District 8 Newsletter

A Message from Broward County District 8 Commissioner Barbara Sharief

A food and beverage tax similar to the tax in Miami-Dade County to provide much-needed programs for the homeless is being proposed here in Broward County. As of right now, a one percent (1%) tax would be collected on all food and beverage sales by establishments that are licensed by the State of Florida to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, except for hotels and motels. Only businesses that make over $400,000 in gross receipts annually would be obligated to collect this tax. What do you think about a food and beverage tax to help the homeless here in Broward County?

 

I welcome your comments and want to hear which issues are important to you. Send an email to me at Bsharief@broward. org or call my office at 954-357-7008. Also, check out the Barbara Sharief Facebook page at Facebook.com/barbara.sharief or follow Barbara Sharief at Twitter.com/bestmom39.

Barbara


BCC Meetings: Now Available On Demand

As part of Broward County’s ongoing commitment to transparency, video recordings of Commission meetings are now archived online and available for on-demand viewing by noon the day after the meeting on our Commission Meetings and Agenda webpage. You can now enjoy the convenience of viewing Commission meetings 24/7. County Commission meetings are televised live on most Tuesdays beginning at 10AM. You can watch those meetings on Comcast channels 12 and 77, Advance Communications channels 25 and 42, and AT&T U-verse channel 99. They are also live, on-line at Broward.org Video Central. The meetings are rebroadcast each Friday starting at 5:30PM.


Florida Homestead Exemption

All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the fi rst and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence. While a complicated formula is used to explain this -- as the additional $25,000 only applies to the non-schools portion of your tax bill -- the bottom line is that the basic homestead exemption saved a Broward homeowner in 2014 anywhere from $646.26 to $1,114.41 (depending upon your city's millage rate) in annual tax savings for all homes with a value of $75,000 or higher. You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined. Please visit www.bcpa.net/homestead for more information.


Earned Income Tax Credit

Each year, many Floridians claim the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which puts dollars back in to the hands of low- to moderate income families and individuals. These programs include the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and other financial stability programs offered by United Way and other organizations such as Branches and the United Way Center for Financial Stability. Additionally, the Hispanic Unity of Florida operates mobile locations at various Wells Fargo stores in Broward County.

 

Not only do these programs offer free tax preparation by IRS-certified volunteers, they also help consumers in South Florida avoid predatory tactics and costly refund anticipation loans. In addition, many offer free financial education year-round to help families take and maintain control of their financial future. The EITC is a great financial boost for working people, but it is also a boost to our local economies bringing, in millions of dollars each year. If you know someone who could benefit from the EITC and free tax preparation, please encourage them to fi nd an organization in their community that provides these services by contacting Florida Prosperity Partnership.


Serving on County Boards

We are seeking residents with an interest in public service to represent the needs of the district. If you are interested in being considered, please forward a detailed resumé to bsharief@broward.org. Be sure to include your permanent address, phone number and email address; whether you are a registered voter; whether you are a registered lobbyist; whether you serve on any other board, authority or agency (dual office holding); whether you are related to any Commissioner; and whether you have any potential conflicting business relationship. For a description of Boards, visit Broward.org/Intergovernmental and select BOARDS AND COMMITTEES.

Small Business Resources

The Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) supports Broward County businesses and their success by providing a comprehensive roster of client-focused services. Technical assistance is available to local businesses in a range of topics from information on current public procurement opportunities to financing. Firms interested in OESBD technical assistance services should call 954-357-6400 or visit Broward.org/EconDev. Free seminars are designed to provide the South Florida business community with a working knowledge of Florida’s participation in the States Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The U.S. Department of Treasury allocated more than $97.6 million to implement the SSBCI which supports Florida’s two major programs benefitting small businesses in need of financing.

In addition, the Miramar-based AvanzeCorp, Inc., has launched “150 in 1 Year” to assist entrepreneurs with resources during start-up and mentoring for their first five years in business. The 150 seats will be on a first come, first served basis. Call AvanzeCorp Inc. at 888-848-7771 or email at info@avanzecorp.com to register.


Foreclosures and Housing Assistance

If you received a foreclosure or eviction notice from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, you should also receive a resource guide listing the agencies that may be able to help you in the foreclosure process or to obtain alternate housing. For information regarding the National Mortgage Settlement you can contact the National Mortgage Settlement Administrator at 1-866-430-8358. For information regarding the Making Home Affordable Program – a mortgage modification program - call 888-995-HOPE (4673) and for further assistance with home buying or foreclosure call the Housing Foundation of America at 954-923-5001.

Helpful Resources

Broward County Family Success Administration Division assists individuals and families with accessing the services they need to build a stronger, healthier and self-sufficient family unit. The centers provide assessment and case management, and, if eligible, rent/mortgage and utility assistance. If you have recently had a loss of income, received an eviction notice/mortgage default letter, or a water/electricity shut off notice, visit Broward.org/HumanServices/FamilySuccess/ or call 954-357-5650 or 954-357-5001 to find out how they can help you. The South Family Success Center is located in Commission District 8 at 4733 S.W. 18 Street, West Park, 33023 (Broward County Transit Route 5). If you are over 60, or are a veteran, contact the Elderly and Veteran's Services Division at 954-357-6622.

2-1-1 Broward is available 24 hours a day to help you find food, housing, health care, senior services, child care, legal aid and much more. For a complete list of services, dial 2-1-1 or (954) 537-0211, TTY (954) 390-0492 211, or go to 211-broward.com/.

To receive communications (such as this newsletter) from my office via email, or to arrange for myself or my Community Outreach Liaison, Launa Carbonell to attend your neighborhood or homeowner association meeting, please contact Launa at 954-357-7008 or lcarbonell@broward.org.

Other Resources

For Access to Healthcare or Relief from Homelessness:
Broward.org/CommunityPartnerships
954-357-8647

Emergency Financial Assistance:
Broward.org/Family
954-357-6367

Legal Aid Services of Broward County, Inc.
www.legalaid.org/broward
954-765-8950