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. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.
Port Everglades Cruise Industry Benefits Broward County’s Economy
A recent study identifies Broward County's Port Everglades as a growing tourism magnet for the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. The study confirms that our economy benefits from the cruise industry. Sixty-two percent of the cruise passengers surveyed for the study stayed at least one night prior to their cruise vacation, staying an average of 3.4 nights, and 21 percent planned to stay an average of 2.6 nights after their cruise. Expenditures before and after the cruise were nearly identical. However, guests planned to spend more money on land tours after the cruise than before the cruise, $80 spent on land tours before the cruise and $133 to be spent on land tours after the cruise.
Another benefit to cruising from Port Everglades includes the Port's proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). More than 21 percent of the cruise guests surveyed said that they came directly from FLL, and an overwhelming 66 percent said they selected FLL because of its close proximity to the Port. The baseline study was conducted by Port consultants AECOM and Dickey Consulting Agency, and can be found on the Port's website at porteverglades.net/about-us by selecting STATISTICS in the left navigation.
Port Everglades Renews 20-year Agreement
King Ocean Services Limited Inc., which functions twice-weekly from Port Everglades with services to Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama, has renewed a 20-year lease agreement with Broward County's Port Everglades. The agreement calls for a minimum 72,000 container lifts annually over an initial 10-year term with two five-year renewal options. King Ocean has been operating in the Port since 1994 and recently celebrated its 22nd year at Broward County's Port Everglades. Based on King Ocean's minimum guarantee of 72,000 container lifts annually, this agreement will support an estimated 385 direct local jobs and 1,021 total jobs statewide that will generate more than $69 million in personal income and $6 million in state and local taxes each year. The agreement is estimated to generate approximately $56 million in revenue to the Port during the initial 10 years.
This agreement includes relocating King Ocean's terminal within the Port's Southport cargo area during construction for the Southport Turning Notch Extension project. The project will lengthen the existing deep water turn-around area from 900 feet to 2,400 feet, which will allow for up to five new cargo berths. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 and be completed by the end of 2019.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season is Here
Broward County is known for its beautiful beaches and every year from March through October, sea turtles make their way onto the beaches of South Florida to lay the eggs of the next generation. In 2015, the number of nests documented by the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, which is administered and funded by Broward County and carried out by Nova Southeastern University (NSU) was the second-highest number of documented nests since 1981 when the program began. In 2015 3,240 nests were found in total. Starting March 1st, Lighting Ordinances take effect in order to combat excess artificial lighting pollution along the beaches of Broward County. Every coastal municipality within the County is required to enact and enforce a lighting ordinance requiring people to turn off beachfront lighting during the sea turtle nesting season.
Also starting in March a team of nearly 40 researchers and students from NSU will make their way daily to the nearly 22-miles of Broward's shoreline to look for new turtle nests and check on existing ones. New hatchlings don't always make it out of the nest on their own and Broward's Sea Turtle Conservation Program team members will give them a helping hand.
County Water Partnership Results in Multi-Million Gallon Water Savings
Since October 2012, residents, business and nonprofits in Broward County have save nearly 750 million gallons of water. Through the Broward Water Partnership program, which includes the County, 18 utilities and local governments in the county nearly 8,000 toilet rebates, 5,647 low-flow showerheads, 7,890 kitchen and bathroom aerators and 16 pre-rinse spray valves for commercial kitchens through the ConservationPays.com program.
Along with conservation support the Partnership engages in community an annual outreach in order to involve residents in the community while also rewarding people for becoming engaged in conserving water efforts and education about conservation. The 2015 Broward Mega Money Saving Record Breaking Wild Water Switcheroo made on very lucky Broward County resident who won a complete retrofit of water and energy saving devices and fixtures including toilets, faucets and showerheads, a new irrigation system, new refrigerator and dishwasher.
It is not too late to join this year’s Neighborhood Water Challenge sponsored by the Broward Water Partnership program. The Neighborhood Water Challenge is open to Broward residents, non-profit organizations, civic associations and other associations and starts April 1st. There are two ways to win; contestants can complete the water conservation challenge or the outreach and education challenge.
The water conservation challenge requires two or more neighbors can form a team and commit to saving water during April and May 2016. The outreach and education challenge, contestants can develop a conservation education idea and use it, then tell us how it went. Winner receive $1000 in cash, second place is a WaterOptimizer™ irrigation system.
For more details about the contest and rebates can be found at ConservationPays.com.
County Takes Big Step to Replace Aging Emergency Radio System
The County's efforts to improve the aging Public Safety Radio System continue. The new equipment will strengthen back-up capability in the event that the primary system becomes impaired or overloaded. It will also strengthen interoperable communications capabilities with other existing 700MHz interoperable systems, and intelligence and information sharing and coordination.
Also earlier this month, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to begin the procurement process to replace the existing Alphanumeric Paging System (APS) which is no longer supported by the equipment manufacturer. The APS will directly interface with the County's three regional public safety call centers.
All of these projects will not only enhance the County's Public Safety Radio System, but will also improve the County's Regional Consolidated E911 Dispatch System and regional public safety interoperability. For more information on regional communications projects, please visit the Office of Regional Communications and Technology website.
Broward County Transit Donation Program
Broward County Transit (BCT) buses services 410 square miles with in Broward County and connects with Miami –Dade Transit, Palm Tran and Tri-Rail. BCT buses have approximately 121,235 passenger daily and 37.2 million trips annually. It is no surprise that many items are left behind on Broward County Transit (BCT) buses and are sent to Lost and Found at the end of the day. As soon as the items come in off the buses or from transit centers to Lost and Found they are logged and tagged. Customer service staff can help any customer who is looking for a lost item as soon as they believe they lost by contacting 954-357-8400.
Unfortunately, after 90 days, many of those items still haven't been claimed. At that time, the items become eligible for donation, which benefits many members of our community. BCT initiated a donation program in 2015. This programs allows many organizations to benefit from unclaimed, reusable items left on buses. So far, BCT has donated more than four hundred bikes and cell phones, dozens of backpacks, purses, clothes, strollers, umbrellas, lunch bags, books and more to a rotating group of charitable or educational groups who then donate them to those in need.
If you would like to be considered for a donation, please contact BCT at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help you stay connected to your local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can subscribe to E-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 email@example.com.
As always, it is my honor to serve you.