Dear Broward County Residents,
I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner representing our coastal communities each day from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of the amazing communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.
Property Tax Break Down
The Broward County Fiscal Year (FY) 17 budget process is well in progress. In March, the Board held a pre-budget workshop to discuss preliminary general fund projections for the upcoming year, with subsequent meetings on May 17, June 7, and June 21, 2016. Additional workshops will be held throughout the process, and the budget timeline for FY 17 will conclude with two public hearings later this year. With a nearly 8 percent increase in overall property values in Broward County, the total value has increased to $150.4 billion. It is my thought that it is time to cut taxes, reduce the millage rate and return some of the tax dollars back to the people who know best how to spend it for the needs of their families. Having gone through a very difficult recession, the economy has recovered substantially and there are sufficient funds to run the necessary services of Broward County Government.
The property taxes that residents pay, also known as ad valorem taxes, along with miscellaneous fees, transfers, fund balances, and sales tax amount to a County General Fund budget of approximately $1.1 billion dollars. This represents approximately 26 percent of the County’s overall $4.2 billion budget. The property tax revenues are allocated to fund several different areas. Every $1 from Broward County taxpayers is distributed in the following manner: 24 cents to County Government, 33 cents to the School Board, 23 cents to cities, and 20 cents to special districts. The County then divides its 24 cent portion: 12.34 cents to Sheriff's Office and other Constitutional and Judicial offices, 8.77 cents to County Commission programs, 1.31 cents to mandated payments to cities and the state, 1.04 cents to voter approved debt service, and .54 cents to capital projects.
The budget process for FY 17 will continue with a Workshop in August and two Public Hearings in September. For more information regarding the Broward County Budget process please visit Broward.org/Budget/
Wave Streetcar Update
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced the completion of the Wave Streetcar’s project design phase last month at the Wave Streetcar Industry Forum with partners such as Broward County Transit, the City of Fort Lauderdale and many other Wave Streetcar partners. FDOT will start a Design-Build procurement process for Design-Build teams to bid on the project. It is expected to be advertised in July 2016, which will lead to an opening of the construction bids in the spring of 2017. Funding is now in place to advance the project to the next stage.
The Wave Streetcar will be a pivotal addition to the community by providing transportation and economic development. This transit system will encourage significant private investment, estimated at approximately $4 billion of new development by 2030, with an estimated $70 to $80 million in new tax revenue. It will create hundreds of engineering and construction related jobs, 40 new permanent streetcar system jobs and new office and retail employment from new development. The Wave Streetcar will also provide environmental benefits such as reduced carbon emissions, reduction in per person utility consumption and a reduction in vehicle miles travelled. The system will promote a more efficient usage of mass transit opportunities.
Port Everglades and New International Container Weight Verification Requirements
Broward County’s Port Everglades ongoing capital improvements and expansion ensures that it continues to handle future growth in container traffic. The Port is considered a world-class cargo handling facility which serves as an ideal point of entry and departure for products shipped around the world. Most recently, the availability of on-port scales are already in place to handle the new international container weight verification requirements which will go into effect on July 1, 2016. These certified scales are available at several locations in Port Everglades in order to weigh export containers and should help shippers meet the new requirements without providing for service delays. In order to ensure compliance with the new verified gross mass (VGM) requirements, ocean shippers are encouraged to confirm availability and fees with their contracted marine terminal operators.
Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) the International Maritime Organization approved the new container weight verification rules. The new rules require the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to verify and provide the container's gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship.
More information about Broward County's Port Everglades is available at Porteverglades.net/
Partnerships for Regional Solutions to Reuse and Conserve Water
A new regional partnership has been formed between Broward County Water and Wastewater Services and the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department. The cooperative project that will be constructed will utilize reclaimed water and conserve drinking water supplies in South Florida. Both County Boards have approved an inter local agreement (ILA) that will be implemented and provide for the initial steps of engaging in the preliminary design of the project.
The project consists of three sections: expansion of the existing Broward County North Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant's reuse capacity from 10 million to 26 million gallons per day, installation of approximately 5.8 miles of a 42-inch reuse transmission piping as the source pipe for the reclaimed expansion into Palm Beach County and also the North Springs Improvement District, and expansion of the reclaimed system into the southern portions of Palm Beach County. This regional solution provides significant benefits to customers in both Broward County and Palm Beach County. The project is expected to be completed by 2020 in Broward and additional distribution components are set to continue to be enhanced in Palm Beach County beyond 2020.
2016 Broward County Academy
Broward County provides a community education outreach series that provides residents of Broward the opportunity to learn about County government and the many available services that the County provides to residents, businesses and tourists. The Broward County Academy is a ten week interactive program that helps create public awareness about County programs and services while also increasing community involvement in local government.
The curriculum highlights the Airport, Seaport, Human Services, Emergency Management, Water and Wastewater, Cultural, Libraries, Parks, Community Wellness, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Enterprise Technology Services, Animal Care, Transit and several other County Agencies. Broward Academy will give participants a better understanding of what Broward County Government is, who it serves, how it serves residents, and what it does to improve the quality of life for all who live, work, and play here.
The 2016 Academy sessions will be held on ten consecutive Thursdays from 6-9PM beginning September 8 and concluding with graduation ceremonies on November 10. Classroom lectures will be combined with behind-the-scenes tours and interactive experiences. Applicants must be age 18 or older and reside in Broward County. The deadline for applying is August 5, 2016. Applications for the Broward County Academy are available here, by e-mailing BrowardAcademy@Broward.org, or by calling the Broward County Office of Public Communications at 954-357-6990.
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 Broward's-news and social media sites. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, it is my honor to serve you.