Update On Hallandale Beach Issues: First In Person Town Hall Held at Foster Park In Almost Three Years

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

April 21, 2022

I want to thank all of the residents that came out to my first In-Person Town Hall held at Foster Park. It was great to see all of you in person to give updates on our City issues and listen to your concerns. It has been difficult over the past few years not being able to meet in person. I’m sure that we all missed the personal interactions and debates that we have together Live and In-Person.

Many residents asked me about Foster Park and what is going to be done with the facility. Months ago, our Staff issued a Request For Proposals “RFP” for interested individuals or entities to provide programming at the park. I am not at liberty to discuss the “RFP” as it is a code of silence. I encouraged the attendees to go on our Web-site for all the information.

Commissioner Beam Furr joined us for the meeting and updated us on housing issues. The Tuesday before, Broward County had a discussion on how they can legally address the housing crisis. Collectively, we all agreed that this is one of the most pressing issues facing South Florida. They are having the County Attorney look into whether or not they have the ability to implement Rent Caps.

In light of this issue, I invited Ralph Stone from Broward County Housing and Finance. He shared that they were at a 55% spike on Rental Costs. Broward County was at the top in the Nation. There are many factors that impact Housing Costs. The main one is inventory. Basically, supply and demand have exacerbated our area. Many people have decided to move to South Florida due to The COVID-19 Pandemic and changes in the workplace. It has become a seller’s market. Homes and apartments once on the market, are selling for asking or even interested parties go into bidding wars.

The other issue Hallandale Beach is seeing are large investors going in and buying up apartment buildings. Residents are given notice that the building was sold and then they have limited time to move out. Once purchased, the rents are doubling. For many residents, they have been spending upwards of $1,000 a month for a 1 Bedroom. The cost has now risen to a range of $1,800 - $2,300, which is having a crippling effect on many lower income residents and even harder for those on fixed incomes.

Mr. Stone explained that when they provide affordable housing dollars, the units are capped due to agreements to maintain properties as affordable. Our City uses the same practice. They have actually joined with our CRA in certain projects. The most recent is Solaris near Bluesten Park. His division also provides homeowner assistance for down payments, home maintenance and they also have Relief Funds that they are implementing for non-entitlement cities with populations under 50,000.

In addition to Commissioner Furr and Mr. Stone, I invited Interim Chief Michel Michel to update our residents on our Police Department. Chief Michel has been actually serving our community for over 18 years and has been Interim Chief for 6 months. Over the past months, he has implemented many projects that have sadly been sitting and collecting dust.

He briefed us on the new Shot Spotter Technology. This new system allows our Department to know in real time when a shot is actually fired. Currently, the System covers West of Federal Highway, with the goal of expanding the System to include the entire City. The technology has already assisted in crime fighting.
Another program is our License Plate Readers. LPRs do just that. They read plates and send the information automatically to be researched. Stolen vehicles or vehicles tied to a crime, trigger an alert directly to our Patrols. Recently, our Department apprehended a stolen car and one criminal, the other individual had fled.

In addition to our technology, there has been a strong push for training. The residents were very happy that we are focusing on de-escalation training. I am also as happy as the residents that we are finally filling Police Department Position Vacancies. At one point, we were down over 22 Positions. We still have some Vacancies, but the Chief hopes to have them filled soon. I do need to note that we do lose officers from retirement and there are simply those that want to transfer to other Departments, which is typical in all Police Departments.

Residents shared their desire to be involved with the Chief’s hiring process. I explained that the City Manager is responsible for hiring and firing. The Chief has not established whether he may be going out for a search. I did tell the attendees that I will share their comments.

The main point that I heard was that the residents are concerned about hiring someone from outside our agency because that individual will not know our City and more importantly, will not know our residents either. The Chief was modest in his sharing how much he has turned the Department around. I personally believe he is doing an amazing job! It shows in the morale of the Department which is extremely important. In my opinion, we want well trained high caliber Police Officers. More importantly, the Officers need to know that the Chief has their backs, however, he is also willing to make tough decisions.

I am proud to announce and invite all of our readers to attend my State of the City Address that is being presented by the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Thank you Gulfstream Park for being the Title Sponsor and hosting lunch in The Flamingo Room. Lunch reservations are $30 for Members and $40 for Non-Members. Thank you also to the Sponsors; Realtors Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie, Memorial Healthcare System, Shutts and Hallandale Beach. Please contact the chamber at: (954) 454-0514. Visit their Web-site At: Hallandalebeachchamber.org Or E-mail them at: info@hallandalebaechchmber.org

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by phone or text at: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-site at: www.MayorJoyCooper.com.