The State of the City: An Eye to The Future of Hallandale Beach
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
June 8, 2023
This past Tuesday, I had the honor to deliver “The State of the City Address,” I want to thank the Hallandale Beach Area Chamber for their honor and the many stakeholders that joined in the event. I will be sharing my speech over the next few weeks. Please note it is in speech form.
Over the past year, I think we have all moved out of COVID-19 with an eye to the future. Obviously, we are still faced with many social and economic problems. Insurance Costs, Housing Costs, the Stock Market, the War in Ukraine, Gun Violence, just to name a few. What will the future look like?
All of these issues have a direct or indirect impact on the way we run our cities, how you run your businesses and how our residents go through their daily lives. But as we move forward, I believe we all are striving and working towards stability and hopefully growth, the state of our City in one word: Stable, I do not want to go too far back in our past. As it is said that we cannot change it, but we can learn from it. A little over 5 years ago, I came back as Mayor. At that time, the City was in financial dire straits. As a matter of fact, the reserves had dropped to $11 Million Dollars, They were projected to dip to $8 Million then Financial Insolvency.
As a rule of thumb, our City’s goal is to have a minimum of 16% percent of General Fund Reserves in case of an Emergency. Currently, due to the hard work of our City and sacrifices of our taxpayers we have over $24 Million in Unaudited Reserves as of last month.
That sounds fantastic, right? Well, it is but there are still past issues that are a threat to the stability of our Budget. We are still facing a $6 Million Dollar Judgment for the firing of Former City Manager Daniel Rosemond. The Case is on Appeal, so we need to ensure we have savings if the Appeal Court supports the ruling. Even with that large use of reserves to pay this unfortunate debt, we will not go back to where we began five years ago.
I do not want to place blame on any one thing or person, but this situation reinforces that leadership truly matters and the buck stops with the Commission! To those of you that are new to our community, this history explains why and where we are today. In 2016, the City Commission changed due to Elections. The silver lining at that time was the recruitment of Dr. Jeremy Earle from Fort Lauderdale to Hallandale Beach to become Executive Director of the CRA.
You see, Dr. Jeremy Earle has Public Service in his DNA. I first met Dr. Jeremy Earle as a Board Member of the Florida Redevelopment Association where we both served. He became President, turned the organization around and made it solvent. This is proof of his strong leadership, financial knowledge, strategic vision and most of all integrity.
We all know that ethics and morals are part of one’s character, but the “reporting of true facts” is actually integrity.
This one thing my Dad taught me: you should never allow anyone to take away from you. That is why I fought my biggest battle.
I believe that Dr. Jeremy Earle was also raised with those values and never forgets them no matter what position he holds. So, he deserves the super majority of credit and recognition of why we are stable.
W. Clement Stone, an entrepreneur who was born into poverty during 1902 worked tirelessly and turned one hundred dollars into a billion-dollar insurance company. He believed in some truths when it comes to business practices. One is doing things and being happy doing them. It makes the difference between good and great. He must have been right and happy as he lived to be one hundred years old.
He also authored a book on leadership. I found this particular quote of his very apropos. “Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” To me this summarizes not only leadership, but the qualities that Dr. Jeremy Earle has brought to our table.
He is not a “YES MAN.” Too often City Managers are more worried about job security and counting to three rather than doing the right thing for their cities. I do believe that if stars had not aligned with the hiring of the right City Manager, and the right City Commission was not on the Dais, our City would be in Chapter Nine Bankruptcy.
This is not to spread fear but truth. You have heard it and it is true. A city, like all businesses, if it is not run properly, can go Bankrupt. Even before COVID-19 there were 69 Government Bankruptcies filed since 2010. Detroit, being the most notable.
Dr. Jeremy Earle was tasked once again to right a ship and make our City solvent to avoid fiscal collapse. This City Commission, free from drama and united, embraced the no nonsense straight forward approach of Dr. Jeremy Earle. I must say. Do not mistake his “by the book manor” as a sign of indifference or lack of empathy. Quite the contrary. He is an analytical person, protector of the City, creative and genuinely cares for what is best for everyone that is concerned. And yes, he does listen to his bosses and to our community. He does what is right because it is right!
Since he came on board, he has added new Staff Members to our City. This amazing group of public servants have created a five-year stability plan to rebuild. He led with the Motto “NO MORE KICKED CANS.” I joke once in a while and say “Kicked Cans down the road do not disappear, they just stack up at the end. Well, we were at the end of that road and started to address not one can, but all of them.”
The journey began. A year later, we all were faced with the uncertainty of COVID-19.
Next week, I will continue my State Of The City Address.
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 to me at my Office: (954) 457-1318. On my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. Or Email me at: email@example.com.