Broward County emerged from 2012 and is approaching 2013 stronger and more efficient. We continue to streamline the size of government and its programs, and have achieved operational efficiencies without sacrificing the needs of our community.
Broward County’s unemployment rate is below the national level and that of neighboring counties. The number of foreclosures continues to decline while the value of home properties is increasing. These encouraging economic indicators combined with strong performance from Broward County’s three economic engines in 2012: tourism, the airport and seaport.
Tourism is leading the economic recovery in Broward County with a record-breaking 12 million plus visitors spending more than $9.8 billion. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades are undergoing major expansion and modernization, creating thousands of jobs and pouring millions back into the local economy.
Our theme for this year’s annual report is “A Year of Innovation and Achievement.” While the general fund budget remains flat, numerous creative, efficient and cost effective approaches to conducting business have been implemented. Technology is making it easier than ever for residents and employees to do business with their local government.
The County’s new automated payroll system, easyPay, is underway. It will streamline the paperwork and reduce staff time associated with tracking employee time, attendance and payroll, saving money and increasing productivity.
Broward County Commissioners created a new Office of Communications Technology, paving the way for a 911 emergency dispatch system to improve public safety. The consolidation of emergency response services will save millions of dollars, which can be reinvested in public safety programs to protect and serve our residents.
Broward County Libraries introduced a virtual library and mobile phone application that makes it possible for customers to access all the resources and services of Broward County Library online, anytime and anywhere.
The Go SOLAR program, funded by a federal grant, was launched to streamline permitting and promote solar energy as an easy and cost-efficient energy alternative for homeowners and business owners. Broward County was the only government or organization in Florida to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for this program, and one of only 22 organizations in the nation.
I am especially proud of our achievements designing, constructing and renovating facilities that are environmentally friendly, smart and sustainable.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center became the first convention center in Florida to be LEED certified on any level and one of only three in the nation to achieve LEED Gold certification for an Existing Building.
Construction of a new County Courthouse is progressing according to schedule, designed and constructed based on environmentally sound practices and built for sustainability.
I am inspired by the accomplishments of our dedicated employees and their commitment to serve our community, and look forward to even greater innovation and achievement in the year ahead!