The Summer Wind
By Chip LaMarca, Broward County Commissioner
As that classic song goes: “The summer wind came blowing in, from across the sea.” With the summer winds coming in, the kids getting out of school and our families planning vacations, we in District 4 are continuing to work for you. We continue to receive phone calls, emails and requests for information, and continue to monitor the major projects taking place in the heart of the district as well as at Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. A key factor in the continued steady decline in the rate of unemployment is the robust construction activity that is happening throughout Broward County. The newest unemployment number is 5.7 percent, which is lower than both the state and national rate.
With school breaking for the summer, more drivers will be on the roads. We recently proclaimed the month of May as “Take 5 to Stay Alive” – Don’t Text and Drive Month in Broward County. With the Governor signing the bill into law, it further enforces the notion that texting and sending emails while behind the wheel is a deadly practice that is responsible for numerous deaths each day nationwide. “Take 5 to Stay Alive” is a campaign that was created through the Regional EMS Council of which I am a member and is sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners and the Broward League of Cities.
Construction and development means production and growth. The Florida Department of Transportation’s Eller Drive Overpass project that leads you into Port Everglades at I-595 is expected to be completed in late summer 2014 just as the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway completes construction of an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility in Southport. A true public/private partnership, this comprehensive project will change the way goods are transported out of Port Everglades. The Southport Turning Notch extension, which will add up to five new berths in Southport, is moving forward as well.
Annually, the Port generates nearly $26 billion in business activity statewide, supports 11,700 local jobs and over 200,000 statewide, and is responsible for producing $730 million in state and local tax revenue. We are also one of the few ports in the country with a trade surplus, totaling $3.6 billion in 2012. Port Everglades also drives international trade and tourism in Broward County through a robust cruise industry. With more than 3.7 million cruise passengers annually, it is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, supporting almost 12,400 total cruise, airport and tourism related jobs. Port Everglades is truly a powerhouse cruise port.
For every 85 visitors to Broward County, one job is created. If you take into consideration the 12 million visitors in 2012, that’s a lot of jobs. Those same visitors spent roughly $10 million here. All economic indicators point to a banner year, with 39 consecutive months of continued growth. However, none of this would be possible without our greatest natural resource in Broward County - our beaches. The beach renourishment project is nearly fully permitted and we expect to begin putting sand on the beaches by the end of the year. We had great success with the emergency renourishment on Fort Lauderdale Beach and have been able to compile some best practices to use in our overall Segment II Project. As the emergency repairs resulting from the effects of Superstorm Sandy come to a close, we move into the long-term portions of the project-with the redesign of A1A. This project will be coordinated through the Florida Department of Transportation and the City of Fort Lauderdale.
In continuing our mission to recognize those who have served, are serving, and will serve, last week we celebrated our time honored tradition of Fleet Week with Broward Navy Days. While there was no fleet to be revered, there were plenty of events to attend. On May 5 we recognized 12 Broward County appointments to the U.S. Naval Academy’s class of 2017 and the Consul General of France presented the Legion of Honor Award to 11 United States Veterans of World War II who fought at Normandy. In addition to Fleet Week, we were honored to witness nearly 150 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen enlist into our nation’s armed forces with Our Community Salutes on Saturday May 4, an event that was hosted by Broward College.
Lastly, please join me in saying goodbye to a dedicated employee and friend of District 4, Ryan Saunders. Ryan has made a decision to follow his calling to enter into the seminary to become a Catholic Priest. Ryan has been with me since my first day in this office and he will be greatly missed. I would also like to welcome our new addition to the office, Mr. Ryan Reiter. Ryan will serve as Commission Aide for my office and his role will be working in the office at the Governmental Center. We are very lucky to have Ryan’s experience and knowledge on the team, having served our Country in the United States Marine Corps and most recently for Workforce One, working to find employment for our returning veterans. You can contact Ryan at 954-357-7004 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. With the addition of Ryan, veterans now make up 66 percent of the District 4 Staff.
If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954.357.7004 or by email at email@example.com. You can also stay up to date by viewing our website, where you can sign up to receive email updates from our office.
As always, it is an honor to serve you.