Pipes, Pumps And Roadways: Developing Strategic Plans To Address Hallandale Beach Infrastructure
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
January 5, 2023
As we begin the year 2023, our Staff in the Department Of Public Works and Finance have been busy developing strategic work plans to address our City’s Infrastructure. As I wrote last week, we have been focused on our lift stations replacing and repairs and water main projects. Our City was founded 95 years ago and many of our underground pipes are over forty to fifty years old. The current preliminary plan projects an 8 – 10 year build out of the most critical priorities.
To perform this work takes millions of dollars. There are different funding sources that we can utilize. Water, Sewer and Stormwater Fees are the first we can use without having to go out for a voters’ approval. Recently we increased these fees and now are looking at future increases based on needs and project timing. The City can spread the fees over the project years, when they are needed. I have already received emails about these increases.
WS & SW Fees are made up of a Base Rate and a Usage Rate. This type of structure ensures that every user pays fairly for the full cost of providing service. For example, you may only spend part time in your home or condominium, so you do not use water all year round. This does not mean owners do not have a responsibility to pay for the pipes, pumps and treatment of the Water and Wastewater. The Split Fee provides a balance. These fee increases are necessary.
The other method of funding that does not require voter approval are Revenue Bonds. This is where we borrow money and pay it back through the fees. The Staff is now working with Bond Consultants to formulate a financial plan for the timing of borrowing and fee structure.
Replacing and repairing pipes is just one part of the equation. This work also requires aboveground work. While we obviously must repair the road where work is done we have a goal to complete our streets. This work includes: Sidewalks, ADA Compliant Crosswalks and Lighting. Unlike many newer planned developments in our City when builders built housing and commercial developments, they were not required to perform this work.
The Commission now requires improvements through Development Agreements and Impact Fees. Even with these requirements there are areas in our City that do not even have sidewalks and streetlights. Many areas have not even had repaving for years. To pay for these types of improvements will require additional funds.
Many residents have asked me about repaving. Years ago, I asked for funding for paving. There was to be a set aside of $100,000 Dollars. Before I came back on the Dais, this project was not implemented. I asked about the status and was told that $100,000 was not enough and that due to underground work that was scheduled it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. I then asked Golden Isles to at least blacktop. It was not approved.
During our December Meeting, Staff finally came back with a goal to evaluate and plan repaving. Recently, in an email to the Mayor and Commission, City Manager Dr. Earle gave us an update. “We are slated to start some of our Lift Station improvements including the much-discussed work on Layne Boulevard in February to March of next year. Because those Lift Stations were always breaking down and our Water and Sewer lines were always breaking, those became our targeted priority to address.
That being said, our Public Works team is currently getting pricing/quotes which will form the basis for our three-to-four-year plan for roadway improvements which will cover specific streets in every quadrant of the City. I instructed Staff to begin to address specific streets beginning in February to March of this year.”
As Mayor, I do want residents to understand that this type of work does not happen overnight. We have heard and listened to our residents and as a resident myself, I would like to see it performed. In the coming years, we will continue our work on a Government Obligation Bond to fund above ground needs. Currently we are working within our budget and will work with other agencies for funding and grants.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.