2022 - Year In Review: We Obviously Are Still Not Out of The Woods
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
December 29, 2022
What a year 2022 has been. We started off with the Omicron Variant and now are still dealing with COVID-19. It has been a full two years this January that we have been dealing with the virus. Currently we are still hearing about case after case. I keep hearing of individuals and children traveling and ending up with COVID-19. So, the virus is still as insidious as it has ever been. The message is, if you are at risk go get the new shot.
2022 for the City started off luckily without any fiscal urgency. This would not have been possible since we were still utilizing the ARPA Economic Relief. No matter what you may think of our President he has done an amazing job. Thanks to President Biden and Congress for making sure that they address the crisis head on. Without this aid, many communities would have gone bankrupt. More importantly, many, many families would have not made it through. We obviously are still not out of the woods.
Pundits and residents alike love to complain about the rampant inflation and blame it on the President. In reality, the economic crisis and inflation is worldwide. Manufacturing shutdowns, unemployment and oil shortages created world instability. Our inflation rate has been lower than other countries and we are starting to see stabilization in the GPI and CPI. This situation is not going away as many predict it will continue into 2023.
The war in Ukraine began in February 2022 and added further unrest globally. Food shortages and oil prices continue to be at risk. This war has been creating added instability that has compounded inflation due to COVID-19. Worldwide supply chain issues that started during Covid continue to directly impact every industry. This includes our local government.
In 2022’s City of Hallandale Beach budget, we had to make tough decisions that include raising our tax rate. While we have been righting the ship, we are still having issues with operational costs, employment challenges from the many people dropping out of the job market and cost of supplies.
These costs have delayed some of our projects. Many of our pumping stations and underground infrastructure projects that were to start in October have been delayed until the first quarter of 2023. With many specialty firms in high demand, we were at least able to secure RFPs. Now it is a matter of equipment and workers.
Construction is booming in Florida. With the great migration in the state and the high demand for affordable housing, many firms are focused on that construction field. Many also are addressing the other crisis from 2022, the Surfside catastrophe. This has put high pressure on our building department.
Our City has been working to address staffing levels and move the department in the right direction. I am happy to report we have finally expanded our outside contracting with Broward County and Calvin Giordano which will help us make our goal of reducing permit timing.
2022 also brought us a renewal of our Police Department. 2020 and before our Department was down over 20 officers. This was truly unacceptable and a result of poor management and lack of oversight from previous Commissions and City Managers. We hired Chief Michel to lead the department and since then we have hired many new officers and filled the Gap, As of a month ago they were still 5 down, but this number was typical in Departments. Officers retire and some move to other Departments.
City Manager Earle has been keenly focused on all Departments and has set up teams to address many problems. The Finance Department has been working to address a critical meter reading issue throughout our City. The major cause has been the meters. Many meters have malfunctioned. They are under warranty but due to supply chain issues we have been unable to replace them in a timely manner. They have developed a plan that was presented last meeting that will tie water plants, billing and new meters. In 2023 this plan will be implemented.
2022 also marked the City approval for PAL to move into Foster Park. This will be a welcomed change to Foster Road and a place for our children to play and learn. PAL is always looking for volunteers to help with sports and special projects.
While we have had many challenges in 2022 our City is moving in the right direction. We made it through the Election Cycle and retained an important seat filled by Mike Butler and filled the other seat with Joy Adams, this ensures stability not simply for the Commission but our residents and City. We all look forward to 2023 and are here to address those challenges ahead.
I look forward to continuing to serve and keeping our residents informed. As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our city a better place. Please feel free to reach out at my office at: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email at: email@example.com.