Dear Broward County Residents,
I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing cities, towns and villages in between. Here are some recent highlights from around Broward County:
Legislative Session 2018
The 2018 State Legislative Session is upon us and Broward County is working full force to make sure our priorities are being heard in Tallahassee. Due to the Gubernatorial Elections later this year, the Florida Legislature is meeting early - from January 9th through March 9th. The Board of County Commissioners approved the 2018 State Legislative Program which contains the County’s policies, proposed appropriation requests, and legislative proposals. The Board also approved the 2018 State Fundamental Principles which guide the lobbying efforts of County Commissioners, staff, and the County's contract lobbyists to reflect the Board’s continuing visions and goals. The program and fundamental principles reflect the County’s dedication to the community with commitments to economic development, a robust transportation network, growth management, human services and environmental stewardship.
As your County Commissioner, I will also be heading to Tallahassee this legislative session, as I have done for the past seven years. There are several policies that I believe are a top priority for the residents of Broward County, and specifically for the communities in District 4. Due to the 2017 hurricane season that we faced, there are several issues that we can work on to be better prepared for what the future may hold. Specifically, I will advocate for a viable, fully integrated and coordinated local, state and federal disaster response structure, while also supporting appropriate and increased funding for upgrading our emergency operations centers so they function proficiently during a natural disaster or crisis. Another crucial issue that must be taken seriously, as we witnessed last hurricane season, is the regulations that guide our assisted living facilities. Broward County supports placing nursing homes and elderly/disabled care facilities as Tier One Critical Infrastructure under Florida Power and Light disaster operations, as is being proposed in SB284. The Board also supports priority checks on the welfare of nursing home residents in the aftermath of a natural disaster, providing energy, water and food for at least 96 hours after power loss, as proposed in HB655/SB896.
Our community saw the direct impact that these storms can have on our beaches. We also saw the direct benefits that our recent shore protection projects provided, especially where dune structures were built. Therefore, I will continue to advocate for the State Beach Management Program by supporting SB174 and HB131 which update the project review criteria to include consideration of a project’s economic and environmental importance, creates a three-year work plan to maximize matching contributions at the federal, state, and local level, and sets a dedicated state funding source of $50 million through the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. I will also advocate and support the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact State Energy and Climate Legislative Principles as they guide our communities to a more resilient infrastructure through adaptation.
Our community faces several challenges, one of the greatest challenges comes in the aftermath of a major hurricane. This last hurricane season taught us that we must be better prepared and if we work together, we can make sure that our state legislature understands the importance of each of these policies for our community.
Fort Lauderdale International Airport
Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) recently opened Concourse G East in Terminal 4, which provides travelers with more dining, shopping and destination options. This new portion of Terminal 4 offers six beautiful new gates with all of the amenities that the traveling public has come to enjoy including comfortable new seating, modern restrooms and several new concessions. The expansion and modernization of Terminal 4 is being constructed in two phases (west and east) to reduce disruption to passengers and airlines. The next phase of Terminal 4 development is a new International Baggage Claim Facility which is expected to be completed in late January 2018.
It is great to see one of Broward County’s major economic engines continue to grow in size as well as passenger traffic. In November 2017, total traffic was up 9.7 percent; domestic traffic was up 7.1 percent; and international traffic was up 20 percent. While numbers are being calculated, December traffic is expected to be up 6 percent, and 2017 should end with approximately 32.5 million passengers, up 11 percent. According to Airports Council International, FLL was the fastest growing large hub airport in all categories for the 12 months ending in October.
PACE Program in Broward County
In June 2016, the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE Broward) financing program was launched countywide. Since that time, those interested in using PACE to finance qualifying property improvements has continued to steadily increase. Property owners have submitted more than 13,000 applications for improvements such as rooftop solar panels, impact windows, insulation and more. PACE financing is available to both residential and commercial properties, and there are now five PACE Providers available to compare and choose.
New Toll-Free Number
The Broward County Call Center is a multi-lingual, one-stop center for information on County government service that also provides important information and support services for the public during hurricanes and other emergencies. To enhance its level of service, the Call Center has launched a new toll-free number, 1-833-BRWD (2793), that can be used by anyone across the country. Local callers can continue to reach the call center at 311 or 954-831-4000.
The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to eNews and social media sites. Please sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at email@example.com.
One final note, as we celebrate the holiday season and prepare for an exciting new year, I offer you a very Happy Hanukkah, a very Merry Christmas and the most prosperous 2018 for you and yours.
As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you.