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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
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
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
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
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
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
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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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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


Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
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
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
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, 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
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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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: 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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
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
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 Fitch & Associates 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 by selecting STATISTICS in the left navigation.

Port Everglades Renews 20-year Agreement

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
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 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

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
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 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 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

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: 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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 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 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

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: 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 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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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 or email

FIT Renews 20-year Agreement at Port Everglades

Florida International Terminal LLC at Port Everglades
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
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 Conservation Pays 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 Conservation Pays 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

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

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: 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 (

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
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
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
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
Broward County Transit 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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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

Animal Care Clinics make it easy to protect and identify pets

Microchips Help Locate 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 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

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: 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 The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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