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2024 Will Be Filled With Opportunity: Hallandale Beach Can Celebrate A Strong Fiscal Future Ahead

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

January 4, 2024

Hope our readers are having a Blessed New Year! In Hallandale Beach the New Year will bring with it many opportunities that will continue to move our City forward and some that will need to be keenly followed. The first reason to celebrate is the strong Fiscal Future ahead of us in 2024. The hard work of our City Commission, City Manager and all of our Department Directors over the past years has paid off. As I have reported in past articles, we have stabilized our Budget with multiple strategies that took the courage of this Commission. When the Budget needed to be passed Vice Mayor Lima Taub, Commissioners Lazarow and Adams kept true to our goals.

We stood firm and stayed the course on our Five Year Stability Plan. We did not play Politics with our Votes. Due to these actions we are optimistic we can reduce our Tax Rate this year. While this is great news we still need to remain vigilant and watch all the Local, State and Global Trends that may impact this stability.

The big issue this year that can change the course of Hallandale Beach and all levels of Government will be Elections. I know it seems like there has been a never-ending cycle of election reporting, but we all need to keep informed. It is a Presidential a year but there are many other Elections taking place on the State and Local Levels.

It is an Election year for Hallandale Beach City Commission. We have the Mayor Seat and two Commission Seats on the November Ballot. After discussions with my husband and family, I have decided to run for Re-Election. There are still many Projects and Issues that need to be focused on. Knowledge and experience will be critical to keep our City moving in the right direction. I am extremely excited that both Vice Mayor Anabelle Lima Taub and Commissioner Michele Lazarow have decided to seek Re-Election. The environment of collaboration and stability truly make a difference.

Over the past 6 years, our City has had the most civil Commission in its history. Not only can we get the job done, our working relationships help to retain good management and a great working environment for all employees. Qualifications are not until June. I encourage every reader to participate in the Local Races. We are the Government closest to the people and knowledge and experience does truly matter.

The other trend is Developers who are looking to make Major Investments in our City. We have many Development Projects that are in the final stages of Approval. There are many that are under different Phases Of Construction. This includes some wonderful Affordable Housing Units.

We have a Policy that any Developer who wants to build above the Existing Land Use Rights, must include an Affordable Housing Component. The Commission has all agreed that the Inclusionary Housing Policy is vital where units are built as a mix of units on site. We have Amended our Comprehensive Plan to ensure we have all the resources in place so New Construction will not have an Adverse Fiscal Impact on our City and burden our Taxpayers. Over the next year we will be partnering with all Stakeholders to address the rewriting of our Codes.

We are still having issues filling and maintaining positions in our Building Department. This trend is not only impacting our City but others that have been faced with the challenges of New Construction and the Forty-Year and Fifty-Year Safety Inspection Program. In Broward County's Rules, Governing Inspectors, Plan Reviewers and Building Officials have set up an obstacle that no other county is facing. We are the only county that does not allow individuals to work in their respective licensed fields while working within Building Departments.

As an example, I can have my License and Certification to do Plumbing work in the State. In Miami-Dade County, I can have my Licenses run my business and also do Plan Reviews and Inspections, however, in Broward County, I cannot. This is even if the Project is located in Miami-Dade or Palm Beach Counties. I do agree that a person should not be reviewing their own Work or Company’s Projects. There is no reason why an individual could not do Reviews and Inspections.

We will be going to the Broward County Board of Rules for an Appeal to reverse a dated interpretation from 2014. I look forward to working alongside our Commission and the County Commission to change the Regulations on the State’s side through a Local Bill. State Legislators are also looking at changing Laws to help access qualified employees. Senator Pizzo is working to establish the ability to make it easier for any Licensed and Certified Contractor/Engineer or Architect to work in the State. To think you can design and build skyscrapers in New York but not do work in Florida is an obsolete concept. With all of the online technology this makes sense.

We are on the right course when it comes to our Infrastructure. Many Projects have begun and there are plenty in the pipeline. The Commission just approved a Long-Term Road Resurfacing Contract. Our residents will begin seeing this work on roads not slated for underground work. Our goal will be to make sure we continue to focus on every aspect of implementation.

One of the ongoing issues is Vacation Rentals. The State continues to preempt cities for Regulating these types of Rentals. They have been adversely impacting all of our cities and are not limited to simply one area or housing type. If you are aware of a rental that is not registered you can help us by reporting it. A new National Law took effect that does not allow LLC’s to be Registered Owners. This will go a long way to help us Regulate Properties. Not only for Vacation Rentals but for Code Violations as well.

The biggest challenge in the coming year will be hiring and retaining qualified employees. The employee market since the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to be extremely competitive. We have taken measures to recruit and more importantly retain good employees. We continued to hire in many departments. I encourage our readers to visit our City’s website at: www.cohb.org - There may be an opportunity for you to work with our organization!

As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns, and ideas to make our City a better place! I am available at: jcooper@cohb.org. Or: joycooper@aol.com. On my Office Number at: (954) 457-1318. Or on my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at: Mayor Joy Cooper!

Wishing You A blessed New Year!

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