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Here’s The Scoop … Miami Lakes Hires Town Manager With No Advertising For The Position ….

July 31, 2010 by Barbara

CAN’T HAPPEN HERE ….

Dear Readers… this writer was keeping an eye on Miami Lakes to see if former TM Colon and her pals JohnO and KathyO would soon be on the payroll there…Miami Lakes chose to rehire their former TM of 2 years back…at $188,000 with no advertising for anyone else…Seems LBTS is not the only municipality to object to high salaries and benefits for Town Managers and staff …(anyone see Bell California .. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-20/california-official-s-800-000-salary-in-city-of-38-000-triggers-protests.html ) ….At least we are assured Ms. Colon and the double O’s cannot make a return to their Town positions….due to the clauses in her settlement/release …..WHEW!…..

( prev. post July 28, 2010 Settlement/Release…Town of LBTS v. Esther Colon…)

“9. Employment Reference. The Town agrees that if any inquiry is made to the Town Manager and/or its Human Resources Director by a prospective employer of Colon, such individuals) will only inform the prospective employer of Colon’s dates of employment and job title and will not disparage Colon in any way. If an inquiry is made to review Colon’s personnel file or any documents created or maintained by the Town, the file and/or documents will be made available in accordance with applicable law. Attached hereto as Exhibit A is a Joint Statement by the parties concerning the pantie’s dispute and resolution thereof.”

“10. No Future Employment. Colon further agrees that she is not eligible for reinstatement and will not apply in the future for employment or work with the Town, its departments and/or agencies, in any capacity.”

……………..

Sentinel….

“Former Miami Lakes Town Manager Alex Rey returning to old job

Miami Lakes has approved Alex Rey as its new town manager with a starting base salary of $188,000.

Miami Lakes will have former Town Manager Alex Rey return to his old job in September, after the town council approved the mayor’s nomination Thursday night.
Rey served the town for six years but left in 2008 during an election cycle to lead the scandal-plagued building department in Miami Beach.
“I’m happy to be back,” Rey said.
Many residents and several council members applauded the appointment of Rey, recognized as a veteran administrator who knows the town.
“We need him and we need him now,” resident Martha Gonzalez Rovirosa told town council members.
Yet Rey’s appointment by Mayor Michael Pizzi drew questions and concerns, as well, including the lack of advertising for the position despite a council directive for staff to do so in April, and the cost of the contract, which gives Rey a starting base salary of $188,000.
In an e-mail to Councilman Richard Pulido, interim manager David Ofstein wrote that a draft advertisement had been prepared in April, but the outgoing manager, Frank Bocanegra, “directed to put the item on hold until further notice.”
Ofstein told The Miami Herald that he “didn’t even realize that it had or had not been advertised.”
“It wasn’t necessarily on my radar screen,” Ofstein added, citing work on the town’s budget.
Some residents shared their disappointment with the failure to advertise the job. Others, like Esperanza Reynolds, questioned the salary.
Reynolds urged the council to consider a salary more appropriate to the town’s size and said “we need to be very mindful of what we pay” officials.
Reynolds calculated that the contract, salary plus benefits, is worth $1.4 million over five years.
Another resident, Angel Gonzalez, quipped: “We’re not hiring LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. We’re hiring a town manager with a financial background who can do a budget and read a balance sheet.”
Rey’s base salary is more than the $168,000 that the last manager Frank Bocanegra earned and is also more than the $135,000 salary cap proposed by Pizzi in a May memo.
At the meeting, Pizzi presented a survey of managers’ salaries, ranging from $165,000 in Doral to $231,000 in Miami Beach.
“A good manager is worth his weight in gold,” Pizzi said.
Under the town charter, the mayor appoints the manager while the town council approves the nomination.
At the meeting, the mayor spent half an hour explaining why he wanted to bring back Rey as the town enters the budget season and is hunting for a new town hall. Afterward, the mayor said he viewed Rey’s return as the biggest accomplishment of his tenure as mayor.
“I think he’s a superstar,” Pizzi said.
The final vote for Rey was 5-2, with council members Richard Pulido and Nancy Simon voting against. Pulido, participating via teleconference while on vacation, said he had concerns with the search process while Simon said the contract was too costly.
“I think $188,000, while you are very well deserving, is not something that this town needs to pay for a town manager,” Simon told Rey before casting her vote.
During the meeting, the town council haggled over Rey’s five-year contract and whittled away some benefits. Those changes included changing the health insurance to a basic family plan; eliminating a $400 monthly stipend for expenses; and replacing any cost-of-living increase with an incentive-based bonus tied to the manager’s ability to cut $150,000 from the budget by the end of the fiscal year.
“I’m a taxpayer, too, and this is my money, too,” said Vice Mayor Nick Perdomo, who proposed many of the contract changes.
Perdomo noted the value of hiring a candidate who does not need on-the-job training. Bocanegra, a former police officer, did not have experience managing a municipality — which “cost the town money,” Perdomo told residents.
Rey’s official start date will be Sept 6. Until then, he will advise the interim town manager on the budget and other matters on a consulting basis, for a fee of $145 per hour.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/26/1747775/former-miami-lakes-town-manager.html

28 resumes have been received by LBTS thus far and there is still 16 days to go…….

more to come ….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … LBTS 7/27/10 Special Hearing … Fire Assessment/ Millage/ Budget For 2010- 2011 … Preliminary Pie Slices …

July 31, 2010 by Barbara

NOT READY TO SERVE ….YET …

Dear Readers … the 7/27/2010 Special Hearing included the delayed budget which is still a work in progress due to the terminations of former Town Manager Colon…Olinzock…and Finance Director King … But the new crew of Int. TM Hoffmann…Int. Asst. TM Bentley…and Int. or “Acting” Finance Dir. Haag produced a budget with some staff that was more than up to snuff …

First up was the fire assessment and it was left at $130 once again after no public comment was made ….It will provide a $62,000 overage to go into a Town Vehicle Replacement Fund that the VFD agreed to and an independent auditor advised as well… VM Dodd asked about the shared profits fire inspection monies received from the VFD and while the TM verified they were received and placed into an account at present and will be placed in the VR account …no mention of the fact that 2 longtime Fire Marshalls have informed that his is a violation of State Statute…Fire inspections are supposed to only cover the cost of the inspection and not to produce a profit…Comm. Vincent made sure the public knew this covered their contract and the increase …HUH?…of course that is what this is about…Comm. Sasser asked about a drop in inspection fees year after year and that will be looked into… This writer recalls some back and forth about an increase in inspections after VFD took over in which they made claims of the BSO not doing inspections each year…Nothing was ever researched to verify those claims… The VM brought up the”relief” some businesses were looking for in fire fees and while his recall was verified…no answer came of any inclusion of this being addressed…The VM made the motion…with a 2nd by Comm. Vincent…passed 5-0

The millage rate was next …we hear and it appeared on the livestreaming video that the hall was bare of taxpayers on this topic…and there was no public comment ….Comm. Clottey stated the 4.21993 proposed by Ms. Hoffmann is lower than the rollback but will provide a “significant” raise from the 2009-10 3.999 rate ….The Int. TM as predicted presented her “this is not a tax increase” for the majority of the taxpayers (see prev. post ob budget) …Clottey …not “clueless” on this topic stated she was against the increase….The Comm. to her left though … Comm. Vincent started out as though he was for it “Thank you Mayor, I’d like just for the public viewing this, my understanding is the reason for this increase or it’s not necessarily an increase, it’s just to cover the tax rate based on last years gross taxable value. We are down because of property values. Therefore your property values have decreased. This rollback will increase but your property taxes won’t. We need to cover our shortfall, I believe, if I’m not mistaken, If I can ask the Town Manager about the $600 thousand dollars that we’re trying to somehow recover”…The Int. TM replied that this projection was brought to them about a month ago and went through what was in her budget memo concerning the property appeals that occur after the budget process…She stated that now they were able to “bridge” that $600 thou gap and the shortfall would be between the $600 thou and the $246 thou difference…Comm. Vincent added the difference in assessed values and what was levied back to the town will drop from 7.6 to 7.5 million ..The Int. TM stated that would be accurate if you include new construction…The VM wanted clarification from Comm. Clottey on adopting 3.999 and Comm. Clottey remarked the “misnomer” that taxes will go down referring to the 3% increase plus seen by those who have homestead…The Mayor concurred and stated that was on page 6 of the budget proposal from the Int. TM (prev. post) …Mayor Minnet said we need to evaluate where we need to be at this meeting…Comm. Sasser wanted to clarify and reiterate what VM Dodd said at a prior meeting …the millage rate could come down from this initial meeting but could not go up…The Mayor concurred and clarified that statement…Comm. Sasser said he was okay with the rate where it stands but would be “hard pressed to agree to one” (mil. rate) higher than we have today (3.999) He stated we could “attack” and take it out of the CIP…He stated constituents and Commissioner would hear him say over and over again we need a plan…He said there could be significant cuts and there was still revenue items that are unanswered…He said the $600 thou could be found in what he was seeing and the millage kept the same… The Mayor did her annual list of cost cuts to reduce the budget and keep the 3.999 …The Chamber $55,000 curt to $45,000/Donations recommended to increase from $11,098 to $14,442 …cut it down/No increase in Comm. pay again this year/ Town Topics reduce the costs in distribution and the pages a $5000 reduction/ Fire the VFD and their 4% increase …they should forgo it/Recreation Contractual Services reduce $15,000 already have $12,000 in misc. special events…Comm. Vincent said he didn’t have “anything outlined” and that he “went though it with staff” and the Mayor’s recommendation were the same as what he recommended…HUH?… Come on! …VM Dodd thanked the Int. TM stating the budget was better than before and asked that the Chamber come forward with their proposal and presentation and he could not “chop it” just yet… He agreed as he had previously stated this year and in prior years to no Comm. salary increase…He agreed about the VFD and stated he was afraid their hands were tied until the VFD contract was up for renewal…He said it was not a matter of public safety but responsibility…The Mayor stated we have an opportunity with the budget to address the contract… The Int. TM stated there was 2 issues with the VFD budget being substantially different than in the past and it should be looked into to perhaps renegotiate it for the protection of the government..there’s a sizable amount of money going to the VFD …Comm. Sasser stated he was the liaison from the Comm. for the Chamber and they would take a hard look at the ROI (return on investment) …he stated again there could be a significant savings found within the CIP fund …Hr spoke of the sewer infrastructure …the sewer shortfall and how we handle that and those answers being required before the millage…He spoke of not tearing up the streets twice for stormwater sewers and then for waste …El Mar and having all these projects fall in their proper place…Comm. Clottey said she had gone over a lot of things with the TM “not in detail up here”…HUH?… Come on!…She went down the “rabbit hole” once again when it came to the Chamber and the “Community” Center…asking again for the Chamber to explain the percentage of out- of- town businesses who are member  and that the roof was not in the budget and should be…Apparently “Clueless” on the Chamber…The Chamber and others have repeatedly explained the Chamber could not exist on in-town members only…and the roof…it was on last year’s budget that Clottey approved!…OOPS!… She took another stab ..literally at the Dir. of the “Community” Center by stating a woman from Broward County told her the “going rate” for his position was $20,00 plus benefits …ARGHHH…Comm. Clottey has never seen what Armillio does… the hours he puts in…the individual time he offers and the FACT that it was he who made the program and the FACT that with her undermining last year the whole program would have been dismantled when it was stated if he went so did the volunteer instructors…who stated they offered their services because of Armillio….This is the first time in years he has a budgeted increase…does not have to pay for the Town Topics required adds and has some improvements coming in the center…Comm. Vincent stated he “respectfully disagreed with Comm. Clottey on the new roof on the Chamber building benefiting them that it  was “prudent protections” of the Town’s building …infrastructure … The Mayor asked for consensus on the fire dept. and giving the Int. TM direction to look at that …it was agreed …The Int. TM clarified that each Comm. can  meet with her one- on- one and this would be “wrapped up” by the end of August with the Commission wanting cuts… She also reiterated they were okay with her suggestion of recreation instructors being on a split earnings (prev. budget post) 80/20 or 70/30 (instructors get larger portion) with the Town …The Comm. agreed…The Mayor added the Int. TM other inclusion in the budget of merit pay vs. COLA …(see prev. budget post ) and Comm. Sasser added his take on the programs stating no charge for children and seniors but charging non-residents as we do now and instructors being paid on who shows up… VM Dodd agreed on the Int. TM version to charge  for sports activites and split the revenue with instructors and merit pay…The Mayor asked for the direction of the millage and stated more discussion would take place at Aug meeting (Aug. 25th 5:30pm) Comm. Clottey said she voted for the roof on the Chamber and it should be included in the budget (see above)…Comm. Vincent asked about “Community Standards” and the changes shown …(Clearly he did not read his backup…or the TM memo because the big change stated was the Asst. TM was moved from “Community Standards” to the Municipal Dept.because as the Int. TM stated she thought it was more appropriate as the Asst. TM duties did not involve landscaping to trash!)…Mr Bentley added the streetsweeper and other contracted services were in that account and Vincent replied it was a 10% decrease…(That was a change from the orig. proposal after the Int. TM was informed by some Comms. not to go through with the $500 thou transfer of funds from the Emergency Funds account)…Comm. Clottey wanted the Int. TM to explain the sewer fees and SRC (see prev. post)..The Mayor intercepted and asked the TM if she wanted to speak on it at this time …Ms. Hoffmann said Comm. Clottey wanted to know how they were handling the fees for SRC and spoke of the complexity of it and the water the 2 different municipalities (Pomp./Ft. Laud) and she would have a report in the next “several days ” …after speaking to the former TA and Pompano Beach… (Clottey would go here again at the Comm. mtg. when addressing the Town Mgr. Report )…The Mayor stated the 4.21993 millage would be seen on the TRIM notices and wanted constituents to be aware they will go down …asking for a motion… Comm. Sasser made the motion for 4.21993 “for now” with a 2nd by Comm. Vincent…the vote was 4-1 Clottey dissenting…

Let’s see who reads the next proposed budget for the meeting on Aug. 25th and who does not…

All budgets…justification sheets versions along with backup …minutes and videos are and will be online for taxpayers to be fully informed this year!…. http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

Adjourned….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … There’s No Lull Behind The Scenes ….

July 30, 2010 by Barbara

KEEPING UP ….

Dear Readers… as you all know by now… Lilly time is all encompassing…but behind the lull on my site….are contacts that still continue with an uptick from some I have not heard from for quite some time … a most welcome surprise….due in most part to the recent Colon settlement/ release …the 2010/11 budget….the Master Plan revision/bathrooms on the beach and the Broward Judge races ….

Looks like this writer has a lot of behind the scenes agreement about nothing ever changing when it comes to the “hot topics” in LBTS and also the “teeter-totter” that is also called the dais…It has become more and more apparent sans the Int. TM seat at the far end of the south end of it…the middle seat (Mayor) and those to her left seem to be carrying the load when it comes to doing their homework and providing clear and decisive commentary… Could we call it the “curse” of the Silverstone side of the dais with some of the “Silverstone” type statements coming from Comm. Vincent …Case in point his comment about the bathrooms which he promised to bring forth and had second (3rd and 4th thoughts on)..he stated it was “My pet -peeved project”!… That stuff cannot be swept away without being a hypocrite and sweeping it under the rug…for a good laugh or two…As far as Clottey…”Clueless” and perhaps violating some rules on “Blackberry” use on the dais and at the Roundtable…Hmmm…. Perhaps,Town Hall East is not quite as “moot” or “Mute”  as many think it is?….

The Broward County judge races are in full force and former Mayor Oliver Parker running against Judge Gillespi is in the Sun Sentinel and online…We are hearing the concerns this writer had about his signs being up around Town may actually be a repeat of what we saw in the last 2 Town elections of 2008 and 2010….out there to appease but not what will happen in the voting booth!…Parker has stated he did not know his opponent was black…but follows it up with the comment he researched who was the weakest judge to run again…Hmmm…either he is lying or it shows how poor a researcher he is! …His name has been front in center in Jarvis Hall and Town Hall as well these days …attached to behind the scenes “deals” to the SRC sewer subsidy where he owns not one but 2 units we are told and may have benefited… the SRL land in front of their gate house deal…the Wings parking lot deal and the annexation…Palm Club deal…Michael Mayo printed the other day Parker’s comment that some years he makes money and some he does not and he does alright…He printed he made $156,000 in GM bonds…He did not print that Parker supposedly lost $5 million and a Google of Oliver Parker GM Bond Hearing New York produces 2 articles of his lawyering skills that should give all voters pause, in this writer’s opinion… BSO backs his opponent…

We hear the Chamber liaisons are putting together a presentation for the Commission…It does seem to this writer the Welcome Center needs to get a politically correct “green” person to speak about the environment to get a pass on specifics for funding …such as the Artificial Reef Project and the Marine Park…After all no problem from ponying up the bucks for these to pet “peeved” projects…but wall keep going up for the real tourist connection to out Town!…Perhaps resident Yann Brandt at the podium and on the Chamber’s Board will fit the bill….pun intended…..More on this one to come…

So Colon walked away from Town after we hear she might have received the “whoopin” so many wanted the former TM to receive in court…in mediation…Put in her place by the Mediator ….and don’t forget she’s still on the hook to pay her attorneys … Some who called this writer in the last few days have stated …the clause of no comment for any recommendation if called by her next employer won’t matter word has been spreading for quite some time about her with what she left in her wake with former employees …vendors …and of course the aftermath with the overpayment…and of course there is always Google!…

What about Olinzock and O’Brien…we have heard they might have been planning a discrimination suit against the Town …but can that even fly after the Colon settlement/release even if their was a shred of validity to any such charges…which there is not..in this writer’s opinion…The real question is in the “merry-g0-round” world of municipal government managers and department heads…will someone like Miami Lakes put theri heads in the sand and hire Colon?…And will she bring her loyal “crew” along…if they are still loyal?…Keeping up on this one for sure…

The bathrooms now off  CIP in 2010 …producing some very grateful NIMBY -ists and the Master Plan revision now pushed up in its place have brought forth the reminder of the Colon-McIntee- Furth “torpedoed” CRA in 2007 which was headed by resident David Nixon and killed because people such as this writer were bamboozled by fears spread from that contingency of bulldozers due to misinterpretations of the CRA process and the “blight” representations the CRA committee stated in LBTS as we also watched the many bad acts coming out of Town Hall from former Mayor Parker and the former Town Clerk…  Time to take another look?….

This weekend will be a time to catch up for this writer on the multi-meetings of last Tues/Wed. … There’s alot to “noodle” as Comm. Sasser likes to say…

More to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Town Of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea V. Former Town Manager Esther Colon …. Part 2 ….The “Release” Says It All …

July 28, 2010 by Barbara

PAYOUT ….INVESTIGATION …. CHARGES  ….. LAWSUIT  ….. MEDIATION …. SETTLEMENT …. RELEASE ….

Dear Readers …yesterday the Town’s Commissioners emerged from a Shade Session and took to the dais to vote on a joint Settlement Agreement and General Release with Ms. Colon and the Town after mediation that took place last week … That agreement/release became public according to the Town Attorney’s statement on the dais…This writer will now give an overview with excerpts…and some commentary….

The agreement/release is 9 pages long and begins by stating it “is entered into by and between the Town of Lauderdale-By-The- Sea (the “Town”) and Esther Colon (“Colon”) (collectively, the “Parties”) … it continues with all the usual “Whereas’ …beginning with Colon entering employment with the Town on May 22, 2007 as Town Manager…Whereas section 4.1.3 and 5.0 of the Employment agreement gave the Town the ability to terminate her at any time with or without cause…Whereas under sec. 5. Colon is entitled to certain severance and leave payouts in event of unilateral termination…Whereas Town Commission voted April 20, 2010 to terminate her at Special meeting in accordance with sec. 5.0…Whereas immediately after the meeting Town staff processed Colon’s severance and leave payouts and such payouts were thereafter deposited into Colon’s account on April 23, 2010…Whereas Town Commission authorized an investigation into the final payout….Whereas based on the investigation Town asserted Colon was overpaid in amount of $69,308.62…Whereas Town commenced a lawsuit against Colon seeking reimbursement for claimed overpayment Town of LBTS v.Esther Colon Case No. 10-26301(08) which is pending in 17thJudicial Circuit in Broward County, Fl. (the “Complaint”)…

“Whereas, Colon denies that the severance payments were incorrect and asserts that she has actionable employment claims against the Town:”

“Whereas, the Parties recognize that the resolution to these differences in a manner favorable to their respective interests cannot be reasonably predicted and that litigation and/or administrative action to resolve these differences will require the expenditure of significant funds and resources by both Parties;”

“Whereas,the Parties hereto prefer to enter into a compromise in order to avoid the uncertainties and expense of further proceedings.”

“Now Therefore, in consideration of their mutual promises contained herein, the Parties hereby agree as follows:”

“1. Dismissal of the Complaint with Prejudice. Within ten (10) calendar days of its receipt of the payment of the consideration set forth in paragraph 2 below, the Town will cause its counsel to execute and file notice of Dismissal with Prejudice of the Complaint.”

“2. Consideration. In exchange for the mutual promises exchanged herein, Colon agrees to pay the Town the total sum of forty three thousand two hundred fifteen dollars and ten cents ($43,215.10), inclusive of all claims for attorneys’ fees and costs. The foregoing payment reflects Colon’s reimbursement to the Town of the disputed portion of the sick leave payment provided to Colon by the Town as part of her severance and leave payments. This payment, which will be made within ten (10) days of the Effective Date of this agreement as defines in paragraph 17 below, will be made by check payable to “Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea” and shall be tendered to the Town’s legal counsel, Susan L. Trevarthern Esq. The Town agrees that the payment set forth above is all it is entitled to receive from Colon as settlement of any and all claims or demands against Colon of any kind or nature that it once had or now has, including but not limited to claims asserted in Case No., 10-26301(08) pending in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida and all those claims reasonably related to or arizing out of those claims.”

“The parties understand and agree that Colon will retain disputed portion of the vacation payment provided to her in the amount of eighteen thousand five hundred and fifty six cents ($18,593.56). The parties further understand and agree that the disputed deferred compensation payment provided to Colon in the amount of seven thousand four hundred ninety nine dollars and ninety six cents ($7,499.96) will be remitted by Town to Colon’s account with Nationwide Retirement (PEBSCO) along with the amounts that Colon had contributed from her severance pay, which is seven thousand four hundred nineteen dollars and fifty six cents ($7,419.56). The Town shall make pension contributions to the Florida Retirement System for wages and vacation pay provided to Colon to the extent required by Florida Statutes.”

“The Town shall continue Colon’s participation in the Town’s dental, health,life, vision and disability insurance plans at Colon’s expense until such time as the amounts prepaid by Colon on or about April 20, 2010 are exhausted.”

“3. Adequate Consideration. The Town agrees that the consideration paid to it as set forth in paragraph 2 above constitutes adequate and ample consideration for the rights and claims it is waiving under this agreement and for the obligations imposed upon it by virtue of this agreement.”

“4. Complete Release.

a. Release by the Town

The Town hereby voluntarily releases, waives , and forever discharges any and all claims, rights, demands, actions, of any kind whatsoever, known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen, foreseeable or unforeseeable, and any consequences thereof, which it has or may have against Colon from the beginning of the world until the date of execution of this Agreement. It is the Town’s intention to fully,finally,and forever resolve and release any and all disputes it may have or believe itself to have against Colon with respect to any alleged acts occurring before the effective date of this Agreement (as defined in paragraph 17 below), whether those disputes are presently known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected.”

“b. Release by Colon

Colon hereby voluntarily releases, waives , and forever discharges any and all claims, rights, demands, actions, of any kind whatsoever, known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen, foreseeable or unforeseeable, and any consequences thereof, which it has or may have against the Town from the beginning of the world until the date of execution of this Agreement, including , but not limited to, any claim(s0 under:

The Employment Agreement

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;

The Civil Rights Act of 1991;

The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992;

Sections 1981 through 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code;

The Constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida;

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act;

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act;

Florida Wage and Hour Laws;

Florida and federal whistle-blower laws including 112.3187, Florida Statutes;

The Internal Revenue Code;

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act;

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986;

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990;

The Fair Labor Standards Act;

The Equal Pay Act of 1963;

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993;

Any other federal, state. or local civil or human rights law or any other federal, stat, or local law, regulation,or ordinance;

Florida Sunshine and Public Records law;and Any public policy, contract,or common law claims, including any tort claims (e.g. negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent retention, supervision or training; defamation; assault; battery;false imprisonment; wrongful termination; loss of consortium, etc.) whether base on common law or otherwise.

Colon understands that the foregoing list of causes of action which has been waived is meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive, and understands and acknowledges that she is waiving and releasing the Town from any and all causes of action of any nature whatsoever. It is Colon’s intention to fully, finally, and forever resolve and release any and all disputes she may have or believe herself to have against the Town with respect to alleged acts occurring before the effective date of this agreement (as defined in paragraph 17 below), whether those disputes are presently known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected.”

“5. Florida Retirement System. The parties acknowledge that Colon has filed or will file an application for retirement benefits to the Florida Retirement System and further acknowledge that this Agreement shall have no bearing on Colon’s right to pension benefits under the Florida Retirement System (i.e., Chapter 121, Florida Statutes).”

” 6. May 22, 2007 Employment Agreement. Upon public approval of this agreement, the Employment Agreement shall thereupon be considered null and void and of no force or effect between parties.”

“7. No Lawsuit or Claims by Third Parties, The Parties waive the rights and claims set forth above, and also agree not to institute, or have instituted by anyone, a lawsuit against each other based on any such claims or rights. The Parties further acknowledge and agree that with respect to the rights and claims they are waiving, they are waiving not only their right to recover money or any other relief in any action they might commence, but also their right to recover in any action brought on their behalf by any other party.”

“8. No Precedent Set. The Parties agree that this Agreement is based upon the unique facts and circumstances of this particular case and does not establish a precedent, pattern or evidence of past practice for the resolution, disposition, or determination of any other matter. Colon further acknowledges that this Agreement is being entered into by the Parties as a compromise of the disputed claims and not on the merits, and is solely for the purposes of avoiding the expense and inconvenience of further litigation. Neither this Agreement, nor any other consideration made or contained herein is to be construed to be an admission of liability on the part of the Town or Colon.”

“9. Employment Reference. The Town agrees that if any inquiry is made to the Town Manager and/or its Human Resources Director by a prospective employer of Colon, such individuals) will only inform the prospective employer of Colon’s dates of employment and job title and will not disparage Colon in any way. If an inquiry is made to review Colon’s personnel file or any documents created or maintained by the Town, the file and/or documents will be made available in accordance with applicable law. Attached hereto as Exhibit A is a Joint Statement by the parties concerning the pantie’s dispute and resolution thereof.”

“10. No Future Employment. Colon further agrees that she is not eligible for reinstatement and will not apply in the future for employment or work with the Town, its departments and/or agencies, in any capacity.”

“11. Public Record. Colon understands and agrees that under the Public Records Law, the Town is required to, and shall upon request by any third party, disclose the terms of this agreement, and the Town shall comply with all federal, state, and local laws requiring disclosure of public records.”

“12. Non- Admission of Wrongdoing. The Parties agree that neither this Agreement nor the furnishing of any consideration under this Agreement shall be construed  as an admission by any party of any wrongdoing, liability, or unlawful conduct.”

“13. Governing Law and Interpretation. This Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida. If any provision of this Agreement is declared illegal or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction and if it cannot be modified or enforceable, such provision shall immediately become null and void, leaving the remainder of the Agreement in full force and effect. In the event that it becomes necessary for either party to enforce any provisions of this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs in any such action. Venue for any litigation arising from this Agreement will be in Broward County, Florida.”

“14. Entire Agreement. This Agreement sets forth the entire agreement between the parties and shall supersede any and all prior agreement, understandings, whether written or oral, between parties, except as specified in this Agreement. The Parties acknowledge that they have not relied on any representations, promises, or agreements of any kind made to them in connection with their decision to sign this Agreement except for those set forth in this Agreement.”

“15. Encouragement to Consult Attorney. The Parties acknowledge that they have taken a reasonable period of time to consider the Agreement and have consulted with legal counsel before signing this Agreement.”

“16. Amendment. This Agreement may not be amended except by written agreement signed by all parties.”

“17. Effective Date. This Agreement will only become effective upon full execution of this Agreement and the approval of the Town Commission.”

“18. Commission Approval. Colon expressly understands and agrees that this agreement will be presented to the Town Commission for approval at a public meeting on or before August 30, 2010. This Agreement will not be binding on the Parties unless and until approved by the Commission. Colon further expressly understands and agrees that she may not revoke her acceptance o this Agreement within the time frame during which Commission approval is pending.”

“19. Heading. Section headings are used herein for convenience of reference only and shall not affect the meaning of any provision of the Agreement.”

“20. Acknowledgment. The Parties acknowledge that they have carefully read and understand this agreement consisting of nine (9) pages and agree that they have not made any representations other than those contained herein. Colon also acknowledges that she enters into this Agreement voluntarily, without any pressure or coercion and with full knowledge of its significance, and this Agreement constitutes a full and absolute settlement and bar as to  any and all claims she had, has, or may have against the Town.”

“In Witness Whereof, the Parties hereto knowingly and voluntarily executed this Agreement as of the date set forth below.

“signed Esther Colon  7/28/2010″

“JOINT STATEMENT

The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea (“Town”) and its former Town Manager, Esther Colon (“Colon”), hereby jointly agree to the following statement;

Whereas, Colon served time as the Town Manager under Contract from May 22, 2007, through April 20, 2010, at which time the Town Commission unilaterally terminated Colon without cause; and

Whereas, Colon subsequently received severance amounts from the Town; and

Whereas, the Town reasonably asserted that a portion of the severance payments made to Colon were not calculated correctly under the Contract and its policies; and

Whereas, Colon reasonably disputed the town’s assertions and contended the severance amount was calculated correctly under Contract and the Town’s policies; and

Whereas, Colon and the Town voluntarily mediated their contractual dispute.

Now, Therefore Colon and the Town jointly agree their dispute has been resolved at Mediation.”

……………

BC- While as previously posted I fully understand how mediation works…and fully understand the costs involved in litigation and the fact that attorney fees were not to be recoverable per, we are told, our Town Attorneys….a bad taste is left in my mouth all the same …I believe that if Ms. Colon cared about the Town as she claimed to right up to the time she left Jarvis Hall for the last time on April 20, 2010 she would have come to the table as soon as she was contacted of any perceived overpayment to resolve the issue then and there…She would not have allowed her counsel to disparage the very Town law firm she herself brought to Town and championed …She would not have allowed counsel to disparage her replacement out of a common professional courtesy ….and she would not have further cost over and beyond any overpayment made in error in added attorney costs as well as Commission and staff time … In the time between Ms. Colon’s termination and this Agreement much has arisen as a result of looking into the payout with a new administration taking over the reins and in preparation of a new budget… Some very troubling findings are now in full view of the taxpayers stemming from Ms. Colon’s time employed either as Finance Director and Town Manager…in this writer’s opinion…

I am told and I am awaiting a PRR for her predecessor’s full payout which may contain added severance and benefits he too might have been overpaid under her watch… We just learned of an ongoing subsidy in payment of SRC sewer bills….We are told also of sewer fees being increased that were not incrementally passed on to LBTS customers leaving taxpayers with the possibility of a big spike in fees this next fiscal year…We have heard of concerning and puzzling administrative and financial practices that were done that do left in her wake… Just last evening the Commission discussed projects that were not done properly whether it was the Pavilion and the drainage problem…the A1A Streetscape Project and how much is SRLakes property  …The El Mar Drive Project and where the funds came from thus far…and leftover Capital Improvement Projects and/or agreements that cannot be found …. what a mess!…

This writer feels today just as I did when I stumbled onto the first hint of something being askew with the former Town Manager’s actions in 2008 concerning the Commercial Blvd. Pavilion…a total lack of comprehension of how she could, in my opinion, make so many flawed unilateral decisions of that magnitude and go to such great lengths to continue doing so until she was finally terminated….

more to come…..

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Settlement Between LBTS & Former Town Manager Esther Colon …Part 1 …

July 28, 2010 by Barbara

RESOLUTION….LITERALLY ….

Dear Readers …the LBTS Commission met for a shade session today at 4 pm to discuss a possible resolution for a settlement with former Town Manager Esther Colon… They came back into the hall at 5:11 pm and waited for the Town Manager and Town Attorney to come to the dais at 5:22 pm…The Mayor then asked the Town Atty. to speak and she stated a resolution was considered and discussed and would be available … Town Atty. Brett Schneider spoke at the podium and stated the case number 102630 being a disputed payment based on the immediate payout provided to Ms. Colon … The agreement will be for Colon to reimburse the Town $43,215.10 of the $69, 380 she was overpaid …… Also Ms. Colon will be allowed to participate in the Town’s health insurance for approximately 2 years due to her paying for it before she left …Both parties agree to release liability or liens from the beginning of time to when this is signed… Comm. Sasser stated this amounted to 62%  of what the Town was requesting back and again asked so the taxpayers were assured the insurance was pre-paid by Colon and taxpayers would not be paying for it…Mr Schneider agreed with both …Comm. Vincent asked about the Fl. statutes for retirement if she wanted to continue and Mr. Schneider stated she was not entitled to that and does not qualify as a retiree in our Town’s criteria… Commissioner Clottey  made the statement we agreed to it was equivalent the overpayment for sick leave being reimbursed and Mr. Schneider said that was so …Commissioner Sasser wanted to clarify Clottey’s remark because they had not agreed to anything until a vote was taken …The Atty. agreed …The Vice Mayor made the statement that in any litigation there are not winners or losers and it was time to move forward …He thanked the Interim Town Manager and The Mayor agreed with all he stated also thanking the Int. Town Manager and the Town Attorneys..The motion was made by Vice Mayor Dodd to approve the agreement and it was seconded by Comm. Clottey…Town Atty. Brett Schneider stated it was the agreement they had on the dais and that Esther Colon had signed on page 9 and the joint statement was attachment Exhibit A…

It passed 5-0…

Next up …the settlement agreement…

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …. Too Much On My Plate …

July 28, 2010 by Barbara

LILLY…PUBLIC RECORD REQUESTS ….MULTIPLE MEETINGS …OH MY! …

Dear Readers …I know you’re all accustomed to late…late..night posts that await you all in the morning after the Town meetings as well as the agendas right before…Seems this writer has “fallen down on the job”…due to “Too much on my plate!” …

As Lilly grows and grows…each week time is less and less under my control …3 month old Lilly now loves nothing more than to stand …pulled up to sit she locks in her legs and pulls up to stand…This could be a first for the Cole Family going as far back as either of us can recall on either side’s family tree ….finally we might have a rope climber!… I’ll explain that one…Lilly’s mom was 24 inches and 8 lbs 4 oz when she was born and grew up and up to 6 feet tall …She came home one day in grade school with a very serious concerned and defeated look…When asked what was the matter she replied “I can’t climb the rope in gym class”…We laughed out loud and said “Honey, you come from a long line of non-rope climbers!”… Looks like Lilly will break that tradition!… In the meantime as Lilly’s world expands …so does ours with ways to keep up with her …The number of apparatus now sitting in the living room and in the doorway to keep her jumping …literally … keeping her amused and engaged… Therefore …after a day of Lilly…something has to give…And at this juncture of what certainly appears to be a growth spurt that would be those late…late night posts if the day of is a non-stop Lilly one as most are!…

Also, the Town has suddenly caught up and my public records requests are flowing in…I’m receiving lots of interesting information that will be revealed …Add to that all the Town meetings complete with voluminous backup materials and the meetings running back to back to back such as last night and again today…

I will get it all on …in some form or another…asap ….as time allows along with the behind the scenes stuff that still comes my way each and every day…Many thanks to those who remain Avid Readers and are also dedicated to wanting  to make sure that information continues to be available to all who want it out in the open…

That said…last night’s meeting sure showed who read the budget and who did not…who did their homework and who did not…who is just skating by and who realizes this is the real deal…It showed who is stuck and repeating old answered questions …perhaps in the hopes of receiving different answers?…. Or…sadly perhaps too many senior moments?… It showed how much this new Commission as a whole has accomplished since March and what luck they had in the timing of Ms. Hoffmann and Bud Bentley coming on board…(Hope their names are in the 30 resumes received thus far for the permanent position) ….The budget showed the new Int.Manager and her Asst. TM really listened to the Commission for the most part …. From observing some real positive and surprising changes in performance and attitude from some long time staff these days …it proves what good administrating can produce as it trickles down to staff!… The details from the meetings will come as I have stated …after tonight’s Shade Session Town of LBTS v. Esther Colon at 4 pm …The Coral Reef Project Workshop at 5:30 pm …public comment is allowed…and the CIP discussions and more at the 7 pm Commission Roundtable…no public comment… all are open to the public…on Comcast channel 78 and online …streamed on the Town’s website…

One last note…again Congratulations are in order…pun intended ….after the engagement last night of Mayor Roseann Minnet and Chuck Curtis…(prev. post)…

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …Congratulations Are In Order! …

July 27, 2010 by Barbara

LBTS MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET IS ENGAGED TO CHUCK CURTIS P.A.

CHUCK POPPED THE QUESTION IN TOWN OF COURSE …. AT THE BLUE MOON!…

Right after the Commission meeting!…..Congratulations, Roseann and Chuck!….

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … What Happened In Town Hall Stayed In Town Hall?…

July 27, 2010 by Barbara

KEEPING IT UNDER WRAPS ? ….

Dear Readers …The latest on the sure to be discussed sewer “subsidy” (tonight’s Budget Meeting) kept under wraps in Town Hall from 1997 to 2010 is this… All of LBTS uses Pompano Beach for their sewer service …All …north/south and the condos… All residential customers are charged a rate per thousand gallons along with a surcharge…The Condos are also charged an “availability charge” for service to each unit …The puzzle is now coming together ….

SRC asked for their rates to be the same as LBTS once annexed in and to no longer pay the “flat fee” …”surcharge”…which is really the “availability charge” that was attached to the sewer bill per a fixed-long term contract with Pompano Beach…The Commission at their Feb 3, 1997 Special Commission meeting (prev. post) came to consensus with a 5-0 vote to offer that rate change and to have the Town Atty. go to Pompano Beach once the annexation was complete and ask them to agree to end that contract …Failure to do so would result in a declaratory judgment action from the Town …. It was then -Vice- Mayor Parker who asked about the Town being “exposed” to any  litigation arising from temporarily paying a”blended sewer rate during litigation of the contract ” that had been suggested by Town Manager Baldwin…Town Atty. Cherof is on the record for stating he did not think the Town would be….Later on Parker made it clear he did not want any offer of an aggregate rate to be in the agreement so as not to “weaken the Town’s position in court”…and again stated the Town’s “willingness” to renegotiate the rate… On Feb 4th, former Town Manager Bob Baldwin sent SRC a letter …(prev. post)…reiterating this…”The Town Commission approved several item, as follows 3. Agreed to take necessary action to reduce the condominium resident’s sewer bills to a rate charged by the City of Pompano Beach to Town residents.”…TM Bob Baldwin followed up with a Feb 19, 1997 Q & A (prev. post) which further stated ….”The Town Commission has agreed to lower the condominium resident’s sewer fees. The Town intends to bring the condominiums under the Town’s master sewer agreement wit the City of Pompano beach. This would decrease your rates (based on current rates) from $1.81/per one thousand gallons plus the additional flat fee to $1.51/per one thousand gallons with no flat fee. If neither the City of Pompano Beach nor the courts allow this change, the Town will explore other options. The Town Commission is committed to making the sewer rates the same for all residents. That means your rates will be lowered.”…

Once more Folks … “If neither the City of Pompano Beach nor the courts allow this change, the Town will explore other options. The Town Commission is committed to making the sewer rates the same for all residents. That means your rates will be lowered.”…

Readers recall from the previous posts this came up in 2007 from then- Comm. Silverstone and ended when comparisons were made by John Thompson showing SRC was paying their sewer bills and Jim Silverstone informed this writer they had been looking in the wrong place…(Pompano Beach when SRC paid Fort Lauderdale)… It came up again a week ago Monday…On Friday, Mark Brown wrote about it in the latest edition of his newspaper and this writer posted on it last Friday as well with a followup posted yesterday…

Now it appears that once SRC annexed in they paid their sewer bills to the Town…and continued until Fort Lauderdale took over the billing for the Town because the Town was doing a poor job of collecting… SRC never heard anything else after annexation …They just paid their bills…until they heard something when a phone call was made from the Town a few months ago…SRC reiterated where they paid there bill…They heard from this writer yesterday (prev. post) …as well as from the Town once again…The Town we hear has the files from the former Town Atty. and the issue grows cold from the time of annexation to now…

It appears that there was no contract discussions with Pompano Beach and no declaratory judgment action… It also appears that it never came back to the Commission for any action to take place or option to vote on to honor or not honor the consensus of the Commission at the Feb 3, 1997 meeting… It appears that a few people inside Town Hall made the decision to find an option to cover the “availability charges” for SRC and keep it quiet for all these years!…

The north end annexed into LBTS in 2001 and as far as we can tell never asked and were never offered a rate equity or to rid them of the “availability charges” for the condominiums …we are told…

As of this year and the latest sewer bill payments made by SRC the condominium of 722 units pays Fort Lauderdale $3 per thousand gallons while the Town’s rate to residents is $2.85 (I was informed)…and also pays the Town $190 “availability charge” for meters …of which SRC has three …for an additional payment of $570 dollars…

If SRC was charged the “availability charge” that would amount to $14.47 per unit …or $10,447.34 a month … which equals $125,368.08 per year…close to the $127,000 Mark Brown quoted in his article …Hmmmm….

So, who made the decision to not go back to Commission and go forward as planned?… Who made the decision not to go back to SRC and explain they needed to continue to pay an “availability charge” per unit as all other condominiums were required to have (we are told)?…Does anyone believe doing so would have been a deal breaker in the annexation?…

Most importantly, we do know that the Town Attorney was  Jim Cherof…The Town Manager was Bob Baldwin…and the Vice-Mayor was Oliver Parker…who then became the Mayor…along with Finance Director Esther Colon who became the Town Manager and they had to have paid Pompano Beach a check that was much more than the check received from SRC to them and then from Fort Lauderdale for SRC  just as Interim TM Hoffmann did upon her appointment in April 2010… but they kept it under wraps!…

How to go forward….It is this writer’s opinion that the Town cannot expect or receive payment from an unknowing SRC ….As previously posted the Commission per TAtty. Cheroff also voted 5-0 to defend SRC from any litigation resulting from the annexation… Not being a lawyer…I would think although it almost 13 years after the fact…the Town will now need to go to SRC and explain SRC they need to start paying the “availability charge” per unit going forward…and figure out the “meter” charges and what that is all about…

Repercussions for those that carried out this “option” behind the scenes for all these years…that’s something supporters and voters may want to consider very carefully going forward….

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Lauderdale-By-The-Sea V. Former Town Manager Esther Colon …. Coming To Terms? ….

July 27, 2010 by Barbara

WHAT’S AGREEABLE TO WHOM ….AND AT WHAT COST?…..

Dear Readers …We heard the Town Manager had been “in mediation” last week and that the Commissioners were contacted for a shade session on Wed. July 28th at 4 pm … It was thought some attempt would transpire before going to court and this may be it, if the threshold of coming to terms on the payout is agreeable to both sides…

Commissioners need to weigh not only the cost factor to the taxpayers, but the actions taken by Ms. Colon( if the payout was indeed correct on the whole sum or close to it) cost thus far when she could have come  forward and handled this matter as soon as she received the Int. TM’s letter in late May…

In the aftermath of what Ms. Colon herself set in motion….we the taxpayers have uncovered much more than just a $69,000+ overpayment that she and her “gang” left behind for the new administration, Commission and yes the taxpayers to clean up and remedy …. in this writer’s opinion…

This writer was in mediation once…when a decorator scammed me and unless I went through the mediation process and settled …I was advised she would shut down her business and I would get nothing…I ended up with 25% and I was not allowed to “bad mouth” her business practices for one year …The cost to go to court would have ended up more than the monies stolen due to loss in work time …I do hope that something similar is not in the works in this settlement …. The outcome for the decorator…she went on to pull the same scam on others, we were told……and they too lost money ….ultimately, a few years later, she shut down shop in Pompano and left town…in part I believe she was able to continue her scam because of the clause of silence I was required to sign in order to obtain the partial repayment of my stolen funds… through mediation…

P.S. …Commissioners when you go into the “Community” Center to discuss …look down at the cleaned carpet…and look up at what has been improved thus far…Then please make it your business…pun intended …to replace the carpet and do everything on the Directors “wish list” and then some !….

…………………..

From the Town’s website….

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
TOWN COMMISSION
SPECIAL MEETING
Jarvis Hall
4505 Ocean Drive
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
4:00 P.M.
1. CALL TO ORDER, MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET
2. Shade Session – Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea v. Esther Colon
Pursuant to Florida Statutes 286.011(8), there will be an attorney-client session
beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 attended by Mayor Roseann
Minnet, Vice Mayor Stuart Dodd, Commissioner Birute Ann Clottey, Commissioner
Scot Sasser, Commissioner Chris Vincent, Town Manager Connie Hoffmann, and
Town Attorneys Susan L. Trevarthen and Brett Schneider.
The closed session will last approximately one (1) hour.
3. Action Item
Resolution 2010-19: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE
TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA APPROVING SETTLEMENT
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA AND
ESTHER COLON; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF THE SETTLEMENT
AGREEMENT; PROVIDING FOR IMPLEMENTATION; PROVIDING FOR AN
EFFECTIVE DATE.
4. ADJOURNMENT

…………………………

RESOLUTION NO. 2010-19
A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN 1 COMMISSION OF THE
2 TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA
3 APPROVING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
4 THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA AND
5 ESTHER COLON; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF THE
6 SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT; PROVIDING FOR
7 IMPLEMENTATION; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE
8 DATE.
9
10
11 WHEREAS, the Town Commission of the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida
12 (the “Town”) desires to resolve and settle litigation which is pending between the Town and
13 Esther Colon (“Colon”), as described in and in accordance with the terms of the attached
14 Settlement Agreement; and
15 WHEREAS, the Town Commission finds that approval of the Settlement Agreement
16 between the Town and Colon is in the best interest of the Town.
17 NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED BY THE TOWN
18 COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, AS
19 FOLLOWS:
20
21 Section 1. Recitals Adopted. Each of the above stated recitals is hereby adopted and
22 confirmed.
23 Section 2. Settlement Agreement Approved. The Settlement Agreement between the
24 Town and Colon, in substantially the form attached hereto, is hereby approved, and the Town
25 Manager is hereby authorized to execute the Settlement Agreement on behalf of the Town, once the
26 Settlement Agreement is approved by the Town Attorney as to form and legal sufficiency.
27 Section 3. Implementation. The Town Manager and Town Attorney are hereby
28 respectively authorized to take any and all action necessary to implement the Settlement
29 Agreement and this Resolution.
2
Section 4. Effective Date. This Resolution shall take effect 30 immediately upon
31 adoption.
32 PASSED AND ADOPTED THIS ____day of July, 2010.
33
34
35 ____________________________________
36 Mayor Roseann Minnet
37
38
39 Attest:
40
41
42
43 _____________________
44 Town Clerk, June White
45 (CORPORATE SEAL)
46
47
48
49
50 APPROVED AS TO FORM:
51
52
53
54 ________________________________
55 Susan L. Trevarthen, Town Attorney

……………..

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … LBTS Special Budget Meeting … Better Piece Of Pie This Year? …Updated …

July 26, 2010 by Barbara

UPDATES:…The TM made a few changes over the weekend from the budget proposal I used and the one that is now online and will be used tonight …As far as I can tell right now…the changes are the $500,000 proposed transfer from the Emergency Fund to Municipal is no longer proposed due to some discomfort from some Comms…Too bad..I thought it made sense if it could not be used for any other purpose…So the department budget is different for Municipal which now only shows a decrease of 4.6%  ($86,896) which was included after the first proposal in another paragraph…and the Emergency Fund goes back to the 2.39 mil. ….Also the %s for Homestead properties is different than the 1st draft on Friday … they will likely see their property valuations go up 3% and their Town taxes go up 8% with the Manager proposed 4.2199 millage rate …stating in dollars that is $35 per $100,000 valuation of their property …and still trying to lessen the blow by stating those properties still pay less than neighbors with identical homes who purchased at a later date…38% of LBTS residential properties are homesteaded and some who bought after the real estate decline will “enjoy the tax decrease because their market value is declining”…OUCH!… This writer as stated at the bottom still hold to a low millage…Make cuts elsewhere … Any other changes…will update….

NEW TOWN MANAGER …. NEW RECIPE …

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
TOWN COMMISSION
SPECIAL HEARING
Jarvis Hall
4501 Ocean Drive
Tuesday July 27, 201o
6:00 PM

Dear Readers…… The new budget including justification sheets was not online until this morning… (Thanks to the Int. TM and PIO D’Oliveira )… This writer was able to obtain a copy  over the weekend and will give some overview and some highlights before the 6 pm meeting tomorrow night…so no agenda posted for the Reg Comm meeting that follows.. or  5:30 pm Coral Reef project Workshop Wed. night/7 pm Roundtable…I will post after each though…

I will begin by stating the document is worlds apart in presentation from the previous Town Manager’s budget…More cohesive and an easier read… Interim Town Manager Hoffmann and her Interim Finance Director Doug Haag along with some staff have come up with some well needed changes and ideas that need to done to make a huge leap forward…Some of what she wants is to similar to Ms. Colon and most likely any Town Manager when it comes to revenue for the Town and trying to make the public understand the millage rate… Ms. Hoffmann was left with quite a mess after Colon’s termination and anyone still holding onto the “myth” that Colon was a great Finance Director/Town Manager must still be going on word of mouth and lacking any first hand investigating…. With what has come to light as a result of the overpayment of public funds to Colon due to the questionable swift payout now in litigation is truly mind-boggling … in this writer’s opinion…How Colon and her predecessor Baldwin kept all the balls up in the air for so long was quite some feat…If there’s a contest for that she would be the winner …hands down… but for money management and managing a Town…she gets a big fat “F”…again in this writer’s opinion…

THE BUDGET ….

The Interim Town Manager began with her letter of recommendation for the 2010/11 to the Commission …she wrote that in accordance with Article V, Section 5.5 (7) of the Town’s Charter …

“These have been unusual circumstances under which to develop a budget. I have been your Interim Town Manager for only a few months and I have had to focus on issues other than the budget during my short tenure with the Town. And it is the first budget for Commissioners Sasser and Vincent who took office only this spring. The Commission and I have really not had the opportunity to discuss your strategic vision for the Town in advance in preparing the budget.

I view the municipal operating budget as an operating plan for the coming year but, more importantly as a means of making incremental progress towards the achievement of an agreed-upon vision of the future. The Town’s current Mission and Vision Statements provide some direction, but not enough to translate into a strategic road map.

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA VISION STATEMENT

The Commission is committed to supporting our citizens, so that they may uphold civic pride and quality of life within our Town and continue to reside and/or pursue business within out charming community.

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA MISSION STATEMENT

The Commission is committed, under complete transparency, to pursue the will of the people, and acknowledge that any decisions shall maintain and enhance the charm and pattern of a people-friendly seaside village.”

……………….

BC- here’s the rest of the Mission Statement…

To focus on and achieve the Town’s vision and mission statements, we will uphold the following values:

1.    Town Administration exists to serve our community.  We will provide open access, encourage involvement, and ensure accountability.

2.    Town employees are invaluable.  We will attract the best recruits, retain the top employees, and invest in personal and professional growth.

3.    Under honest, ethical, and diligent values, we will provide outstanding customer service that is polite, friendly, and responsive.

4.    Neighborhood involvement is crucial.  We will preserve continued encouragement in our tradition of community participation for all Town activities and functions.

5.    Economic viability is essential to our Town’s success.  We will assure fairness in the collection and spending of all public funds while effectively ensuring the Town’s short and long term financial strength.

6.    To assure a safe and protective environment, we will comply with the Town Charter, as well as local, state, and federal laws.

7.    Maintaining the natural environment of the Town is essential.  We will strive to preserve and protect the Town’s charm, beaches, and finite natural resources.

……………….

ITM Hoffman-”I hope that in the year to come the Town will hold a series of consensus-building events and discussions with a broad spectrum of the community to develop a vision that is embraced by the citizens, the business owners, elected officials and the staff as a future we are all excited by, will work hard to implement, and will be guided by our decision-making. I have recommended funding for such a process in the proposed budget.

In the meantime, I have tried to focus on several important themes I have heard from the Commission in both individual and group discussions in preparing this recommended budget:

1) Improved transparency regarding Town’s finances;

2) Begin to address drainage problems in the Town via the Capital Improvement Plan;

3) Coordinate capital project planning so the same streets and sidewalks are not torn up multiple times for different projects;

4) Provide improved customer service both in direct human contacts and through our website;

5) Upgrade the Town’s outdated technological hardware ans software; and

6) Be cognizant of the difficulties the national recession and the real estate market decline in Florida have imposed on our residents and businesses in crafting the budget.

As Interim Manager I have not proposed restructuring the organization so there is no change in the number of funded positions in the budget. However, that does not mean that we are not taking steps to make the organization more efficient.

In the pages that follow, we have described the most salient features of the proposed budget. Due to time constraints, this budget message is not accompanied by the large narrative and many graphs and charts that you are accustomed to receiving with the budget message, but those documents will be provided to you and posted on the Town’s website well in advance of the public hearings on the millage rate later this summer.”

…………..

BC- A look at the budget shows how the staffing will change …and it is the consensus among the majority on the dais from the campaign trail and the dais that “thinking outside the box”…i.e. contracting out …employee/ services “sharing” between municipalities etc… to cut down on the benefits etc…that accompany full time hires in government… Again, it is the hope of this writer that this budget and the justification sheets along with any changes made will be kept online …while maintaining each version to see the process that results in the final budget in September…

…………

THE ALL FUNDS BUDGET

“The total all funds proposed budget for fiscal year 2010/2011 is $15,347.015 compared to $15,502.557 in the current fiscal year, a decrease of 1% or $155,542. The decrease in all funds is caused by a combination of factors which are explained throughout the budget message.

THE GENERAL FUND BUDGET

The General Fund is the largest of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s funds and represents _% of the total budget. It is where most of the functions of government are housed including the legislative and management functions, finance and administration, Municipal Services, Development Services, and Recreation. The recommended General Fund budget for fiscal 2010/2011 is $12, 098.322 compared to $11, 869, 910 in the current fiscal year, an increase of $228,412. This increase is entirely caused by the proposed inclusion of a $500,000 transfer from the Emergency/ Storm reserve discussed earlier. Without the transfer, the General fund would have actually decreased next fiscal year by $270,000.

An explanation of the salient changes in both revenues and expenditures in the General Fund is discussed below and in the pages that follow.

GENERAL FUND REVENUES

Were it not for the aforementioned transfer of $500,000 from the Emergency/Storm reserve, projected General Fund Revenues in the next fiscal year would have actually decreased when compared to the current year budget. The reasons for the decrease are a proposed reduction in property taxes, a decline of franchise fees on waste collection services, and a reduction in the amount of money that the Parking Fund contributes to the General Fund. A more detailed discussion of major revenue sources follows.

AD VALOREM TAXES

The largest revenue source in the General Fund is the ad valorem tax levied on real property and taxable commercial personal property located in the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. The Manager’s recommended budget for FY 2010/2011 call for a 3% reduction in property taxes.”

Page 4 includes the BC Property Appraisers certification of taxable value of properties in LBTS as of Jan 1, 2010…there was a “nominal increase in the certified roll compared to the estimated tax roll we received from the Property Appraiser in May.”…”The value of real property is the value of the parcel AFTER all the exemptions to which the property owner is entitled is taken off the assessed value of the property.”…She went on to explain the homestead and senior citizen as well as disabled vets exemptions … “Total taxable value of real and personal property ” in LBTS has declined 8.2% from $1,911,499, 581 in 2009 to $1,754,066,667…She went on to again add $19,067,427 in new construction was added to the tax roll on Jan. 1, 2010 so it decreases it a bit to $1,773,134,094…or 7.2%…

“The decline in the taxable values means that the millage rate would have to increase from 3.9990 mils to 4.3553 mills in order to generate the same amount of ad valorem property tax income next year as the Town collects this year (not considering what comes from new construction.)”

Ms. Hoffmann addresses what she thinks is  the “misunderstanding by the public and some journalists about how the millage rates work.”… stating it is only half of the equation of determining how much the property owner will pay in taxes…that it “reflects the number of dollars the Town collects for every $1,000 0f taxable value of each property.” …She explained the ups and downs of the property values and how they effect the income for the Town…She added that it needs to be stressed the property taxes are not going up if the millage is increased and stated the property owners who benefited from the provisions in “Save Our Homes” referendum will likely see a 3% increase while non-homestead owners who bought in the last 5-6 years will see a  decrease…She then compares “apples to apples” the roll back calculation ignores the new construction value added to the tax roll.. She states FL State Statutes leave it out of the equation because they assume there is a new service burden on the municipalities…

“The Town Manager’s recommended budget calls for a millage rate of 4.21993″…then reiterating the above …

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BC- This writer holds to the millage being kept low and cuts coming from the Town’s bloated savings…staffing and in Town services…preferring revenue to come from reductions of those and from realistic fees for users of whatever they decide to avail themselves of…such as permit parking…and recreational classes…( see below) …..

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Page 4 continues with some troubling news…

“Even though the Town budgeted to collect only 95% of the revenue that should be collected by the ad valorem levy ( which is a common practice and allowed by state law) we are behind in property tax collections in the current fiscal year because of late payments and because of successful appeals by taxpayers to their property evaluations. Property owners have the right to challenge the property Appraiser’s valuation of theri property and, if successful, the Town’s valuations go down after the Town’s budget is adopted and millage rate set. The Town’s total taxable values were reduced by $26 million in the appeal process in the past tax years, resulting in a loss of $103,000 in tax revenue to the Town”

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BC- we are told that quite a few motels on El Mar Drive are delinquent in their property taxes as well as multiple properties going to foreclosure due to being upside down in their mortgages and they state being advised to forgo payment in order to get a new rate …

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FIRE ASSESSMENT FEES

“The next single largest source of revenue to the Town is the Fire Assessment Fees that are levied at the rate of $130 per year per residential property and from $249.50 to $9,971.00 per year for non-residential properties, depending on square footage. The rate has remained the same since FY 2007/2008 and no adjustment is proposed. The fees will generate approximately $1 million next fiscal year.”

The Int. TM described the usage being statutorily limited to Town fire protection and suppression …it will generate this year and next more revenue than the cost of the VFD contract and ancillary costs (audits/ retirement etc…) and she purposes to designate the balance as a “fire reserve” to fund equipment or delay fee increases in the future…this year $87,000 next $65,000 …it impacts the General Fund negatively but there is “no choice in the matter” due to the statute..

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BC- This writer’s opinion the VFD is paid too much for approx. 60 members who are supposed to be volunteers… Although we can all agree the cost is much less than a paid department …the present version of the VFD are paid with some making between $1200-1500 a month we are told for mostly going on medical calls…We hear residents and some Commissioners still hold fast to that being curtailed drastically…Also in question the split of the revenue coming from annual fire inspections and re-inspections…We are told that is against statute to allow for any revenue…the fees are only supposed to cover the costs of the inspections…

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UTILITY TAXES AND FRANCHISE FEES

“These two sources combined generate over $1.6 million in revenue to the General Fund. The utility tax levy is 10% on electric, water and natural tax bills and the franchise fees vary according to the franchise business.”…The rest of the summary breaks it down 6% elec/natural gas consumption/7% vehicle towing/3.76% res. waste collection & 10% comm. waste collection in town…the bulk is FP&L billing…They expect a slight increase in utility tax collections next year and a significant decrease in waste franchise fees …Choice Environmental Services appear to be the reason but the staff will evaluate further ….

STATE SHARED REVENUES

Included are municipal revenue sharing ,sales tax, communication sales tax …telephone/cell phone and portion of gas taxes…current year budgeted $899,000 in revenue…expect only $850,000 ..”However the State of Florida Department of revenue estimates that income from these sources to increase approximately $960,000 next fiscal year as the economy improves.”

TRANSFERS INTO THE GENERAL FUND

“As mentioned earlier, we have proposed to transfer $500,000 from the Storm Emergency Reserve into the General Fund and offset it by a $500,000 expenditure account in the Municipal Service Department budget that will be used only if the Town is hit by a major storm or catastrophe”

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BC- An explanation later in the report states doing this makes any need to use the funds readily available rather than calling a Comm. meeting to approve its use…Smart move… BUT …the bloated Emergency Funds …still well over the 15%  stated Town policy should be lessened no matter which department they are in…..

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“The Parking Fund will only be able to transfer $107,000 to the General Fund next year, a decrease from this year’s budgeted transfer of $165,000. The reasons are explained in the Parking Fund section of the budget message.”

GENERAL FUND EXPENDITURES

“As is always the case, expenditures for public safety exceed expenditures for any other functional area in the recommended budget A full 40% of the General Fund budget is devoted to funding police, fire and emergency medical operations ($4.9 million). The Town has historically considered Development Service to be a public safety function, although only a portion of their activities fall into that realm. However, if they are included in the public safety calculation, it increases to 43% ($5.3million) of the General Fund budget.”

The second largest is the expenditures for “general government functions”…legislative, executive, legal, finance including risk management, public information and administrative operations….The Int. TM has left the % s blank for these when addressing portions budgeted for general gov. and transportation functions (streets, sidewalks, parking,street lighting) as well as leaving %s blank for personal services expenditures stating they have not received the FLOCities insurance costs but have budgeted a 10% increase… “Contractual Services (mostly our contracts for public safety services) account for $__ or __% of the General Fund budget. Capital outlay and capital construction outlay makes up another __% of the General Fund budget, with proposed expenditures of __$ next fiscal year…

BC-LOVE THIS PART ….

The Int. TM explains on pg 8 that LBTS “budget books indicate that it is Town budgetary policy to give cost-of-living adjustments to all employees “tied to the annual Broward inflation index projections available by October 1 of each fiscal year. The code and the personnel rules do not indicate this policy, but perhaps there was a resolution adopted or this is a long-standing Town policy. “…

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BC-This was discussed when the payout investigation began…that employees were routinely given the COLA without the Commissioners voting for it… Mere passage of the budget was the assumption they agreed!… OUCH!…

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The Int. TM recommends that instead of cost-of-living adjustments we make adjustments to pay only where there is a large inequity (15% or more) the prevailing job in the local market and drop the “policy” to replace it with “merit increase system where all employees  can move up through the Commission-approved pay range for their position based on the quality of their performance. Under this system, pay ranges would not increase on the basis of cost of living, but would be adjusted upward or downward based on the results of the market studies of salaries paid for jobs done every 3-5 years.”

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BC-YAHOO!….

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Page 9 ….has the Department Comparisons current budget comp. recommended budget …Commission -1.88%/Donations +30.13%/ Chamber +23.06%/ Executive Administration -7.o7%/Town Atty -15.43%/ General Government +3.75%/ Police +5.03%/ Fire +1.74%/ EMS -4.00%/ Development Services +4.23%/ Municipal Services +23.11%/ Parking +11.36%/ Recreation +0.29%/Transfer to CIP -22.64%

Explanations of the increases/decreases…

Commission-will they or will they not take 4% increase…most likely not…surprised there is not a bigger drop due to loss of ins.& cell phone payments for dais members with the change last March…

Chamber of Commerce -budgeted $55,000 as Chamber requested…it is up to the Chamber liaison and Comm. Sasser the Comm. liaison to explain why this is needed to move the Chamber forward …building maintenance was decreased…We long heard scheduled grass cutting was done far to often etc… The new roof is in current budget…

Development Services Department-$15,030 increase …”FY 2011 $25,000 for a community visioning process and preparation of a strategic plan which will set clear direction for all municipal operations and will help in prioritizing the many project the many projects on our plate” Dept. has limited /reasonable funds for engineering and planning services and no capital funds budgeted as the dept. completes upgrades of computers in FY10…

EMS- AMR get 4% increase and sent notice it wants it …increase $28,000

Executive/Administrative Department- decrease of 7% ($67,000) result of lower TM salary and attendant costs and the transfer of some public information expenses to Gen. Gov. Dept…

Fire Department-increasing $17,000 next year due to the cut in Fire Marshal position of $approx. $70,000 ..VFD asked for $125,000 for fire truck purchase…Consultant Town retained said $100,000 in reserves yearly but will be in a Town reserve…VFD agreeable to that…

General Government Department-

“I have proposed significant alterations to this Department’s budget, which is set up to capture expenditures that could have a broad impact on government operations.”…Int. TM Hoffmann stated the PIO is budgeted in this dept. and she moved 85% of the Asst. TM in as well stating he is “currently budgeted in the Community Standards section of the Municipal Services Department, which does not make much sense given the Assistant Town Manager’s responsibilities have little to do with landscaping maintenance or trash collection.”

“It is recommended that we eliminate the $340,000 reserve account that is budgeted here in the current fiscal year for the stormwater study and unexpected expenses. Instead, we have increased the consultant account by $50,000 to cover unplanned studies or analysis that need to be done next year.”

We propose to increase the contingency account in this Department from $118,000 to $275,000 because we eliminated the contingency accounts that appear in other Department budgets “…She added issues to be discussed before Sept. such as buying rather than leasing a sweeper truck (thought we owned ours and it was bought not too long ago?)..other topics to discuss inequities of employee compensation (prev. posts) and using FLOCities for help in managing risk/ins. programs…then some of the contingency funds may be allotted to those departments…She also recommends stopping the annual $118,000 transfer for Emergency/Storm Reserve…She reiterated that reserve ($2,329,648 before the transfer of $500,000 recommended above)along with the undesignated Gen Fund ($2,189,349)…The IT consultant recommends an $80,000 investment in new computer hardware,networking equipment etc…New software and pc purchases will be bought this year and the rest will be purchased out of  Department capital outlay accounts next year…

Police Department- The police will increase by $152,000 next year per their 5% increase and she stated the BSO contract is coming up and the Sheriff will be pressured to increase what he charges us …included also was the County wanting individual cities to pay for emergency call center operations currently paid for in our county tax bill…$6,000 is in next year’s budget to pay for automated emergency calls similar to other towns for alerts to residents…water boil/evacuations etc…

Municipal Services Department-She suggests the $500,000 moved to assist with the Hurricane/disaster cleanup for quick action to be taken in the aftermath taking away the requirement of a Commission meeting too appropriate the funds..no emergency then the funds go back to the Emergency Fund and are re-budgeted the following year…

Removing the $500,000 from the Muni operating budget decreases 5% from the FY10 adopted budget…main reason for decrease…the move of the Asst. TM 85% of him goes to Gen Gov./15% to parking (he oversees Muni/Devel./Parking Directors and CIP)…

She included $12,780 for painting the exterior of the Public Safety Complex /$80,000 storm drain rehabilitation/$50,000 emergency repair to storm drain infrastructure…

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BC- not too pleased putting any money into the Public Safety Complex …purely because I still think it was a sham to purchase it…

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Parking Department-”FY11 budget of $192,922 is up 11% ($19,683) as the result of transferring 15% of the Asst. TM salary to this budget offset the decrease in operating expenses…Projected parking revenue is $283,095 or $90,173 greater than the expense of the General Fund parking operations”

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BC- I would like the parking department to be contracted out if it is found that such a service would cut down on benefits while providing better service …

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Recreation- The Int. TM states the budget “will barely change” and makes the following recommendations “that the Commission consider some changes in the way we offer certain programs. The Town currently pays two instructors to teach tennis and karate to the public free of charge. The practice in most municipal recreation programs is to charge for such classes and contract with instructors utilizing a revenue sharing agreement, typically 70/30 or 80/20 with the larger amount going to the instructor.” …She went on to explain “it provides an incentive to the instructor and attracts more participants, as their income is directly affected by the level of participation.” … She added that under the current system taxpayers are paying “very,very few of them participate in.”…Participation in karate is high and she feels this is something that should be implemented Oct. 1…The “community Center “is showing wear and needs to be updated”..Municipal Services Dir. is working on the ceiling and lights using funds from current/future budget and a $4,000 donation specifically for the center and she has included funds to replace the rest of the computers and buy additional equipment in next years budget…

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BC- Love the recreational idea…long overdue…As for the Community Center we heard the ceiling and lights were done this past week along with painting and cleaning the carpets…Come on…have you seen the carpet?…It needs to be replaced and everything on the Director’s list should be done…Finally this year Armillio Bien-Aime gets a raise!… That and the Comm. voting no more of his own money to advertise in Topics should make him a happy camper…

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PROPRIETARY (ENTERPRISE) FUNDS

“Proprietary or Enterprise Funds are Funds where the revenues connected with providing a municipal service are supposed to completely offset the cost of the service. The Town has two Proprietary Funds-The Parking Fund and the Sewer Fund.”

SEWER ENTERPRISE FUND

“There are two serious deficiencies in the Sewer Fund that must be addressed. First the revenues generated through the sewer charges do not cover the related expenditures and it would require a 35-49% increase in the sewer rates to generate sufficient revenues to offset expenditures next year. Clearly that level of increase in a single year is not going to be acceptable to our customers.”

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BC- Ya think!….

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The Int. TM brings up that there has been no adjustments to the sewer rates sinc e2003 while operating expenses went up from approx. $800,000-$1.2 million…yet the revenue went down from $1.1 million to $900,000…She states Pompano Beach raised their rates to the Town over the last 7 years …accounting for 65% of our operating costs…She went on to the subject of  SRC A,B & C being subsidized by the Town for sewer bills ” a practice going on since these properties were annexed int Town.”…She added she has had a consultant doing research on this for the last 2 months and will bring back her findings “after we tied up some lose ends in the research and talked further with parties who have knowledge of the history of this issue.”

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BC- see previous posts…either the Town has been paying Pompano Beach what Fort Lauderdale pays them after receiving payment from SRC A,B & C since taking over the Town’s billing for sewer and water …or if the amount the Town is paying Pompano is over that amount …there’s a few “players” that need to answer alot of questions…former TAtty. Cheroff … former Mayor Oliver Parker along with former Town Managers Baldwin and Colon!…

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Ms. Hoffmann stated she does not know at this point why revenues have fallen off but will get the answers to that as well…The bottom line is getting revenue without upsetting the “customers”… The shortfall was apparently known prior to her appointment due to an appropriation of $142,084 from the $1,583,398 fund balance in the current year…a larger appropriation will be necessary ($162,000) if the budgeted revenues are not realized…further darkness comes with the warning of no rate increase raising that amount to $375,000 from the fund balance…They project a fund balance of $1.4 million at the end of this fiscal year that will diminish to $1.05 million if no rate increase effective beginning Oct. 2010… Ms. Hoffmann states “it is politically and financially prudent to regularly adjust water and sewer rates to assure that they offset costs, so that consumers experiment small incremental increases in their budgets that they can absorb rather than be hit with a big increase every five years or so. Unfortunately, that hasn’t occurred so the Commission is going to have to consider rate increases.”…Seeing that this has to be a surprise to the Commission ..due to being identified this week…she balance the Sewer Fund with a $375,000 appropriation from the fund balance for now…She reiterated strongly the need for some rate increase to be implemented…She also stated using the fund balance for this purpose is not a good idea … and she went on to the subject we all knew was coming …no capital plan to replace the Town’s aging sewer infrastructure…The cost will be expensive and if we go for a bond they are generally set up with long-term financing (20-30 years) and the debt service is paid by projected sewer charge revenues… therefor we need to build up our cash reserves in order to get a better bond rating…not spend them down… She finished by pointing out no engineering studies for the cost of replacing the sewers  and has included $50,000 for such a study…She increased the contingency fund from $15,000 to $50,000 for emergency/preventive repairs to the system..

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BC- the previous TM stated we needed about 5x that for a stormwater sewer study and this TM want $50,000 a sewer study …Hmmm…why such a difference in study costs…

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PARKING FUND/ PARKING SYSTEM

“The Parking Fund budgets for parking operations and revenues in the business district (downtown and Commercial Boulevard.) Revenues and expenditures related to parking lots and meters outside the business district are budgeted in the General Fund 545.” …Ms. Hoffman states they did not have time to consolidate the two sections for her recommended budget but do recommend all sparking activities be combined in the Parking Fund…offering a clearer picture… She states over the past several years the Parking Fund generated sufficient revenues to contribute to the General Fund (approx. $165,000) but projected a shortfall in the current year by $176,000 or about 32%…business -$90,000 parking fine -$76,000…they are investigating the large discrepancies with the year-to-year receipts…unless there is an error found and it was deposited in the General Fund  the Parking Fund will have to utilize 73% ($171,973 ) of its undesignated funds to cover the decline and still transfer funds into the General Fund..stay tuned…FY 11 they project the Parking Fund will not be able to contribute to the General Fund and will need to increase meter rates and come up with other parking strategies…they are currently working on a parking study and will include this in it…Expenditures will be a $35,000 capital outlay to improve the parking facilities and concentrate those funds on improvements that will result in higher utilization of the parking system scuh as multi-space meters and physical improvements to Bougainvilla lot…

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BC- again…contract out…look at what a contracted company can offer and if they can update meters…lot and fines…Rates for permits should go back to where they started in the previous Comm.before the election time lowering frenzy began for friends and votes..

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CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FUND

“The Capital Improvement Fund budget has been substantially increased from $1,686,862 in the current fiscal year to a proposed $2,470,425 next fiscal year in order to start addressing the Town’s stormwater drainage problems” The transfer from the General Fund to the Capital Fund has decreased from $1,615,756 to $1,250,000 next year.” ..

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BC-on the next page (18) is the 5 year CIP to be presented Wed. night at Roundtable and the next MPSC …It includes the Master Plan update budgeted at $150,ooo in year 2 (2012) and the bathrooms in year 1 (2011)..backward in this writer’s opinion…along with Beach Dune Vision $269,00 yr 1 (2011) ..State requirement?…Marine Park $20,000 yr 1 (2011)…it was DOA with the grants…Beach renourishment $200,00 yr 3 (2013)…Bridge Repair Terra Mar  $155,00 yr 2 (2012)…Bus shelters $85,000 yr 1 (2011)…Parking System  Improvements $50,000 yr 1 (2011) – yr 5 (2015)…Decorative street lighting $100,000 yr 2 (2012) & yr 4 (2014)…Streetscape A1A Pine north $647,100 (yr 1). ..we pay up first and then get paid by state…tying up funds for what…trees and landscape…still against it…El Mar Construction $875,000 yr 2 (2012) ..I thought funds thus far came from Gen Fund and Oriana Funds intact…transfer done?…El Mar design $8,000 Yr 1 (2011)…MPlan 1st… Pine Ave. A1A to El Mar $29,000 Yr.1 (20011)& $101,000 Yr. 2 (2012)…ridiculous….Stormwater Master Plan projects $750,000 Yr 1 (2011)$750,00 Yr 2 (2012) $300,000 Yr 3 (2013) $300,000 Yr 4 (2014) $300,000 Yr 5 (2015)… Traffic improvements & calming $25,000 Yr 1 (2011)…Contingency $200,000 Yr. 1 (2011) $300,00 Yr 2-Yr 5 (2012-2015)…Depreciation/Gasb 34 $237,325 Yr 1 (2011) $249,191 Yr 2 (2012) $261,651 Yr 3 (20103) $ 274, 734 Yr 4 (2014) $288,470 Yr 5 (2015)

TOTALS…Yr 1-2011  $2,470,425/ Yr 2 -2012 $3,130,191/ Yr 3 -2013 $ 1,511,651/ Yr 4-2014 $1,424,734/ Yr 5-2015 $ 1,338,470

FUND BALANCES AND RESERVES

“I have mentioned throughout the budget message that we will be transferring funds from reserves and fund balance accounts into the budget nect year. Prudent financial management would suggest that these sources of fund should only be used for one-time expenditures and not relied upon for ongoing operations.” She reiterated the need use fund balance for sewer and parking and that they will need additional appropriations next year if no increases are approved…”In the interest of transparency” she provided a table (page 19) with information on the available reserve and fund balances as well as projects and what will be available at the end of the current /next fiscal year..Projected balances and reserves as of Sept. 30, 2010…

Actual 9/30/2009….Est. 9/30/10….Appropriated in FY 2010/11…Est. as of 9/30/11

General Fund

Emergency /Storm Reserve …$2,329,648/$2,329/$500,000/$2,329,648

Vehicle Replacement Reserve….$182,792/$194,042/ no amt/$319,728

Fire Assessment Balance ….$62,273/$149,639/ no amt./ $214,391

Capital Assets Replacement Bal …$1,650,742/ $1,805,725/ no amt/$1,968,458

Undesignated Fund Bal…..$2,189,349/ $2,289,349/ no amt/$2,289,349

Subtotal ….$6,414,804/$6,768,403/ $500,000/ $7,121,574

Capital Fund

Capital Assets Replacement Bal….$1,161,336/ $1,387,360/ no amt/$1,624,685

Undesignated Fund Bal….$1,804,897/$2,782,384/ $575,324/ $3,357,709

Subtotal ….$2,966, 233/ $4,169,744/ $575,325/ $4,982,394

LETF Fund

Undesignated Fund Bal…$139,768/$208,959/$11,500/ $197,459

Parking Fund

Cash $236,166/$64,193/ $64,193/no amt

Sewer Fund

Cash $1,583, 389/ $1,421,243/ $374,395/ $1,046,848

Explained at the bottom the table contains the budget workbook for the CIP …they plan to appropriate money from the undesignated fund balance in the Capital Fund next year in order to start funding stormwater drainage projects and utilize the rest of that balance in years two and three of the CIP to fund El Mar project and more drainage projects”..They also “anticipate that the Town will begin to draw down on the capital assets balance in the Capital Fund in the third,fourth and fifth years of the 5 year Capital Improvement Plan” …No specified amt. yet… analysis of depreciation needed to create a balance…same analysis needs to be made of the Capital Assets balance in the General Fund..”It may be that some of the capital outlay items we have budgeted for can legitimately be purchased with funding from the capital Assets balance but we will have to wait to allocate those funds until the analysis has been done”..

The Int. TM ended with a recap…increase the millage/increase the sewer rates /Between this year & next Parking Fund will have utilized entire fund balance of $236,166 and reduced contribution to Gen Fund..planned parking system study/ Capital Projects calls for multi-year commitment for drainage projects…

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BC- With almost $5.5 million in undesignated funds … why would we not use the monies as quickly as possible for drainage and sewer to keep the costs, which will be lower in year 1 vs. year 5, down…so we are not faced with a repeat of the north end sewers which ended up costing us in increased costs for waiting …. Again, as previously posted this writer believes we could have built a whole new Town Hall Complex that would have included a public safety complex and dealt with other town infrastructure rather than buying the crappy hotel we are going to spend money on to paint and frittering away monies for a now failed El Mar project… don’t want that to happen again…

The hope this writer has from these budget meetings and the new Commission/Boards/Administration is to put an end to any more “pet” projects…although 4 months out I have some doubts after seeing some on the MPSC concerning El Mar Drive and the push by a Commissioner for public bathrooms this year ….especially when the MPSC has members that have second thoughts after their last meeting…. No more “piecemealing” …. as promised in the campaign… It’s time to provide a full-fledged plan for the Town’s infrastructure and what sits on top of it…using these undesignated funds as stated above along with creative ways to cut down on the costs to the taxpayers stated above as well, in operating costs while retaining top notch Town Employees paid handsomely sans some perks for doing their jobs so well a decrease in Town employees will be the result ….Fees undoubtedly need to increase.and stay incremental (as suggested above) along with the savings of less full time paid staff..The costs of consultants appears to be lower than last year (consultants were always used…just done on the QT)….and I have no problem using them,if they too are cost effective in comparison to the status quo prior to April 26, 2010….but the millage should remain 3.999 ….. holding out for that one…

Link to Town website …full text online … http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/.

more to come….

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