The Year of The "Shovel": The State Of The City Part V
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
July 6, 2023
This article is part of The State of the City Part V. This portion covers the Infrastructure plans we have to address water supply, sewer, and stormwater. It is in speech form. Since the writing of the speech, we have adopted the city tentative budget and have adopted the new water utility rate to cover our Utility Revenue Bond. In August I will cover our new budget and these rates.
This coming year, I am calling it, the year of the “shovel." There was not one large Infrastructure project that was completed in years. The last large-scale project installed was the critical stormwater system in the Northeast and Southwest sections of the City. After this last 1000-year storm, while we flooded, our City was free from flood water much sooner than many surrounding communities.
The Southwest area actually had high water, but did not flood. We know that there is still one area that is one-foot above sea level that needs to be addressed further. Plans are underway for a joint project with Hollywood to address pumping in the northeast along Atlantic Shores. We have also funded for repairs to the section of Northeast 3rd Street that floods.
Eight years ago, six million dollars in the water utility fund was budgeted to add a skid at our water plant. It sat there and not one action was taken to implement construction. This skid is vital to address the future of our water supply. The leadership of Jeff Odoms and his team of engineers and operators have been doing an amazing job gearing up for this and many projects.
This year our City approved the first twenty million dollars in revenue bonds to replace many broken water and sewer pipes, valves, and lift stations. Many over 40 to 50 years old. We have prepared for these costs by hiring an outside bond counsel that specializes in rate structuring and adopted new fees. This too took political backbone from this commission to do the right thing. We all unanimously supported these changes. It is the biggest and most important "can," or should I say "can," we stopped kicking down the road.
Yes, we have had multiple water breaks, but they all were fixed and up in running within hours due to the hard work of staff. If you see them please give them a big thank you. In addition to funding the beginning of a 10-year buildout, we have had great success due to our planning and have received state funding to help offset these costs. A special thank you goes to our hardworking legislators, including Representative Woodson and Representative Cassel.
Regretfully, due to the remnants of COVID-19, and the war, we are still adversely impacted with supply chain and manufacturing issues. There is also a high demand on engineering. These projects are getting designed, and some are finally out for construction bidding. So, you can see we really have been focusing on establishing stability across the entire city while investing in our future.
We know everyone in our community has been burdened with added costs. Our city is no different and we continue to make sure we run a tight ship and oversee every tax dollar.
That brings me to opportunity! With the stability of our government, we are keenly focused on cost saving measures without adversely impacting our level of services. We have also committed to leveraging our assets to create future revenue streams. These revenues can help take the pressure off our General Fund. I look forward to sharing these concepts in the future months.
One big step towards preserving and protecting one of our biggest assets, our employees, was taken thru a wage and compensation study. In this highly competitive market, we need to not only recruit new talent, but we also need to ensure we retain the excellent industrious men and women we have now. These recommended changes, which were budgeted partially last year and will be included in this year’s budget.
Ground has been broken on some amazing developments this year and some have opened this past year. Atlantic Village 4 and Optimum Tower, Two thousand Ocean Phase 1 of Oasis and Slate. There are also many exciting plans in the pipeline. Please visit our website to find out more. I must mention that with the opening of 2000 Ocean, Hallandale Beach now can boast real estate values at well over $1000 square foot. In Golden Isles parcels and older homes are selling for 3-4 million dollars and the new homes going up are for selling for over five million. Values are going up, but that is a double-edged sword.
City Center on Dixie Highway is being built as we speak and with the Opening of the very First Container Restaurant in Broward, KAO, we kicked off recently in District 8. We have a wonderful CRA that is here to help businesses grow through loans and grants. The CRA is 90% complete in design of twenty-two million dollars for improvement in: sidewalks, lighting, & ADA crosswalks throughout the district. More investment in our neighborhoods and future.
I am not going fully into the CRA, as I have discussed the goal with our City Manager to set up a CRA briefing and development forum in the coming months.
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.