The State Of The City Part IV: The Funds Are What Make The City Go Round
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
June 29, 2023
This article is part of the State of the City Series. This is Part IV and covers funds outside of the General Fund and also covers infrastructure, Safe Neighborhood Districts, and other utility funds. It is in speech form. The overall budget for 2023 was adopted at 176 million dollars. The other 45% of our funds are comprised of special revenue funds, enterprise funds and other funds.
Special funds are a small portion of our budget and include the Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District and Three Island District. Taxpayers in these districts pay a fee for additional security and cover the full costs of operations. The Police Departments outside services, police training and Law enforcement trust fund are also in the fund category. We have continued to increase training for all officers, which is the key to successful policing.
The fund also includes permitting and inspections. Many residents and business owners are not aware that while we charge for this service the revenues go back directly to the department by law to pay for staff. We get a limited-service fee for general fund staff resources.
I want to focus on the other two Funds that have a direct impact on two types of infrastructure. Other funds include: Debit service for our Parks Obligation Bond and other capitol debit for city projects. This year we budgeted over 3.6 million in various capital projects. Also, eight hundred thousand in Renewal and Replacement for parks facilities. It is hard to believe but many are already over 5 years old and more.
Another threat we were faced with was massive water meter failures. While the meters are under warranty, due to supply chain issues we had to go out to another vendor. Our staff is working to replace all our meters. They are also establishing a new business model. The program will be housed entirely at our water plant. This will make sure all of our water is accounted for; customers’ bills are accurate and there is continuity in service calls.
This fund also includes replacement of many vehicles, trucks, and heavy equipment. Most of our vehicles were well beyond their useful life.
I have to commend our Commission and thank them for their support to adopt a formal policy of focusing on electrifying our fleets. We adopted an ordinance that requires the purchase of electric vehicles, with flexibility. Staff after a full evaluation found that electric vehicles in the long run are more cost effective. Cheaper to run, maintain and keep their resale value. The added bonus is they help our environment.
If staff cannot find electric options, they may purchase hybrid cars, as we did for our police patrols or in the case of heavy equipment like Fire Trucks staff can ask for a waiver of the policy. We are also working to complete the fully electric minibus system which has been championed by Commissioner Butler and our commission. It has taken time to get the buses due to manufacturing demand. Again, no more kicking the can down the road.
The second largest and the main fund I want to focus on is our Enterprise Funds. This fund covers the cemetery, sanitation, and all our water wastewater and storm water service, basically, all our underground infrastructure. This fund was budgeted at 48 million dollars.
One original stabilization item that was taken off the table was to sell off our Sanitation Division.
I have for year’s fought this, as we should be able to run a successful service and generate revenues. This is important for multiple reasons. But let’s face it, there is money in trash or we wouldn't be continually lobbied by industry. Contracting to outside agencies means losing control of it, reducing customer service and ads automatic increases annually to our customers.
We are, however, in the process of performing a trash rate restructuring this year. We have not done a study for years. Having staff and this service also provides swift ability to address storm preparation, hurricane clean up and address illegal dumping promptly. Currently we have revamped our bulk pick up, strengthened illegal dumping code enforcement with the addition of staff and partnership with the police department.
There are strict rules for only putting out trash the day before any pickup. This in not a new rule in the city, we just did not have staffing to enforce it. As a matter of fact it is the same in every other city. Commissioner Taub and I work jointly to address illegal dumping and create a reward program. If people report dumping and it results in perpetrators getting fined, there is a reward. And yes, we have caught and arrested people.
Like I said earlier, we never had the staffing to implement this existing law, so two new code officers are working directly with the Department of Public Works Sanitation Division. These two positions are supported by code enforcement revenues. We continue to expand code enforcement to keep our city clean and safe for everyone. It is especially important, to maintain property values.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.