By Mayor Joy Cooper
HALLANDALE BEACH -
Commission Held The First Of Two Public Hearings For The 2014-2015 Annual Budget
This past Monday, the Hallandale Beach City Commission held the first of two public hearings for the 2014-2015 annual budget. The budget was passed with the roll back millage rate of 5.1918 mills. This is a reduction from last year. I recently wrote that we were planning on utilizing only $5,800 dollars of reserve funding as discussed and adopted at our workshop. After making adjustments prompted by the commission, the staff came back with a finalized budget that did not use reserves at all. We will be adding $80,000 to our reserve fund.
In basic terms, homesteaded property owners will see a decrease in their taxes due to the roll back rate. Taxes on non-homesteaded properties will depend on the assessed valuations. There were no increases in any fees. If you reside in one of the two safe neighborhood districts, the millage rate remained the same. These rates were not reduced due to the fact that the districts are to make improvements to camera systems and the neighborhoods wanted to maintain the level services.
The city has maintained in some cases increased services this budget. As I have shared with our readers, we continue to move the city forward by making strategic improvements to our infrastructure. We are opening two new parks, installing automated water meters, and setting the stage for a comprehensive citywide camera system to improve safety, designing and beginning to build a brand new main fire station and conducting a complete street audit in preparation of upgrading areas that do not have sidewalks, lighting, proper drainage and other basic amenities.
The next and final budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 30th, starting at 6 PM in the City Hall Chambers.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet with many groups to discuss the budget and our Parks GO Bond. During those meetings, a few question stood out that I would like to share with our readers. Our North and South Beach parks are under construction. There is some confusion over the north beach facility that needs to be addressed. This park is a city park and will remain a city park. The developer of Beachwalk has paid for and is performing all of the construction as part of their development agreement.
As part of the DA, they can recommend a vendor for the concessions but the vendor must be approved by the city commission. More importantly, the concession agreement must be approved by the commission at a public meeting. The city manager will be in negotiation for the charges for service, operational hours, security controls and other operational aspects along with the developer to ensure that we have a quality venue. It has also been made clear to the developer and vendor that a Hallandale Beach resident rate for services must be part of the concession agreement.
This is not a private club and not for the exclusive use of Beachwalk. Just as South Beach has a concession area where you can rent chairs, umbrellas and pay for refreshments. The city will receive a shared revenue from the operations. The North Beach vendor will be guaranteeing a minimum of $60,000 dollars of revenue up front annually and then a percent of sales. This item will be placed on the agenda when ready. Currently, North Park is scheduled for a February opening and South Beach in January.
Another good question was about where residents can donate old clothes and slightly used household items. Our city is very fortunate to have a human service department called The Hepburn Center located at the corner of MLK Boulevard (Northwest 8th Avenue) and Foster Road. They have a small thrift shop that helps to benefit the needy. There is a food pantry run by the center that provides food distribution to qualified residents. Residents can also drop off canned or unopened dry goods to help keep the pantry stocked.
I have also been asked about the city’s comprehensive planning efforts. Our city does have a comprehensive plan. It addresses everything having to do with development and the level of service for water, waste water, sanitation, drainage, affordable housing, transportation, schools open space, etc. The plan is reviewed and amended every five years.
The city also has a Master Plan to guide redevelopment. This focuses on where and what types of development our residents want to maintain. The city has hired Treasure Coast Planning to develop the guidelines for the master plan. After many months of meeting with residents, property owners, developers and focus groups, the first draft was presented to the Planning and Zoning Board last month for discussion. On September 23rd at 6:30 PM the P&Z Board will be reviewing the item again to provide recommendations to the commission.
P&Z meetings along with all of our commission meetings and the CRA Board meetings are televised on Comcast Community Channel and streamed live and recorded on our web-site. I continue to encourage everyone to sign up on our web-site site at: www.cohb.org to be notified of all our meetings and upcoming events. You will also find robust accessible public information on all our services, departments and financial information.
I want to wish all of our Jewish friends and neighbors, a blessed and peaceful New Year.
Please remember it is hurricane season. Our city is ready, are you? Do you know that once a storm strikes our first responders must retreat until after the storm passes? That means there may likely be a time when you are on your own. Be prepared with water, food and other needs to sustain your health and safety.
As always feel free to reach out to me with your questions, concerns and ideas to make our city a better place. I can be reached at my office number: (954) 457-1318. You can call or text me on my cell at: (954) 632-5700. Or you can visit my web-site at: www.mayorjoycooper.com.