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Fort Lauderdale Beach at Sunrise Nestled halfway between Miami and Palm Beach, the 168,000 residents of the City of Fort Lauderdale have acclimated to enjoying the best of both worlds. No longer the bedroom for America’s gateway to the Caribbean and South America or a vacation dreamland whose existence depends solely on a continuous infusion of tourist dollars, Fort Lauderdale has matured into a thriving vibrant municipality with incandescent prospects. The 33 square miles encompassing the city are permeated with 86 miles of internal waterways and bordered on by 7 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The network of canals connecting the extensive natural river system coupled with the city’s magnetic attraction to tourists is reminiscent of Venice, Italy. It is the largest of Broward's 30 cities and seventh in the State of Florida. The City opted to govern itself through a 5-member City Commission, whose will is actualized by a strong “City Manager”. This political structure, a venue shared by Miami, is an unusual governance format for major cities.

The Venice of America at Night
THE VENICE OF AMERICA AT NIGHT
The “Venice of America” has economically evolved from its earlier dependency on tourism to a varied, well-balanced haven for old line industries and an incubator for new ones. The international access afforded by its location naturally lends itself to manufacturing, finance and insurance industries. Advantaged by location and the City’s longtime proclivity for nurturing leisure activities, it’s Marine industry is world-class. A healthy percentage of the millions of tourists passing through Fort Lauderdale opt to stay. This phenomenon, along with its reputation as a retirement mecca and a magnet for new industries, feeds a high-powered real estate industry. Hurricanes aside, Fort Lauderdale’s reliable semi-tropical climate and limitless availability of picture-postcard locales lends itself to a burgeoning film and television production industry. The city is home to a robust avionics/aerospace industry. From computers to biotechnology, Fort Lauderdale has shared in South Florida’s attraction to new high-technology industries.

Fort Lauderdale Beach at Sunrise Despite being a major city bordered by 9 other municipalities, Fort Lauderdale has managed to retain the benefits of small town life. To better maintain and perpetuate their unique identities, each neighborhood manages its own affairs. The City Commissioners are charged with blending the interests of their neighborhood constituents with those of the City. There is no shortage of opportunities for political input. The city oversees a substantial roster of structured citizen's committees from which it draws guidance and public opinion. Non-governmental Neighborhood Associations exert substantial influence over the issues affecting participating residents. This variety of political input mechanisms has served to keep the city’s leadership in touch with the differing needs of its individual neighborhoods. This political balance has promulgated the relatively unfettered parallel development of Fort Lauderdale’s various communities without having sacrificed the distinguishing characteristics that attracted their inhabitants.

Gross Mismanagement Crippled Fort Lauderdale In 2003, it was revealed that a 3 year period of gross mismanagement had transformed a city with an $18.3 billion tax base into a municipal basket case. As stated by District 1 City Commissioner Christine Teel in December of 2003, “The 2003 City of Fort Lauderdale budget, offered by the former administration, was balanced using assumed savings that simply did not exist in reality. It contained revenue overestimates and expenditure underestimates. If we had put that budget into motion we would have literally run out of money by the end of the year.” The painful ordeal experienced by the city’s residents, employees and public officials is chronicled in the Fort Lauderdale Budget Bust section of this web site. By the end of 2005, the city had mostly recovered from the ill effects suffered during the 2 to 3 years it took to re-establish fiscal viability.

Fort Lauderdale Administration The Galt Mile Community Association continually works with City officials to maintain those qualities that enrich our community while deflecting adverse political fallout, intended or not. The articles in this section cover impacts exerted by the City of Fort Lauderdale on the lives of Galt Mile neighborhood residents. Upon reviewing and analyzing city services and/or policies, the Galt Mile Community Association’s response will be published in this “City of Fort Lauderdale” section. Articles prior to the City’s fiscal recovery (2002 through mid - 2005) can be found in the Archives or in the Fort Lauderdale Budget Bust section.

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Venice of America

FXE Jobs || Transportation Awards || Pet Stations

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
April 25, 2018 - On April 17, 2018, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis delivered her second constituent Newsletter to the neighborhood association. Opening with a plan to exploit an opportunity created by a labor shortage in the world's fast-growing commercial airline industry, Moraitis connects Broward students with high-paying local jobs in Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE); urges constituents to nominate candidates for the 2018 Transportation Awards; equips residents near Executive Airport with the Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line; lists a series of upcoming municipal events and invites District 1 residents to attend her bi-monthly pre-agenda meetings.

Aviation Jobs and Transportation Awards

Women in Aviation Click to Careers in Aviation Open House At the March 20 City Commission meeting, Moraitis declared March as “Women in Aviation Month” and capped the extended event by hosting a “Careers in Aviation Open House” on April 23, a program enabling high school students to network with airline businesses, military recruiters and local colleges with an aviation curriculum.

Commercial Airline Industry Workforce As observed by Moraitis’, the explosive 20-year demand for pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crews in the commercial airline industry has prompted Executive Airport aviation businesses to ramp up recruiting efforts and expedite training programs for mechanics and corporate cabin crews. Moraitis’ statistics are drawn from a 2016 Pilot and Technician Outlook study by Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.

Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook study While surging industry workforce needs are worldwide, the economic conditions and market opportunities in each global region drives local demand. For instance, the Asia-Pacific region, which comprises 40 percent of the global need, is driven by low-cost carriers, North America is benefitting from new markets in Cuba and Mexico, while growth in Europe derives from a strong intra-European Union market.

7<sup>th</sup> Annual Transportation Summit Referencing the 7th Annual Transportation Summit - a May 16 collaborative forum at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Huizenga Pavilion at 201 SW 5th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale) - wherein elected officials, regional experts, and industry leaders exchange best practices, share innovative ideas, and plan transportation infrastructure consistent with the City's current and future needs, Moraitis describes two awards for community members who help the City achieve a safe, connected, multimodal, and sustainable community - Neighbor Champion and Outstanding Project or Program – which recognize innovation, advocacy, and excellence in transportation projects.

Pet Waste on the Galt Mile

Pet Waste Station
PET WASTE STATION
At the April 19, 2018 Galt Mile Advisory Board meeting, Moraitis expressed her continuing support for neighborhood projects discussed at earlier meetings, including the placement of pet stations along Galt Ocean Drive and replanting browned-out A1A medians with new landscaping. Moraitis exclaimed, “I noticed that the City has begun installing ‘Poo Pylons’ on Galt Ocean Drive,” referring to Pet Waste Stations equipped with a chamber that dispenses biodegradable plastic bags.

Pet Waste Signage Program By electing to ignore Section 6-4(c) of the City’s Code of Ordinances, which requires the removal and proper disposal of their pets’ droppings, a few irresponsible pet owners aren’t just creating an irritating nuisance, but a significant health hazard. Pet waste that accumulates on the street, parking lot, sidewalk, association driveway or lawn is often carried by rainwater into a storm drain or catch basin that discharges the intestinal bacteria and disease-causing parasites into streams, lakes, canals or the ocean. Given South Florida’s very porous geology, these pollutants also reach groundwater and permeate the aquifer. Pet owners who think it clever to stuff the waste into a nearby storm drain instead of an appropriate receptacle are responsible for the recent on-street flooding caused by inevitable blockages.

In rejecting the prospect of relying on the city to refill depleted bag chambers in a timely manner, in exchange for receiving these free Pet Stations, adjacent associations will replenish the biodegradable plastic bags as needed. Hopefully, the pet stations will help reverse these adverse impacts while improving the appearance of our neighborhood.

Sun Trolley Galt Link

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association Sun Trolley Recently named as Fort Lauderdale’s voice on the Broward County Planning Council, Moraitis also serves on the Board of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA) - parent of the Sun Trolley - where she is currently working to revive the suspended Galt Link. . She explained that participants at two March Sun Trolley Galt Link Public Workshops held at the Beach Community Center and the Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center helped map alternatives for a reconfigured Galt Link route. The new route is planned for implementation in May. Moraitis closes her monthly update with upcoming event reminders for a Wave Streetcar workshop, Broward Navy Days, the Fort Lauderdale Air Show and the little-known Cares Day. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ April 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
District 1 is home to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) and FXE is addressing the issue regarding the aviation workforce skills gap. There is a growing demand for workers in the aviation industry and the Executive Airport is home to a variety of businesses working hard to train a talented workforce.

Over the next 20 years, statistics show that globally there is a need and opportunity for people to pursue aviation careers:

  • Almost 40,000 new airplanes will be built in the next 20 years

  • Highly trained workforce will be needed – over 2,000,000 new aviation personnel

  • Click to Careers in Aviation Open House 617,000 new pilots will be needed

  • 670,000 new technicians will be needed

  • 814,000 new cabin crew members will be needed

Students interested in careers in aviation can learn more from Broward College (BC): http://www.broward.edu/academics/programs/aviation/Pages/default.aspx. BC has a comprehensive program in a number of areas, which can provide students with information they can use to pursue aviation training.

Click to Broward College Click to Banyan Air On Monday, April 23, I am hosting an Aviation Career Night for high school students interested in aviation careers at FXE in partnership with Broward College and Banyan Air. The event flyer is below. Please contact my office if you would like more information or your high school student is interested in attending!

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Seeking Nominations for the 2018 Transportation Awards

The City is accepting applications for the 2018 Transportation Awards. The awards will be presented in two categories – Neighbor Champion and Outstanding Project or Program – at the Transportation Summit on May 16. Past winners include Ronald Centamore, Tarpon River Civic Association, Frederic Stresau, and Mockingbird Trail. Neighbors can apply online at www.fortlauderdale.gov by April 27.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 

Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line

Neighbors may call a 24-hour Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line at 954-828-6666 to report excessively loud aircraft


Upcoming Events

  Click to WAVE Streetcar Meeting Info Click to Cares Day web page
 
  Click to Broward Navy Days
  Click to Fort Lauderdale Air Show

Please Join Us For A Pre-agenda Meeting:

Click to Fort Lauderdale City Commission Agendas

  • First Monday of each month from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at the Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue

  • Third Monday of each month from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at Broward Health Imperial Point, 6401 N Federal Highway

Heather Moraitis                


  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Venice of America

Neighbor Survey || District Projects || MSD Tragedy

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
March 24, 2018 - After being sworn in as Fort Lauderdale’s District 1 City Commissioner on March 20, 2018, Heather Moraitis released her first constituent Newsletter - an introductory edition slipped to the media a week earlier by her rookie Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby. In her March / April 2018 Newsletter, Moraitis outlines her general objectives for the city drawn from a recent Neighborhood Survey, summarizes the progress of 14 Current Water and Sewer Infrastructure Projects in District 1, seeks to honor the 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims by fighting for school safety and gun control, cites her intention to host District 1 Pre-agenda Meetings at 7 p.m. in the Beach Community Center and Imperial Point Medical Center – respectively on the first and third Monday of each month, and closes by providing constituents with assorted contact options for enlisting her assistance.

Sworn and Rolling

South Florida YMCA On Monday, June 12, 2017, Heather Moraitis set aside the joys of scaring up cash for the YMCA (Director of Capitol Development) and announced her intention to step into the District 1 Commission seat as Commissioner Bruce Roberts embarked on his ill-fated mayoral campaign. In delivering her "props", Moraitis said, “I was born here, and we have raised our family here, so I want to make sure the special way of life that we enjoy can continue for all residents. With over $1 billion in public infrastructure needs, congestion issues that will require smart solutions, and division over development, we can either work together to make things better, or kick the can down the road. I am running to make things better.”

Although city races are thinly veneered as non-partisan, political affiliations often determine the outcome. In Broward County – long ago christened the “killing fields” by Florida Republicans – this typically gives Democrats a leg up. However, District 1 residents in the Galt Mile and Coral Ridge communities seamlessly bounce between selecting Democrats and Republicans, opting for the candidate who seems most aggressively predisposed to deliver the municipal resources required to improve their neighborhoods and otherwise quell local concerns.

Statehouse Representative George Moraitis with Galt Mile officials
REPRESENTATIVE GEORGE MORAITIS WITH GALT MILE OFFICIALS
Having entered the race with a sterling legacy, as departing District 93 Statehouse Representative George Moraitis (R - Fort Lauderdale) worked for years with Galt Mile officials to protect thousands of association homeowners who live in District 1. Reputed to be a talented organizer and workaholic, Heather is often credited with spearheading her husband's 3 tough biennial Statehouse campaign victories over candidates with intimidating resources and the support of party machines.

healthcare mogul David Maymon
HEALTHCARE MOGUL DAVID MAYMON
When former Statehouse Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff made her move to the Florida Senate, Broward's Republican Leadership hand-picked healthcare entrepreneur David Maymon to fill her shoes. In large part, Heather's kilometer-long contact list and access to resources helped enable George to beat Maymon in the Primary and Democrat Barbara Stern in the election. What goes around, comes around; with term limits winding down his eight-year Statehouse career – on January 22, 2018, George Moraitis was elected Chairman of the snake-bit Broward Republican Executive Committee.

Swearing in New Commissioners
SWEARING IN NEW COMMISSIONERS
Heather snagged the District 1 Commission seat when the qualifying period ended on November 13, 2017 with no other hats in the ring. Since then, the Commissioner-elect synchronized her schedule with that of Roberts, attending District events that might deepen her insight into constituent concerns - including meetings with the Galt Mile Advisory Board and Presidents Council. Her reputation for hitting the ground running appears to be true, as she has already agreed to investigate or resolve a laundry list of Galt Mile agenda items that require City support or resources.

New Commission's First Commission Meeting
NEW CITY BOARD'S FIRST COMMISSION MEETING
For instance, in addressing members at the January 18, 2018 Galt Mile Advisory Board meeting, Moraitis volunteered to help mitigate issues vetted during the previous meeting on December 14, including a parking shortage on the Galt, no lighting under the Oakland Park Bridge, lighting and median landscaping on A1A. Pleasantly surprised by her unsolicited offer, members piled on more pressing issues, such as expediting a solution to the failed lighting along Galt Ocean Drive, and leveling the outrageous rate disparity borne by multi-family homeowners for water and sewer services.

City Attorney Cynthia Everett Distraught
CYNTHIA EVERETT DISTRAUGHT
After transitioning from Commissioner-elect to Commissioner when sworn in on March 20, 2018, Moraitis jumped into her first Commission meeting. The new city panel threw $10 million at Las Olas Marina, punked the Wave Streetcar project (which Trantalis, Glassman and Sorenson all promised to quash if elected), and pink-slipped City Attorney Cynthia Everett. Read on for Moraitis’ first message to constituents as District 1 Commissioner. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

George and Heather Moraitis
GEORGE AND HEATHER MORAITIS
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
It is an honor to represent you on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission! District 1 is more than my current home; it’s where I was born, work, play, and raised my family. I was born at Holy Cross Hospital, worked at Westminster Academy, paddleboard and walk along the Galt Ocean Mile beach, and raised two daughters (Alexis 19, Catherine 16) with George, my husband of 23 years.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Neighborhood Survey On March 20, the new commission was sworn in and we are already hard at work addressing your issues, as we plan for the future of our city. The city recently conducted a neighborhood survey, which highlighted three areas of concern I am committed to improving: traffic flow, homelessness, and public education.

Sunrise Boulevard Roundabout and Flyover Ramp
SUNRISE BOULEVARD ROUNDABOUT AND FLYOVER RAMP
In District 1, Sunrise Boulevard from Gateway to I 95 has been identified as a top priority for improving traffic flow. The Sunrise Signal Retiming effort is underway with a consultant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), working with Broward County Signal staff, to retime all the signals for improved traffic flow. The schedule for implementing this plan is fall 2018. FDOT is also studying a flyover near Gateway Plaza to allow vehicles to move from Sunrise to US 1.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Homeless Stats According to the survey, 81% of us see homeless people throughout our community on a daily basis. The city, county, state, and federal government, along with numerous local nonprofits allocate resources, but we still have a homeless problem. The goal is to provide permanent housing, with support services, to ensure the cycle of homelessness is broken. As a community, we must collaborate at all levels to leverage resources and commit to expanding housing options at current shelters or new options.

As an educator, I value access to excellent public education from preschool to college. 19% of neighbors surveyed thought the quality of our public middle schools was good or excellent. I hear concerns from many friends and neighbors in our city about public school options for middle school. I am committed to working with our current public schools or exploring a charter school in Fort Lauderdale to provide excellent options for middle school.


District 1 Current Water and Sewer Infrastructure Projects

  • Coral Ridge Club Estates

    • The project includes the rehabilitation of Mainline Sewers, point repairs, minor road restoration and landscaping, the use of trenchless technologies to repair sewer system components such as lining of gravity sewers, manholes, and sewer laterals. Work also includes pre and post television survey, flow monitoring, traffic control and site restoration. This is part of the WW Conveyance System Long Term Remediation Program.

  • Bermuda Rivera

    • This project is for the relining of sanitary sewer collection mains and laterals. It includes the rehabilitation of mainline sewers, point repairs, minor road restoration and landscaping, the use of trenchless technologies to repair sewer system component.

  • Basin

    • Sanitary Sewer Collection System Rehabilitation - Basin B- 6 (Coral Ridge area) relining of sanitary collection mains and laterals and rehabilitation of manholes.

  • Pump Station

    • This project is for the replacement of station pumps, valves, suction and discharge piping, reroute of discharge forcemain, new sump pumps, ladders, grates and hatches; new HVAC and electrical and control system. The work also includes repairs to the wet-well, and structural repairs to the station.

  • Security Gate Replacement

    • Replacement of electronic entrance security gate at the 38th Street Public Works Administration facility.

  • Lake Estates

    • This project is for small water main improvements in Lake Estates. This project will replace existing water mains, which are undersized and deteriorated, with approximately 7, 000 linear feet of 6" water mains.

  • Rehab of 2 SCADA High Service Pump

    • This Project is to rehabilitate control panels that regulate and operate three of the Fiveash high service pumps. These panels have exceeded their service life.

  • Water Distribution Service

    • This project will replace the existing Water Pressure SCADA system with a new system that will monitor water system pressure, chlorine residual, pH, turbidity and conductivity. This system will interface with the existing water plant control system and have the data recorded. Eight new panels will be installed at various locations in the city's water distribution system.

  • Fiveash Water Treatment Plant Disinfection Improvements

    • The Fiveash Reliability Upgrades (P11593 & P10508) project was added to the Disinfection System Replacement project (P11589) for bidding and construction, so that one contractor will be responsible for use of the limited free spaces at the plant. Both projects will be constructed at the same time.

  • Fiveash Water Treatment Plant Hydrotreators

    • This project includes the replacement of 30" diameter steel fabricated flanged fitting and associated valves and couplings, replacement of air release valves, replacement of sump pump and associated piping for Hydrotreators 3 & 4 at the Fiveash Water Treatment Plant.

  • Fiveash Water Treatment Plan Facility Concrete Restore

    • This project is to assess the concrete surfaces and structures at the Water Treatment Plants for failures. The work will create the bid specs for concrete repairs, oversee the bid process, and the construction inspection services.

  • Utilities Storage Building

    • This project is to construct a prefabricated steel building such as a "Butler" building to store equipment and materials for use in utilities projects. The pipe yard/depot at the Public Works compound is at its maximum capacity. There are no available covered storage spaces to keep components out of the weather.

  • Peele Dixie R&R

    • Peele-Dixie Treatment Plant - renewal and/or replacement of miscellaneous equipment, structures, pipes and other features critical to the continued safe, reliable, efficient, and compliant operation of the plant.

  • Coral Ridge Isles

    • The project includes the rehabilitation of the sanitary sewer collection system throughout Basin B- 13. This includes, but not limited to point repairs, minor road restoration, landscaping, the use of trenchless technologies to repair sewer system components such as lining of gravity sewers, manholes, and sewer laterals. Work also includes pre and post television survey, flow monitoring, traffic control and site restoration.


Remembering Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Remembering Marjory Stoneman Douglas
REMEMBERING MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS
On February 14, our community mourned the loss of 17 students and teachers in Parkland. We cried, comforted those who lost loved ones, and came together to make plans for improving school safety.

On Saturday, March 17, we brought the community together to discuss gun reform and school safety. We will continue to fight for these issues to keep our students safe.


Upcoming Meetings

Please join me from 6:00PM – 7:00PM for a District 1 Pre-agenda Meeting:

  • April 2 at Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue (always first Monday of each month)

  • April 16 at Broward Health Imperial Point, 6401 N Federal Hwy (always third Monday of each month)


For More Information

  • Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
    COMMISSION ASSISTANT
    MELISSA CONINGSBY
    An overview of current District 1 and Citywide Public Works Projects, including water & sewer infrastructure, can be found at http://gis.fortlauderdale.gov/LauderWorks.

  • Sign-up for Email Updates/Newsletters to get additional links to important city information, upcoming events, photos, commission agendas and meeting reminders for district meetings. Please contact District 1 Assistant Melissa Coningsby, mconingsby@fortlauderdale.gov or 954-828-5033, to receive emails or to schedule an appointment.

  • Follow Commissioner Moraitis on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn @heathermoraitis

  • Learn more about District 1 at fortlauderdale.gov/district1

Heather Moraitis                


  Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
  Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 

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Chuggling Chlorine Cocktails

City Chlorinates Water

March 14, 2018 - In late February, a few Galt Mile residents sent emails to the neighborhood association asking about the odd taste of their tap water. The inquiries are familiar, as they arrive several times each year, mostly from recent arrivals to the neighborhood. Occasionally, the messages theorize vandalism to the association's water supply or cross-contamination of the City's aging water / wastewater infrastructure. In fact, the perpetrator is the City of Fort Lauderdale - specifically - the Treatment Division of the Public Works Water and Wastewater Operations Section. In short, Water Services temporarily alters the chemical purification process as part of a regular system maintenance program.

Commissioner Bruce Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
On January 24, 2018, Commissioner Bruce Roberts sent a copy of his February 2018 Newsletter to Galt Mile officials for distribution to 29 member associations. The content included a constituent alert about the impending treatment of their domestic water with free chlorine. His message echoed a December 22, 2917 press release in the online City News entitled, "City of Fort Lauderdale to Chlorinate Water System". The article, in turn, summarizes a discussion of free chlorine posted by the Department of Public Works. While detailing the process and reviewing its impacts, the Public Works missive exhorts "Preventive Maintenance Scheduled for February 13 – March 20, 2018". The full text of the message is as follows:

 

Free Chlorination
Chlorine Attracting Water
Preventive Maintenance scheduled for February 13 - March 20, 2018

Chlorine Attracting Water
CHLORINE ATTRACTING WATER
The City of Fort Lauderdale will temporarily return to using free chlorine in its drinking water system. This preventive maintenance procedure will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, February 13, 2018 and will end at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

Free chlorination is a common practice for water systems using combined chlorine disinfection. The chlorination period is anticipated to be transparent to water customers; however, some may notice a slight change in the taste or smell of their tap water. Some customers may also see water running from fire hydrants in their neighborhoods, which is part of the normal maintenance process.

This procedure will affect the City of Fort Lauderdale, as well as Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Port Everglades, Village of Sea Ranch Lakes, Wilton Manors, and sections of the Town of Davie, Oakland Park, and Tamarac (east of State Road 7/441).

Click To City of Fort Lauderdale 2016 Water Quality Report The City of Fort Lauderdale maintains the highest standards to ensure that clean, high quality drinking water is delivered to its customers. The City's drinking water meets federal, state and local drinking water quality standards.

Click To Lauderserv For more information, Fort Lauderdale utility customers may contact the 24-hour Neighbor Call Center at (954) 828-8000 or online at www.fortlauderdale.gov/lauderserv. Customers who receive a utility bill from other municipalities or entities should call their respective water provider’s customer service phone number for more information.

 

Click To Fiveash Water Treatment Plant
Water Chlorimination
Chlorimination Bar

Click To EPA discussion of Chloramines in water disinfection The City utilizes the same blend of chemicals to treat our drinking water on a regular basis. Altering the disinfection chemical mix is typically performed once or twice per year over a two to four week time period. This semi-annual treatment application is prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Click To role of Chloramines in water treatment The disinfection of our treated water is normally achieved by adding chloramines (commonly formed when chlorine reacts with ammonia) at the treatment plants. The introduction of chloramines (chlorimination) reduces microbial growth (biofilm) on filter media that could increase filter head loss build-up (pressure). Although effective and safe, oxidation of the ammonia (nitrification) reduces it's effectiveness throughout the distribution system. Since a "dose" of free chlorine reverses the adverse effects of nitrification, Public Works regularly switches from chloramines to free chlorine to maximize its disinfectant impact.

The periodic switch to free chlorine effectively reduces biological re-growth in the distribution system and helps maintain chlorine residual levels at the extremities of the distribution system during the normal chloramine disinfection process.

It is not unusual for residents to experience a slight change in both the taste and smell of the water during this process. The water will remain safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other daily needs. For the vast majority of residents, adverse health effects are not expected.

However, while persons currently undergoing dialysis can safely drink chlorinated or chloraminated water, both chlorine and chloramines must be removed from water used in dialysis machines because this water comes into direct contact with blood. Anyone suffering from a compromised immune system can be more susceptible than others to harmful organisms in water. As such, transplant patients and people with AIDS should consult with their health care provider to determine whether the temporary change in disinfection chemistry will affect their treatment.

In addition, residents with a fish tank or pond, including grocery stores, restaurants and bait shops that use city water in their lobster tanks and fish containers, should contact a pet or aquarium professional to determine the need for any adjustments to their aquarium treatment procedures. Unless neutralized by products readily available from aquarium supply stores, chlorine and monochloramine can be harmful to fish because they directly enter their bloodstream through the gills and block the growth of beneficial bacteria in the fish tank.

Roger Stone
Roger Stone
For those of you skilled in aquarium maintenance, the City website describes two methods for removing or neutralizing chlorine and / or chloramines in fish aquariums using products available at local pet and aquarium supply stores. A Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system is specifically designed to remove chloramines. Also, you can use a conditioner or additive that contains a de-chlorinating chemical for both ammonia and chlorine. However, fish owners are advised to verify which of these two methods is best for them by consulting with their pet store or aquatic/aquarium retailer.

City Manager Lee Feldman
City Manager Lee Feldman
Since it takes approximately two weeks for the chlorine to clear, any perceived changes to the taste and smell may persist through early April. At least, that's what the City wants us to believe. In 2014, an angry woman from L’Hermitage II insisted that political cockroach Roger Stone spiked the water!

Click To City of Fort Lauderdale 2014 Water Quality Report City Manager Lee Feldman assures residents who call the city for information that "the Customer Service staff is educated on the chlorination process and is available to accommodate any inquiries." For more information about the City’s water quality, please visit http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/home/showdocument?id=21264 to view the City’s most recent Water Quality Report (2016). Bottoms up!

Click To Peele Dixie Water Treatment Plant

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Free Chlorine || Body Cams || Fire Station 54

Vice Mayor Bruce G. Roberts February 2018 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
VICE MAYOR BRUCE ROBERTS
February 7, 2018 - In his February 2018 Newsletter, Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts welcomes Commissioner-Elect Heather Moraitis to step into his District 1 shoes, announces Mayor Seiler’s State of the City Address at the recently transformed South Side Cultural Arts Center, alerts municipal water customers to the temporary introduction of free chlorine into our drinking water to boost the disinfection process, reports how a city IT team sought to cure a glitch in the FLPD body worn cameras pilot program by exploring how their Orlando peers deployed similar equipment, updates constituents about the progress of District 1 infrastructure projects either completed, currently underway, or on the drawing board, including the long awaited construction kick-off of Fire Rescue Station 54. Roberts closes with a list of upcoming events, essentially commission meetings leading up to the March 13, 2018 municipal election - and the swearing in ceremony a week later.

Body Cameras: A Bumpy Start

Body worn camera programs are exploding across jurisdictions intrigued by their unique law enforcement benefits, such as obtaining evidence for criminal prosecutions, protecting officers from false allegations of misconduct, curbing overzealous enforcement, strengthening police accountability by documenting interactions with the public, and increasing Departmental transparency by providing the public with access to video evidence of police encounters. It has also been proven to reduce the number of shootings by Police Officers. However, in January of 2016, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission postponed a body worn camera (BWC) pilot program pending the development of guidelines to protect participants, the public and the Police Department.

Broward Sheriff's Office Body Worn Camera
BROWARD SHERIFF'S OFFICE BODY WORN CAMERA
Although similar programs were already underway in more than 60 police departments nationwide, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) and the Hallandale Beach Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler expressed concern about how the courts would react to the inadvertent recording of bystanders not involved in an incident, such as emergency room patients whose privacy rights are shielded by statute.

City Attorney Cynthia Everett
CITY ATTORNEY CYNTHIA EVERETT
Commission concerns about judicial blowback weren’t without merit. Florida jurisdictions invested $millions in red light camera systems that largely became landfill fodder once their enabling ordinances were reversed in courts. When City Attorney Cynthia Everett told Commissioners “I don’t believe there’s any legal impediment to implementing this program, if that’s what you want to do. We’re going to have policies and procedures and training,” Roberts asked Everett to draft an official legal opinion about the body-worn cameras.

Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article Commissioners also expressed reservations about the cost of storing and managing an ever-growing evidentiary database of tapes, disks and/or flip drives. For instance, when lawyers, victims, suspects, the media, or members of the public file a public records request for a video, to mitigate prospective liability damage claims, the Department must first perform a costly legal analysis and redact any material subject to public records exemptions.

Mayor Jack Seiler
MAYOR JACK SEILER
To shield members from lawsuits alleging a violation of privacy rights, the police union sought to amend its collective bargaining agreement with protection against potential personal liability for participating officers. Commissioner (and former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief) Bruce Roberts suggested soliciting input from the Citizens Police Review Board. Once the Commission concluded that the City should move ahead with a test program, Mayor Jack Seiler charged staff with identifying obstacles to the pilot program and customizing policy guidelines.

BSO Chimes In

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel
BROWARD SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL
On March 22, 2016, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel announced that a pilot BWC program of 50 road patrol deputies in North Lauderdale, Central Broward County, Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach, would soon be expanded to 1500 BSO officers. Despite his vow to enforce a BSO policy dictating when the cameras must be used, Israel’s disclosure that deputies would be allowed to manually turn the cameras on and off prompted Broward's Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, Jr. to raise another program impediment, observing “An officer will never record his or her own misconduct.”

Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, Jr.
CHIEF ASST PUB. DEFENDER GORDON WEEKES
A body worn camera (BWC) is always recording, but until the officer turns it on, the recording is regularly overwritten. As such, along with whatever is preserved after the system is turned on, events recorded prior to a specific incident are also available. How much of that prior video is also preserved will depend on the Department’s policy, and could range from one minute to one hour - or more. The program’s intuitive vulnerabilities suggest the critical importance of a bulletproof governing policy. Fortunately, a growing pool of policy resources has been made available to jurisdictions for this purpose.

Crafting a BWC Policy

Click to Police Executive Research Forum
City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
In compliance with a Commission directive to craft an effective BWC policy, City Manager Lee Feldman solicited input from Law Enforcement agencies and private consultants authoritatively experienced with developing BWC best practices. With support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing (AKA COPS), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) extensively researched the use of body-worn cameras by Law Enforcement. PERF reviewed dozens of BWC policies submitted by police agencies while interviewing scores of police executives with relevant expertise.

Click to  U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Click to PERF Study Compiling this research into a study detailing the factors that law enforcement agencies must address when formulating a body-worn cameras policy, PERF published “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned.” While adapting a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to the available resources and statutory constraints of any law enforcement agency, PERF also exhorts jurisdictions to invite input from frontline officers, legal advisors and the community.

Click to Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. As city staff molded the PERF data into a draft policy, Feldman opened a dialogue with several U.S, cities that conducted independent studies. He also reached out to Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc., a “Community Policing” consultant hired by the city to improve FLPD’s operational protocols.

Next, Feldman solicited feedback about the draft policy from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations, the Broward County Urban League, the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Broward Dream Defenders and the City’s Citizens Police Review Board.

Lawmakers Mandate BWC Program Policies

Slain Musician Corey Jones
SLAIN MUSICIAN COREY JONES
While Feldman was framing a BWC policy, Florida lawmakers finally plugged a longstanding vacuum in state law. Driven by the controversial Palm Beach Gardens shooting death of Corey Jones, Broward Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones (D – West Park) filed House Bill 93, which was signed into law on March 24, 2016. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thirty-four states (and Washington D.C.) have already passed body camera laws.

Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones
STATEHOUSE REPRESENTATIVE SHEVRIN JONES
The legislation requires jurisdictions to formulate policies prior to using body cameras, and specifies rules for storing audiovisual data that comply with Florida public records laws. The Florida BWC law essentially codifies PERF policy recommendations. Florida cities and counties seeking to add body cameras to their law enforcement arsenals will have to wade through the same policy options navigated by Feldman.

Click to Florida Police Benevolent Association During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers amended the 2016 Statute. Conceived and supported by Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA) lobbyists, Senate Bill 624 and House Bill 305 featured a single paragraph that allows police officers to review the recorded footage on their body cameras before writing reports or making statements. While proponents claim that the legislation will allow officers to provide a more accurate and detailed description of events, opponents decry providing an unfair advantage to officers when their recollection of events conflicts with those of other witnesses.

Cato Institute Analyst Matthew Feeney
CATO INSTITUTE ANALYST MATTHEW FEENEY
Aspiring to add context to the controversy, Analyst Matthew Feeney with the Washington D.C.-based Cato Institute said he is skeptical of such body-camera review policies, especially when they extend to the most serious kinds of interactions between law enforcement and the public, particularly shootings. Feeney explained, “The legality of use-of-force incidents often hinges on what an officer believed or thought at the time of the incident. The problem with these kinds of proposals is that they give officers an unfair advantage that is not given to citizens.” Despite related concerns raised by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, the legislation was unanimously approved in both chambers.

Policy Approval Uncorks Pilot Program

Click to Axon Incorporated Click to Motorola Solutions, Inc, Having received ten (10) vendor responses for a proposed “turn-key solution to capture video from an officer’s perspective,” Feldman placed the issue on the December 6, 2016, Commission Meeting agenda, where he finally delivered the policy guidelines requested eleven months earlier.

Click to VieVu LLC On January 4, 2017, the city agreed to kick in $600,000, its share of a matching grant provided by the Federal Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program (through the Department of Justice / Office of Justice Grant Programs for Body-Worn Cameras). The funds will cushion the BWC Pilot Program’s $1.2 million burden on taxpayers. The $600,000 matching grant awarded to Fort Lauderdale was the third largest Florida distribution in 2016, after Broward County ($999,564) and Miami ($960,000).

Click to Businesswire
Assistant Police Chief Mike Gregory
ASST POLICE CHIEF MIKE GREGORY
With the Commission on board, city staff embarked on a collaborative effort with FLPD (and input from police union officials) to evaluate the vendor proposals. The review team included Assistant Police Chief Mike Gregory, a former FLPD liaison to the Galt Mile. By vetting the various systems - assessing each vendor’s technology, training regimen and support capabilities - the procurement team finally narrowed the field to three vendors by February 21, 2017, selecting the Body Worn Cameras (BWC) and Digital Evidence Management Systems provided by Motorola Solutions, Inc, Axon Incorporated (also referred to as Taser) and VieVu LLC. Two of the three would win a City contract.

When VieVu LLC failed to provide a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) by the May 22, 2017 deadline, they were dropped as “non-responsive”, prompting staff to recommend awarding the two pilot program contracts to Axon and Motorola on June 6, 2017. On November 13, 2017, FLPD announced that 35 of the more than 50 BWC pilot program volunteers would receive product training from the two vendors between November 27th and December 8th, “after which time, they would begin their patrol duties outfitted with the cameras.”

Mystery Glitch

Click to Orlando Police Department Editing Police Video As explained by Roberts, shortly after pilot project officers concluded their training on December 8, and began using the cameras on patrols, they ran into problems with uploading and sharing their recorded video content. Although Roberts doesn’t disclose whether the problems afflicted the system provided by Motorola, Axon or those of both vendors, he mentions that the IT team sought to fix the problem by consulting with police officials in Orlando, having learned that their Digital Evidence Management System was free of glitches, and working perfectly.

Since Motorola underbid Axon while competing for the Orlando BWC contract in December 2016, the Orlando Police Department purchased 450 Motorola cameras and the Motorola video management system. Given the IT team’s decision to compare notes with Orlando, one might conclude that the Fort Lauderdale glitch resides in their Motorola hardware or software, or how either is being utilized. However, since a hiccup like this could damage the company’s credibility at a time that its poised to sell hundreds of similar systems across the planet, why couldn’t an army of Motorola technicians obliterate the glitch in short order? To peruse Commissioner Roberts’ February 2018 Newsletter in it's entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner-Elect Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER-ELECT
HEATHER MORAITIS
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
I would like to say it has been a pleasure serving you for the past 9 years. During that time, we have made great strides in making this City a better place to live, work and play. Some of those accomplishments have been within our District; others throughout the City. We all want the same end result – making sure the future of Fort Lauderdale remains a beautiful place to live and visit. I would also like you to join me in welcoming Commissioner Elect Heather Moraitis who will take over the position of District 1 Commissioner on March 20, 2018. She brings with her Melissa Coningsby as her Commission Assistant replacing Robbi Uptegrove who will be retiring after 17 years with the City.

South Side Cultural Arts Center
SOUTH SIDE CULTURAL ARTS CENTER
STATE OF THE CITY SET FOR JANUARY 30: Join Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler and the Fort Lauderdale City Commission for the State of the City Address, Advisory Board Reception, and Ribbon-cutting Ceremony to celebrate the completion of the South Side Cultural Arts Center. The event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at 5:30 PM at South Side Cultural Arts Center, 701 S Andrews Avenue. The evening will begin with a networking reception at 5:30 PM to acknowledge Advisory Board and Committee members for their volunteer service to the City. A ribbon-cutting will occur at 6:30 PM to celebrate the completion of the restoration of historic South Side School, which has been transformed into the new South Side Cultural Arts Center. At 7 PM, Mayor Seiler will deliver his final State of the City Address, which will review many of Fort Lauderdale’s accomplishments and highlight opportunities that lie ahead. To RSVP, please email cfoster@fortlauderdale.gov or call 954-828-4741.

Chlorine Attracting Water
CHLORINE ATTRACTING WATER
CITY TO CHLORINATE WATER SYSTEM: The City will temporarily return to using free chlorine in its drinking water system. This preventive maintenance procedure will begin at 9 AM Tuesday, February 13 and will end at 9 AM Tuesday, March 20. Free chlorination is a common practice for water systems using combined chlorine disinfection. The chlorination period is anticipated to be transparent to water customers; however, some may notice a slight change in the taste or smell of their tap water. Some customers may also see water running from fire hydrants in their neighborhoods, which is part of the normal maintenance process. The City maintains the highest standards to ensure that clean, high quality drinking water is delivered to its customers. The City's drinking water meets all federal, state, and local drinking water quality standards. For more information, Fort Lauderdale utility customers may contact the 24-hour Neighbor Call Center at 954-828-8000 or online at www.fortlauderdale.gov/lauderserv. Customers who receive a utility bill from other municipalities or entities should call their respective water provider’s customer service phone number for more information.

Click to Axpon Body Worn Camera Click to Axpon Body Worn Camera POLICE BODY WORN CAMERAS PILOT PROGRAM: Pilot users have been recording and submitting videos to both the Axon (Taser) and Motorola BWC systems since training concluded December 8, 2017. We have experienced several setup/configuration type issues that City IT and the vendors have been addressing. These include slow speeds and lockups when uploading videos as well as challenges sharing videos with detectives and the State Attorney’s Office. The implementation team has travelled to Orlando Police Department for a site visit and to discuss video management strategies. They are not incurring any upload timeouts or extraordinary delays. This was useful and as a result IT will be performing additional testing on the FLPD/City network.

UPDATE ON CITY PROJECTS IN DISTRICT 1:

  • Galt Shoppes Area Bike Route with sharrows and signage
    GALT SHOPPES AREA BIKE ROUTE WITH SHARROWS AND SIGNAGE
    Bike Route through Galt Shoppes Area with sharrows and signage – (Galt Mile)

    • Access Road (east side of Intracoastal Waterway): Combination of sharrows and designated bike lanes (under the bridge) is being studied for structure, survey and utility. A typical section will be prepared as the design progresses. The preliminary FDOT concept was for all sharrows; however, City staff pushed to ensure that bike lanes were provided under the bridge for all users’ safety.

    • NE 33rd Avenue: Sharrows from Access Road (north of Oakland Park Boulevard) to NE 34th Street

    • NE 34th Street: Sharrows from NE 33rd Avenue to A1A

    • Middle River Drive: Bike Lanes and Sidewalks - Staff attended the 9/27/17 Coral Ridge Association Board meeting to share the concept and received unanimous support to move forward into design.

    • NE 32nd Street: Designated bike lane from NE 26th Ave to NE 30th Ave to Access Road. The concept was shared with nthe HOA president of Coral Ridge Country Club Estates and he provided written support of the project on behalf of his neighborhood.

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Station 54Fire Station #54: The construction phase is currently 20% complete. Burke Construction Group (BCG) has completed the block walls around the first floor. The contractor is currently placing I-beams for the second level floor deck and installing metal decking. The block wall for second floor has also started.

  • Completed Projects:

    • Signal Repaired at Galt Ocean Drive north of NE 36th Street

    • 6 radar signs in the Coral Ridge Community

    • 2 Speed humps on NE 29 Ave north of NE 68 Street

    • 4 speed humps on NE 68 Street east of NE 31 Ave

    • Striping/swale work on Yacht Club Blvd.

    • District-wide speed hump restriping including Bayview Drive

    • 1 Radar sign on NE 55 Street west of bridge

    • Speed hump installation on NE 24 Terrace north of NE 62 Street

    • Installation of flexible delineators on NE 62 Street east of NE 18 Ave

  • Upcoming Projects:

    • Speed Radar Signs along Cypress Creek Rd/NE 62nd Street in partnership with Broward County are currently being installed in the first few months of 2018 by Broward County. Four total signs will be installed per discussions.

DATES TO CALENDAR:

  • 2/05/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Beach Community Center - 6 pm

  • 2/06/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

  • 2/19/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Imperial Point Hospital, South Entrance – 6pm

  • 2/20/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

  • 3/05/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Beach Community Center - 6 pm

  • 3/06/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 3/13/18: GET OUT AND VOTE

  • 3/19/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Imperial Point Hospital, South Entrance – 6pm

  • 3/20/17: SWEARING IN OF NEW MAYOR AND COMMISSION – 11AM – CITY HALL CHAMBERS

  • 3/20/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Firefighters Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue December 17, 2017 - Dispatched from each of the City's eleven Fire Stations, Fort Lauderdale firefighters annually respond to 55 thousand reported fires and medical emergencies. Anyone who enters a burning building to save lives is a hero. As a rule, the respect and admiration earned by our firefighters and Fire-Rescue EMS paramedics typically extends to the department’s leadership. Specifically, a Fire Chief who used to walk in their shoes.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Fire Marshals don’t rescue people endangered by fire, or provide those threatened by medical emergencies with a chance to survive a harrowing ordeal. In describing their “mission”, the City website observes how inspectors and investigators directed by the Fire Marshal “effectively utilize the principles of engineering, education and enforcement to protect our citizens, our workplace, our homes and our environment from the ravages of fire.”

Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE MARSHAL JEFF LUCAS
In the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Fire Prevention Bureau is answerable to Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, whose unique talent for engendering cooperation has manifested a sea change in Bureau operations. By crafting enforcement policies that incorporate the concerns of homeowners, merchants, neighborhood associations and civic organizations – while enlisting their assistance – Lucas has measurably limited the number and severity of fires in Fort Lauderdale, an achievement that merited official recognition by the City and his peers.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Inspectors
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE INSPECTORS
The Bureau’s Fire Inspectors are dually certified as fire-fighters and its investigators are among the most highly-credentialed professionals on the City payroll. Working seamlessly with the Building Department’s Design Review team, after FPB Fire Inspectors scrutinize all building plans submitted by permit applicants to enforce compliance with national, state and local fire and life-safety codes, they verify compliance onsite prior to approving a certificate of occupancy (CO) or completion.

Association Homeowners Ripped Off Each year, notices posted on association bulletin boards announce the annual fire safety inspection, when our Fire Marshal ensures the availability of proper egress and certifies that code compliant fire protection systems are being carefully maintained. Required for all structures in his jurisdiction with a certificate of occupancy, these annual inspections enable Lucas to keep our homes safe.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Police Department Click Here to Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives The Bureau’s Fire Investigation Unit (FIU) is charged with diagnosing a fire’s origin and cause. Five on-call fire investigators are available to an on-scene Incident Commander (IC) to help ascertain those conditions that triggered or contributed to a fire, and if intentional, provide insight into prospective motives. When their findings lead to a criminal investigation, they will work closely with FLPD arson detectives, and investigators from the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Fire & Arson Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Teaming with emergency management agencies, the Unit also helps displaced families find lodging while helping to restore habitability to their decimated homes.

Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl
FIRE CHIEF ROBERT HOECHERL
Fire Chief Jeffrey Justinak
FIRE CHIEF JEFFREY JUSTINAK
Since his appointment less than three years ago, Lucas and Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl have transformed Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue into one of the nation's most formidable fire services. When Deputy Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl replaced the retiring Jeffrey Justinak as Fort Lauderdale’s Fire Chief, he launched a plan to upgrade the department’s Public Protection Classification (PPC), which insurance companies use to measure risk (and calculate premiums) for properties within the department’s fire district.

Click Here to Insurance Services Office (ISO) The Insurance Services Office (ISO) uses factors included in their proprietary Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) to evaluate a fire department’s capabilities. While Hoecherl could address FSRS requirements for the adequate staffing of engine crews and ladder companies, deploy appropriate apparatus and equipment, improve training and communications, increase water supplies, and adapt the department’s organizational structure, he would need a savvy, impressively credentialed Fire Marshal to meet the rigorous FSRS Fire Prevention standards. Lucas was perfect.

Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl, Captain Greg May, Deputy Fire Chiefs Doug Stanley and Tim Heiser, Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, Deputy Fire Chief Bob Simac and City Manager Lee Feldman
FIRE CHIEF ROBERT HOECHERL, FIRE MARSHAL JEFF LUCAS
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN AND OTHER FIRE RESCUE OFFICIALS
At their September 1, 2015 meeting, City commissioners honored Fire-Rescue officials and City Manager Lee Feldman when Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue earned “ISO 1” – the highest Public Protection Classification offered by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) – and national accreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The top-level ISO 1 insurance rating would reduce citywide fire insurance premiums through the year 2020 by up to 2 percent for homeowners and up to 12 percent for commercial properties. At that time, only 32 of the nation’s more than 47,000 fire departments had achieved the ISO 1 rating. Of the 32, two other Broward jurisdictions met the uncompromising ISO-1 standard – the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue in Weston and Deerfield Beach. The nationwide list currently features 241 fire districts classified as ISO 1).

Assistant Fire Marshal / Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber Award
ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL JO-ANN LORBER SNAGS AWARD
Click Here to Center for Public Safety Excellence The City Commission additionally recognized Lucas for having merited a Fire Marshal Designation from the prestigious Center for Public Safety Excellence in Chantilly, Virginia. Since the program’s inception, only 133 candidates worldwide have earned this unique accreditation. Evidently, hitting one’s mark is infectious in Lucas’ wheelhouse. A few months earlier, Assistant Fire Marshal / Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber was named Florida’s Executive Fire Officer of the Year for 2014.

Click Here to Declaratory Statement Case No. 189152-16-DS Lucas proactively seeks opportunities to partner with local communities, inviting unfettered communications. When enforcing the Fire Code, our Fire Marshal works with area homeowners and merchants to maximize the level of fire protection each can afford. During emergencies, you’ll often find him at ground zero. When a broken water line threatened the fire protection capabilities of a Galt Mile association last year, they didn’t have to solicit a sub-grade excavation clearance from Sunshine State 811 and an emergency permit to tear up the street. Instead, when Lucas arrived, he personally took charge of locating an unknown control valve and ended the flooding.

Click Here to Fire Marshal of the Year In contrast with many of his peers, Lucas has proven fair-minded and forthright. Shortly after Fire Sprinkler association lobbyists circumvented State Law by engineering a Declaratory Statement exhorting high-rise associations that legally opted out of retrofitting a $multi-million fire sprinkler system to instead install a $multi-million Engineered Life Safety System (which includes fire sprinklers), Lucas informed Galt Mile officials that he disagreed with the "revised" interpretation of the Fire Code, and observed “I would think if you opt out, then you opt out of all.” He suggested that associations “pursue this with the State”. Heeding his advice, Galt Mile officials are working to capsize this corporate extortion.

On November 9, 2017, the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association” named Lucas, “Fire Marshal of the Year”. Of course, this is the Venice of America, where those who distinguish themselves are often snatched up by another jurisdiction, or price tag their moral compass and disappear into the private sector. That said, Fort Lauderdale homeowners and merchants who meet with Lucas are usually struck by the same observation – “We’re lucky to have him.” As always – time will tell...

 


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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

District 1 || Go Big Go Fast || Events

Click to Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts March/April 2017 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
November 30, 2017 - In his November/December 2017 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner & Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts updates progress for "Go Big, Go Fast!”, a comprehensive initiative launched by the City of Fort Lauderdale Public Works Department that was designed to improve, upgrade, and enhance the City's wastewater system and strengthen our infrastructure. Roberts details the status of 18 projects central to the enhancing the City's water and wastewater management. He enumerates ongoing District 1 projects in Palm Aire West, Bayview from Sunrise to Commercial Boulevards, Twin Lakes and Lake Estates. Completed projects include the installation of speed humps, radar signs, striping/swale work and flexible delineators in 8 District 1 locations. Roberts provides a County email address for reporting downed stop signs and lists upcoming November and December events. As always, he closes with contact information for Robbi Uptegrove, his invaluable Commission Assistant.

Mopping up the Mess

As the Utilities Division raced from disaster to disaster with its hair on fire amid a crescendo of exploding water mains and sewer lines, city officials finally fast-tracked preparations for a long-delayed plan to replace elements of the water and wastewater system that are obsolete, maximize the lifespan, integrity, and sustainability of underground infrastructure that remains viable, and for the first time, mitigate against the crushing impact of tidal flooding from rising sea levels.

Click to Reiss Engineering In April, Reiss Engineering completed a $1.9 million structural rollout of the City’s aging water and sewer infrastructure. The 839-page report recommended improvements over a twenty-year period ending in 2036. The data was crunched into a Comprehensive Utility Strategic Master Plan (CUSMP), which the City Commission will use to populate the Community Investment Plan with a Chinese menu of quick fixes and capital projects through 2035. It also serves as a short-term roadmap, prioritizing high-risk "rescue" projects for the ensuing five fiscal years.

Infrastructure Task Force Committee
INFRASTRUCTURE TASK FORCE COMMITTEE
Input from a 9-member Infrastructure Task Force Committee (ITFC) appointed in May will also help the Commission set project priorities. The Committee's wheelhouse is massive. A March 7 resolution charged the Task Force with meticulously parsing City infrastructure, specifically roads, sidewalks, airports, seawalls, water and wastewater distribution and collection systems, treatment plants, well fields, parks and all City facilities and structures.

Click to Resolution 17-46 Committee members will examine their current condition, match each to a respective repair (or replacement), and finally explore funding options. After soliciting public input, they will report their findings and recommendations to the City Commission, as detailed in Resolution 17-46.

From now through 2022, the City plans to invest close to $400 million in projects to bolster elements of sewer, water, and stormwater infrastructure overstressed by development and tidal flooding, many of which had exceeded their useful lifespans years ago. The funds are divided as follows:

Click to Resolution 17-46This is the tip of the iceberg, as the City also plans to invest millions of dollars each year to maintain and structurally upgrade roads, parks, sidewalks, airports, well fields, seawalls, bridges – and every structure owned by the City of Fort Lauderdale – from City Hall to the beachside rest rooms. To preclude a staffing shortage from hampering infrastructure priorities, the City filled more than 45 new positions in the Public Works Department during the past year. Also, municipal infrastructure consultant Mike Burton from Stantec has begun preparing the fiscal documentation that City Manager Lee Feldman will need for a five-alarm run at the bond market. For Vice Mayor Roberts’ November / December 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Happy Holidays
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
The Holiday Season is fast approaching and before we know it we will be ringing in a New Year. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas. It is time to take a break from our hectic lifestyles and spend time with family, loved ones and friends. It is also a time to help those in need and, perhaps, less fortunate than us. Fort Lauderdale Neighbors demonstrated that capacity during Hurricane Irma and I am confident we will see more of the same during the holidays.

Along with public safety, infrastructure remains one of my two top priorities. WE HAVE A PLAN AND IT IS MOVING. Please see the weekly progress reports on the City’s webpage. While tropical storm Philippe may be remembered as a short-lived and disorganized weather event, it did drop five inches of rain on the Fort Lauderdale area, exacerbating issues with sewer pump stations and slowing construction progress. None-the-less, the City did move forward with progress on new force mains, lift station projects and inflow & infiltration reduction projects.

  1. Phase I: New 30-inch Sewer Main from SW 2nd Street and SW 8th Avenue to SW 6th Avenue and SW 7th Street; Status: 2,288 linear feet of 30-inch sewer main has been installed; connections (also known as “tie-ins”) to the new pipeline are underway as Phase I nears a December completion date.

  2. Lift Station on Fort Lauderdale Beach at Riomar Street
    LIFT STATION ON FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH AT RIOMAR STREET
    Phase II: Drilling is 90% complete for the new 30-inch Force Main along SW 2nd Street from SW 4th Avenue to SW 8th Avenue; Status: Drilling is 95% complete and installation of the new pipeline is underway with completion expected later this month.

  3. Phase III: New 30-inch Force Main along Sistrunk Boulevard from NW 19th Avenue to NW 4th Avenue; Status: Installation of 6,400 linear feet of the sewer main is underway with completion in mid-December.

  4. Phase IV: Work has begun on the installation of 8,300 linear feet of Force Main from a Lift Station on Sistrunk Boulevard to the intersection of SW 8th Ave and SW 2nd St. Status: Construction us underway; estimated completion in May 2018.

  5. New Fort Lauderdale Beach Lift Station at Riomar Street and Antioch Avenue; Status: Construction underway; crews have encountered several layers of coral rock which have slowed progress; sheet piles are being driven through the coral rock breaking the rock into pieces that can be more easily removed to accommodate space for a new wet well; estimated completion in March 2018.

  6. New Isle of Venice Lift Station at 217 Hendricks Isle; Status: Bids for construction to commence in December 2017.

  7. New Imperial Point Lift Station at 2152 Imperial Point Drive; Status: Contract has been executed, notice to proceed has been issued; contractor is acquiring permits; and construction is scheduled to begin in December.

  8. New Downtown Area Lift Station at 200 SE 2nd Court which includes the construction of a new submersible triplex sewage Lift Station and valve vault, and a new Gravity Main and Force Main; Status: Contract execution and construction scheduling is underway; construction expected to begin within 2-3 months; estimated project completion set for September 2018.

  9. New Harbor Beach Lift Station at 2 Harborage Drive; Status: Contract approved; construction expected to begin within 2-3 months; estimated completion in July 2018.

  10. Victoria Park Basin Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 625 NE 19 Avenue; Status: Bids reviewed and contract was awarded on 11/6/17.

  11. New 30-inch Water Main
    NEW 30-INCH WATER MAIN
    Rio Vista Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 1200 Cordova Road; Status: Construction underway Downtown Basin Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 203 SW 1st Avenue; Status: Construction underway.

  12. Downtown Basin Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 203 SW 1st Avenue; Status: Contract approved; construction expected to begin within 1 month.

  13. Flagler Heights Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 630 NE 2nd Avenue; Status: Contractor cleaning project area; lateral lining will begin when high volume, surcharge conditions are alleviated; construction expected to begin within 1 month.

  14. Dorsey-Riverbend Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 1410 NW 4th Street; Status: Contract approved; construction is pending the completion of the 30-inch Force Main.

  15. 1,900 linear feet of 12-inch sewer main under canals and streets intersecting with Las Olas Boulevard
    1,900 LINEAR FEET OF 12-INCH SEWER MAIN UNDER CANALS AND
    STREETS THAT INTERSECT WITH LAS OLAS BOULEVARD
    Central Beach Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Project at 729 N. Birch Road; Status: Project complete.

  16. Lake Estates Water Mains in the area of NE 27th Avenue to Bayview Drive; Status: Construction underway; Installation of a new water main along NE 60th Street has been completed; water service line installation to property water meters has been completed; installation of 1,300 linear feet of new water main along NE 28th Ave has been completed; estimated project completion in March 2018.

  17. Second Avenue Tank Restoration on NW 2nd Avenue near NW 6th Court; Status: Contract scheduled to be considered for approval by the City Commission on December 5th.

  18. Las Olas Boulevard Force Main Replacement; Status: The City is changing the approach to a design-build project using trenchless technology and is moving forward with the new bid opening scheduled for 12/4/17.

  • Palm Aire West: we are finalizing the task order for the 53 speed humps and anticipate the construction to begin late November and completed end of December 2017.

  • New Lake Estates Water Main along NE 60th Street
    NEW LAKE ESTATES WATER MAIN ALONG NE 60TH STREET
    Bayview from Sunrise to Commercial: Approval of the re-milling and surfacing contract will be brought up at the Commission Meeting end of November – we will update you on this $880,000 project as it moves forward; this will be followed a $740,000 traffic calming project.

  • Twin Lakes: Traffic Mobility Plan was discussed with the HOA last month and the permit application for BC Highway Construction and Engineering Division was submitted and is currently being reviewed -construction is projected to start first quarter of 2018; City Attorney’s Office is preparing the easement deed(s) for the entryway monuments.

  • Lake Estates: new water lines are being installed throughout the neighborhood.

  • 6 radar signs in the Coral Ridge Community

  • 2 Speed humps on NE 29 Ave north of NE 68 Street

  • 4 speed humps on NE 68 Street east of NE 31 Ave

  • Striping/swale work on Yacht Club Blvd

  • District-wide speed hump restriping including Bayview Drive

  • 1 Radar sign on NE 55 Street west of bridge

  • Speed hump installation on NE 24 Terrace north of NE 62 Street

  • Installation of flexible delineators on NE 62 Street east of NE 18 Av

Staff is also working with Broward County to install Speed Radar Signs along Cypress Creek Rd/NE 62nd Street in partnership with Broward County

We have received many calls from neighbors who want to report a downed stop sign. To save time, you can email directly to STOPSIGNDOWN@broward.org to report. It will go directly to the Broward County department that handles downed stop signs!

Light Up the Beach - Wednesday, Nov. 22, 5:30 - 9 PM, A1A and E Las Olas.

City Hall Closed November 23 and 24 for Thanksgiving

Click to Christmas on Las Olas 55th Annual Christmas on Las Olas – Tuesday, Nov. 28, 5:00 - 10 PM; E Las Olas from SE 6 to SE 11 avenues

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov In addition to hosting two pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web pageIf you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection

Fort Lauderdale Pickup Plan

Association Homeowners Ripped Off Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection October 28, 2017 - Shortly after Hurricane Irma pummeled Broward on September 10. Fort Lauderdale officials announced that the storm buried the city in 1 million Cubic Yards of debris. After first clearing the roadways (an estimated 60,000 cubic yards of sand was removed from A1A within two days of the storm), bulk trash haulers were scheduled to remove the debris by making three passes in each of 11 City Zones - as mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) regulations.

Click Here to Map of Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection Zones The first pass targeted storm-generated debris, which includes loose vegetation (whole trees, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks, etc.); construction and demolition debris (damaged components of homes, buildings and structures including lumber and wood, fencing, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings, and fixtures); appliances & white goods damaged by the storm (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters).

Residents were asked to withhold household hazardous waste (materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive such as paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.) and electronic waste (computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.), which can be dropped off at any of the monthly HHW events designed for their safe disposal.

Click Here to Irma Debris Collection Report A month after the Hurricane pounded Broward County, Zones in the north and west were cleared of storm debris, marking the end of first pass pick-ups in these neighborhoods. According to the Daily Debris Collection Report posted on the City website, as of October 19, 428,258 cubic yards of debris had been collected. Earlier that day, when debris-filled trucks departed the central and southern zones, it marked the end of first pass pick-ups citywide. This included Zone 11, which encompassed the entire beach - and the Galt Mile neighborhood.

Click Here to Irma Debris Collection Report While reporting “Contractors are picking up debris in every zone of our City seven days a week from sunup to sundown,” the City website added “Regular bulk trash collection remains suspended until further notice so that bulk crews can continue to assist with our debris removal.” Although the City resumed servicing residential yard waste carts on Monday, September 25th, residents were specifically barred from cloaking their regular garbage inside the carts to smuggle it onto the truck.

Debris Removal Breakdown

Rat Feast
RAT FEAST
Rationalizing that the City’s inconvenient regulations were an unfair burden – and not worthy of compliance – some impatient residents proceeded to dump bagged and unbagged ordinary trash or kitchen garbage on the curb, including rotting food and other organic waste. Others decided to clear their garages of junk accrued over months - or years. After capriciously contributing to a dangerous health hazard, these scofflaws then joined their neighbors in complaining to the City about a proliferation of rats and other vermin. By mixing their regular garbage with storm debris, they not only created a Winn-Dixie for critters, but slowed the pickup schedule, as the trucks were forced to bypass debris mixed with bagged garbage.

Click Here to Andrew and Irma Not surprisingly, this counterproductive behavior was mirrored in cities across the State, as residents ignored collection protocols designed by their respective cities to expedite debris removal while preserving their eligibility for federal reimbursement. Ultimately, this became one of several factors that fueled a statewide breakdown in debris removal.

Click Here to Andrew and Irma When Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida into a wasteland, it served as a wake-up call, prompting the statewide implementation of hurricane preparation standards. Why were seemingly well-prepared Florida jurisdiction unilaterally stumbling over debris removal? A local waste contractor remarked, “The process would be faster if we were allowed to simply send out trucks to pick up the mess. “

Click Here to FEMA Debris Removal Rules However, to be reimbursed for the cleanup cost, municipalities must meticulously comply with FEMA’s regulatory roadmap. FEMA determines who can pick up debris, approves where debris can be deposited and details how the amount of debris should be estimated and recorded. Once collected, the agency specifies how debris must be tagged, measured and mulched. Omitting any step will render the jurisdiction ineligible for reimbursement, leaving local taxpayers to foot the bill.

Bulk Waste Bidding War

Click Here to Bergeron Emergency Services As Irma traveled up the State, its huge girth tore a coast to coast swath through cities and counties from Key West to Georgia, leaving only the Florida panhandle relatively unscathed. According to Ron Bergeron, proprietor of Bergeron Emergency Services, a waste disposal company with debris removal contracts in several South Florida cities, “We had 48 counties implement a state of emergency. There’s 100 million cubic yards of debris. It’s never happened in the history of Florida.” While asserting that only 3,000 trucks in the state are capable of removing storm debris, Bergeron and other legacy haulers estimated the need for 8,000 to 10,000 trucks to effectively clear the debris left by Irma in Florida. While imprudent residents and FEMA regulations slowed the recovery process, this resource shortage pushed municipalities into a state of siege.

Ron Bergeron
RON BERGERON
When Waste removal companies with municipal contracts need additional trucks and/or manpower, they ordinarily turn to subcontractors that accept each City’s respective contract rate. However, the subcontractors that comprise this safety net are currently neck-deep in a Statewide bidding war that pits City against City, and despite State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s threat to legally neuter vendors that engage in price gouging, Cities and Counties pressured by angry residents are grudgingly scaring up the additional funding required to ransom streets immersed in debris and garbage.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL PAM BONDI
While the unprecedented damage left by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey critically diluted regional recovery resources, it was a plan deliberately implemented by the City of Miami that triggered the Statewide breakdown in post-storm cleanup. Initially informed that the post-Irma cleanup might take six months, the Miami City Commission more than doubled its contract rate from $7.22 per cubic yard to $15 – paid to its two prime contractors – who in turn used the windfall to hire more subcontractors. Still dissatisfied with the pace of debris collection, on September 28, the City Commission empowered the Administration to hire additional contractors at its sole discretion, and unilaterally hike rates as required to lure them to Miami, with or without FEMA approval.

Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez
MIAMI COMMISSIONER FRANCIS SUAREZ
When Assistant City Manager Nzeribe Ihekwaba admonished “Keep in mind you’re going to be stealing [crews] from one of the other municipalities, he was roundly blown off. Explaining their rationale for disregarding FEMA regulations, Commissioner Francis Suarez said , “If we go a dollar above [what FEMA approves] everybody will flood to the city of Miami. It won’t be reimbursable. Let’s not kid ourselves. But we will get our city clean. And it will be protected in the event there is another storm, which I think is a huge issue.” Like moths to a flame, haulers flocked to Miami, whether or not they were under contract elsewhere.

Click Here to Ashbritt Environmental
Miami Assistant City Manager Nzeribe Ihekwaba
MIAMI ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER NZERIBE IHEKWABA
Across the State, contract haulers are under fire by client municipalities for failing to deliver the emergency cleanup mandated in their agreements. When legacy waste hauler Ashbritt Environmental failed to secure sufficient manpower to expeditiously clear the debris in several South Florida cities under contract, respective client city officials Ashbritt Environmental while deferring possible enforcement actions in favor of clearing their streets. North Miami Beach replaced Ashbritt with 3 small local contractors while Key Biscayne amended their Ashbritt agreement by increasing their contract rate from $9 to $15 per cubic yard (matching the rate paid by the City of Miami), thereby providing the hauler with sufficient resources to meet the demands of price-gouging subcontractors. Deerfield-based Ashbritt is also under contract to remove debris for $5.50 per cubic yard in fiscally constrained Hendry County – one of the state’s poorest, but their subcontractors are demanding $8, which Hendry County administrator Charles Chapman explained “We just don’t have.”

Hendry County administrator Charles Chapman
HENDRY COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
CHARLES CHAPMAN
Ironically, when Miami raised its contract rates, Miami purchasing director Annie Perez anticipated that adjacent municipalities would be forced to bootstrap their contract rates to effectively compete for haulers – more than doubling their costs. If the Miami scheme backfires – and the debris doesn’t quickly evaporate – Miami Commissioners will have a tough time explaining why a $50 - $60 million price tag wasn’t reimbursed by FEMA, but affixed to local TRIM Notices.

Miami purchasing director Annie Perez
MIAMI PURCHASING DIRECTOR ANNIE PEREZ
Perez isn’t worried, having observed that FEMA doesn’t have a maximum reimbursement rate, but determines if a contract rate is appropriate to the applicant’s economy. Click Here to Bergeron Emergency Services In the spirit of complaining that you can’t see after kicking up the dust, by skyrocketing its contract rate, and forcing its neighbors to do likewise, Miami officials plan to claim that they are simply paying the area market rate for haulers. When asked about the FEMA requirement that applicants comply with agency procedures, Perez responded, “The city consults with FEMA while making decisions on disaster-related expenses.” Needless to say, many cities and counties across the State do not wish them well.

Extorting a Windfall

Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge
PEMBROKE PINES CITY MANAGER CHARLES DODGE
Unfortunately, many of these subcontractors previously consummated accords to clear debris in other cities, which they breached for a bigger payday. When vendors that reached agreements with Pembroke Pines reneged in favor of a more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge knew that conceding to the haulers’ demand for more money would imperil the City’s eligibility for reimbursement, and complained “We are not, according FEMA guidelines, allowed to re-negotiate our rates with our current hauler to increase rates, which puts us in a big disadvantage.”

Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell
CORAL SPRINGS MAYOR SKIP CAMPBELL
A former State Senator, Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell defined the dilemma, “There’s just not enough trucks, there’s not enough haulers, not enough individuals picking it up, so that’s the major problem.” As to the bad faith by price gouging haulers, Campbell added “They could face lawsuits, but the question is ‘Is that going to remove the trash?’ And that’s the problem all cities have.”

Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
Offering assurances that the debris will be cleared from Broward cities despite this exploitive impediment to their recovery, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief announced “The competitive bidding process, people abandoning their hauling contracts to get more money in Dade County – we’re dealing with that, but slowly but surely, it’ll be cleaned up.”

Governor Rick Scott's Deputy Communications Director McKinley Lewis
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT'S DEPUTY
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR MCKINLEY LEWIS
Since most of the haulers accused of price gouging are subcontractors hired by waste haulers with municipal or county contracts, the lack of a direct contractual obligation to the client jurisdiction complicates its legal recourse. While aspiring to punitive damages may be a stretch, price gouging is squarely in Pam Bondi’s wheelhouse. Hopping on the bandwagon, Governor Rick Scott directed deputy communications minion McKinley Lewis to offer some political boilerplate “The Governor is fighting for consumers, not businesses that are attempting to take advantage of our communities after a disaster.”

Lobbyist Ron Book
LOBBYIST RON BOOK
Ron Book, a skilled Tallahassee lobbyist whose client list includes Ashbritt Environmental and many South Florida Cities, is seeking a solution that would enable the cleanups without pushing haulers to the brink of bankruptcy. While it may be too late to dodge legal consequences for contract defaults or price gouging violations, Book said he is seeing the rates come down from the peaks that left his hauler clients unable to hire crews needed to clear city streets and fulfill their contract obligations.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Debris Collection Municipalities hunting for waste removal resources are complaining that the shortage is actually regional. Since Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas a few days before Irma hit Miami, Florida cities reaching out for emergency vendors in other states soon found themselves bidding against cities in Texas and Florida as well as parts of Alabama and Georgia pounded by Irma. Lamenting the paralyzing recovery costs fed by the bidding war, Bergeron suggested “We should have a regional plan.”

How do the haulers and their client cities envision the endgame? Observing how a storm that affects six to 10 counties may typically take three months to clear the debris, Bergeron projected how long it would take most cities to clean up after Irma, remarking, “We’re looking at about six months.”

Galt Mile Cleanup

Galt Mile Advisory Board
GALT MILE ADVISORY BOARD
Although Galt Mile associations contract with private companies to collect and dispose of waste, we still rely on the City to clear storm debris. Upon learning that City removal protocols would migrate from the northwest to the southeast City Zones, Galt Mile officials asked the City to expedite the recovery, citing its elderly demographic as highly vulnerable to the health hazard posed by decaying vegetation (it was worth a shot).

Association Homeowners Ripped Off At the October Presidents Council meeting, Galt Mile officials considered leveraging the neighborhood association’s modest cookie jar to expedite removal efforts. Although well-intentioned, the intense regional competition for recovery resources could have turned the plan on its head.

Since haulers are harvesting exorbitant rates for months at a time by clearing huge tracts of competing cities or counties, it might have taken weeks – or months – to find a vendor willing to settle for short-term employment along the Galt Mile. Since the city projected completing the critical first pass in our Zone 11 by the third week in October, the overpriced help would likely arrive just in time to collect their check, express their gratitude, and head to the next job.

Fortunately, Galt Mile officials let the plan slide, leaving us with a largely nondescript cautionary tale. On the bright side, your money is still in the bank. Unfortunately, Florida cities and counties that pan-fried their eligibility for FEMA reimbursement by raising their rates to lure avaricious haulers can’t make the same claim. Happy Halloween...

 


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Click Here to Utility Billing September 30, 2017 - On August 28, 2017, Galt Mile officials Pio Ieraci, Eric Berkowitz and Fred Nesbitt met in City Hall with Commissioner Bruce Roberts, City Manager Lee Feldman and staffers from the utility billing department - specifically - those who generate invoices for water and sewer services. It was the latest in a series of meetings convened to correct a longstanding billing inequity that unfairly inflates water and sewer charges for association homeowners. Curing this discriminatory invoicing policy should shave thousands of dollars from Galt Mile association budgets.

Seeding the Rate Rancor

Blurb on Fort Lauderdale WebsiteIn 2009, the City of Fort Lauderdale announced a new set of water and sewer rates for 250,000 customers in Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Oakland Park, Sea Ranch Lakes, Wilton Manors, parts of Davie and Tamarac and parts of unincorporated Broward County. To dilute blowback, an informational flyer inserted in monthly invoices, placed on the City website and shared with the local media exclaimed “The rate changes will result in an increase of less than $10 per month for 72 percent of single family residential customers.”

Fort Lauderdale Water & Sewer Invoice Water  Billing Department Within months of implementation, when association managers called the Water Department to inquire about skyrocketing water and sewer bills, department supervisors shot back a colorful array of transparently vapid rationales, including the prospect of a mysterious leak somewhere on the building premises, a broken water meter and finally, “Your unit owners must be using much more water than last year.” With association invoices exceeding the prior year's charges by 60 - 80%, Galt Mile officials took a closer look at the City’s new rate formula.

Association Homeowners Ripped Off It was no accident that the City spin specified “single family residential customers” as beneficiaries of a relatively painless increase. Multi-family homeowners, such as those living in associations, were being charged far more for identical services than customers in single-family homes. Rate inquiries about the billing disparity between single family and multi-family homeowners were met with a boilerplate half-truth by Water Department officials, “The rates for single family homes and multi-family residences are identical.”

While the rates are identical, how they are applied is not. Drawn from the billing formula first introduced in 2009 (and since inflated by 44% through a series of annual rate hikes), identical multi-tier rate scales that increase with consumption (water charges) - or discharge (sewer charges) - are applied to water & sewer customers in single family and multi-family homes. In FY 2017, the 5 tiers or “rate multipliers” for water usage are $2.10, $4.65, $5.81, $7.84 and $11.37. The two tiers applicable to wastewater are $3.71 and $8.22. Used as billing coefficients, these rate tiers were uniformly applied to $3.71 and $8.22all Fort Lauderdale residential customers (along with fixed commodity charges, fees and taxes).

However, a second formula component that measures actual consumption and discharge (in gallons per month) openly punishes residents living in condominiums and cooperatives. This block rate formula, which differs for single- and multi-family homeowners, determines which of the 5 rate coefficients (or 2 for wastewater) is applied to each customer’s usage totals.

Block Rates & Billing Coefficients

apples to apples comparison Since the monthly usage charges for single-family homeowners are based on every 1,000 gallons of water consumed (or discharged) while associations are invoiced for the total amount of water (and wastewater) parsed by its membership (1000 gallons per month multiplied by the number of dwelling units), an “apples to apples” comparison requires some 3rd grade math. After eliminating fixed charges for commodities (i.e. water meters), service fees and taxes, dividing the association’s usage charges for water and sewer by the number of dwelling units yields an average unit owner’s consumption charges.

Click to Fort Lauderdale 2016 - 2017 Water and Sewer Rates Except for customers who use or discharge less than 1000 gallons of water per month, rates from a higher tier are invoiced to multi-family homeowners who use or discharge the same amount of water as single-family homeowners. An association’s unit owners, who pay for these water and sewer charges in their regular maintenance dues, can pay up to 86% more than a single-family homeowner for identical water consumption and sewer discharge.

Click to Fort Lauderdale 2016 - 2017 Water and Sewer Rates For example, the block rate for a single-family homeowner who uses 2000 gallons per month is $2.10 for each 1000 gallons (total of $4.20). A condo owner who consumes the same 2000 gallons is billed at a block rate of $2.10 for the first 1000 gallons, and at a block rate of $4.65 for the second 1000 gallons (total of $6.75) - 61% more than the single-family homeowner.

The disparity also applies when these 2 homeowners dump their 2000 gallons of water. The single-family homeowner is charged a sewer block rate of $3.71 for every 1000 gallons expunged (total of $7.42). The comparable sewer (wastewater) block rate for our condo owner is $3.71 for draining the first 1000 gallons, and $8.22 for the second 1000 gallons (total of $11.93) or 61% more than the single-family homeowner. As monthly consumption and/or discharge increases, the discrepancy widens, forcing association customers to shoulder nearly twice the burden (a premium approaching 86%) placed on Single-family homeowners. Squaring this fiscal splinter will save the average association homeowner hundreds of dollars each year.

Shopping for Long Green

Click to Waterworks Budget web site Click to Waterworks 2011 web site Shunning a titanic tax alternative, many municipalities issue bonds repaid by ratepayers to finance their utilities - a vehicle used by Fort Lauderdale to fund its mammoth “Waterworks 2011” modernization (which replaced widespread septic systems with modern sewers) and later to bolster the City’s deteriorating water and sewer infrastructure.

Click to Burton and Associates web siteTo help generate the nosebleed profit margins that intoxicate prospective bond investors, the City repeatedly retained the St. Augustine firm of Burton and Associates (acquired in May 2016 by Canadian design juggernaut Stantec) to compile a Rate Study before each venture into the bond market. These blueprints for enhancing the utility’s bottom line are indispensable to attracting investment at terms favorable to the City.

Click to Stantec web site Conservation lowers Water Sales In fact, it was Burton who advised the City to hike rates by 20% (a series of 5% annual increases) before entering the bond market in 2009, given how a 23% drop in water sales attributed to the City’s successful 2005 conservation measures threatened to lower the bond rating, explode the cost of money and deter future investment. Since then, Burton’s regular input has nurtured the utility’s appeal to investors while providing most customers with one of the lowest rate scales in Broward County (as per GMCA Treasurer Fred Nesbitt – the 6th lowest in 2016).

Click to Burton and Associates 2009 Rate Study To assure investors that the Water & Sewer Enterprise Fund is swimming in cash, each bond issue incorporates a bulletproof City agreement to adjust rates as required to sufficiently fund the system’s operational needs while fleshing out special accounts for Renewal, Replacement and Improvement; Subordinated Indebtedness; Rate Stabilization; and an overstuffed reserves fund. Additionally, a Rate Covenant couched in the Bond Resolution contractually requires the City to cover 130% of its Olympian debt service.

Click to Standard & Poor’s Rating Since the City plans to revisit the bond market for additional resources, it must also insure that the utility demonstrates profits minimally deserving of “AA+” bond ratings (Standard & Poor’s). As a result of this combination of obligations and incentives, the fund balance generally approaches 200% of the outstanding debt.

Christmas 2015 Water Main Break
MUCKY CHRISTMAS - WATER MAIN BREAK ON SUNRISE BLVD
Consistent with the Fund’s organizing documents, “best practices” dictate the return of profits to customers in the form of a rate reduction, or funding non-emergency upgrades to the system. Also, on the City website “New Utility Rates” page, it states “The City’s Water and Sewer Fund and the Stormwater Fund are enterprise funds. This means all funds collected are maintained within the Water and Sewer or Stormwater Funds and are used for water, wastewater, and stormwater related expenses only.” Unfortunately, its hogwash.

To circumvent these protocols, City officials turned to a 30-year old Florida Supreme Court decision that allows municipalities to earn a reasonable dividend from a City-owned utility (like any other shareholding investor), which the City could use for whatever purpose deemed in the public interest. The City has been moonwalking through this loophole for years.

Since there is no Florida statute or administrative code that restricts municipalities from using Enterprise Fund revenues for General Fund expenses, roughly $20 million a year in water utility profits is diverted to plug unexpected budget deficits – ostensibly to preclude a millage increase. Of course, the $18 million expended annually to beat back floods from broken water lines and clean up exploding sewage barely keeps the City from floating away on a river of sludge.

Two Bites at the Apple

Galt Mile Treasurer Fred Nesbitt
TREAS. FRED NESBITT
Commissioner Bruce Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
After first learning of the billing inequity at the January 21, 2010 Advisory Board meeting, Commissioner Roberts brought several water department supervisors to the February 1, 2010 Presidents Council meeting, where they stonewalled an inquiry by association officials, claiming they were legally barred from discussing the invoices of single-family customers without their written permission. Preoccupied with the elusive beach renourishment, a threat to close the Galt Library, and a costly mandate to retrofit sprinklers, Galt officials shelved the issue.

Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci
GALT MILE PRESIDENT PIO IERACI
Galt Mile Vice President Eric Berkowitz
V.P. ERIC BERKOWITZ
Six years later, at the February 18, 2016 Advisory Board meeting, Playa del Mar President Fred Nesbitt (subsequently named Galt Mile Treasurer) complained about inexplicable spikes in the water bill invoiced to Playa del Mar – and several other associations. Galt officials asked Commissioner Bruce Roberts to arrange a meeting with the utility officials to explore these billing anomalies.

Accompanied by GMCA President Pio Ieraci and Vice President Eric Berkowitz, on February 25, Nesbitt aired his concerns to Roberts, City Manager Lee Feldman and Revenue Collection Supervisor Arnette Torrence, who agreed to look into Nesbitt’s complaint. When the meeting was reconvened on June 9, 2016, after Torrence informed Nesbitt that the invoices appear to be accurate, Ieraci and Berkowitz revived the long-delayed inquiry into the department’s discriminatory multi-family billing formula.

Investors vs. Ratepayers

Director of Finance Kirk Buffington
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
KIRK BUFFINGTON
Having altered the meeting agenda, Galt Mile officials addressed a Chinese menu of City trepidations about correcting the rate disparity, refuting attempts to either justify or marginalize the extra cost for condo customers. Finally, Commissioner Roberts and Director of Finance Kirk Buffington conceded that the formula is inequitable - and should be corrected – but not at the expense of the City’s credibility in the bond market.

Click to Reiss Engineering By the time Broward voters doused a City plan to fund infrastructure improvements with a sales tax increase, most of that eroding infrastructure had exceeded its serviceable life. Neck-deep in exploding water mains, after Reiss Engineering completed a $1.9 million structural snapshot of the City’s aging water and sewer infrastructure in April, Fort Lauderdale Public Works Director Paul Berg noted the “high price tags” on past-due capital improvements to seawalls, water and wastewater distribution and collection systems, treatment plants, pumping stations and well fields.

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
After reviewing the 839-page report, Berg affirmed that the immense expense of this endeavor will not be borne by taxpayers, but investors. The City finance team is walking on eggshells as it prepares to strap up for a $1.4 billion 20-year bond issue – nearly twice the resources raised for the $786 million Waterworks 2011 feedbag. To reel in the kind of whales required to fully subscribe this unprecedented bailout, the utility will need to radiate the impression that it prints money.

To help achieve rate parity without inadvertently belaboring the impending bond issue, City Manager Lee Feldman brought consultant Mike Burton to the meeting with Galt officials. Burton explained how he configures a rate schedule by combining consumption costs based on the class of a property with a base charge – which is determined by meter size for multi-family customers. Feldman and Roberts suggested that the Galt Mile contingent meet privately with Burton to hash out an understanding.

Burton’s Fix

Water & Sewer Consultant Mike Burton
CONSULTANT MIKE BURTON
At an April 2017 meeting, Burton admitted to ignoring the rate disparity during the eight years since he first revised the rates in 2009. In 2008, Fort Lauderdale featured 3-tier rate schedules for residential customers, a relatively mild schedule for single-family homeowners and a tougher scale for multi-family homeowners. Instead of correcting the inequity, Burton simply expanded the 3-tier scales into 5-tier scales, while preserving the disparity. Burton explained that he expanded the scales to encourage conservation by penalizing extremely heavy usage. However, the same penalty was applied to multi-family residences that used 8,000 gallons and single-family residences that used 20,000 gallons.

Click to Reiss Engineering Burton asserted that he could close the gap between the two residential schedules by redefining the base charge to “Recover a portion of the fixed costs of the water and sewer systems based upon the potential demands of the customer, such as debt service, a base level of staffing at the treatment plants, overhead, and management costs.” Burton was particularly partial to including “...a cost for maintaining system readiness,” as it isn’t a factor impacted by usage.

Click to Reiss Engineering Burton explained that since the cost of delivering water and sewer services to multi-family residences is significantly less than the comparable cost for single-family homes, a base charge reflecting that cost would diminish the differential by lowering the charges to condos.

Reminding Burton that Commissioner Bruce Roberts and Director of Finance Kirk Buffington had already agreed that water and wastewater usage charges should be identical for all residential customers in Fort Lauderdale, Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci suggested that he simply synchronize the consumption schedules for Multi- and Single-family homeowners. When Burton offered to achieve parity by revising both the consumption and base charges, Ieraci agreed.

Observing that monthly water and wastewater usage for a unit owner rarely exceeds 6000 gallons, Burton offered to connect the first 6000 gallons in the multi-family consumption schedule to the same rate tiers (billing coefficients) provided for single-family residences. The parties agreed that this minor adjustment would eliminate the inequity. As the meeting closed, Galt Mile Vice President Eric Berkowitz asked Burton to send a memo summarizing the revision.

Synchronizing the Schedules

Moving Money On June 12, 2017, Finance Director Kirk Buffington forwarded a technical report from Burton containing a description and analysis of the proposed adjustment. Evidently, Burton was less than satisfied with simply leveling the playing field, and turned the base charge into a flexibly defined variable for the sole purpose of additionally manipulating the final charges.

Wet Money Upon synchronizing the consumption schedules, Burton observed that condo homeowners used less water and much less wastewater than single-family residents, which would result in an unexpected incremental savings. To offset this unanticipated potential for lost revenues, Burton artificially boosted the gross multi-family cost by adding his largely arbitrary base charge. Galt Mile officials were skull-blocked by Burton’s proposal to reverse engineer a financial penalty specifically for multi-family customers who conserve water.

At the August 28 meeting with Feldman and Roberts, Ieraci affirmed support for synchronizing the monthly residential consumption scales up to 6000 gallons while noting his concern about Burton’s “other proposed changes.”

Feldman’s Quandary

Wet Money Based on previous meetings, Galt officials anticipated that Feldman would aspire to a resolution that didn’t lower overall fund revenues, and surmised that decreasing the system’s planned income from association homeowners would require a comparable increase elsewhere - presumably from single-family ratepayers. However, the City Manager announced that parity would have to be achieved without burdening single-family homeowners.

Instead, Feldman would ask his financial staffers to estimate the projected loss of income. If the shortfall could be managed by tweaking the budget, the changes would be approved immediately, dodging the delays of a regulatory gauntlet. However, if savings postulated for multi-family homeowners exceeded a few $million, the City would have to first order another Rate Study from Stantec (Mike Burton), ostensibly to confirm that the fiscal impact doesn't violate the City’s bondholder obligations.

Wet Money A few weeks later, Feldman informed Galt Mile Officials that the estimated lost revenue exceeded an amount that he could reasonably offset with budget tweaks, triggering the need for another rate study. Feldman’s news is a mixed bag for the Galt Mile. While his staffers’ findings seem to forecast a substantial savings for association customers, Galt officials must now wait until the rate study is completed before they can verify that it contains the corrected consumption schedule without unjustifiably inflating a multi-family “base charge” – as replacing one inequity with another could postpone the endgame.

Clearly cognizant of his constituents’ disappointment with Feldman’s prospective delay, when the meeting was adjourned, Roberts added a Post Script, “I know that eliminating this inequity is the right thing to do, and if I’m still here when the study is completed, I promise to see this through.” Although Roberts’ attempt at consolation was offered in good faith, Galt officials won’t be happy campers. until we can verify that Burton’s handiwork was delivered as advertised. Hopefully, the book will close on this blood blister in the next few months. Stay tuned...

 


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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Retail Markets || Sun Trolley || Tax Cut

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
July 2, 2017 - In his June / July 2017 message to constituents, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts notes how the values of South Florida retail markets are currently among the highest in the nation, as Fort Lauderdale's prosperity is bolstered by a robust economy, an unemployment rate below the national average, and total employment figures that reached a record high in 2016; announces the Sun Trolley's 25th year as the city's Community Bus Service; outlines a snakebit plan to insure the navigability of the city's canals by charging the cost of dredging to the owners of properties that line the canals. Ironically, a week after Roberts placed the article this newsletter, the plan was vaporized. Roberts laments how the legislature's placement of an additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption on the November 2018 ballot will tank City revenues; applauds 4 District 1 participants in the City of Fort Lauderdale's first Neighbor Leadership Academy Class and reviews a litany of planned improvements to the stretch of Sunrise Boulevard from Searstown eastward to the Gateway Shopping Plaza, an FDOT brainchild waitlisted for funding by Broward MPO.

Retail Ring Toss

Ten-X Retail Markets Ten-X.Com is a leading online real estate transaction marketplace. The Ten-X report referenced by Roberts highlights the nation’s 5 most and least attractive retail environments. The brightest retail market opportunities are in Florida and Texas, where Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa are joined by Houston and Austin in defying pessimistic national trends, primarily due to robust local economies nourished by consistent job and population growth. On the down side, retail assets in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Oakland, Memphis and Cleveland are dubiously distinguished as top flight selling opportunities.

Ten-X Retail Markets In the past, retail market ratings were spun from the housing climate, employment opportunities, population growth, etc., in competing regional or municipal economies. Currently, both flourishing and languishing markets are under siege, as e-commerce has evolved into the single largest secular threat to traditional retail. The online market now hosts more than 13 percent of all retail sales, and shows no sign of weakening, prompting retailers to either close or downsize brick and mortar outlets.

Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio
TEN-X CHIEF ECONOMIST PETER MUOIO
By shorting real estate investment trusts and bonds that underwrite shopping malls, Hedge funds are intensifying sector obstacles. According to Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio, “The problems inhibiting retail’s growth are anything but a passing phase, and the mounting shift toward online shopping ensures the sector will continue to face a steep climb on its road to recovery.” Even in regions like South Florida, where healthy economic conditions and strong housing markets are carrying the sector, Muoio fears that retail “would bear the brunt of weakening absorption and falling rents that could push vacancies to recession-era levels in the event of any cyclical economic headwinds.” If Wall Street sours, Muzio advises all retail investors to duck and cover – not exactly a revelation.

BCT: Sun Trolley Folly

Sun Trolley 25 Anniversary As Sun Trolley officials welcomed its 25th year, the slimy bureaucrats at Broward County Transit (BCT) celebrated by defunding the Galt Mile Route. Not to worry - the Galt Link will continue to serve our residents. As observed by Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci “BCT is no friend to the Galt Mile.” A BCT Bus layover has been blocking a handicap access ramp near Playa Del Mar ever since construction began along A1A. The busses often park on the sidewalk, and extend into the street, impeding traffic along Galt Ocean Drive.

Former Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Manager Connie Hoffmann
FORMER LBTS TOWN MANAGER
CONNIE HOFFMANN
Click to Broward County Transit After causing significant damage to town property, and ignoring official requests to avoid parking on the sidewalk, BCT was evicted from a layover site in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea by former Town Manager Connie Hoffmann. At the November 24, 2015 LBTS Commission meeting, Hoffmann advised Town Board members “I have given the County Mass Transit folks the 30 days’ notice that we promised them - that we are withdrawing our approval of their use of El Mar Drive as a rest layover for their busses. The reasons for this action are excessive noise, documented damage to our property, and their drivers’ failure to follow instructions on where to park the busses. The County will cease to use that area by December 21st and has promised to repair the damage they have done to light fixtures, our sidewalks, and water meters.”

Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
FDOT protocols require that bus layovers be located on thoroughfares with multiple lanes in the direction of traffic, enabling vehicles to bypass busses that are either double parked, or parked a sufficient distance from the curb to accommodate handicap devices. Although the street is too narrow to safely support a layover, BCT moved the ousted Route 72 layover to a privately owned Galt Ocean Drive cutout near Playa Del Mar and Regency Tower, where the busses damaged the curb and sidewalk, trampled sidewalk beds and crashed into a sign. In selecting the site, BCT determined that endangering residents was an acceptable collateral consequence of providing bus drivers with convenient access to robust luncheon options. Nearly two years ago, Broward County Transit officials promised to expeditiously remove the layover from Galt Ocean Drive. They didn’t.

Click to Route 72 Layover Rider Alert
Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
SUN TROLLEY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ROBYN CHIARELLI
These beacons of public safety pulled the funding plug from the Galt Mile Sun Trolley when ridership dipped below 7.1 passengers per hour. Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli has tendered assurances that the service will not be interrupted or reduced. As for the bus barricade, BCT has vowed to relocate the Route 72 bus layover to its original site at 41st Street and A1A when construction along A1A is complete, presumably in September. Given their track record, we'll believe it when we see it. That said; if you haven’t tried the latest incarnation of the Galt Mile Sun Trolley, give it a whirl. It’s convenient, comfortable, cheap as dirt, and sure beats trying to remember where you parked your car when shopping in Galleria.

Slippery Tallahassee Tax Cut

Statehouse Speaker Richard Corcoran
STATEHOUSE SPEAKER RICHARD CORCORAN
As lawmakers in Tallahassee pump $billions into pork projects that benefit business partners, family members, or high dollar campaign contributors, they often ignite political fireworks aimed at distracting a potentially antagonistic electorate. Florida Representative Richard Corcoran (R - Land O' Lakes) is arguably the most prolific Statehouse Speaker in decades. As a testament to his tenure, Corcoran sought to enact the largest tax cut in Florida History. To immunize this legislative “selfie” from a prospective veto, Corcoran decided to place it on the November Ballot, since a Constitutional Amendment is outside the lame duck Governor’s purview.

Florida State Senator Tom Lee
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR TOM LEE
Corcoran is dangling an opportunity to snag an additional $25,000 homestead exemption - but only on homes valued in excess of $100,000. Sponsored by Senator Tom Lee (R-Thonotosassa), House Joint Resolution 7105 (HJR 7105) scored a green light in the Senate by a vote of 28 Yeas vs. 10 Nays, as six Senate Democrats joined 22 Republicans in approving the measure. It was later approved on the House floor by a vote of 83 Yeas vs. 35 Nays. By placing this ad valorem carrot on the November 2018 ballot, State lawmakers can claim credit for a huge tax cut, while distancing themselves from the unavoidable fiscal fallout.

Tax Cut Of course, the tax cut won’t affect the State piggy bank. Instead, roughly $645 million will be siphoned from cities and counties - placing local officials between a rock and a hard place. Since the lost property tax income ordinarily funds public services, City and County Commissioners will be forced to offset the shortfall. They can cut funding for police and fire-rescue, EMS, parks, libraries, code enforcement, community health centers, fighting the drug plague, fixing streets, sewers, and other heavily eroded infrastructure, or they can raise local taxes.

Click to Police Executive Research Forum By raising millage [tax] rates, local governments transfer much of the outstanding tax burden to businesses, renters and low-income residents - those who can least afford it. Local officials in every Florida jurisdiction - spearheaded by the Florida Association of Counties - are apoplectically lobbying voters to deprive the measure of the 60% approval required for Constitutional incorporation.

Big Deficit Big Deficit None of this will matter. Since the average savings for homeowners is about $200 - the November amendment will pass with a bullet. Roberts points out that the exemption will annually cost the City about $2.5 million. In contrast, Broward County - including all of its cities and special taxing districts - would lose a combined $73.5 million. If the City and County both tweak their respective millage rates, a sizable slice of the $200 savings for homeowners will be added back to their TRIM notices, which should cloud the measure's appeal.

Home Rule Hypocrites The Legislature has recently embarked on a troubling campaign to usurp the right of local jurisdictions to self-governance – supplanting decisions traditionally reserved for cities and counties with one-size-fits-all state mandates. The beneficiaries of deep-pocketed industry lobbyists, key lawmakers tried to bar local governments from regulating local businesses, enforcing zoning regulations, addressing neighborhood issues with illegal vacation rentals, or creating Community Redevelopment Agencies. Ironically, the same legislative leadership relentlessly accuses Congress of violating the right of Floridians to Home Rule.

Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR JEFF CLEMENS
Not surprisingly, the bill strained longstanding working relationships between local officials and their counterparts in Tallahassee. To help mitigate the pressure on lawmakers from their home districts, Corcoran personally lobbied wavering Senators. In doing so, he revealed that the damage to local governments wasn’t an unavoidable consequence of the amendment, but its primary objective, exclaiming “I’ve had numerous conversations with tons of senators about making sure that we fight for the people, and not wasteful, unaccountable, lazy governments.” Angered by Corcoran’s intention to starve local governments without disclosing how the statewide funding shortfalls would cripple local services, Senator Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) told colleagues “It’s absolutely unfair and irresponsible for us to pass a potential tax cut without telling people what the cuts are going to be.”

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief
BROWARD COUNTY MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF
Corcoran also equipped potential supporters with political boilerplate inveighing how they were not cutting taxes, but empowering voters. If a lawmaker remained recalcitrant about triggering a statewide blizzard of local deficits, Corcoran unveilfd his legislative “WMD.” Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief joined scores of other local officials from across the State to lobby against the bill in Tallahassee. While trying to convince Broward lawmakers to oppose placing the exemption on the ballot, Sharief learned that several were told that that their local projects wouldn’t survive the budget process unless they supported the amendment.

Florida State Senator Lauren Book
FLORIDA STATE SENATOR LAUREN BOOK
Lobbyist Ron Book
LOBBYIST RON BOOK
In voting for the measure, Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) created a dilemma for the local city and county officials who helped Book win her Senate seat. Her father is Ron Book, a lobbyist whose client list of 23 cities and six counties includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas, where deficits will skyrocket. Having deliberately undermined key supporters, political allies and her Dad, when asked why she voted for the bill, Book whipped out Corcoran's playbook, “This is a matter for all Floridians to decide.” Corcoran's boilerplate won't help in November, when some incumbent candidates for state office in 2018 seek endorsements from the same local officials they plastered with deficits. It could get ugly – just ask Roberts. For Commissioner Roberts’ June / July 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Click to The Real Deal
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
MIAMI, FORT LAUDERDALE RANK AS TOP “BUY” MARKETS FOR RETAIL ASSETS (as reported in the RealDeal)! As the nation’s retail market struggles amid store closings and mounting pressure from online shopping, South Florida stands out as a top market for retail assets, according to a newly released report. Ten-X’s Retail Market Outlook ranked Miami as the top long-term “buy” market, based on demand, followed by Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Austin and Tampa. In Miami, retail vacancies dropped by 0.05 percent to 5.7 percent at the end of last year. Rents averaged $23.37, and are projected to rise to $25.79 by 2020, according to the report. Fort Lauderdale retail vacancies fell to 8.9 percent last year, with rents averaging $17.86. Rents in Fort Lauderdale are forecast to rise to $20.20 in 2020. Overall, retail vacancies were 9.9 percent nationwide at the close of 2016 and are projected to remain at that level in 2020.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Sun Trolley SUN TROLLEY CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY: In 1992, the transit service launched with Lolly the Trolley. Today, it's fully modernized with a new Tracker App that lets customers track each bus in real time; an updated website and a 24/7 customer service hotline. Riders run the gamut from snowbirds who spend a few months in town to locals who take the trolley to work. The nonprofit LifeNet4Families depends on it to deliver meals to the needy. Its busiest route - based on ridership per hour - is the airport link. Folks ride between Fort Lauderdale's international airport and the city's historic arts and entertainment district downtown. Additionally, the free on-demand Riverwalk Water Trolley ferries riders to eight points around the channel and to the Las Olas shopping and restaurant row. Folks can call the hotline and take the option to speak with the captain for personalized service. In the future, the association plans to start guided tours for visitors. Areas under consideration include the developing Flagler Village Arts and Technology District.

Canal on Bayview Drive
CANAL ON BAYVIEW DRIVE
PROPOSED CANAL CLEANING ASSESSMENT! The City of Fort Lauderdale owns 57 miles of navigable canals that require periodic dredging to remain navigable. In an effort to improve the level of service to our neighbors and maintain property values, we are considering implementing a proactive program to dredge City-owned canals on a seven-year cycle. The first two years of each seven year cycle of the dredging program would consist of surveying the condition of the City-owned canal system, prioritizing the dredging program for the upcoming five years, and designing and permitting of the canal dredging plan. During each year of the dredging plan, the canals to be dredged that year would be surveyed again to verify the current conditions prior to commencing dredging. A canal must also be surveyed after dredging to confirm that the construction work authorized was completed according to the specifications set during the design stage and shown in the plans.

Funding Needed Improvements: Implementing a proactive canal dredging program will incur costs associated with surveying, permitting and dredging. In order to fund the associated dredging costs, the City is considering an annual assessment for properties along the City-owned navigable canals. Click to Fort Lauderdale Dredging program An ongoing dredging program could benefit property owners by maintaining access to the navigable canal and preserving property values. The assessment would be based on the number of linear feet of private property that front a City-owned canal. Only the cost of dredging navigable canals will be included in the assessment – the cost of dredging non-navigable drainage canals will be funded through the City’s stormwater program.

For more information you can visit www.fortlauderdale.gov/canal. As part of the public input, please email or call us with your viewpoint on this issue.

ESTIMATED IMPACT OF APPROVED HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION BILL! As you may be aware, the Florida House voted 83-35 to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would allow homeowners to shield an additional $25,000 of the value of their home from most property taxes. The additional exemption would not apply to taxes charged by school districts. The Senate approved the measure (HB 7105) in April. The measure calls for the average homestead exemption to jump to $75,000 from $50,000 on the first $125,000 of a home’s taxable value. The measure must be approved by at least 60 percent of voters to take effect. As a proposed statewide amendment to Florida’s constitution, it cannot be vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. If approved by voters, this would apply to over 25,000 parcels in the City and the estimated annual revenue loss at the current millage rate would be $2.5 million or 2.1% of the city’s current ad valorem revenues. I will keep you updated as time goes on.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Neighbor Leadership Academy
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts and Neighbor Leadership Academy Class from District 1
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS AND DISTRICT 1 MEMBERS
OF FIRST NEIGHBOR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CLASS
RECOGNIZING PARTICIPANTS OF THE FIRST NEIGHBOR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY: Office of Neighbor Support recognized the participants in the first City of Fort Lauderdale's Neighbor Leadership Academy Class at a Commission Meeting. The goal of the Neighbor Leadership Academy is to build community leaders. The first 20 participants in the Neighbor Leadership Academy are from all four Districts and were selected in conjunction with the Council of Civic Associations. The participants are ready to put their learned skills into action and will be organizing a Meet Your Neighbor Block Party in September 2017 as part of a Community Service Project. Each participant was presented with a City of Fort Lauderdale's Neighbor Leadership Academy Certificate and a Neighbor Support Pin in recognition of their participation. The following people represented District 1:

  Peter Cooper, Coral Ridge Country Club Laura Depenbrock, Imperial Point
 
  Roy Grimsland, Coral Ridge Diana Hanford, Knoll Ridge
 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DISTRICT ONE PARTICIPANTS!

Searstown on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale
SEARSTOWN ON SUNRISE BOULEVARD IN FORT LAUDERDALE
RECOMMENDED IMPROVEMENTS FOR SUNRISE BOULEVARD BETWEEN THE SEARSTOWN AND GATEWAY SHOPPING PLAZAS: The Florida Department of Transportation, District 4, Planning and Environmental Management Office (FOOT) recently completed a planning study focused on improving traffic operations and safety along SR 838/Sunrise Boulevard between SR-5/US-1 at Searstown Shopping Plaza and the Gateway Shopping Plaza. Under existing conditions, the corridor is operating at capacity with heavy vehicular congestion and queues throughout the day. By year 2040, traffic volumes are expected to increase up to 66,500 vpd (vehicles per day). In general, existing intersection delays can be expected to double and vehicular queues are expected to increase up to 34% at the critical left-turn movements. More notable, the existing triple eastbound left-turn lane at US 1/Gateway will exceed its capacity and significant delay and queues are expected. FDOT recommends the following improvements to address existing and expected conditions:

  • Corridor wide Improvements: Includes upgrades to crosswalk ramps and sidewalks within the project limits to comply with ADA requirements, and signage modifications and additional pavement marking at specific locations.

  • Click to Broward MPO TIPs Program Sunrise Boulevard at US 1/Searstown: Improving the operations of the intersection by constructing an additional westbound left-turning lane (provides queue reduction of 28%) and installing a queue detection system on the eastbound direction. The queue detection system will be designed to relieve eastbound stopped traffic if queues reach a point close to the railroad tracks.

  • Sunrise Boulevard at NE 15th eastbound direction: Install a dynamic lane system for the eastbound direction. It consists of the use of the inside through lane to be converted to a shared through/left by using a dynamic display signal creating an effective dual left-turn lane which will operate during peak hours only. It includes widening in the north approach to receive the dual lanes.

  • Sunrise Boulevard Roundabout and Flyover Ramp
    SUNRISE BOULEVARD ROUNDABOUT AND FLYOVER RAMP
    Sunrise Boulevard at US 1/Gateway: Convert the existing signalized intersection to a multilane roundabout with an eastbound to northbound grade separated movement. This proposed 'flyover' ramp carries traffic destined to US 1 northbound relieving the at-grade movements. The combined improvements are expected to reduce delays by up to 58% during the peak hours. In addition, the roundabout conversion is expected to reduce the total intersection crashes by 44% based on nationwide studies and creates fewer pedestrian conflicts with less crossing distance. Bicyclists were considered in the roundabout concept for the Sunrise Boulevard intersection at Gateway. Bicycles are accommodated in the proposed design by providing a bike ramp from the roadway to a multiuse path around the circle.

Click to Broward MPO TIPs Program A Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study for the improvements recommended above is proposed as an addition to the 2018/2019 Multimodal Surface Transportation Priorities List which will enable the programming of future available funds through the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization's 5-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) as well as the Florida Department of Transportation's Draft Tentative Work Plan. The PD&E will further evaluate the recommendations listed above to determine the associated social, economic, natural and physical environmental impacts in order to develop the best solution for the multimodal, operational and congestion management challenges in this area. If you would like the entire memo and drawing attachment, let Robbi know and she will email it to you.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

FXE @ 70 || Ft Laud Growth || GABP

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts May 2017 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
May 27, 2016 - In his May 2017 Newsletter, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts notes how Fort Lauderdale is in one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan regions; celebrates the 70th birthday of Fort Lauderdale’s Executive Airport (FXE); announces new LauderWorks and LauderStreet websites that provide information about road closures, special events and Public Works projects throughout the City; honors FLPD Sergeant Monica Ferrer for facilitating Fort Lauderdale’s recognition as a Purple Heart City; invites constituents to attend The Great American Beach Party on May 27; applauds this year’s nominees for induction into the annual Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame; and closes by welcoming participation in the upcoming 2017 Telephone Town Hall Meetings” (speak with Roberts on June 14 at 7 p.m.).

Commentary – Snowbelt to Sunbelt

Buffalo Business First projects editor G. Scott Thomas
G. SCOTT THOMAS
Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article Roberts opens his May 2017 Newsletter with a review of data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau reflecting the growth or decline of populations in U.S. metropolitan regions. Originally published in Buffalo Business First, a report by projects editor G. Scott Thomas observed that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area experienced the fifth highest growth rate in the nation. Since Roberts is always trawling for media fodder that distinguishes our home town, this piqued Roberts' interest, and prompted its inclusion in his newsletter. In contrast, the Buffalo author wrote the piece because the Buffalo region showed the 7th largest decline in population growth. Ironically, Roberts and Thomas are looking at different sides of the same coin, a domestic migration that triggered both demographic events.

Click to Sunbelt and Rustbelt Although the U.S. population grew by 3.7% during the last 5 years, growth tumbled to less than 1% last year (.71%), one of the slowest growth rates in decades. Americans are still moving from rural areas to metropolitan centers. While nationwide population growth slowed to a crawl, it exploded in certain urban regions. Over the last five years, the populations of nearly 30 metropolitan areas grew by more than 10%.

Click to Census Data Populations can grow in several ways. One is by natural growth, as measured in local births than deaths. The other is migration – domestic and/or international. Natural growth accounted for less than one-third of the five-year population growth rate in 20 of the fastest growing cities. As such, whether a region's population grows, shrinks - or remains static, overwhelmingly depends on migration to and from that region. Demographers all agree that two factors primarily impact migration – economics and the sun.

Brookings Institute Senior demographer William Frey
BROOKINGS INSTITUTE SENIOR DEMOGRAPHER WILLIAM FREY
Almost all of the 20 cities with the fastest growing populations are in the South and Southwestern United States, inflating regional populations in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Senior demographer William Frey at public policy think tank Brookings Institute explained “This is indicative of the long-term U.S. migratory trend of Americans moving from the Northeast and the Midwest – including the Rust Belt – to the Sun Belt.”

Click to Brookings on 2017 Sunbelt Migration New Census data released in March shows that the fastest growing U.S. metropolitan regions and counties from 2015 to 2016 surround Sunbelt cities like Phoenix, Orlando, Las Vegas, Houston, and Dallas. An exception to the trend is King County, Washington, where 1,100 new residents who migrate to the Seattle region each week trade a balmy climate for explosive wages and ample employment opportunities.

Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article Click to Buffalo Business First Census ArticleNot surprisingly, those chasing the Sun are bleeding from metropolitan regions and counties enveloping northern, inland cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo - the Snowbelt. From 2015 to 2016, Chicago lost more residents than any other big city in the country, mostly to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas (as per a new collaborative study by Moving.com & Sparefoot). An influx of overpaid Yuppies was far outweighed by a loss of those craving a better climate and/or a stronger economy. Snowbelt cities weren’t alone in leaking residents. Over the last year, net domestic migration slowed in big coastal cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where a skyrocketing cost of living practically eliminated affordable housing.

Click toSunbelt and Rustbelt While Snowbelt to Sunbelt migration is a reliably consistent trend, an exception during 2007 and 2008 illuminates another massive impact on migration - the economy. During the recessionary downturn, record foreclosures and underwater mortgages created a housing crisis that temporarily blocked the rapid growth in Sun Belt cities. As the economy recovered, so did the Snowbelt to Sunbelt migratory trend.

Economic factors that drive migration include a healthy job market, wage growth and affordable housing. In a majority of these fast growing metropolitan areas, January unemployment rates were far below the national rate of 4.7%, underscoring how the promise of employment opportunities fuels an influx of new residents. Since young people constitute the largest job hunting migratory population, this also affects the changing composition of these fast-growing cities. Each year, Sun Belt demographics reflect a growing number of young families and individuals who relocated pursuant to employment.

However, the biggest factor affecting Snowbelt-to-Sunbelt migration is the flight of the boomers. After dropping out of the workforce en masse, this enormous segment of the population appears to be abandoning cities. This has been attributed to the lack of walkable, affordable housing that allows seniors to age in place. In Florida - where exceptions often prove the rule - not all fast growing metropolitan regions feature a declining average age.

Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article About 26.5% of the nation’s population is 55 and older. In The Villages (a master-planned, age-restricted retirement community outside Orlando), 70.4% of the residents are at least 55. Over the last five years, The Villages population increased by 25.8%. With an increase of 4.3% between 2015 and 2016, for the fourth consecutive year, the Census Bureau ranked The Villages as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States.

Purple Heart Cop on the Galt Mile

Purple Heart City Roberts also reported that Sergeant Monica Ferrer was recognized for securing the City of Fort Lauderdale's designation as a Purple Heart City. This designation is bestowed on jurisdictions that honor those who have sacrificed for their country, including local veteran populations. Every Galt Mile resident also owes Sergeant Monica Ferrer a debt of gratitude.

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
Like every major municipal police force that prioritizes resources according to the need exhibited by each neighborhood, FLPD allocates manpower and equipment to neighborhoods victimized by astronomical crime rates and/or significant “Part 1” crimes. The Department’s strategy for areas victimized by “Quality-of-Life” crimes is to send occasional patrols while distributing pamphlets in shopping areas and community centers alerting residents to avoid leaving valuables in plain sight of their unattended vehicles. Since a beach considered “private” warranted no protection, it was a post-sundown “no-mans-land” for residents – and a convenient staging site for association break-ins. As exclaimed by virtually every District 1 FLPD liaison, “You must be aware of your surroundings” – spin for “Sorry wolf-bait – you are on your own.”

Click to  Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association website For decades, officials from the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) and the Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association (LBHA) explored security options to combat the steady stream of thefts, muggings and burglaries that afflicted their neighborhoods. As if trapped in a revolving door, association officials annually argued about neighborhood watch, citizen patrols, or overpriced private security by uniformed senior citizens and inexperienced part-time college students. After suffering 45 reported crimes and hundreds of “incidents” in 1999, the Lauderdale Beach Homeowners Association sought guidance from Fort Lauderdale Police Captain Todd Peney, the recipient of 23 Departmental and 57 Public Commendations.

Former Patrol Chief and Retired FLPD Captain Todd Peney
RET FLPD CAPTAIN TODD PENEY
Peney explained that the success of neighborhood patrols depends primarily upon how they’re administered. To properly utilize the skills of active police officers, they must be organized under an equally professional chain of command – not a group of concerned, yet inexperienced, homeowners. At LBHA’s request, Captain Peney crafted a security program in which active police officers deployed FLPD patrol protocols.

Galt Mile Security Patrol - FLPD Cruiser
FLPD CRUISER - DETERRENT IS MOVED REGULARLY
Along with L’Hermitage I and II, LBHA launched the patrol. Off-duty FLPD officers have 24/7 access to FLPD backup and are automatically elevated to “active duty” when faced with evidence of criminal activity. Although provided with an ATV for the beach and a Police Jeep to patrol the street, the officers ordinarily use their dedicated FLPD cruisers and work out of a headquarters fitted with full communication capabilities just south of Oakland Park Boulevard off A1A. Working with FLPD Sergeant Monica Ferrer, Peney developed the most successful private security program in South Florida. One year after implementing Peney’s plan, the number of reported crimes in Lauderdale Beach dropped precipitously – to two.

June 6, 2007 Security Patrol Kickoff Celebration - Front (L to R): Eric Berkowitz, Pio Ieraci, Rose Guttman, (then Police Chief) Bruce Roberts, Leah Glickfield, Kevin Songer, Fern McBride, Major Paul Kiley; Rear L to R): Sgt. Todd Jackson, Officer Steve Kraft, Captain Todd Peney, Captain Jan Jordan
PATROL KICKOFF EVENT - FRONT (L TO R): ERIC BERKOWITZ, PIO IERACI, ROSE GUTTMAN, THEN
CHIEF BRUCE ROBERTS, LEAH GLICKFIELD, KEVIN SONGER, FERN MCBRIDE, MAJOR PAUL KILEY
REAR L TO R): SGT TODD JACKSON, OFFICER STEVE KRAFT, CAPT TODD PENEY, CAPT JAN JORDAN
Seven years later, the patrol was expanded to include beachfront Galt Mile associations in Fort Lauderdale. Its impact was swift and incisive. The historically high number of reported residential “Quality of Life” crimes that long plagued the neighborhood plummeted as burglars, thieves, muggers and drifters are cleared from the adjacent beach and streets. As a result, Galt Mile residents can safely stroll the beach in the evening and walk along Galt Ocean Drive after dark. Equally important, the number of association infiltrations dropped significantly, relieving the strain on association security.

Moving in US Since the off-duty police officers are already protected by a full complement of job benefits, patrol costs are even less than “bare bones” private security. Comprised primarily of single family homes, Lauderdale Beach homeowners pay $650 annually for beachfront properties, others pay $400. Given the Galt Mile community’s high density demographics, our cost drops to a meager $20 per unit annually - the most cost-effective security patrol in Fort Lauderdale. The Galt Mile crime rate has since remained among the City’s lowest - a fraction of those in adjacent communities (i.e. Coral Ridge, Imperial Point).

Todd Peney Lobbies for Bryant Peney Act in Tallahassee with former Governor Jeb Bush
TODD PENEY LOBBIES FOR BILL
Peney’s acclaimed FLPD career was in part driven by the January 6, 1996 shooting death of his twin brother Bryant Peney, who was also on the force. The 27-year-old Peney was fatally shot while questioning a drifter who is now serving a life sentence in prison. Upon losing his brother, Todd Peney spearheaded a drive to make the killing of a law enforcement officer during the commission of a felony, escape or while resisting with violence, a crime of first-degree murder. The Bryant Peney Act was signed into law in 2001 by Governor Jeb Bush. When Todd Peney was about to retire and relocate in March of 2009, the northwest corner of Southeast 15th Street and South Miami Road – a few blocks from the shooting – was ceremonially renamed after his brother.

Todd Peney Lobbies for Bryant Peney Act in Tallahassee with former Governor Jeb Bush
GOV JEB BUSH AND TODD PENEY
Bryant Peney also worked with the police explorers, a hands-on program for 14 – 21 year-old kids who are interested in law enforcement. One of the youngsters Peney taught was Monica Ferrer, who ultimately joined the force and achieved the rank of Sergeant. Along with Todd Peney, she spent a year arranging her former mentor’s street dedication.

Todd Peney watches Jeb Bush sign Bryant Peney Act into law in 2001
BUSH SIGNS BRYANT PENEY ACT INTO LAW
Since the security patrol’s success is based on a professional chain of command, it was placed at risk by Peney’s impending relocation. While serving as one of the patrol officers, Ferrer was recruited to fill Peney's shoes and administer the patrol. Despite her stated aversion to the unavoidable community politics previously handled by Peney, she agreed to hold the program together. While maintaining the patrol’s professional standards and participating in the patrol rotation, Ferrer spent the following year meeting with new condo managers or newly elected board members. She also helped train her replacement (Sgt. Darren Ogden), which enabled a return to her preferred duties as a patrol officer. To this day, she remains a bulwark of our security patrol.

If Ferrer hadn't temporarily stepped in for the departing Peney, operational oversight would have fallen to association officials - homeowners who admittedly know nothing about police procedures. Peney had repeatedly admonished how this would undermine the program – an observation that was subsequently confirmed by Commissioner Bruce Roberts – our former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief. In short, Ferrer’s sacrifice salvaged our best protection against a skyrocketing crime rate. If you run into Ferrer while on patrol - you may want to thank her for keeping our neighborhood - and families - safe. To peruse Commissioner Roberts’ May 2017 Newsletter in it's entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Moving in US
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
WHERE ARE AMERICANS MOVING? HERE ARE THE FASTEST-GROWING — AND SHRINKING— CITIES IN THE U.S.:: As reported in the Triangle Business Journal by G.Scott Thomas: Eleven major metropolitan areas, led by the Texas duo of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, are growing at a pace of more than 1,000 persons per week, based on population estimates issued Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The federal agency released July 2016 estimates for 382 metros and 3,142 counties across the nation. American City Business Journals, the parent company of Triangle Business Journal, used the new federal data to calculate weekly growth rates. Topping the list was the Houston metropolitan area, which soared from an April 2010 population of 5.92 million to a July 2016 estimate of 6.77 million, translating to a net increase of 2,612.3 persons per week. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was second with a weekly net gain of 2,474.6 persons. Rounding out the top five were the New York City, Atlanta and Miami-Fort Lauderdale metros, all with population increases larger than 1,500 persons per week. The other metros above the weekly threshold of 1,000 were Washington, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco-Oakland and Austin.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) turns 70 FXE IS 70 AND STILL SOARING: March 11, 2017 was a historical day in the City of Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) turned 70! Formerly a training center for World War II Navy pilots, including former President George H.W. Bush, today FXE is home to more than 900 based aircraft. Nearly 160,000 aircraft take off and land at the airport annually, ranking it as one of the top 10 of busiest general aviation airports in U.S. Located in the heart of the City's Uptown Business District, Executive Airport plays a vital role in South Florida and the national airport system, serving a variety of private, corporate, and government aviation needs through services and amenities including four fixed-base operators; a 24-hour Air Traffic Control Tower; a Customs and Border Protection facility; 24-hour on-site aircraft rescue, firefighting services, and airport security; a Fort Lauderdale Police Substation; and the John Fuhrer Downtown Helistop (DT1), the only public-use helistop in Florida. A dedicated team of 23 Community Builders provides a safe and secure environment for the 900-acre facility, manages 37 leases, fosters continued business growth for existing tenants, and continually builds community with neighbors. In addition, the City's Aviation Advisory Board makes recommendations to the City Commission regarding airport planning, development, construction, improvements, maintenance, operations, regulations, etc. With a direct economic impact of more than $839 million, FXE creates jobs, promotes business, provides critical general aviation and emergency services, and serves as a reliever airport for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and other nearby airports, when needed.

Click to LauderWorks website NEW PUBLIC WORKS ‘LAUDERWORKS’ WEBSITE (getting the scoop on Neighborhood Projects underway): Wondering what infrastructure improvements are underway in your neighborhood? The City of Fort Lauderdale has launched a new website that maps-out Public Works projects throughout the City. The fascinating clickable map highlights each of the projects that are underway or planned for the near future. A pull-down feature provides the project title, detailed project description, location, project phase, budget amount, Commission District and managing department. The clickable map is color-coded to indicate the type of project, such as bridges, canals, parks, roadway improvements, seawalls, stormwater, water and sewer.

Sergeant Monica Ferrer was recognized
SGT MONICA FERRER GETS AWARD
RECOGNIZING AN OFFICER’S EFFORTS: Sergeant Monica Ferrer was recognized for her work in helping Fort Lauderdale obtain the designation of a Purple Heart City. Sergeant Ferrer brought this to the Commission’s attention after she discovered a member of her staff was a veteran. There was an overwhelming response thus creating a proclamation “Recognizing the City of Fort Lauderdale as a Purple Heart City.” The Purple Heart was the first American service award or decoration made available to soldiers and is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a declared enemy of the United States. The original Purple Heart was designated as the Badge of Military Merit and was established by George Washington in 1782. The City has a large highly decorated veteran population including many Purple Heart recipients, and appreciates the sacrifices the recipients made in defending our freedom and believe it is important that we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned. This proclamation was presented at a regular commission meeting. Thank you Sergeant Ferrer for making this possible!

Click to Best of the Web Digital Government Achievement Awards - 2016 Winners GREAT AMERICAN BEACH PARTY: The Great American Beach Party returns Saturday, May 27 with rock legend Eddie Money! The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at A1A and Las Olas Boulevard and will feature live bands, a kid’s zone, classic car show, sandcastle contest, art show, military tribute and an amazing precision parachute jump by the U.S. SOCOM Para-Commandoes! Take the stress out of driving and parking by using the Water Shuttle, Water Taxi or Sun Trolley to get to the beach. Look for details soon on the City website.

Click to Walk of Fame in 2017 2017 WALK OF FAME HONOREES: One of the best parts of the Great American Beach Party is the annual Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony. The City of Fort Lauderdale established the Walk of Fame in 2010 at the inaugural Great American Beach Party to pay tribute to the legendary Connie Francis on the 50th Anniversary of "Where the Boys Are," the 1960 film which made Fort Lauderdale an overnight sensation and a "must see" destination for visitors. Walk of Fame Honorees are recognized for their outstanding work and positive contributions to the City of Fort Lauderdale. This year's inductees are Kaye Pearson, founder of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show; the Motwani Family, longtime leaders in Fort Lauderdale's Tourism and Hospitality industry; Dr. George L. Hanbury, former Fort Lauderdale City Manager and current President and CEO of NOVA Southeastern University; and the Zloch Brothers - Senior U.S. District Judge William, Jim and Chuck Zloch - for their judicial, business, legal and civic leadership. The Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 27 at 6 p.m. immediately following Eddie Money's performance at the Great American Beach Party. The Walk of Fame is a great way to recognize the contributions of our neighbors and their integral role in building community in Fort Lauderdale.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Stormwater Master Plan TELEPHONE TOWN HALL MEETING: The telephone town hall meetings facilitate public access to our government and provides us with an opportunity to obtain essential input from our neighbors on a variety of services, initiatives and ongoing projects. The feedback we receive from the questions and polling results help ensure that we are focusing on the issues that matter most to our neighbors and allocating our resources appropriately. If you are available, I will be hosting the evening of June 13 from 7 - 8 p.m. To join, simply call toll free 855-840-6970 from your home or cell phone. Each of our elected officials will host a call this year. To get more information, visit our web page:

http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/city-manager-s-office/public-affairs-office/telephone-town-hall-meetings.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Galleria || || Galt A1A

Click to Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts March/April 2017 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
March 7, 2017 - In his March/April 2017 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts anticipates another attempt by Galleria developers to placate leery City planners, provides access to newly mandated seawall requirements, opposes a vacation rental bill by State lawmakers that seeks to usurp the right of City residents to govern themselves, discuses a plan to decrease the number of pedestrians annually flattened by motoring tourists, reviews the progress of A1A renovations along the Galt Mile, provides a half dozen marginally useful City telephone numbers, applauds a mobile showers program for the homeless, offers access to useful online police data, describes Symphony at the Waterways - a recently opened high-end-senior living facility, welcomes constituent participation in a spectrum of parks programs, thanks constituents for marshalling through the Segment II beach renourishment, extolls employee happy talk on You Tube, notes a libretto of accrued City accolades, updates our municipal calendar, and volunteers his participation with constituent HOA agendas.

Galleria Live: Second Bite at the Apple

Galleria Mall Entrance
GALLERIA MALL ENTRANCE
Hoping to dodge the zoning wrath unleashed on Bahia Mar for planned skyscrapers perceived as incompatible with their beachfront locale, the developers of Live Galleria - led by FLL Development Enterprise - stripped away 390 of the 1640 residential units they originally planned to build for $1 billion. They also scrapped a proposed 15-story office building and a 165-room hotel while clipping 18 stories from a projected 45-story tower.

Galleria Development
GALLERIA DEVELOPMENT
To win Planning Board approval for a hand-tailored zoning designation, they would have to deliver infrastructure improvements to mitigate an ever-increasing threat of flooding, accommodate the additional traffic, create mall enhancements to attract more upscale merchants, and provide surrounding communities with a gift basket of public amenities.

Galleria Rendering
GALLERIA RENDERING
While scaling back the scope of work, developers agreed to upgrade the drainage pipes, add a lift station, raise some roads to lessen flooding impacts, provide 1360 new garaged parking spaces, cushion some traffic impacts (better signal timing, new turn lanes), and add a new trolley service to the beach. For the adjacent neighborhoods, developers would snake a 1.25-mile fitness track through the property, cover the mall's roof with a park, and pepper Sunrise Boulevard with pedestrian enhancements. When vetted by the City Planning Board on October 19, 2016, the plan went over like a lead balloon - and was derailed by a 6 - 2 vote.

Planning Board Chair Leo Hansen
PLANNING BOARD CHAIR LEO HANSEN
While the proposed infrastructure improvements were a step in the right direction, planning officials remained concerned about roadway congestion, whether three towers included in the seven new buildings were still too tall, and most importantly, they openly disparaged the planned public amenities. In short, they didn't believe that describing a skinny path around the mall as a “fitness track” would enhance its value as a destination site, nor could they envision local residents spending recreational time on the Galleria roof. As observed by Planning Board chair Leo Hansen, “There was still no compelling reason to go around the perimeter of Galleria. I didn’t see that as being beneficial to the community.”

Unless these shortfalls are addressed at the March meeting mentioned by Roberts, Galleria will continue deteriorate - and lose ground as a special shopping venue. Also cloaked in his March newsletter is an alarming statutory threat to local neighborhoods - a legislative attempt to divest local governments of their right to home rule

Vacation Rentals: State Mandate vs. Home Rule

Click Here to Airbnb While short-term vacation rentals can be a win-win for visiting tourists and local landlords, if they aren’t properly regulated, they can undermine the character (and home values) in a neighborhood, increase the tax burden on local residents, and endanger prospective tenants. While few homeowners will complain if the Brady Bunch rents the property next door for the season, they will understandably object if the same property is used by the “Alien Mushrooms” biker gang as a substation for “Crank” deliveries.

Tallahassee Regulatory Tug-of-War
TALLAHASSEE REGULATORY TUG-OF-WAR
The vacation rental market has long contributed to the State's tourism economy, although several sea changes during the past decade triggered a growing controversy. When upside down mortgages rendered families insolvent during the recession, speculators who swooped in to graze on hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes either flipped selected properties or repeatedly rented them out. It was no coincidence that these rentals expanded epidemically near popular vacation sites like Walt Disney World and along coastal tourism Meccas like Miami and Fort Lauderdale. This overnight proliferation of homes in residential neighborhoods that functionally serve as commercial properties set the stage for a regulatory tug-of-war in Tallahassee.

Tenants from Hell Trash Rental
TENANTS FROM HELL TRASH RENTAL
Some of the new landlords applied for state and local lodging licenses although many did not. Local taxes collected from tourists by hotels, bed & breakfasts or vacation rentals support the maintenance of roads & infrastructure - and help fund local public services (i.e. police, fire, EMS, etc.) - which are used by millions of visiting tourists each year. Since these expenses are otherwise funded with taxpayer dollars, when landlords who operate functionally commercial properties fail to collect sales and “tourism” taxes (or pocket those revenues), you pay the resulting shortfall.

Zoning laws ordinarily protect home values by preserving the character of residential neighborhoods; and prohibiting homeowners from turning adjacent properties into industrial or commercial venues. In contrast, vacation rental advocates claim that homeowners have the right to use their properties as they see fit. By operating transient motels as vacation rentals, speculators dodge compliance with these zoning laws to make a fast buck - at the expense of nearby home values.

The Online Marketplace

Click Here to Airbnb Click Here to HomeAway While Florida lawmakers struggled to balance the right of investors to turn a profit, the right of homeowners to protect neighborhood home values, and the right of local governments to regulate local businesses - the playing field was turned on its head by the emergence of Airbnb, HomeAway and other “sharing” services that enable any homeowner to list a property - or a spare bedroom - on the internet. Since the listing companies’ online rental transactions are nearly impossible to track, speculators that operate “below the radar” often ignore licensing requirements and dodge compliance with local laws - frustrating local governments - and taxpayers forced to pick up the fiscal slack.

David Hantman - global public policy
DAVID HANTMAN - GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY
Kim Rubey - Airbnb Communication
KIM RUBEY
AIRBNB COMMUNICATIONS
As local regulations increasingly threatened future profits, Airbnb raided Yahoo to accrue lobbying muscle. To run communications, they hired DC insider Kim Rubey, Senator John Edwards former press secretary. Next, they appointed David Hantman as head of global public policy. In jurisdictions where the company was violating an ordinance, Hantman was charged with changing the law. If unable to bring local officials to an “accommodation”, he would seek to preempt their regulatory authority. To accomplish this, he would also have to fend off the hospitality industry. On Hantman’s recommendation, Airbnb launched a massive lobbying campaign to quash impeding local regulations and make the company’s transactions legal.

Former Statehouse Representative Michael Horner
FORMER REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL HORNER
The $32 billion vacation rental goliath dispatched lobbyists in key markets to shield its business model from meddlesome local regulations. Amid a blizzard of Airbnb legal actions against Florida jurisdictions perceived as “uncooperative”, former Statehouse Representative Michael Horner (R - Kissimmee) spearheaded company plans to mute local governments, filing House Bill 883. Enacted on June 2, 2011, the law preempted cities and counties from prohibiting or regulating short term rentals. As a concession to thousands of angry homeowners and the Florida League of Cities, Horner agreed to grandfather local regulations adopted prior to June 1, 2011.

In lieu of local oversight, Horner’s legislation charged the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) with regulating vacation rentals - while cynically neglecting to provide the agency with the required resources. As a result, the DBPR simply ignored the statutory mandate - and did nothing. Horner later resigned following discovery of his name on the client list of an Orange County brothel.

The Hospitality Industry Weighs In

New York State AG Eric Schneiderman Airbnb Report Suddenly, hotel industry lobbyists awoke to the reality that the appeal of listing services wasn’t limited to couch-surfing deadbeats who would never book a hotel room, given that Airbnb’s millions of rental listings include thousands of luxury properties. A recent report by Morgan Stanley estimates that Airbnb currently occupies about 4 percent of traditional hotel demand, and anticipates prospective growth to 6 percent by 2018; more than 100 million U.S. and European room nights clocked by Airbnb in 2016 could mushroom to 245 million in 2018.

The Hotel industry opposed neutering the right of local governments to regulate Airbnb, since it crippled their capacity to collect taxes due on thousands of transient rentals, providing its online competition with an unfair – and illegal – advantage. As politics makes strange bedfellows, local governments and angry homeowners stumbled on an ally with sufficient resources to arm-wrestle the internet travel juggernaut.

American Hotel and Lodging Association To help level the playing field, the hotel industry jumped on a critical vulnerability of the online marketplace. In scores of jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad, a huge number of Airbnb listings violated local “block-busting” laws that prohibit residential homeowners from turning their apartments or homes into transient motels to surreptitiously crash local property values (and shrink developer acquisition costs). Although the company’s threat to local home values wasn’t a precursor to development, it was nonetheless illegal. While focusing attention on Airbnb’s legal missteps and tax violations in scores of communities, the global hotel industry took a page from its competitor’s playbook - and launched related lawsuits in dozens of domestic and international markets where Airbnb does business.

Former State Senator John Thrasher
FORMER STATE SENATOR JOHN THRASHER
Following a statewide outcry by local governments, in 2014, the legislature passed Senate Bill 356, which eased the broad state preemption on regulation of vacation rentals, allowing local governments to regulate short-term rentals through life safety and building codes, but Section 509.032(7), Florida Statutes, preserved the prohibition on local governments against regulating the duration and frequency of these rentals, or enforcing zoning laws that bar the commercialization of residential neighborhoods.

Former State Senator Jeremy Ring
FORMER STATE SENATOR JEREMY RING
Seeking to re-empower local governments and salvage home values without capsizing the $31 billion rental market, Senate sponsor John Thrasher (R – St. Augustine) explained “I’m not trying to put vacation rentals out of business; nobody is. It’s too valuable to our economy. We just want a balance of regulations between the rights of the people who have them and the rights of the people who live around them.” Its South Florida impact was expressed by former Senator Jeremy Ring (D - Parkland) - a local co-sponsor, “Sometimes we don’t know the consequences until it’s in our face. We shouldn’t be telling the cities of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale how to handle their vacation rentals. Let the residents of the cities make that decision, it’s their homes, it’s their communities.”

The Statutory amendment - aptly named “home rule” - enabled local jurisdictions to enforce noise, parking and signage regulations disallowed for vacation rentals in the earlier State law - although enforced elsewhere in local residential and commercial neighborhoods. Cities could finally deter groups of young sociopaths from parking their cars and their garbage - on the front lawn, monkey-wrench week-long 24-hour parties on otherwise quiet streets, and require landlords to register vacation properties, insuring that Transient Rental and sales tax revenues are collected and remitted.

Bad Blood Spreads

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN
Faulting Airbnb’s business model for lost tax revenues, host zoning violations, and sliding home values in previously stable neighborhoods, governments in major markets went ballistic. On May 1, 2016, a German court banned Airbnb listings in Berlin, a top European travel destination, threatening stiff fines of up to 100,000 Euros. Earlier, the company spent $8 million to fend off a similar prohibition in San Francisco, the company’s corporate headquarters. As of December 2016, the city has issued $1.19 million in fines to hosts for illegally renting unregistered properties. Listing companies are also responsible for affordable housing shortages both here and abroad, as otherwise rentable apartments are illegally morphed into year-round motels. Airbnb has also been under siege in Quebec, Chattanooga, Austin and elsewhere. They’ve been challenged abroad in Australia, Ireland, Spain and Israel.

New York State AG Eric Schneiderman Airbnb Report One month after the Berlin ruling, in June, 2016, New York State lawmakers passed a ban against the type of short-term rentals that comprise most of Airbnb’s New York City listings. To secure a subpoena, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman compiled a report disclosing how more than 72% of Airbnb rentals in New York City violated state law, 66% of Airbnb revenue comes from illegal units, 38% of the fees Airbnb received in 2013 were from units illegally converted from long-term housing and the tax liability between 2010 and 2014 is at least $33.5 million.

New York State Senator Liz Krueger
NEW YORK STATE SENATOR LIZ KRUEGER
Schneidermann demonstrated that many of the listings weren’t homes occupied by their owners – as repeatedly asserted by Airbnb – but properties acquired solely for commercial purposes, and include properties that were leased or sublet – often without the owner’s permission or knowledge. New York State Senator Liz Krueger commented “It is no wonder that Airbnb fought to keep this data in the dark. The picture it paints is clear: nearly three quarters of Airbnb’s New York rentals are illegal, and commercial operators account for a large portion of its business.”

Airbnb Bites Backs

Florida Senator Greg Steube
FLORIDA SENATOR GREG STEUBE
In Florida, listing companies threw additional $millions at renewing the 2011 Statutory prohibitions against local interference with their white hot business models. Florida lawmakers generally go berserk when Congress preempts their authority to address State issues, citing Home Rule as a far more effective remedy. However, for a sawbuck at campaign time, those same lawmakers will gladly handcuff every Florida City and County to flesh out their benefactor’s bottom line.

Statehouse Representative Mike LaRosa
STATEHOUSE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE LAROSA
On December 16, 2016, State Senator Greg Steube (R - Sarasota) filed Senate Bill 188. On January 24, 2017, Statehouse Representative Mike LaRosa (R - St Cloud) filed companion bill HB 425 in the lower chamber. In short, the bills would once again bar local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals. Both lawmakers represent districts with thousands of vacation rentals that cater to Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. LaRosa, an Osceola realtor who rents these properties, replaced Mike Horner following his resignation. Steube operates short-term rental properties.

Click Here to Moveon.Org SB 188 Petition Steube told reporters that he decided to file his preemption bill while shopping with his wife for a Flagler Beach home in a residential neighborhood that he planned to use as a vacation rental, until informed of a local prohibition against short-term rentals. When his prospective future neighbors learned of Steube’s bill, they started an online petition entitled “Stop Florida SB 188”, which accrued 529 local signatures by March 21 on a website aptly named “moveon.org”.

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
At the March 6, 2017 GMCA Presidents Council meeting, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts expressed trepidations about Steube’s bill, describing how special interests in Tallahassee are once again attempting to usurp the right of city residents to govern themselves in order to circumvent local laws that protect home values. Roberts also warned that Steube’s bill would thwart the collection of transient rental taxes, shifting the burden to local taxpayers.

Click Here to Florida League of Cities Framing its rationale for opposing bills that block city residents from protecting their neighborhoods, The Florida League of Cities warns, “Short-term rentals are causing problems in many cities around the state by creating commercial activity in residential areas (mini-hotels in neighborhoods). Problems include noise, inadequate parking, infrastructure intended for residential use is now being used on a commercial scale, and decreased property values in neighborhoods taken over by vacation rentals.”

In the Crosshairs: Florida Associations

Association Advocate Donna Berger
ASSOCIATION ADVOCATE DONNA BERGER
Concerned about the impact of these bills, Association Advocates perceive an impending threat to common interest communities. State law defines “transient vacation rentals” as any unit or group of units in a Condominium, Cooperative, or collectively owned 1, 2, 3 and 4 family homes that are leased 3 or more times annually for terms of 30 days or less. While most associations enforce rental restrictions mandated in their governing documents, renowned association advocate Donna Berger observed that many online listing agreements are transacted without a formal lease and are extremely short-term, rendering them unnoticeable or unpreventable. Berger advises associations to fortify their rental restrictions by specifying Airbnb-style rentals, and educate unit owners about how these rentals expose them to certain tax liabilities, life safety code violations and mortgage violations while impairing unit values.

Click Here to Jackson Law Group Noting how listing companies have funded endless lawsuits against any City or County with a local ordinance that regulates the vacation rental industry, the Jackson Law Group disclosed another threat to associations embedded in Steube’s bill. Specifically, “whether a vacation rental company might attempt to challenge rental restrictions in a community association’s governing document as an impermissible ‘local law, ordinance, or regulation’ under the new law.” The assessment concludes with an unsettling observation, “Given the economic incentives, such a challenge would appear to be inevitable.” If actualized, association advocates surmise that Florida associations could devolve overnight into third tier transient motels.

Representatives David Richardson
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID RICHARDSON
Representatives George Moraitis
REPRESENTATIVES GEORGE MORAITIS
With the State’s primary economic engine in play - tourism - lawmakers from two key Florida tourist markets decided to flip the script. Like Steube and LaRosa, Representatives David Richardson (D - Miami Beach) and George Moraitis (R - Fort Lauderdale) represent districts rife with vacation rentals. All four lawmakers have observed how the problems differ significantly in a wide variety of Florida jurisdictions. Unlike Steube and LaRosa, Richardson and Moraitis believe that local governments are better equipped to address a conflict in their own back yards than a one-size-fits-all edict from Tallahassee.

Senator Kevin Rader
SENATOR KEVIN RADER
Tallahassee
TALLAHASSEE
On December 2, 2016, Richardson and Moraitis filed House Bill 6003, which would amend Section 509.032, Florida Statutes, by eliminating the state preemption completely. On March 2, 2017, Senator Kevin Rader (D - Boca Raton) filed Senate Bill 1516, companion to the House bill. If these bills pass, the residents of every Florida community will decide how to balance the needs of local homeowners, visitors, investors, the hospitality industry and the online travel industry. As each of these bills funnel through a legislative gauntlet of vetting committees, we will keep you posted. For Commissioner Roberts March / April 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Click to Galleria
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
GALLERIA MALL REDEVELOPMENT: Neighborhood compatibility and ID zoning discussions continue between the developer and several neighborhoods. Staff is also facilitating a potential developer’s agreement. It appears as if this issue may be brought before the Commission for resolution in March. We will keep you advised.

Click to International Organization for Standardization ENFORCEMENT OF SEAWALL ORDINANCE: A “Frequently Asked Questions” document is now available online to answer some questions about receiving a citation under the ordinance and your responsibilities as a property owner. Please see http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/seawall.

Click to International Organization for Standardization VACATION RENTALS: State Senator Greg Steube (R - Dist. 23) has introduced SB 188 to prohibit local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals. The City opposes this bill, as does the Florida League of Cities (Mayor Seiler is on this board). Please communicate your position to your State House and Senate members.

Click to Vision Zero Fort Lauderdale VISION ZERO BUS BENCH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN: Since the adoption of Vision Zero Fort Lauderdale by the Commission in November 2015, staff and partners have been working together to implement initial steps while developing the 5 year Strategic Action Plan to chart the path of comprehensive efforts toward a vision of zero fatalities and serious injuries. Part of that campaign involves the utilization of advertising on bus benches to spread awareness through messaging of safe behaviors and Vision Zero across the City. The first phase of the campaign, installed last month, includes messaging on safe behaviors such as “Slow Down,” “Cross at Crosswalks,” and “Stop Texting.” There are 13 locations distributed across the City targeting common behaviors that have contributed to crashes at those locations. Transportation and Mobility, Public Affairs and Information Technology Services staff worked together to develop this campaign that uses crash data from the last five years to identify concentrations of high crashes near available advertising bus benches managed by Gold Coast Bench. The key contributing behaviors of crashes surrounding each of those available benches were identified and messaging was developed to best target each of those hot spot locations.

Click to International Organization for Standardization CONSTRUCTION ON STATE ROAD A1A BETWEEN OAKLAND PARK BOULEVARD AND FLAMINGO AVENUE: The $9.3 million project is schedule to be completed this summer. Work includes repaving four vehicle lanes and two bicycle lanes, upgrading sidewalks and ramps, improving drainage, upgrading some intersections with mast arm traffic signals, countdown timers for pedestrian signals, upgrading signs and pavement markings, and installing adjustable street lighting that is sea-turtle friendly during nesting season, among other improvements. Until then, access from northbound Galt Ocean Drive to A1A will be restricted through March. Motorists can access A1A via Northeast 41st, 36th and 35th streets. Meanwhile, northbound A1A traffic is shifted slightly west toward the center of the road and southbound traffic will remain on the west side of the road through March.

Click to International Organization for Standardization CITY CONTACT NUMBERS TO KEEP HANDY: We receive many calls from neighbors who need to report findings for such things as code issues, illegal vacation rentals, legal vacation rentals that get out of hand, water is turned off, question about your water bill, prowler in the neighborhood, etc. Many call during the evening or weekend, and by the time my office can get back with you, it could be 2-3 days old. Below are numbers you can call 24/7 to report. Your concern is logged and given a tracking number as soon as you call the number. You can still call my office, but these numbers can get you there quicker!

Live Fresh Mobile Shower Truck
LIVE FRESH MOBILE SHOWER TRUCK
GROUPS BEGIN PROGRAM TO OFFER MOBILE SHOWERS TO HOMELESS IN BROWARD: It is not a cure of the bigger problem, but organizers of Broward’s first mobile shower program say a little bit of hot water will at least make the homeless feel better. A trailer is equipped with six stalls — each with a sink, toilet and shower — to allow the homeless daily showers. There also will be donations of toothbrushes and toiletries on site, and even clean clothes. The initiative, aimed at raising the self-esteem of the homeless, was organized through Live Fresh Inc., an organization that created a mobile shower program last year in Palm Beach County, and Broward’s HOPE South Florida, a Christian-based nonprofit that provides assistance to the homeless. The mobile showers will be set up at HOPE feeding sites at churches in Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The trailer is equipped with a hot water heater and propane tanks and can run between 30 to 35 showers if no running water is available. If water is available at a church, organizers just attach a hose to hook into water and sewer lines. That number excludes the homeless in shelters or staying with friends or relatives. The Broward project is funded with a $50,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

Click to Socrata Data FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE DATA NOW ONLINE: Thanks to The Fort Lauderdale Police Department participating residents and staff, anyone with an internet connection can now access, download, and review information about Arrests, Incidents, Calls for Services, Citations, Accidents and Employees in our city. Check the full catalog out here: https://fortlauderdale.data.socrata.com/reports/Data-Catalogs-1

Click to Symphony at the Waterways SYMPHONY AT THE WATERWAYS OFFERS A REFRESHING LIFESTYLE FOR SENIOR RESIDENTS AT FORT LAUDERDALE’S INTRACOASTAL: The Mayor, Commissioner McKenzie and I recently attended the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for the Symphony at the Waterways, which opened its doors to the senior community on December 7, 2016. Located at 3001 E. Oakland Boulevard, the community offers independent, assisted living and memory care assistance. Symphony’s goal is for seniors to continue the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to and more. Symphony is conveniently located at the Intracoastal in the same location as the old and favorite Yesterday’s restaurant. So far, residents have enjoyed Fort Lauderdale’s annual Winterfest Boat Parade and exercise classes on the dockside, and cultural outings to local museums, parks and theater. Lloyd Fossey, a world experienced chef, was hired to provide excellent cuisine with a royal flair for the residents. His five-star experience includes the British Royal family, Margaret Thatcher, multiple embassies, and South American restaurants.

Click to International Organization for Standardization SPECIAL EVENTS AND PROGRAMS: You can go to http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-recreation to check out the following: park locator, marinas, municipal cemetaries, the War Memorial Auditorium, park rangers, park rules, doggie guide, rental information, special events – as well as many programs such as aquatics, athletics, classes/programs, online registration, swim team/lessons and tennis . Check out our Parks and Recreation today – they have something just for you!!

ON A POSITIVE NOTE

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment Sand hauling for beach renourishment from Terramar Street north to approximately N.E. 16th Street was recently completed. The contractor is currently demobilizing and restoring the knee wall that was removed for access, as well as removing all of the equipment from the beach. The purpose of the renourishment project is to reconstruct areas of the eroded beach and increase storm protection to upland development along portions of the shoreline. Residents living near the entry points for trucks loaded with sand graciously endured noise and truck traffic during the renourishment. As a result, everyone can now enjoy the beautiful expanded beach! Thank you to our neighbors!

  • Fort Lauderdale Happy Employees Check out the Parks & Rec’s new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYIY3GczcwA – Staff always has that feeling to make our neighbors happy! The City of Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Department builds community each day by providing happy and healthy experiences for our neighbors with hardworking, dedicated employees.

  • Fort Lauderdale Accolades Fort Lauderdale has received many accolades in the past few years. Go to http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/government/awards-and-recognition to find over 70 national recognitions making our City the best place to work, live and play!

DATES TO CALENDAR:

  • 3/06/17: Pre-agenda Meeting – Beach Community Center, 6 pm

  • 3/07/17: Commission Meetings

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 3/10/17: Painting of the Saint Patrick’s Day Ceremonial Green Stripe, 4pm, Huizenga Plaza

  • 3/11/17: St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, 10 am, Las Olas Blvd.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

FLPD Chief || Body Cams || Sunny TV

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
January 18, 2017 - In his January / February 2017 message to constituents, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts announces the long awaited implementation of an FLPD body worn cameras pilot program, updates A1A roadway improvements bordering the Galt Mile neighborhood, describes a new online app useful for locating permit data, briefly bios Rick Maglione, appointed interim Chief of Police when Frank Adderley relocated to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, applauds the “Cops 4 Kids” program for providing schoolchildren with mentoring and positive role models, reviews the final stage of the Segment II Broward Beach Renourishment, reports the launching of Hello Sunny TV, which streams live coverage of events, on demand content and realtime local beachcams to laptops, tablets and smartphones. Roberts closes by noting improved graduation rates for traditional high schools in the Broward County Public School System.

Watch the Birdie

Following a year-long effort to develop program policies, the City of Fort Lauderdale is finally prepared to launch a pilot program to equip police officers with body worn cameras. While body cameras provide a variety of critical law enforcement benefits, such as obtaining evidence for criminal prosecutions, protecting participants from false allegations of misconduct, strengthening police accountability by documenting interactions with the public, and increasing Departmental transparency by allowing the public to see video evidence of police activities and encounters, last January the City Commission postponed its implementation pending the development of guidelines to protect participants, the public and the Police Department.

Broward Sheriff's Office Body Worn Camera
BROWARD SHERIFF'S OFFICE BODY WORN CAMERA
A body worn camera (BWC) is always recording, but until the officer turns it on, the recording is regularly overwritten. As such, along with whatever is preserved after the system is turned on, events recorded prior to a specific incident are also available. How much of that prior video is also preserved will depend on the Department’s policy, and could range from one minute to one hour - or more.

Hallandale Beach Police Department Body Worn Camera
HALLANDALE BEACH PD BODY WORN CAMERA
Although similar programs were already underway in more than 60 police departments nationwide, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Hallandale Beach Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler expressed concern about how the courts would react to the inadvertent recording of bystanders not involved in an incident, such as emergency room patients whose privacy rights are shielded by statute. Commission concerns about judicial blowback weren’t without merit. Florida jurisdictions invested $millions in red light camera systems that were later scaled back or trashed when courts reversed the enabling ordinances.

Mayor Jack Seiler and Former Chief Frank Adderley
MAYOR JACK SEILER AND FORMER CHIEF FRANK ADDERLEY
Commissioners also expressed concern about the cost of storing the tapes, and managing an ever-growing evidentiary database. For instance, when lawyers, victims, suspects, the media, or members of the public file a public records request for a video, to avoid neck-deep immersion in liability damage claims, the Department must first perform a legal analysis and redact any material subject to public records exemptions.

Former Police union president Jack Lokeinsky
FORMER POLICE UNION
PRESIDENT JACK LOKEINSKY
Given the potential personal liability for participating officers, Police union president Jack Lokeinsky asserted that the union’s collective bargaining agreement should be adapted to protect his members from lawsuits alleging a violation of privacy rights. A former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief, Commissioner Bruce Roberts also suggested that the issue be vetted by the Citizens Police Review Board.

City Attorney Cynthia Everett
CITY ATTORNEY CYNTHIA EVERETT
City Attorney Cynthia Everett told the Commission “I don’t believe there’s any legal impediment to implementing this program, if that’s what you want to do. We’re going to have policies and procedures and training.” Roberts requested that Everett submit her opinion in writing. Commissioner Dean Trantalis said that the City should move ahead with a test program. The meeting concluded with Mayor Jack Seiler charging staff with identifying obstacles to the pilot program and customizing policy guidelines.

Feldman Goes to Work

Click to Police Executive Research Forum
City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
In response, City Manager Lee Feldman initially solicited input from Law Enforcement agencies and private consultants with recognized experience in developing BWC best practices. Specifically, Feldman reached out to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. and several U.S, cities that conducted independent studies. With support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS Office), PERF extensively researched the use of body-worn cameras by Law Enforcement, having reviewed more than 20 BWC policies submitted by police agencies while interviewing more than 40 police executives with relevant expertise.

Click to  U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Click to PERF Study Drawing on this research, PERF published a study that discusses the perceived benefits of body-worn cameras and details the considerations that must be addressed. Entitled “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned”, the guidance it provides to law enforcement agencies is complemented by a comprehensive set of policy recommendations. While the guidelines must be conformed to available resources and statutory requirements, the PERF primer additionally admonishes that jurisdictions adapt the guidelines to input from frontline officers, legal advisors and the community. City staff compiled the PERF data into a draft policy. Since Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. had recently completed an in-depth investigation into FLPD’s operational protocols, Feldman also tapped the “Community Policing” consultant for policy guidance.

Click to Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. Next, Feldman solicited feedback about the draft policy from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations, the Broward County Urban League, the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Broward Dream Defenders and the City’s Citizens Police Review Board.

Lawmakers Mandate BWC Program Policies

Slain Musician Corey Jones
SLAIN MUSICIAN COREY JONES
When State lawmakers fail to address new public safety venues, the courts often fill the legislative gap. Inconsistent rulings can handcuff law enforcement agencies and endanger the public. While Feldman was researching a BWC policy, Florida lawmakers finally addressed this vacuum in state law.

Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones
STATEHOUSE REPRESENTATIVE SHEVRIN JONES
Inspired in part by the controversial Palm Beach Gardens shooting death of Corey Jones, Broward Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones (D – West Park) filed House Bill 93. Signed into law on March 24, 2016, the legislation requires jurisdictions to formulate policies prior to using body cameras, including rules for storing audiovisual data that comply with Florida public records laws. Since the new law mirrors PERF policy recommendations, as Florida cities and counties increasingly add body cameras to their law enforcement arsenals, they will have to follow in Feldman’s footsteps.

Click to Bidsync Using BidSync, an online vehicle for n September 9, 2016, the City invited vendors “to provide reliable Wearable Body Cameras (Cameras), a Digital Evidence Management System (System), and the accessories and ancillary components to provide a turn-key solution to capture video from an officer’s perspective.” By the November 4, 2016 deadline, the City had received nine (9) responses from vendors, each accompanied by a $30,000 Bid Bond.

Click to City's PERF-based draft policy In preparation for the December 6, 2016, Commission Meeting, Feldman added copies of the PERF-based draft policy – and the local feedback – to the Background Information packets distributed to Commissioners. In short, Feldman delivered the policy guidelines requested eleven months earlier. As affirmed in a U.S. Justice Department survey, the new policy provisions would allow FLPD to realize reductions in the use of force and the number of citizen’s complaints – without stumbling into judicial quicksand.

The Pilot Program’s burden on taxpayers is cushioned by a grant from the Federal Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program, which distributed $5,411,056 to 18 large police agencies (more than 25 officers) last year. The $600,000 awarded to Fort Lauderdale was the largest FY 2016 distribution.

The Last Mile

With the Commission on board and procurement underway, the remaining project preparations are within spitting distance of completion - and largely downhill. Once staff evaluates the vendor proposals, and the Commission approves the bid-winner, Feldman will launch a pilot program that should enhance FLPD accountability and transparency, a prerequisite for healing old wounds, and rebuilding scarred community relationships. For Commissioner Roberts’ January / February 2017 Newsletter in its entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
IT’S A NEW YEAR!! 2017 is here and I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous year. Our District continues to grow with new neighbors, projects and enhancements. We truly appreciate the opportunity to work with and serve you, as we find solutions that will allow the City to remain one of the most beautiful and best cities in which to live, work, play and raise a family. Be safe and let us all welcome 2017 with high spirits, a vision for the future and a pride in our home - Fort Lauderdale!

Click to Fort Lauderdale Body Worn Camera Pilot program POLICE BODY WORN CAMERAS PILOT PROGRAM: The Body Worn Camera Pilot program working draft policy was presented to the City Commission on December 6, 2016. The Commission provided feed-back to continue with outreach efforts but to also move forward with current policy recognizing changes will be made at a later date. The deadline for police body worn camera vendor proposals has passed and the City has received nine responses. The proposals will be distributed for committee review after firms are shortlisted – which will take place within the next 30 days. Recently, the City received a $600,000 Department of Justice Grant to assist with the implementation of this program.

Limerock Base on A1A along Galt Mile
LIMEROCK BASE ON A1A ALONG GALT MILE
FDOT PROJECT: The SR A1A project is progressing on schedule. Below are updates regarding the work that has been done recently or is scheduled over the next few months:

  • Ongoing/Upcoming Activities: Currently working on Phase IV drainage improvement on the east side of the road; roadway reconstruction; concrete curb and driveway construction

  • Overall Time Update: The project is expected to be completed in summer 2017. The contractor is scheduled to be working 10 hours/4 days per week.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv NEW BUILDING PERMIT TRACKER GIS APPLICATION: The ITS Department just released the new Building Permit Tracker GIS web map application. This tool will be useful in providing easy access by either a desktop or mobile device, to valuable building permit based information such as types of permits, statuses, application dates and much more. Community Builders as well as our neighbors will be able to access permits by searching addresses, permit numbers, parcel ID’s, neighborhoods or commission districts to not only view them, but also print maps, measure distances and create spreadsheet reports. It can be accessed through the following web link: HTTP://gis.fortlauderdale.gov/BuildingPermitTracker/.

Interim Chief of Police Rick Maglione
INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE RICK MAGLIONE
INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE: In December, Police Chief Frank Adderely resigned to join the Broward Sheriff’s Office as a Colonel in charge of community affairs. Chief Adderley has been with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for 36 years, and felt it was time to move on to a new adventure. We wish him well. At this time, Assistant Chief Rick Maglione will be the interim Chief until the City Manager decides who should permanently fill the position. Rick has served the City of Fort Lauderdale with distinction for 24 years. Since joining the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in 1992, Rick has served in numerous capacities during his rise through the ranks. As an Officer, he served in the Patrol Division and the Special Problems Units of the Police Operations Bureau. Rick’s career includes working as a Detective in the Street Narcotics Unit of the Special Investigations Division, working as a Sergeant in both the Patrol Division and the Office of Internal Affairs, and supervising the Alarm Unit and Background Investigations Unit of the Administrative Support Division. As a Captain, Rick served in both the Operations Bureau and the Office of Internal Affairs. In 2011, Rick was appointed Executive Officer to the Chief of Police. He was promoted to the rank of Major in 2014 and to Assistant Chief in 2015. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Troy University and is a graduate of the 244th Session of the FBI National Academy. City Manager Feldman does not know if he will promote from within or conduct a national search. I will keep you informed.

Officer James McDowell with Cops 4 Kids
OFFICER JAMES MCDOWELL WITH COPS 4 KIDS
COPS 4 KIDS PROGRAM FEATURED ON CHANNEL 7: Our Police Department’s “Cops 4 Kids” program was recently featured on WSVN Channel 7 News! Officers James McDowell and Lauarenia Fahie are two of the many program participants. The officers regularly visit our local elementary schools to help our students succeed in the classroom while also fostering positive relationships and building trust and respect between law enforcement and our youth. By sharing their knowledge and experiences with the youngsters, the officers helps instill valuable life lessons, promote positive values, and impart important leadership and character development skills. Through the Cops 4 Kids program, children are interacting more often with police officers, seeing them in a positive light, and discovering all of the ways they can work together to build a strong community. Congratulations to our Police Department and keep up the great work!

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES ON BEACH RENOURISHMENT: In case you have been wondering why there is heavy equipment on the beach around Sunrise Boulevard, the trucks are there to complete Phase II of the Beach Renourishment project. Now that turtle season is over, contractors are able to resume adding sand to our coastline. They have been adding about 180 truckloads of sand, or approximately 4,000 tons to the beach each day between Terramar Street and NE 16th Street in an effort to reconstruct areas of the eroded beach and increase storm protection for our community. Work is expected to be completed by January/February 2017.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment HELLO SUNNY TV NETWORK (Let’s you watch Live coverage of Ft. Lauderdale events, on-demand programming and more): Hello Sunny TV is a new online travel channel dedicated to all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau launched the new 24/7 digital TV network in December to coincide with the inaugural Riptide Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Hello Sunny provided behind-the-scenes coverage of the alternative music fest featuring artist and audience interviews and more. The digital network is available at Sunny.org/TV on desktop and mobile devices, Smart TVs, and streaming players like Apple TV and, soon, Roku. Viewers can expect livestreams of Greater Fort Lauderdale's beaches, and live coverage of upcoming events such as Art Fort Lauderdale and Underground Lauderdale Fashion Week. Any livestreamed events will simultaneously stream on Facebook Live as well. Launching in 2017, Hello Sunny TV will also air a live weekly show previewing the week's events, arts and culture opportunities, conventions and more. The network also features continuous on-demand content, with episodes on topics like dining, fashion, fitness, and festivals. Select programming is even available in Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach Renourishment BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS (BCPS) TRADITIONAL HIGH SCHOOLS EARN HIGHEST GRADUATION RATE SINCE 2010/2011: BCPS traditional high schools achieved a graduation rate of 92.2 percent in the 2015/16 school year. This is an increase of 2.6 percent from the 2014/15 school year, according to data released this month by the Florida Department of Education. Among the 33 traditional high schools, the data reflects:

  • Overall, the 2015/16 BCPS federal graduation rate is 78.7 percent, which is an increase of 2.1 percentage points from 20/14-15.

  • This is the highest graduation rate for BCPS since Florida adopted the Federal Uniform Graduation Rate method in 2010/11.

  • Click to Pompano Beach High School 23 traditional high schools had a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.

  • 23 of the 33 traditional high schools improved or maintained their graduation rate.

  • Black (70.6 percent), Hispanic (81.3 percent) and White (86.1 percent) students improved their graduation rates. Black students showed a greater improvement in graduation rate, closing the gap with White students by 2.4 percentage points.

  • Click to McFatter Technical High School, College Academy McFatter Technical High School, College Academy @ BC and Pompano Beach High School achieved graduation rates of 100 percent.

  • South Broward High School increased its graduation rate by more than five percentage points compared to the 2014/15 school year.

Broward County Public Schools is the sixth largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida; is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962; has over 271,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 236 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 101 charter schools; and serves a diverse student population, with students representing 208 different countries and 181 different languages.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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