Stay The Course: The Hallandale Beach Budget Has Passed
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
October 5, 2023
Our City Budget passed last week 4-1. There were no changes to the Budget at this time with the unified message we will stay the course with our strategic stabilization plan. As I wrote last week our Budget is a blueprint for the coming year and the strategic plan is a five-year plan. While we are doing great at this time, there is no crystal ball of what will happen with outside economic factors. The super majority agreed to remain cautiously optimistic and safe rather than sorry. There is a commitment to the plan which includes a reduction of the Millage Rate in the next Budget Cycle.
During the Budget Hearing, we once again had a robust debate due to the fact that we do have Reserves. While we do have Reserves and have a Balanced Budget including much needed Infrastructure Improvements, Programs for Vehicle Replacement, Park Maintenance, Replacement of Water Meters, and many other items the question was to give a little back. I also empathize with those struggling. I feel it important to share a Statewide Tax Program that many residents are unaware of over and above the Regular Deductions.
Our State has a Tax Deferment Program available to any Homestead Resident where their Income does not keep up with living costs. It is based on a formula which looks at Income and age. The program is available to anyone through the Property Appraiser's Office. It allows Owners to not pay Property Taxes until the Sale or Transfer of your Property. There is an Interest Rate Fee that fluctuates with Current Market Conditions. I encourage anyone that is struggling to reach out to the Broward Property Appraiser’s office at: www.BCPA.net - By email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call: (954) 357-6830.
I also discussed that we are not a corporation. There still is this mind set that we can do the same things that private companies do to cut costs, provide various changes to how we reward our employees and provide services. While we all share the mutual goal to run like a business, cutting where we can and streamlining services, we simply are not a private company. More importantly, we do not provide the service of a typical corporation.
We are bound by State Laws and requirements that handcuff the ability to do many things. There are requirements of what services we must provide. There are requirements when it comes to contracting with companies to provide Special Services. There are requirements for purchasing all products. There are Special Budgeting, Reporting, and Auditing requirements much different than a typical business.
This can seem very frustrating for those outside of government. These rules are in place for good reasons. Tax dollars are not ours. As Elected Officials they are entrusted to us. The rules govern the spending of Tax Dollars and what services we MUST provide. When people do question how slowly the government operates this is the main reason. Checks and Balances. The same is with Building and Fire Codes; they are all State Laws.
As Elected Officials we can look at rules and Lobby to make changes. State Statutes that have been in place are very difficult to change. As a matter of fact, there are more new Laws being created that make our ability to govern and do our jobs even harder. This is referred to as the “erosion of home rule authority.” Good examples of recently Enacted Laws that have residents up in arms are the inability to ban vacation rentals and another allowing businesses to operate in residential areas. More residents need to reach out to our State Legislators and share their views on the Laws that impact them here in the local areas.
I have written, this year will be the year of the shovel. Many projects have already started. The Three Islands Reuse Project is underway. Drainage and Pumping Stations are finally on schedule. These were delayed due to a Supply Chain Issue. Staff has reported that thankfully there seems to be better access. This may change due to many other cities now in the planning stages of Infrastructure Improvements. We are ahead of the curve with shovel ready projects.
We have received notice that Broward County will begin Beach Renourishment Segment III this year, on November 1st. This will be implemented with a truck fill process of over 300,000 cubic feet. While this is great news it will impact some access points. They have already started to mobilize fencing and staging of an area of our South Beach Park. They started by assessing the current conditions of all the buildings and the shoreline. The process will last three weeks. The Beach will remain open but please mind the flag personnel as to remain away from designated areas.
In addition to adding much needed sand there will be an additional Project to enhance our North Beach Sand Dunes. This Project is currently being designed. The goal is to Remove ALL Invasive Species, Replant Sea Grass and reestablish the fencing around our Dune.
As we start this new era in our City, please pardon our dust. We understand there will be road delays and inconvenience during these Projects. The impacts will be temporary, but improvements will be a great step in ensuring our residents, business owners and visitors have Dependable and Resilient Infrastructure!
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: email@example.com. Or at: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.