhood Water Challenge sponsored by the Broward Water Partnership program. The Neighborhood Water Challenge is open to Broward residents, non-profit organizations, civic associations and other associations and starts April 1st. There are two ways to win; contestants can complete the water conservation challenge or the outreach and education challenge.

Click to Water Optimizer Page The water conservation challenge requires two or more neighbors can form a team and commit to saving water during April and May 2016. The outreach and education challenge, contestants can develop a conservation education idea and use it, then tell us how it went. Winner receive $1000 in cash, second place is a WaterOptimizer™ irrigation system.

Click to Conservation Pays Page For more details about the contest and rebates can be found at ConservationPays.com.

County Takes Big Step to Replace Aging Emergency Radio System

Click to February 9, 2016 Broward County Library WOW News The County's efforts to improve the aging Public Safety Radio System continue. The new equipment will strengthen back-up capability in the event that the primary system becomes impaired or overloaded. It will also strengthen interoperable communications capabilities with other existing 700MHz interoperable systems, and intelligence and information sharing and coordination.

Broward 911 Call Center
BROWARD 911 CALL CENTER
Also earlier this month, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to begin the procurement process to replace the existing Alphanumeric Paging System (APS) which is no longer supported by the equipment manufacturer. The APS will directly interface with the County's three regional public safety call centers.

Click to Broward Office of Regional Communications and Technology website All of these projects will not only enhance the County's Public Safety Radio System, but will also improve the County's Regional Consolidated E911 Dispatch System and regional public safety interoperability. For more information on regional communications projects, please visit the Office of Regional Communications and Technology website.

Broward County Transit Donation Program

Click to Broward County Transit Broward County Transit (BCT) buses services 410 square miles with in Broward County and connects with Miami –Dade Transit, Palm Tran and Tri-Rail. BCT buses have approximately 121,235 passenger daily and 37.2 million trips annually. It is no surprise that many items are left behind on Broward County Transit (BCT) buses and are sent to Lost and Found at the end of the day. As soon as the items come in off the buses or from transit centers to Lost and Found they are logged and tagged. Customer service staff can help any customer who is looking for a lost item as soon as they believe they lost by contacting 954-357-8400.

Click to Broward County Transit Unfortunately, after 90 days, many of those items still haven't been claimed. At that time, the items become eligible for donation, which benefits many members of our community. BCT initiated a donation program in 2015. This programs allows many organizations to benefit from unclaimed, reusable items left on buses. So far, BCT has donated more than four hundred bikes and cell phones, dozens of backpacks, purses, clothes, strollers, umbrellas, lunch bags, books and more to a rotating group of charitable or educational groups who then donate them to those in need.

If you would like to be considered for a donation, please contact BCT at bctmarketing@broward.org for consideration.

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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach $$; PEAT; Passport App; Capacity Building & eBooks

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca at Segment II Staging Area
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA AT BEACH STAGING AREA
February 28, 2016 - In his February 2016 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca reports meeting in Tallahassee with officials from other Florida coastal communities to solicit lawmaker support for a reliable beach maintenance funding resource, describes how the Port Everglades Advocacy Team lobbied Tallahassee lawmakers to annually allocate at least $25 million to insure that Florida seaports remain economically competitive, details how a free Mobile Passport Control smart phone / tablet app can expedite processing by U.S. Customs for travelers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, invites budding Broward entrepreneurs to hone their business skills at the 2016 Capacity Building Conference on March 4th and 5th, and applauds Broward County Library for showering patrons with a staggering 1.2 million eBooks in 2015.

Fixing a Funding Breakdown

Click to EDR Beach Report While accompanying Broward beach officials through the mind-numbing regulatory and fiscal gauntlets prerequisite to replenishing beach infrastructure critical to the State’s tourism economy, LaMarca learned that their frustration was shared by officials in coastal jurisdictions all over the State. Shortly after launching the Segment II beach project, LaMarca traveled to Tallahassee to help mitigate future fiscal impediments. Under the auspices of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association, LaMarca joined with counterparts in other Florida beachfront communities to help establish a dedicated funding resource. Drawing on a January 2015 study by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR – research arm of the Florida Legislature) at the request of former House Speaker Will Weatherford, the visiting local politicians prepared a presentation for influential legislative leaders that focused primarily on the fiscal impact of beach renourishment.

EDR Beach Investment Analysis

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.

To quantify the protective value of replenished beaches against catastrophic weather events (hurricanes, storm surge, etc.) and man-made disasters (i.e. the BP oil spill), the EDR analysis utilized beach restoration data for Fiscal Years 2003-2004 through 2013-2014 to address how low-impact, average and high-impact disasters stunt the State economy. The scope included lost tourism revenues, the cost of restoring neglected beaches shocked by disasters, and heightened damage to property adjacent to heavily eroded beaches.

Click to EDR Beach Report For an average disaster, EDR calculated a loss of $921.1 million in visitor spending, reducing state tax revenues by $55.3 million. A high-impact disaster, while requiring a State appropriation of $79.9 million toward a “Federal-State-local” cost-sharing partnership to repair the damaged shoreline (i.e. beaches restored under the Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Program), would also precipitate the loss of approximately $56.8 million in tax revenues. Of course, this pales compared to the incremental post-catastrophic repair costs to property left unprotected by severely eroded beaches. The report estimates that a high impact storm “would result in $159.5 billion worth of property damage, of which $80.4 billion would be uninsured.”

Senate President Andy Gardiner
SENATE PRESIDENT ANDY GARDINER
Consistent with its mandate, the report seeks to capture economic benefits in project selection, asserting “While it may not be feasible to determine return on investment on a project-by-project basis, it is possible to include measures of economic benefit as part of the ranking process.” In other words, the study recommends adding a project’s estimated economic impact to the list of parameters currently used to prioritize State funding.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli
HOUSE SPEAKER STEVE CRISAFULLI
In addition to caucusing with the top dog in both chambers – Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Steve Crisafulli – the visiting County officials scheduled meetings with Senators Alan Hays, Tom Lee, and Jack Latvala and Statehouse Representative Ben Albritton.

Senator Tom Lee
SENATOR TOM LEE
While Hays and Latvala both sit on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee chaired by Lee, Hays also serves on the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation. Latvala chairs the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee while seated on the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism. In the other chamber, Albritton serves on the House Appropriations Committee and chairs the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

Having imparted the EDR research to Florida’s legislative leadership and heavy hitters in Committees at the nexus of Natural Resources, Conservation, Tourism and most importantly – Appropriations, LaMarca and the other coastal County officials also provided these key legislators with a potential funding source that wouldn’t increase taxes.

Capsizing Florida’s Future

Click to Polifact - Scott on the Environment Click to Polifact - Scott on the Environment When Governor Rick Scott incapacitated the State’s 5 regional water management districts, neutered enforcement of anti-pollution laws, packed regulatory boards with developers, polluters and land use lawyers, and stripped the state budget of funds that insure safe drinking water and clean air, the statewide bi-partisan backlash by angry residents and skull-blocked citizens groups was legion, prompting lawmakers to quickly restore some of the divested funds. Budget cuts Scott initially brandished as recessionary palliatives in 2010 were enigmatically deepened each year despite the recovering economy. By 2014, the centerpiece of Florida’s Land Conservation program – Florida Forever – lost over 95% of its funding.

Voters Approve Amendment 1

Click to Florida’s Water and Land Legacy To deter future Gubernatorial - or legislative - attempts to eviscerate funding critical to the State’s environmental infrastructure; conservation watchdogs (Florida’s Water and Land Legacy) filed Ballot Amendment 1. Despite opposition by lawmakers who regularly raided the fund to flesh out personal pork projects, the popular Amendment became Article X, Section 28 of the Florida Constitution following its approval by 75% of the Florida electorate on November 4, 2014 (passage only requires 60% approval).

Click to Documentary Stamp Tax Info By setting aside 33 percent of net revenues from an existing excise tax the state collects on documents when real estate is sold (the “Documentary Stamp Tax”) - estimated at more than $700,000 annually or roughly $15 - $19 billion over the 20-year life of the measure (the amount fluctuates with the economy), the Constitutional Amendment enables the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites.

Click to Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Despite their victory at the polls, Florida residents were quickly disabused of the belief that the State’s Constitution would protect Florida’s natural resources from political whimsy for the next 20 years. Enraged by the loss of a flush funding squeeze toy, lawmakers implemented a strategy to circumvent the Constitutional mandate. In short, they ignored it.

Lawmakers Face the Court

In crafting the 2015 budget, instead of using Amendment 1 funds to protect environmentally sensitive lands and waterways from development, lawmakers allocated the funds to pay the salaries of state workers for the parks and forest services, Florida Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers and employees at the Division of Historical Resources and Cultural Affairs. The money paid for vehicles, office equipment, risk management insurance, damage awards for Civil Rights Act violations, and $5 million to polluters who try to restrict their pollution to their own lands. Amendment funds were also allocated to capital projects, such as sewage treatment plants and the new reservoirs heavily lobbied by agribusiness. In many cases, Amendment 1 funds addressed expenses not remotely connected to the environment. All told, only $50 million was spent on conservation lands while more than $230 million was siphoned off to the general fund.

Click to Sierra Club Click to Florida Wildlife Federation Despite lawmaker protests, the courts will now decide whether lawmakers met their Constitutional burden. A suit filed last June in Leon County (Tallahassee) by the Amendment’s supporters (the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and the Sierra Club) claims that lawmakers violated the Constitution and wrongly diverted funds. In response, Legislative leaders moved that the judge dismiss the suit, asserting that separation of powers immunizes lawmakers to judicial review. Although it’s usually not a good idea to deliberately tick off the judge who’s hearing your case, another motion inferred that the Legislature’s innate power to appropriate funds somehow supersedes the State’s Constitution.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds
LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE GEORGE REYNOLDS
Although the argument was colorful, since the same Constitution empowers the Legislature, it didn’t work. On December 3, 2015 Leon County Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds ruled that the case against the legislature could go forward, although he tossed out a request requiring state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater to transfer $237 million from the general-revenue fund to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. Since Atwater serves in the Executive branch, which is not constitutionally empowered to allocate funds, the request was later redirected to the Legislature.

Click to Sierra Club On November 12, a second suit was filed by the Gainesville-based “Florida Defenders of the Environment”, seeking to block Florida’s environmental agencies from spending wrongly allocated funds. In justifying this legislative bait and switch to constituents, lawmakers are claiming that they technically complied with a “broader interpretation” of the Constitutional amendment.

The legislature’s reaction to Amendment 1was neither surprising nor novel, as lawmakers used the same shell game to backfill educational funding after implementation of the State lottery. Educational funding reallocated by lawmakers to other purposes was replaced dollar for dollar with lottery money, thwarting voter intentions to enhance Florida’s abysmal educational system. Conservationists have observed that the same tactic is now being used to maintain developer control of the State’s environmental agenda.

County Officials Make their Play

Exploring a Beach FundGiven the huge impact that Florida's beaches have on the State’s economy (notwithstanding their importance to the quality of life of almost every Floridian), the visiting County officials suggested annually cloistering $50 million of the Amendment 1 revenues in a dedicated fund to maintain Florida beaches. The strategy was timely, as the current controversy provides lawmakers with incremental political reasons to support the proposal.

Unlike most conservation investments, Florida beaches make money. The EDR report maps out how these economic engines provide the lawmakers with fiscal resources that would otherwise be lost to the State. While spitting in the face of the electorate may have provided some lawmakers with a gratifying cathartic experience, it doesn’t play well with the folks back home. Since maintaining the State’s beaches is squarely part of the amendment’s original mandate, using the funds for beach renourishment would provide embattled lawmakers with credible evidence of Constitutional compliance – which is currently in short supply. In addition to redeeming some trust with embittered constituents, it might score points in the courthouse. Whether or not this plan bears fruit, it was certainly worth a shot. For the rest of LaMarca’s February 2016 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

February 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 each day from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Coastal Commissioners Head to Tallahassee to Push for Designated Beach Funding

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Watches Beach Renourishment
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA EYES BEACH FIX
The Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association and a group of coastal county commissioners from the Panhandle to South Florida joined forces in Tallahassee to discuss the significant role that beaches play in our state's economy. Meetings with state lawmakers included discussions to encourage designated funding for beaches using money reserved for the environment with the passage of Amendment 1.

Click to Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association Website Our beaches are extremely important for our residents and keeping them healthy is what drives our economy. Reports from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research confirm that the statewide beach management program generates a positive return on investment of 5.4 for each dollar that is invested in our beaches. Protecting our beaches is an ongoing process that must be continuously funded to keep their beauty and essence intact.

Port Everglades Advocacy Team Heads to Tallahassee

2016 Port Everglades Advocacy Team
2016 PORT EVERGLADES ADVOCACY TEAM
Port Everglades is a tremendous economic engine for Broward County with an economic impact of $28 billion. This month, the Port Everglades Advocacy Team (PEAT) which is composed of Port Everglades and Intergovernmental Affairs staff, members of the local business community and myself took an advocacy trip to Tallahassee. The team met with several key Legislators and decision makers to thank them for their support of the Port’s infrastructure and to encourage a continued effort of support to provide for future successes.

Port Everglades Advocacy Team meets with George Moraitis
PT EVERGLADES ADVOCACY TEAM & GEORGE MORAITIS
Broward County's Port Everglades, along with other Florida Ports recommend that the Florida Seaport Transportation Economic Development Council (FSTED) program receive a minimum of $25M annually to adequately support seaport infrastructure. According to a study commissioned by the Florida Ports Council, for every $1 invested in Florida Seaports, Florida’s economy experiences $6.90 in economic activity. The Port is such a valued asset to our community. It helps create jobs and also has a great economic impact on Broward County.

Eligible Travelers Have a Mobile Option for Customs and Border Protection Declaration at Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Mobile Passport Control Reader
MOBILE PASSPORT CONTROL READER
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) announced the expansion of Mobile Passport Control (MPC) to FLL. MPC is the first official app to expedite a traveler's arrival into the United States. Eligible travelers submit their passport information and customs declaration form to CBP via a smartphone or tablet app prior to arrival. Android and iPhone users can download the Mobile Passport app for free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Click to Mobile Passport Control Info The app does not require pre-approval, is free to use and does not collect any new information from travelers. Travelers choosing to use the app will no longer have to complete a paper customs declaration form. As a result, travelers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

There are five easy steps to MPC:

  • Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store prior to arriving.

  • Create a profile with your passport information.

  • Complete the "New Trip" section upon arrival in the United States.

  • Submit your CBP Declaration form through the app to receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code.

  • Bring your passport and smartphone or tablet with your digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer.

Broward's Inaugural Capacity Building Conference

Click to Capacity Building Conference Page The Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development will host the 2016 Capacity Building Conference on Friday, March 4th and Saturday, March 5th, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. The purpose of the conference is to assist business with charting a course for success by strengthening their core capacities in general business operations. Business owners and residents are invited to attend this free event to learn, engage in stimulating conversation and encourage key connections. Register online now to join more than 800 registered conference attendees looking to energize their businesses. For more information visit Broward.org/econdev.

Broward County Libraries Circulated 1.2 Million eBooks in 2015

Click to February 9, 2016 Broward County Library WOW News In 2015, Broward County Libraries circulated 1.2 million eBooks to our customers. BCL was one of only 33 libraries in North America that was able to circulate more than one million digital titles in one year.

If you're interested in learning how to download free materials from Broward County Library, including music, movies, TV shows, music videos, eBooks and eAudiobooks, visit Broward.org/library. All are free and open to the public with no registration required.

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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Port; FIT Lease; ICTF; Feral Cats; Free Spay/Neuter & Save H2O

Click to Chip LaMarca January 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Watches Beach Renourishment
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA WATCHING BEACH RENOURISHMENT
January 31, 2016 - In his opening 2016 Newsletter, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca polishes the economic halo adorning Port Everglades, including a record-breaking number of cruise passengers serviced on December 20, a decision by corporate cash cow Florida International Terminal LLC to renew its lease, and an unprecedented jump in rail freight attributable to the recently completed Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. Given his passionate concern for pets and Broward’s feral fauna, LaMarca reviews three newly approved programs crafted to abate the occupancy rate in the County’s animal shelter, and steers cat-lovers to grant recipient “Stray Aid & Rescue”, a mobile Wilton Manors spay/neuter clinic that will also vaccinate for rabies, clip an identifying ear notch and treat for debilitating feline bugs - for only $2 (a negligible co-pay to subsidize the rabies shot). LaMarca closes with an opportunity for ambitious conservationists to win $1000 for engineering and implementing a local water conservation program.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Hosts Beach Renourishment Meeting
LAMARCA HOSTS BEACH RENOURISHMENT MEETING
Since initially elected to the Broward Board, LaMarca has repeatedly equated the County’s fiscal future with the adequacy of its infrastructure. While most Broward residents view renourishing County beaches as integral to their quality of life, LaMarca’s perception of District 4 beaches as economic engines served as a more effective platform for dismantling regulatory obstacles in Tallahassee and Washington DC. His monthly District 4 Newsletters often update competitive infrastructure enhancements to other fiscal keystones; build-outs for transportation hubs (Port Everglades, Hollywood - Fort Lauderdale International Airport, etc.) and framing the Convention Center with a dedicated Headquarters Hotel.

Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approves Port Everglades Dredging
CIVIL WORKS REVIEW BOARD APPROVES DREDGING
To cement its future as a regional economic powerhouse, Port Everglades is racing to implement $600 million in self-funded Master Plan improvements. Last February, the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approved dredging the channel to 48 feet (50 feet with allowable overdepth) and expanding the Southport turning notch (which includes construction of five additional supersized berths), thereby adding Port Everglades to the short list of Gulf and East Coast pit stops for monster post-Panamax vessels that plow across the Panama Canal. The third signature improvement - Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) - was completed in 2014.

Allure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas at Port Everglades
ALLURE OF THE SEAS & NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS - PORT EVERGLADES
Actually, the Port’s record 53,485 travelers weren’t exactly unexpected, as eight of the world’s largest cruise ships were simultaneously berthed on December 20. Of the thousands of vacationers who redeemed “Thank You Points” to bootleg a Holiday-at-sea, 6400 oozed from Royal Caribbean International’s big dog - Allure of the Seas (along with a crew of 2394) and another 3200 from Navigator of the Seas (with a crew of 1181). Princess Cruises Royal Princess and Regal Princess each carried 3600 passengers (with crews of 1346 apiece) while Holland America’s MS Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam each hauled 2104 guests and crews of 929. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest brought in 2974 more cruisers and a crew of 1180 and Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Silhouette added 2850 passengers and 1246 crew members. With these eight floating villages accounting for 37,383 warm bodies, it didn’t take much foot traffic to provide the remaining 16,102 - and crush the five-year old former record by a mere 120 Port patrons.

Click to SAAM
Florida International Terminal LLC at Port Everglades
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL LLC
Hooking the Florida International Terminal LLC (FIT) for another decade was Holiday cheddar negotiated by Port Officials. Two years after being formed in 2004 by Latin American Port Operators SAAM and Agunza, FIT opened in Broward (2006) to service some of the huge post-Panamax ocean carriers anticipated in the Port’s Master Plan. Initially, FIT was handling 76,170 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, the standard industry measurement for containers) at its outset. Having grown 105% in the past decade, FIT moved 156,045 TEUs in FY2015 - although much of the growth was realized in the past year - when Port Everglades was selected as the first and last U.S. calls for SeaLand and APL’s North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) to Latin America.

Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opens an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
FEC OPENS ICTF IN JULY 2014
Click to American President Lines SeaLand - an ocean freight shipping company that recently opened headquarters in Miramar - was acquired in 1999 by Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company (14% global market share). APL (American President Lines Ltd.) - the world’s fifth-largest container transportation and shipping company - is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, a global transportation and logistics company. The joint SeaLand/APL service selected FIT to provide cargo handling and stevedoring service at Port Everglades, and generates more than 20,000 container moves annually.

Click to SeaLand It’s no coincidence that SeaLand/APL moved their business to Port Everglades upon completion of Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF). Increasing the intermodal facility’s available capacity from 100,000 to 450,000 lifts a year – and keeping cargo off congested highways – expedited freight to 70% of the U.S. markets within 4 days, fattening bottom lines. As observed by LaMarca, by handling a 26 percent jump in product during its first year of operation, the ICTF also plumped the Port’s containerized cargo volume by 5%. The $millions in new tax revenues funneled from the Port into State and local coffers would otherwise show up on County trim notices. For LaMarca’s January 2016 message in its entirety, Read on – [editor]

 

January 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 a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County:

Port Everglades Breaks World Record

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
Broward County's Port Everglades broke its own world record for the most cruise passengers to embark and disembark in a single day. An astonishing 53,485 guests had the privilege of visiting Port Everglades on December 20th, 2015. The Port's last record was set March 20th, 2010 with 53,365 guests. Broward County's Port Everglades is consistently ranked as one of the top three busiest cruise ports in the world. The Port's widespread fleet of cruise ships provides guests with a range of cruise vacation choices. For details and more information about Port Everglades, please visit www.porteverglades.net or email PortEverglades@broward.org.

FIT Renews 20-year Agreement at Port Everglades

Florida International Terminal LLC at Port Everglades
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL LLC
Florida International Terminal LLC (FIT) is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Broward County's Port Everglades. Recently, FIT renewed its long-term marine terminal lease, which is projected to generate $57 million over the next 10 years of the agreement. The agreement also includes two five-year renewal options.

Click to Florida International Terminal Website This agreement will support an estimated 400 direct local jobs and 1,060 total jobs statewide that will generate more than $72 million in personal income and nearly $7 million in state and local taxes each year. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 and be completed by the end of 2019. Ongoing capital improvements and expansion will ensure that Port Everglades can continue to handle future growth in container traffic. Port Everglades is the top ranked container port in the state of Florida.

FEC’s Broward Facility Boosts Rail Freight Traffic

FEC’s Intermodal Container Transfer Facility
FEC INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY
The Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) 43-acre intermodal facility in Broward County is bringing more cargo through South Florida. The Intermodal Container Transfer Facility helped boost cargo volume at Port Everglades. There was a 26 percent increase in volume at the facility during its first year of operation.

Click to Florida East Coast Railway Website Containerized cargo volumes at Port Everglades grew by 5 percent during 2014 and it is attributed to the increase in new and expanded cargo service, including the first full operational year of FECR’s intermodal facility. Customers are now provided with faster deliveries and more efficient cargo handling due to less containers having to be trucked through interstate highways.

Broward County Saves Community Cats

Click to Community Cats Website In order to reduce the number of unwanted animals entering the County's shelter by lowering the overall birth rate of puppies and kittens and helping our community animals be healthy and safe, the County Commission agreed upon three programs: the Spay, Neuter Incentive Program (SNIP), the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, and the Return-to Field (RTF) program.

Click to Community Cats Website The SNIP program, which is similar to the county’s Stop Pet Over-population Together (SPOT) program, helps SNIP providers perform pet sterilizations for owned dogs and cats for income-eligible Broward County residents. A co-payment will be established with no co-payment for low-income residents, $10 for median income residents and $70 for a resident earning above the median income. The second program, TNR, consists of humanely trapping, sterilizing, vaccinating, ear notching and returning feral cats to the location they were obtained from. The TNR program service providers will perform sterilizations and additional services as outlined in the agreement at an established reimbursement amount of $50 per cat. The agreement also provides for a trapping reimbursement in the amount of $25 per authorized trapping trip regardless of the number of cats obtained. The RTF program will conduct a similar process to cats that enter the County’s shelter. RTF service providers will perform sterilizations and additional services as outlined in the agreement at an established reimbursement amount of $50 per cat. Shelter staff are also allowed to immediately sterilize, vaccinate and return cats, rather than waiting three days, and authorize their return to the streets where they were living.

Great News from Stray Aid & Rescue Spay/Neuter Clinic

Click to Florida Animal Friend Stray Aid & Rescue operates a mobile spay/neuter clinic in Wilton Manors. Florida Animal Friend awarded the organization $25,000 to spay/neuter 714 cats in zip codes 33304, 33313, and 33441. There will be a $2 co-pay to cover the rabies vaccination. All cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated for rabies, ear notched to show that they have been "fixed", and given Ivermectin for ear mites, mange, and intestinal parasites. This program will continue until July 31st, 2016.

Click to Broward Public Library Foundation These cats are not only reproducing, but suffering as well. They are in dire need of help and the organization cannot do all of this alone. Help is needed from residents and business owners to be proactive to trap and bring these cats to the clinic. Kitten season is just around the corner and help is needed to get ahead of it. More information and instructions about this program can be found on the Stray Aid & Rescue website www.strayaid.org.

Broward Water Partnership Launches Neighborhood Water Challenge

Click to Conservation Pays Website Residents in participating Broward Water Partnership communities are eligible to participate in the Neighborhood Water Challenge from April through May 2016. The contest consist of two categories: Water Conservation and Outreach and Education. In the Water Conservation category, neighborhood teams of 2 to 5 can get together to conserve water. Neighbors have to work together over a two month period to save water. Water savings will be determined by comparing 2015 water bills with 2016 water bills. The second category, Outreach and Education challenges contestants to create and implement an outreach program to help their neighbors understand that conservation and reuse are about using all of our water resources wisely.

Each first place winner will receive $1000 cash. Second place winners will receive a water-conserving irrigation system. Contestants must register by March 15, 2016. Program details are available at ConservationPays.com.

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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LBTS Gives BCT Route the Boot

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
WHY IS ROUTE 72 BUS BACK ON THE GALT?
January 12, 2016 - After three months of fomenting fear and frustration while chewing up public and private infrastructure, in October,
Broward County Transit (BCT) announced that the layover sites of four Broward bus routes would no longer obstruct Galt Ocean Drive. Buses from three of the four routes were relocated, leaving only those from Route 55 to clog the narrow beachfront artery. Suddenly in December, despite a promise by County officials to mitigate the bus barricade, buses from Route 72 enigmatically reappeared on Galt Ocean Drive. Having worked to purge the buses, Galt Mile officials flashed back to an impromptu remark by BCT Operations Representative Oscar Correa, “You can expect these buses to block your street while the A1A Greenway Project proceeds over the next two to three years.” WOOF!

Regency Tower President Eileen Bendis
REGENCY TOWER PRESIDENT
EILEEN BENDIS
Click to Broward County Transit In contrast with buses that simply thicken local traffic by picking up and discharging passengers along a route, by definition, a layover site acts as an on-street bus depot - where three or four buses serving a particular route are stacked while drivers take a stroll, grab a long lunch, adjust for scheduling glitches, or snooze through their shift. When irate Regency Tower President Eileen Bendis tried to find out why empty BCT buses were blocking her association’s driveways, Broward County Transit Project Manager Arethia Douglas explained that the drivers were following work protocols enumerated in their union contract, although conceding that these don’t include leaving buses unattended for two or three hours.

Since layover sites invariably impede traffic while prompting complaints about pollution and noise, they are expressly located along wide, two to four-lane thoroughfares (like A1A), where motorists can navigate around the blockage – or they are consigned to sparsely populated outlying streets - tactically sequestering their innately adverse impacts. When the resulting traffic plug is loosed on a heavily populated local street, it wreaks havoc.

Havoc on Galt Ocean Drive

Click to FDOT
Galt Mile in 1993
GALT OCEAN MILE IN 1993
To accommodate Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) construction of the Galt Mile A1A Greenway, buses from Routes #36, #55 and #72 that historically laid over on A1A just south of 41st Street, were shifted to Galt Ocean Drive last July. Galt Ocean Drive was already hosting the layover for Route 11 buses. BCT Project Manager Douglas also told Bendis “I knew this was a bad idea,” when FDOT officials asked her to transplant the layovers to a busy residential street that’s technically too narrow to even support a bike lane. Without informing neighborhood officials, tiny Galt Ocean Drive was suddenly burdened with anchoring four of Broward’s busiest bus routes. As Douglas anticipated, the layovers blocked the street and stymied association operations. They also threatened the lives of local residents.

Waste Managenment Pickup at Cutout
Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
In 1996, streetside association cutouts were built and paid for by Galt Mile residents participating in a $3.8 Million self-assessed neighborhood improvement project. Despite City assurances that they would only be used by the public as loading zones, County buses left unattended in the cutouts blocked waste removal pickups, moving vans for residents relocating to or from the building, and large-load deliveries. Vacated buses parked in front of association driveways blocked drivers from entering or exiting the property.

BCT Buses Block Regency Tower Driveways and Cutout
BCT BUSES BLOCK BOTH REGENCY TOWER DRIVEWAYS & CUTOUT
The blockade’s threat to residents and property, as detailed in the September 2015 newsletter and summarized elsewhere in this edition, was substantially mitigated when impacted associations funneled additional resources into bulking up security. Since three or four buses abandoned daily in front of Playa del Mar and Regency Tower wholly obstructed a view of the street, scores of accidents were narrowly averted by incremental security staffers assigned to escort pedestrians across the street and guide departing drivers around the buses onto Galt Ocean Drive. Unfortunately, they were less successful when trying to locate the drivers of vacated buses that blocked EMTs responding to emergencies in Galt Mile associations.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
Repeated pleas for relief by frustrated Board members, managers and residents were ignored by BCT Operations personnel. By late August, angry emails began pouring into the neighborhood association. Having sent Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca pictures of four Broward buses parked in front of Playa del Mar and another three buses blocking both Regency Tower driveways, Galt Mile officials described how the bus barricade blocked traffic, documented damage to both public and association property, and imparted how the buses endangered local residents while crippling association protocols. At a subsequent August 25 discussion arranged by LaMarca with Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling, GMCA President Pio Ieraci exhorted Garling to remove the buses before someone is hurt - or killed.

BCT Flea Circus Moved to LBTS

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Commission Meeting
LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA TOWN COMMISSION MEETING
Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling
BROWARD COUNTY TRANSIT
DIRECTOR TIM GARLING
Conceding that the situation was intolerable, Garling agreed to undo the damage. He crafted a remediation plan for approval at a September BCT administrative transit hearing. While he could re-route buses attached to Routes 11 and 36, given the dearth of local municipal parking lots or other appropriately cloistered locations, finding alternative layovers for Route 55 and 72 buses would prove more difficult. On September 8, Garling approached the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Commission with the prospect of moving the Route 55 and 72 layovers to El Mar Drive between Hibiscus Avenue and Palm Avenue (in front of the old Holiday Inn). Since the former hotel was awaiting planned redevelopment, locating the layover adjacent to a block-long construction site would minimize resident complaints about noise and exhaust emissions.

Layover Site in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
LAYOVER SITE IN LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
(THE OLD HOLIDAY INN)
The Town Board agreed to host one of the two routes, rejecting the Route 55 buses while approving the layover for Route 72 - as long as BCT respected the Town’s traffic laws and parking rules. Despite a BCT promise to comply, Commissioners added a loophole: the layover could be terminated by LBTS Town Manager Connie Hoffmann on 30-days’ notice. Two prospective impediments prompted the Caveat; a possible conflict with future construction at the adjacent old hotel site, and the reputed propensity for BCT drivers to ignore rules or laws. On October 11, Garling announced that buses from Routes 11 and 36 would no longer service Galt Ocean Drive, and buses from route 72 would layover in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, leaving only buses from Route 55 on the Galt Mile. The BCT website simultaneously affirmed that the Route 36 and 72 layovers would be discontinued on Galt Ocean Drive.

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 72 BUS ON THE GALT
On December 28, when Galt Mile officials learned that Route 72 buses were once again parking on Galt Ocean Drive, they notified LaMarca, requested an explanation and demanded their removal. When one of the BCT drivers was asked why the Route 72 buses had returned, he said that BCT officials moved the layover back to the Galt Mile because LBTS residents kept pulling down BCT signage. Given the difficulty of finding locally viable layover sites, it seemed unlikely that BCT would desert a location approved by the Town Board because some Yahoos vandalized a sign. After a few days without a response from LaMarca or Garling, Galt Mile officials decided to explore a more credible prospect.

LBTS Boots the Buses

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Manager Connie Hoffmann
LBTS TOWN MANAGER
CONNIE HOFFMANN
BCT didn’t leave El Mar Drive because vandals molested their sign - they were booted out of LBTS by the Town Manager. As provided in the minutes of the LBTS November 10 Town Commission meeting, “Regarding the buses on El Mar Drive, Town Manager Hoffmann noted that the Town is receiving complaints related to noise and exhaust fumes. Buses have been asked not to park on the sidewalk. ...This issue will be brought before the Commission with a recommendation at a later time.” Two weeks later, at the November 24th LBTS Commission meeting, Hoffmann said “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.”

Bent Signpost between Regency Tower and Playa del Mar
DAMAGED SIGNPOST AT REGENCY TOWER & PLAYA DEL MAR
Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract When Hoffmann invoiced the Broward Transportation Department (parent agency to Broward County Transit) for infrastructure damaged by reckless drivers, her frustration resonated with Galt Mile officials. A bent signpost between Regency Tower and Playa del Mar serves as a reminder of driver proclivities to play pinball with parked vehicles and sidewalk infrastructure. Since buses parked along both sides of the street often hopped the curb (onto the sidewalk), Galt Mile residents with smart phones texted association officials when BCT drivers broke a curbside sewer drain, cracked aggregate sidewalk panels, collided with a street lamp, cracked cutout pavers and damaged adjacent vehicles.

Neither Garling nor BCT Operations personnel are strangers to neighborhood complaints about layover sites or chronically negligent bus drivers on the County payroll. While most BCT drivers are competent and courteous, provisions in Broward’s agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1267, prevent the County from washing out drivers who cause up to four collisions or run 4 red lights - every two years.

Bad Apples and Broken Promises

Journalist Brittany Wallman
JOURNALIST BRITTANY WALLMAN
For years, Sun Sentinel journalist Brittany Wallman has been adding to an ongoing exposé of Broward bus drivers who, despite driving records blemished by dozens of accidents and scores of moving violations, continue to drive for the County. To imbue her articles with statistical credibility, Wallman organized County Records into a 750-page online database of customer complaints filed against drivers employed by Broward County Transit between 2010 and 2013. Accident & incident reports were also compiled into a 1,290-page database.

Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract Wallman laments how a termination process mandated by the union contract, when coupled with management’s fear of arbitration, made it nearly impossible to discharge a county bus driver for incompetence behind the wheel. To terminate a driver, management must demonstrate the driver’s involvement in more than 4 preventable accidents or having run more than four red lights during the previous 24 months. In fact, according to Article 10, Section 3 of the contract, “After twenty-four (24) months all materials pertaining to discipline in an employee's file will not be used for disciplinary purposes.” After 2 years, accidents are expunged from the driver’s record as a cause for termination, allowing BCT drivers a virtually unlimited number of preventable accidents without getting canned – as long as they don’t cause more than 4 within a 24-month period.

BCT driver Charles Raymond Smith
BCT DRIVER CHARLES RAYMOND SMITH
Since a five-member Accident Review Board (two of whom are named by the bus driver’s union) decides whether accidents were preventable, nearly 75% of the accidents are exempted from consideration (they don’t count!). Even if the standard for termination is met, when a driver invokes a right to arbitration, BCT management folds like a cheap suit. After a slap on the wrist, the driver is back on the road - and causes more damage.

Click to Brittany Wallman November 20, 2015 Article Nearly half of the 629 County drivers between 2008 and 2013 had clean records (zero preventable accidents). Of the 3,556 reported accidents (and their $7.1 million cost to County taxpayers for bus-related injuries and property damage), the vast majority were attributed to just under ten percent of the drivers (59 - to be exact). In February, Wallman featured the driving antics of 69-year-old Fred Fischer, who - despite rear-ending 13 vehicles and crashing his bus 21 times while enduring 19 suspensions and 32 disciplinary actions - is still driving a County bus. More recently and closer to home, on November 20, 2015, she looked at the driving record of 62-year-old North Lauderdale resident Charles Raymond Smith, whom Wallman credited with 16 accidents, receiving 25 written warning slips, and serving 30 days of unpaid suspension. Wallman also observed that the 21-year County driver is currently plying his trade in a Route 55 bus, placing him at ground zero in the Galt Mile neighborhood.

Click to Route 72 Layover Rider Alert
BCT Bus Accident
BCT BUS ACCIDENT
The LBTS Town Commission evicted the County buses because drivers broke the rules that BCT promised to follow, ignoring repeated warnings against parking on the sidewalk and capriciously destroying town property – just like they did on the Galt Mile. Also, since LBTS wouldn’t tolerate the noise and exhaust fumes at a location that’s largely uninhabited, BCT officials thought it less egregious to move the offending layover to a site smack in the middle of 14,000 Galt Mile residents. As BCT was being tossed out of LBTS, a Rider Alert was posted on the BCT website, announcing that the Route 72 layover was being returned to Galt Ocean Drive on December 20, 2015.

Migraine or Minor Setback?

Armed with the LBTS meeting minutes, on December 30, GMCA President Pio Ieraci sent another message to LaMarca and Garling. Referencing an attached copy of Hoffmann’s rationale for ousting BCT buses, Ieraci inquired “If ‘noise, fumes, drivers who do not follow instructions & damage to property’ is not acceptable to LBTS, why would it be acceptable to the Galt? We were promised that only the #55 bus would layover on the Galt. We formally request that bus #72 be relocated IMMEDIATELY to someplace other than the Galt. I look forward to your prompt attention to this matter. Happy New Year!”

More to come... and a happy and healthy New Year… to you and your family!!!

 


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

New BCT Buses; Port Checkpoints; Pet Register & Calendar Photo

Click to Chip LaMarca December 2015 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA DECEMBER UPDATE
January 2, 2016 - In his December 2015 message to constituents, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca applauds Broward County Transit (BCT) for launching full-featured new buses onto local thoroughfares, describes how a burdensome access glitch to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center will soon be corrected, advises pet owners to protect their furry companions against rabies, wandering off or getting snatched, and cites local photographer Fred Johnson for landing the cover page of the 2016 Florida Association of Counties Calendar.

Click to MyRide Broward In acclaiming the 31 new buses purchased by BCT, LaMarca refers to “MyRide Broward”, a real time bus tracking system that alerts riders to when the next three buses will arrive at any particular bus stop. Deploying Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to locate buses and estimate arrival times, the continuously updated information is instantaneously transmitted to smart phones and other online devices (i.e. tablets, computers, etc.). After the projected launch date in spring of 2016, the real time output will be made available on the Broward County Transit website (Broward.org/BCT).

Luxurious New BCT Express Bus
LUXURIOUS NEW BCT EXPRESS BUS
17 of the new buses are articulated - carrying up to 57 passengers in two attached compartments totaling 60 feet in length. Five others are 40-foot, diesel hybrid-electric powered buses seating 38 customers, fully accessible with a low-floor design and a ramp for wheelchair boarding through the entrance door. Since the last nine 45-foot buses are dedicated to long-distance service (Express routes to Miami, etc.), BCT took a page from the airlines, as their 55 high-back seats have extra hip-to-knee space, and each is equipped with LED reading lights, individually controlled air conditioning vents, 110-volt electrical outlets, Wi-Fi and USB ports.

Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract Although overlooked in LaMarca’s newsletter, of far greater relevance to Galt Mile residents was a recent BCT rider alert advising that buses from Route 72 may once again “layover” on Galt Ocean Drive. Unlike buses that pick up and discharge passengers along a route, a layover site serves as an on-street depot, where three or four buses are stacked while drivers stretch their legs, eat lunch, or parse a few hours to achieve enlightenment (as authorized in their union contract). Since they invariably interfere with traffic, layover sites are located along wide, multi-lane thoroughfares, where motorists can skirt around the anticipated blockage – or on largely vacated streets.

Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
When construction on the Galt Mile A1A greenway project began in July, BCT officials relocated the layover sites for buses in Routes #36, #55 and #72 from A1A to Galt Ocean Drive, ignoring how Route #11 buses were already laying over on a beachside street too narrow to legally support a bike lane, much less anchor four bus routes. The resulting traffic plug blocked the street, undermined association operations and threatened the lives of residents.

BCT Buses Block Regency Tower Driveways and Cutout
BCT BUSES BLOCK BOTH REGENCY TOWER DRIVEWAYS & CUTOUT
For almost three months, three or four buses regularly left unattended on both sides of the narrow street pinched off traffic, blocked drivers from entering or exiting association driveways, usurped association cutouts ordinarily used for waste removal, move-ins / move-outs and large load deliveries and blocked Fire-Rescue EMTs headed for Galt Mile associations. Since the blockade wholly obstructed a view of the street, daily accidents were narrowly averted by alert association security personnel assigned to escort pedestrians across the street and guide departing drivers around the buses onto Galt Ocean Drive.

Journalist Brittany Wallman
JOURNALIST BRITTANY WALLMAN
Click to Brittany Wallman November 20, 2015 Article Inattentive bus drivers damaged street lamps, signage, trees, sidewalk panels, curbs & association landscaping. In a November 20, 2015 article that capped a 3-year exposé, Sun Sentinel Reporter Brittany Wallman credited a BCT driver on the Galt Mile (Route 55) with 16 collisions, 25 written warning slips and 30 days of unpaid suspension. When shrugged off by BCT operations personnel, angry Galt Mile residents, managers and board members contacted the neighborhood association for help.

Route 55 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 55 BUS ON THE GALT
Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling
BCT DIRECTOR TIM GARLING
On August 25th, when Galt Mile officials detailed the potentially disastrous repercussions for County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, he brought BCT Director Tim Garling to the table – who agreed to either re-route the buses or find alternative layover sites. Shortly thereafter, LaMarca informed Galt Mile officials that Route 72 buses would layover at El Mar Drive in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea while buses from Routes 11 and 36 would no longer service Galt Ocean Drive, leaving only Route 55 buses to clutter our street. Officially approved at a mid-September BCT administrative transit hearing, the corrective measures were implemented on October 11, returning Galt Ocean Drive to its residents

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 72 BUS ON THE GALT
Click to Broward County Transit On December 28, several Galt Mile residents notified the neighborhood association that Route 72 buses were once again parking on Galt Ocean Drive. Allowing for the prospect of an administrative foul-up, Galt Mile officials shot emails to LaMarca and Garling, asking why the anathematic conveyance was again blighting Galt Ocean Drive while demanding its removal. Given Garling’s promise to relocate the route’s layover to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, how LaMarca and Garling plan to address this surreptitiously revived threat will be forwarded to the Advisory Board, member associations and neighborhood residents. Stay tuned.

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE/BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER
For years, the aging Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center has been leaking customers, competitively hampered by the absence of an integrated hotel and an idiotic requirement that optometrists, stamp dealers, crafters, biomolecular researchers and other conventioneers or expo-goers driving to the Center (or its attached garage) show a government issued-ID, undergo vetting for arrest warrants, have their car trunk inspected while asked, “Do you have any weapons?”

Old Port Everglades Security Gate
OLD PORT EVERGLADES SECURITY GATE
Putting Convention Center visitors through a security grinder was an unintended consequence of a poorly planned reaction to 9/11. After the Trade Center went down, former Governor Jeb Bush assigned 141 National Guard reservists from the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery (who lived from Fort Pierce to Fort Lauderdale) to protect the port, specifically the huge stores of petroleum that supply gas stations in 12 South Florida counties and jet fuel dumps in South Florida Airports. By erecting a temporary security gate (made permanent in 2005) at the nearby 17th Street and Eisenhower Boulevard shared access to the Convention Center, the County serendipitously burdened the Center’s future patrons with invasive security protocols meant instead for visitors to the port.

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center & Headquarters Hotel
CONVENTION CENTER & HEADQUARTERS HOTEL
Although 3 different plans to improve the center and correct the security gaffe went south during the past decade, Broward officials are finally addressing these competitive impediments. Having eroded longstanding opposition by local hoteliers to building a Headquarters Hotel, the County is crafting plans to enhance and expand the center, and has already begun severing access to the convention center from the port’s security envelope.

The $12.7 million plan to relocate the security gate replaced a planned bypass road that spiraled from $30 million to $93 million before being quashed by the County Board in 2013. The relocation price-tag included revisions to the port’s fiber-optic security infrastructure and navigating costly regulatory dogma with the Coast Guard, the Broward Sheriff and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. To check out the rest of Commissioner LaMarca’s December 2015 Newsletter – Read on... - [editor]

 

December 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Wishing you the closeness of friends, the comfort of home and the tranquility of a renewed spirit throughout the Holiday Season and a New Year marked by good health, happiness and prosperity.

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.

New Broward County Buses in Service

Chip LaMarca Rides New Broward Luxury Express Bus
LAMARCA ON NEW BUS
More than 30 new Broward County Transit buses are currently or will soon be on the road serving customers. Those customers will benefit from Broward County's nearly $26 million investment by having a more comfortable ride and more reliable vehicles. All buses will be equipped with updated technology as part of the MyRide Broward real time bus tracking system, coming soon to BCT! The new buses will serve various routes and serve thousands of customers each day. Broward County Transit (BCT) provides safe and economical bus transportation via fixed route, express, community bus and paratransit services to its customers. Annually BCT provides nearly 40 million rides to customers and operates 44 major routes within 410 square miles of Broward County, as well as carrying commuters to Miami and connecting with neighboring transit agencies. For more information about BCT or for help planning your trip, visit their website or call customer service seven days a week at 954.357.8400 or TTY 954-357.8302.

Port Security Checkpoint Demolition Scheduled

Old Port Everglades Security Gate
OLD PORT EVERGLADES SECURITY GATE
Visitors to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center will enjoy easier access to the Center and the parking garage once demolition of the old checkpoint to enter Port Everglades is completed sometime later this month. In the past, all visitors entering Eisenhower Boulevard from 17th Street Causeway had to clear a security checkpoint, showing a driver's license or passport, before turning into the Center and its attached garage, which also provides access to a Cruise Terminal. The new checkpoint was built south of 20th Street, and south of the Convention Center, eliminating the need to clear security. Cruise passengers will clear security once they enter Terminal 2. The relocation of the new security checkpoint and demolition of the old checkpoint are among the many projects that make up the Seaport and Convention Center Security Improvement Project, which separates the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center from the Port's controlled access area to allow for improved traffic flow in and out of the Convention Center. For more information, visit porteverglades.net.

Animal Care Clinics make it easy to protect and identify pets

Microchips Help Locate Lost Pets
MICROCHIP - FIND LOST PETS
Rabies vaccinations and Pet Registration Tags are required by law, and Animal Care makes it easy to protect your pet by offering a series of monthly events throughout the County so that dogs and cats can be vaccinated, registered and micro-chipped, quickly and conveniently. There is a $300 fine for pet owners who do not have their dog or cat vaccinated against rabies and a $300 fine for pets that are not registered with the County.

Cost for a one-year rabies vaccination and Broward County Pet Registration Tag is:

  • $25 if your pet is spayed or neutered

  • $35 if your pet is not spayed or neutered

Pet Registration Tags Save Lives Microchips, with free registration, are also available at each Rabies Clinic for $15. Micro-chipping is a permanent form of identification. Once the chip is registered, pets are safeguarded in case they become lost or stolen. Each Rabies Clinic takes place from 9AM to 2PM. To attend a Rabies Clinic event, pet owners must be a Broward County resident. No appointment is necessary and customers are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. All dogs must be on a leash and all cats must be in carriers. No cash or checks please; only debit and credit cards will be accepted. For a complete schedule of the 2016 clinics, visit our website.

Broward County Resident Wins Calendar Cover

Sunrise at Fort Lauderdale Beach

 

Click to Florida Association of Counties A photo showing a beautiful morning along Fort Lauderdale Beach is the "awesome weather" photo for the 2016 FAC Calendar. "Sunrise at Fort Lauderdale Beach" in Broward County is the chosen cover photo for the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) 2016 Calendar. The winning cover photo was one of many photos submitted by Broward resident Fred Johnson. The 2016 Florida Association of Counties Calendar is for sale on the FAC website.

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.

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