Dear Broward County Residents,
I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some of September’s most recent highlights from Broward County:
Public Hearings Set for Broward County Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
Members of the public wishing to comment on the proposed Broward County Fiscal Year 2016 budget will have an opportunity to do so on Thursday, September 10th and Thursday, September 17th. Budget Public Hearings begin at 5:01PM and are held at the Broward Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave, Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale.
The FY 2016 recommended total budget, which includes tax supported and non-tax supported funds, is $4.1 billion. The recommended budget continues Broward County's long standing tradition of financial stability, multi-year planning and responsible stewardship. Overall, the total budget increases by $54 million due to an increase in the operating budget and decreases in the capital and debt service budgets. This represents an increase of slightly more than one percent in the total $4.1 billion budget.
Based on the Broward County Commission's direction, the proposed total millage rate will remain the same as Fiscal Year 2015. The proposed combined millage rate for FY16 is 5.723 per thousand dollars of taxable value. A homestead property with the Save Our Homes differential and an average taxable value of $128,000 will experience an estimated increase in taxes of $6.00. A non-homestead residential property, with an average taxable value of $153,000 will experience an estimated increase of $63.00.
It's important to note that Broward County taxes consist of less than one-quarter of the overall tax bill, which also includes city taxes, school district taxes and special taxing districts. County Commissioners are expected to approve a final budget after the second budget hearing on September 17th. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget takes effect on October 1, 2015.
September 17th Public Hearing Set for New TNC Ordinance
Broward County Commissioners will finalize a new ordinance for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft at a public meeting set for September 17th. The new rules include requirements for background checks, vehicle inspections and liability insurance, but shift the procedural responsibility for enforcement to the TNCs with strict County oversight.
TNCs use an internet application to match up drivers in private vehicles to customers who are seeking transportation. Commissioners have continued to work toward laws that provide adequate consumer protections and at the same time create a regulatory framework that promotes expanded transportation services to meet public demand.
The amended transportation network company ordinance allows TNCs to contract with drivers and certify that safety requirements have been met before allowing the driver onto a company's internet platform. Background checks are required, but can be processed through the County or a third party without the need for fingerprinting. Vehicle inspections will also be required and TNCs will have to accommodate disabled passengers. Fees for dropping off and picking up passengers at Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Broward County's Port Everglades will need to be negotiated.
Commissioners also agreed to a proposal that requires TNCs to file a certificate of insurance demonstrating blanket liability coverage that meets state standards. The new law allows the County to audit TNC records to ensure full compliance.
Commissioners approved the proposed ordinance with a majority vote. Commissioners Lois Wexler, Barbara Sharief and Dale V.C. Holness voted against the ordinance.
The Public Hearing, set for Thursday, September 17th takes place at 2 PM at the Broward Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale
Broward County Commissioners Choose Qualifying Developers for Convention Center Hotel/Expansion in Broward County
Five nationally renowned and highly accomplished developers have been chosen after meeting the qualifications necessary to build a new upscale flagship Convention Center headquarters hotel and expand the current Convention Center in Broward County.
The five developers will compete for the $550 million dollar project to expand the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center by 300,000 square feet and build a hotel ranging in size from 750 to 1,250 rooms. The expansion and new headquarters hotel will create a combined effect with public spaces and waterfront amenities and will bolster the local economy, attract more Convention Center and trade show business, increase tourism and create jobs in Broward County. In September the five developers will introduce their design, build and financial team members as the selection process continues.
Broward County's Port Everglades Selected for Services to Latin America
Broward County's Port Everglades became the first and last U.S. calls for SeaLand and APL's North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) to Latin America on August 27. SeaLand APL selected Florida International Terminal, LLC (FIT) at Port Everglades to provide cargo handling and stevedoring services. The new service is expected to generate more than 20,000 container moves annually.
Port Everglades is investing more than $600 million in waterside improvements, and in the last year celebrated the opening of a 43-acre intermodal rail container transfer facility and a multitude of road improvements. SeaLand/APL's NAE/ACX service will arrive in Port Everglades every Thursday from Manzanillo, Panama, before sailing to other U.S. East Coast ports and returning on Sundays before sailing to Cartagena, Colombia. Port Everglades serves as an ideal point of entry and departure for products shipped around the world.
September is National Preparedness Month
Broward County is participating in a national awareness campaign throughout September to increase resident and community preparedness for all potential emergencies. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed September 2015 "National Preparedness Month" during their September 10th meeting. Broward County recently received another three-year recognition as a Storm Ready Community through the National Weather Service Storm Ready Program. September is the most active month for hurricane activity here in South Florida. Here are a few steps to help residents get prepared:
- Know if you live in an evacuation zone
- Prepare a family/business emergency plan that includes your pets
- Assemble an emergency supply kit - enough to last 72 hours per person
- Stay informed about potential hazards and local emergency plans
- Sign up for Broward County Emergency Updates
Here are upcoming preparedness events:
- Be Ready Florida presents the BRACE for the Storm Workshop on Monday, September 21st from 7-9PM. This is a FREE internet based workshop designed to provide information to homeowners on disaster mitigation techniques that can reduce damage to their homes from hurricanes and other disasters that threaten Floridians. For more information, contact Be Ready Florida at 850-241-3565.
- Residents are encouraged to sign up in September for an upcoming SKYWARN Storm Spotters Training Class, hosted by Broward Emergency Management on October 17th, from 10AM to 2:30PM at the Broward Emergency Operations Center.
L'Shanah Tovah! to our friends of the Jewish faith. We wish you a meaningful high holiday and sweet and happy new year!
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 stay connected by subscribing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, it is my honor to serve you. Have a wonderful summer with family and friends.