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 communities in between. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.
Property Taxes Decrease in FY2017
As your County Commissioner I have always advocated strongly for the need to reduce the millage rate for Broward County residents. After six years of advocating this issue, the County Commission has finally agreed that they could support a reduction, while still maintaining the high level of services that Broward County residents have come to expect from their county government. The proposed one-percent reduction sets the FY2017 millage rate at 5.669. Based on this recommended budget and millage rate reduction, the average median-priced homesteaded property taxpayer will see no increase in County property taxes. The median homesteaded value in Broward County this year is $214,100. I believe that this is still too high, but I am grateful to my fellow commissioners that we are starting the process of reducing the cost of government.
The total recommended budget for FY17 is $4.7 billion, which includes all tax supported and non-tax supported funds. Overall the total budget increases by $505 million with substantial funding provided for large projects at Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Water and Wastewater services. It is also important for me that you know that both Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are enterprise operations and they are not funded with property taxes. They are businesses that create their revenues through customer fees to operate at the port and airport. The FY2017 budget won't be final until the public has a chance to comment. Public hearings are set for September 15th and September 27th, beginning at 5:01 p.m. at the Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Avenue-Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale. Final budget approval is expected after the second public hearing. The fiscal year 2017 budget takes effect on October 1, 2016.
Moving Forward with Convention Center Hotel and Expansion
This past month we took a major step forward in the plans to expand our existing Broward County Convention Center and build a new Convention Center Headquarters Hotel. We are advancing with developer Matthews Southwest Holdings, a Dallas-based developer with expertise in hotel and convention center development, with the addition of Balfour Beatty Construction to the development team, a leading U.S. commercial developer with their state headquarters located in Broward County. The Commission also approved a pre-development agreement for the design and build the project. Another major component of this project was the approval of the purchase of development rights for over four acres of land adjacent to the current convention center known as the Portside Yachting Center. This $30.3 million investment provides Broward County additional development entitlements for the overall project and will allow for better access to the Convention Center campus and expand design options to meet the needs of the City and the County.
The planned expansion and new on-site hotel at Broward County's Convention Center is expected to bring economic benefit not only to the local community, but also throughout the state which will include more annual events, as well as new, permanent full time jobs. It will also create over $96 million in future annual tax revenues (in present value) – over $70 million to the State of Florida and $21 million to Broward County and $2 billion in recurring economic impacts over a 20-year period. Incorporating a convention center hotel and expanding our current convention center will allow Broward County to become a leading destination for conferences and expositions of all sizes.
For more information and updates on the Convention Center expansion and hotel project, please visit www.broward.org/CCExpansion.
Broward County Regional 911 System Update
Broward County’s Office of Regional Communications and Technology has been working extensively to ensure that the Regional Consolidated Communications System is efficient, effective and performing to meet and exceed the national standard. Recently, Phase one of a two phase consultant’s report highlighted that the Regional 911 system is meeting and exceeding the national standards quantitatively. The report also identified several opportunities for improvement which include; overstaffing issues, defining stakeholder roles, and addressing operations and system improvements. The County has already started to address some of these issues by introducing new policies and procedures, training and investing $113 million in operations and systems improvements. The new multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency web-based CAD will replace a 22-year-old system the County inherited in 2012 and interface to the E-911 System, Radio System, Regional Law and Fire Records Systems, and Paging and Toning Systems - all systems vital to receiving, processing and implementing rapid response to 911 calls for help. Phase 2 report will include the consultant’s recommendations for improvements and we expect that report in the coming months.
Another effort to enhance the quality of service experienced by residents using the Regional System is the launching of a new online feedback form, which is now available at www.Broward.org/911. This new feature will provide residents the ability to submit details about their experience including the location of their E-911 call, a brief description of their call experience, and provide contact information such as phone number and/or email, if they wish to be contacted about the call. By implementing these efforts, we are continuously committed to enhancing public safety in our community in order to keep our residents and visitors safe.
For more information and updates on Broward County’s Regional 911 System, visit Broward.org/CommunicationsTechnology.
Animal Care Receives Funding
Broward County’s Animal Care and Adoption department has received grant funding from the Community Foundation of Broward. The funding will provide more than 100 Foster Kits for the Foster Care Program. On average, more than 1,300 kittens are fostered each year. Kittens stay in the Foster Program until they are at least two months old, or weigh at least two pounds. At that time, they are placed into adoption. The grant of $30,000 will help to provide a special Foster Kit to Foster Care parents which includes; a supply of kitten food, feeding bowls, cat pan and liners, litter and a scoop, and a special carrying bag to hold all of the supplies. I am also very pleased to announce that our brand new 40,000 square foot, state-of the-art Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center will be opening to the public in October. Every kennel in this new facility will be air conditioned and will have the best of creature comforts for our visitors. For more information, please go to www.broward.org/Animal/Shelter2016.
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 E-news and social media sites. Please sign up at www.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.