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Here’s The Scoop … The May 26, 2011 University of Miami Design Review Workshop in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea … Is It The Right Time To Be Moving Forward? ….

May 28, 2011 by Barbara

TIME TO LET THE MONEY OUT OF THE BAG? ….

Dear Readers…We are now headed into the 2011-2012 budget season which begins next month and we have only just sent out our first RFPs for drainage and sewer engineering services which were to be the top priorities moving forward according to Commission last year…..As previously posted we have not completed one single new project in town that can show how this new Administration can handle a small contained area (which I will come back to later on in this post in the UM faculty representative’s closing remarks ) … I am told I need to revise that a little bit by a reader who brought up  our portion of the A1A  enhancement program but that project which was passed on to this Administration from the previous one seems to be amiss behind the scenes from what we have seen and heard which further adds to concerns about the abilities of those who want to go full speed ahead ….We have had been focused instead on multiple visioning and feasibility studies and reports to totally redo the 2004 Master Plan and redevelop the Town with monies going out under the Town Manager’s $15,000 limit not requiring Commission approval followed by some monies approved by the Commission for followup studies as well….I believe while some of the studies we requisitioned are interesting, educational, creative and entertaining they have been at the detriment of those projects that should  have been much further along in the process than they are… I have also found after seeing the renderings and listening to big picture plans for LBTS that much of what has been offered to us by this new group of professionals from this week and in the past months who are no doubt a creative bunch looks and sounds very much like what is contained in the existing 2004 Master Plan of big plans… tweaked a little here and there with newer products… I must also add again that unlike 2004 when the economy was booming at present time in 2011 with forecasts for no economic rebound in 2012 in my opinion this was not the time to do this visioning to this extent… While I repeatedly asked for Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to return to town… (prev. posts)  and for the defunct LBTS CRA participants to come back to the table for information as well as the possible creation of an economic development committee I certainly did not want anything to take us away from those looming infrastructure projects (sewers/drainage) in the south end of town that absolutely need to come first and those projects come with cost estimates that are in the millions …(prev. posts) … Simply put …you can’t put up the wallpaper before the floors are put in…and to do what is suggested below whether small..incremental or big without getting those “floors’ in place first makes no sense at all….

Below is my post of portions of the 2 hour presentation made Thursday night …I encourage Readers to look at it online on the Town’s website (link below) to see the presentation and to obtain a copy of this report when it is made available.. I encourage the Commission to do their due diligence on the costs presented to see if they are accurate (they seemed to be a bit low to this writer) …The Commission and Administration need to obtain information on the populations of those cities used as examples by the UM faculty representative (see below…South Miami / Naples /West Palm) …as well as their millage rates and budgets and any impact and/or long-term debt incurred from moving forward on redevelopment in their municipalities …That is a must for presenting the full picture to the taxpayers before any decisions are made….. After all we are a small town with a small tax base … I am told once again Vice Mayor Dodd has put forth including referendum items on the June Roundtable for consideration by the Commissioners for the Jan. municipal election…After this presentation which once again included parking garages/ Town Hall and El Prado Plaza redevelopment etc…those referendum items must be included on the ballot along with Comm. Sasser’s addition of how we pay for these improvements… (The UM faculty representative spoke about stakeholders involvement) …We have RMA in June with the 5 -year plan and more costs associated with those plans ….and then we should be done with all this “fun and excitement” just days before reality comes back into play with the new budget… possible new millage rates …taxable value changes per the Broward County Property Appraiser…increase costs in services …and the final BSO contract …. We still have the millions we did not use this year and the Commission needs to make a decision on the parking “system” debt (aka Bougainvilla parking lot) whether to pay off or keep paying interest on it until 2020… And of course the campaigns which will begin soon for the moved up election in January…  What voters will be saying  in the voting booth?… Move forward …or bag it? ….This writer hears those stakeholders who have been front and center at this  juncture in LBTS’ political pendulum think there will be no opponents coming forth to even run against the incumbent Commissioners and they are so “pumped” by the lack of presence of their longtime opponents during this process that some have actually stated it is time to pick up where development left off in 2008 …. When the camera panned into the audience it showed that lack of presence of those opponents at this meeting as well  …I am told there was no sign- in sheet to provide data to see who is actually participating …( The UM faculty representative did say he would include a list in his report) …I am told there was a sign -up sheet on Saturday morning and the Mayor was keen to get the names on it … It’s imperative that we know if data was kept throughout the week with those who came into Jarvis Hall as well as those the “team” met with out in the field…(they said it was extensive) …That would be an important component to this process from a credibility aspect…in this writer’s opinion…

I have chosen to post the opening and closing remarks made by Mayor Minnet and the UM representative- “Chuck” who was presented by the Mayor who did not know his last name..and said she wished she has his card… I don’t believe the faculty representative followed up after the snafu with stating his last name or title either…I Googled UM School of Architecture faculty and I believe from the photo and finding only one faculty member named Charles the presenter was Charles C. Bohl- Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Real Estate Development and Urbanism….The faculty representative did state in both his opening and closing remarks along with the students who presented each of the areas of they worked on that this contained  small/incremental and big plans…Chuck stated in his closing remarks what was presented was a “menu” which means everybody can find something they like.. I agree with that statement…and did find some areas I liked ….such as building in the future behind and in front of Town Hall and retaining a low-rise structure while gutting the inside ….Most of the smaller, incremental and big plans have been addressed and discussed by other consultants, boards and citizens before whether it is wayfinding signage (ad nauseum through the years )…the downtown area -pavilion-Lake Colon area …the El Prado “civic” park (parking lot)…Town Hall…Parking garage (s)…shuttles… Basin Drive waterfront area ….and so on and so forth … Will this new Master Plan go up on a shelf just as the previous one and the plans before that?…It was also something Chuck touched upon in his closing remarks… I guess we will know the answer to that very sooner rather than later with another election just months away…Unfortunately a large part of the presentation was cut off when it came to the portion dealing with the larger hotels due to problems that arose on the Town’s side and returned only intermittently after that throughout the smaller hotel presentation …This too is another priority that has not been completed this fiscal year…

Mayor Minnet’s opening remarks…

Mayor Minnet- ” I do also want to thank the residents and businesses and the staff for all their hard work and diligence during this past week. We’re all here, we’re all excited to hear the great ideas and designs that this group is putting forward. I am going to ask one consideration though of all you and that is to have an open mind. Not just today but I, the most important thing is that we agree on the concept and the idea and I just ask that if there’s one thing that you don’t see is a good idea please don’t let that stop you from thinking about all the other good ideas. Cause I’m sure that there will be something that you’re gonna say that’s just not something I want to see in this town. But I just ask you to have an open mind and listen to what the students are saying. Listen to what people are saying about these projects. Again more in a, it’s it’s totalness rather than just taking little bits and pieces of it. And again your input is why we’re all here. You said we want some changes to this town and you’ve said we want to move forward and we’re listening to you. We will continue to listen to the will of the people which is what all, every Commission member has said from day to day” …She went on to say the presentation would be an hour and a half to two hours…

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UM faculty representative’s opening remarks…

“So a workshop like this which started Saturday and ran right through today is very intensive. The team worked extremely hard and right up til the last minute. We had some final work being added to the presentation. This intensity is actually really good in terms of the energy and getting everyone’s ideas and trying to really get our hands around all the challenges at once. So this is a first cut at everything the team came up with.” He went on to give a general introduction and said the students would present their work. “We have to thank and er can’t name everybody individually though we can list them individually. I’m not going to do it verbally. But we had tremendous local support and help from the local community. Most of the team stayed up here for at leas a couple of nights and many of the students even stayed on their own throughout the entire almost week we’ve been here. We’ve had good food for lunch. We’ve had good places to stay and alot of great support from all the business owners. The city staff has been fantastic and helped put together information without which we never could have been prepared to do all this and the city attorney. I mean the list goes on here. But we thank you very much. You really made us feel at home and you really turned out and participated. It’s the only way this thing works  and we heard from you really loud and cklear. Now on our side from the University of Miami we have a big team.” He showed a photo on the screen and said a few were not included..He went on to describe the 3 different programs these students and professors came from …Bachelor of Architecture /Master of Urban Design/Master of Redevelopment and Urbanism…a multi-disciplinary team that was so by design…He introduced the Dean Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk  and a staff person who compiled that 2000 person hours of work went into this…”We spent some time learning about the history of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. You have a wonderful community. We were given actually a written history . Short pieces as well as the material on the website that we found on our own and we don’t need to tell you about your history. You have a special history here . A special character of the community and we heard you loud and clear. How much you love the community and want to protect it. We also heard about things that you’re concerned about and that you don’t want to see happen and sometimes it feels like this cartoon (on the screen) probably like the people who are waiting to stop the, while the sign goes up saying “What the” is going to be in the future. So especially things like the height of buildings and everything you see presented and discussed respects the charter, the height limits in the charter and doesn’t touch any of the residential neighborhoods. Does not involve anything on El Mar, which is your loved street. Along there, so we listened carefully to that. But I wanted to to make just a few quick comments on the tension that is found in many communities between moving forward, staying where we are, figuring out what can happen in the future and what shouldn’t.and it’s not that different other places than it is here. And over the years people have become known , we’ve come up with many acronyms to describe people who oppose things and some of those, sometimes you hear people on maybe the development side complain about that oh it’s all theses NIMBYs (not in my backyard) , people that don’t want things to happen. But on the other side what you accomplished over many decades is you’ve preserved the essential character of the community. And these are just some some examples of people who opposed what they felt were wrong things from happening (on screen) from Jane Jacobs to really the preservation of Charleston, the renaissance of Miami Beach where they didn’t tear down the old hotels, but revalued them and then places like in San Francisco and Milwaukee and other cities where they’ve taken down the freeways and restored the boulevards. So opposing things isn’t a bad thing and being against things that’s actually good when bad things are happening and I think we’re all impressed with how you’ve been able to oppose and prevent the bad things from happening over the years and some of the most important things you can do is to stop the bad things from happening. But then the question is what then? You know when you stop all the bad stuff from happening the what’s next? What can you do that’s positive and the warning is this and as we look at Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and I’ll tell you what our study areas were in just a moment that we were focused on the Commercial corridors in particular and A1A and Commercial Boulevard. You have to be very careful that you don’t suffocate the community and by not allowing anything to happen you can almost love it to death. So that’;s the a danger, that’s a caution and a warning that we’ll put out there for you. And there’s many examples of places in Florida like West Palm (photo put up on screen) this was before its revitalization where nothing is on the ground around the church and it just withered for many years. Places that thought the solution to everything was more parking. (This brought forth a loud roar of laughter from the hall)… You can solve everything just have more parking and then suddenly you wake up and have no community left ..(the laughter erupted once more)… And then you know you find yourself waking up one day as a cartoon of sprawl and that everything has just degenerated into low density stuff like this (screen showed a sea of signs for McDonalds and other fast food joints) which believe me is everywhere. You know it’s everywhere and this isn’t what you want to be. So that’s the warning and the challenge. For this team and for you as a community is to, how do you sustain and how do you have a sustainable community, a sustainable business base that is consistent with the vision the community has for itself that protects all the things you love but that also pays for the things you would like. Like new parks and streetscape improvements and things like that. So that’s the balance that has to be struck and so our beginning and our method is to engage you and citizens in the process.” He showed some shots of previous meetings and the attendees (some have been running over the last week on channel 78 )…He stated “There were dozens and dozens of meetings. Alot of individual meetings when students went out to meet with folks.” He continued on with the team’s study areas showing some mapped areas on the screen as he spoke… “We have the Commercial Boulevard corridor from the intracoastal to the beach” “We have the second study area here is A1A. Roughly from your northern entry to your southern entry along the low rise area not up into this section (north of Pine Ave.) The Town Hall area where we are now which includes the property across the street and thinking through what might become of this in the future. The large hotels. There’s a couple of large hotels in particular we were asked to take a look at (anchored hotels at either end of El Mar Drive) and alot of these were as examples. Let’s take a few examples and look at them and see what could happen in the future and then a chunk of the small hotels particularly along the corridor on A1A. What you’ll see and hear about now are a whole variety of scenarios, not a huge number  but a selected few scenarios of modest to more dramatic change that, since the team did include numbers people we will put some numbers to things and so this is part of what we heard that we’ve done planning before, we’ve done visioning. We need to find a way to get started and part of the way to get started is to actually have cost estimates for things and to look at things incrementally. How you might take small steps to get where you want to go. Get some confidence in that and then move onto larger things. But the team has some great material to present to you from the small to the more dramatic. And oh, some quick highlights here. I think I covered this. We had great citizen input and heard about what you loved and things you don’t like and we’ll be focusing especially on streetscape material to make it more walkable, manage the cars, better the traffic, the parking, the signage, more places for community activities. We have alot of notes and documentation but we don’t need to tell you what to think at this point just that we listened to you very carefully.”… He then introduced the students to begin the presentation of area one

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Some notes on the presentation…

The 1st area Comm. Blvd Team spoke of the concerns they heard …”Pelican Square” economic viability + traffic congestion/”Market Square” just west of Pelican Square needs parking and an identity/”Marina Plaza” (Basin Drive/Commercial west of Market Square) struggled most, economic problem, pedestrian, visioning nothing happens ..the need for parking -vacant parcels that can be used in that area and a convenient transportation system for the far west Comm. area-cntral lease -retail window program-unified brand for shopping mall-crosswalks to connect to opposite side of street -shade trees for walking-improved wayfinding signs-Tenant improvement grants/Pelican Square eliminate center medians-curbless-trees-no parking east by pavilion except Aruba + Pier Lot parking-lighting shown in rendering/A1A-Seagrape transitional zone streetscape improvements-remove medians-sidewalks 10 ft.-build-in buildings-open air markets-Poinciana + Bougainvilla rendering shown/ more west-more suburban utilize deep set backs -convert parallel parking to angled-less congestion/West area after the bridge-centralized valet and parking/Marina access water- becomes more like a street/Most western lots Benihana + Blue Moon -provide open air plazas-viewing areas after the bridge/rendering shown-Welcome to Lauderdale- By- The- Sea + re-designed bridge tender house (we do not own the bridge for signage or the house)- costs for street improvements and Marina Plaza was approx $3.7 million- compared costs were made using Delray actual costs/ A1A south by Chamber of Commerce – streets from A1A to portals on Hibiscus-Datura -Palm Ave. -unwelcoming-not pleasing-traffic congestion- back out parking- change to parallel parking from “head in” parking (Walgreens as well)  some done with land swap for easement shared liability -shade trees-turning lanes become medians /Parking garage A1A behind wings Bougainvilla Lot enter through alleyway (BC-must buy apartment bldg to achieve) -Farmers Market (student presenter said parking garage needed for farmer market venders to park in)-cost $5.5 million -will have retail on 1st floor- street furniture was shown as well street lights (very close to the 2004 MPlan renderings) -”City”  shuttle -A1A business $655,580- A1A Civic $990,670.-A1A Hotel $1,823,000-A1A south cost per block $837,400-Datura cost per block $500,150- Southern entry unfocused underwhelming-unwelcoming-obelisk at entryway south end w/ public plaza +park -re-rout bike lanes to El Mar Dr. from A1A /Town Hall & El Prado pkg lot -3 choices add buildings in front & back- new buildings-sell property estimate property at $8-11 million- El Prado “Plaza” 3 choices -green space/ green space plus civic buildings (low rise connected)/ green space-civic bldgs + amphitheater -# 2 +#3 block 30% ocean view but provide use for 316 people/ Large hotels used anchors- renovations for northern hotel total $4.7 mil- $1.6 interior + $3.1 mil exterior (rendering was really awful in this writer’s opinion) -rooftop use- 2 distinct hotels renamed “Shutters Hotel ” (A1A front hotel) + “Beach Club” (oceanfront smaller hotel)/ Southern end hotel had facade additions (much nicer result in this writer’s opinion)- public parking garages were also included (as in the past) along with possibility of retail in parking lot as well southern hotel- electric shuttles for guests to get to Town etc…possible shared use (same owner of both hotels)/ smaller hotels showed presentation of what their revenues are and pointed out the biggest bang for the buck would be interior improvements-(also addressed in closing remarks)-increased density within charter – hotel conglomerations for smaller hotels-renderings (much more appealing than for the larger hotel north end of El Mar Drive )-unified marketing plan for hotels coordinating guest bookings etc…

UM faculty representative’s closing remarks…

“Inevitably you have a presentation like this and you see a whole variety of ideas. small, incremental, big, and then big ideas as well and you see numbers run around inevitably everyone starts asking how can we do that? Things seem expensive. Everything can seem impossible. Where do we start? And I really encourage you, I mean there was a real effort here and you’ll see it in the details as well that we provide to the city to give you a whole menu of options both on the private sector side and the business owners with the analysis you saw that the students just went through as well as on the streetscape side and the public realm improvements and there’s a connection between the two. The improvements to the public realm, to the streets, to the parks that’s  something shared by everyone but really I mean the streets are also your front door. It’s almost like the whole community is, this is your house and you’re all stewards of this home and parts of it are in disrepair. So the streets are almost your front driveway, the facades on alot of these buildings are your front door. And you saw it in the last analysis, it’s interesting that investment in the facade improvements doesn’t pay back the property owners nearly as much as the more expensive internal improvements. So, flat screen tvs, bathroom renovations those types of things are going to bring the room rates up and help them achieve a better market. The facade improvements are something that improves the public realm as well. So when you have this discussion about you know why should we have a facade improvement program there’s some real relevant rational in that you see it everyday as well and it’s a reflection to everyone passing through. It will be you as citizens and then visitors whether this is a successful place  or a sustainable place that cares about itself. That you know there’s an element of civic pride in this or whether you know through the main corridors of the town it’s a sense of decline and disinvestment. So, there’s alot for you to discuss and it was presented as a whole menu of options that the feeling is when you’re presented with a menu it’s kind of hard to say I don’t like anything on the menu. You know everyone should be able to find something to agree on and you can bite things off in small pieces. And so I’ll say a few words about implementation. About a hundred years ago alot of communities you saw spring up, these civic improvement societies and they would be doing exactly the kinds of things that you’re doing here having discussion about how to improve the public realm,add parks, make the community better and these were citizen movements, garden groups. It was really a phenomena of the time and nowadays we kind of rely on professional staff and people in the leadership of the community to carry the ball completely and I encourage you not to do that. It’s really hard to do alot of these things and I know , I’ve come to know alot of people who work in community redevelopment agencies, elected officials, town managers, especially the staff that are kind of in between the elected officials and the citizens. And it’s really important for citizens and business owners and property owners to become involved. It’s very easy to sit back and say well I’m against it,you know can’t do nothing, can’t do it’s impossible. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do. Then nothing improves and everything continues on the trajectory going. So you really need to have a stake in this community and decide where resources are best invested to make a difference for everyone.” He went on to say he had two examples after saying “you see the plans, the images and things are impossible”…

He said the first example was close to them, South Miami stating “Did what they call a hometown plan and they took one block you know, alot of skepticisms like you know you’re gonna spend money on these pavers and things and street lights and you know what’ll it do? So they said look , let’s take one block and do a demonstration project and then we’ll stand back and have a discussion in the community and decide whether or not we like it. So this is the block (on screen) and this is the change and the only thing changing here is the public realm. Same old concrete post, same buildings here and they allowed cafes to come out and have pavers and things. This was a big success. It showed people what was possible. It let everyone to see the cost. See the benefit and decide whether or not we want to do more of this or not and with the change. And South Miami continued along this path. So really it’s a similar scale as Lauderdale-By-The-Sea as well, which is interesting and you can see kind of the before the streetscapes investments and after. There’s a real estate story behind this as well and the real estate story is you know part of the re-investment then comes back to the community in the form of property taxes that then the community can then re-invest in other things in the public realm. So good story, good example of how the public investment pays back.”

BC- This was what I was referencing in the beginning of this post…When asked early on by the TM and the Mayor along with some Commissioners and others was to do the downtown area that fixed “Lake Colon” and to show how well a project can be done …as previously posted…What a hoot that at the end of this presentation that was the first example used!… Again I would like to know how similar S. Miami and the example below Naples are in population/budget/millage and debt…

The UM faculty representative continued on with Naples and said they too were similar scale to LBTS …  “vision thing happened you know, you hear it’s gonna end up on the shelf and nothing happens. But the community acted. The community came together and said we’re going to do this. We’re going to do it for our mainstreet. Your mainstreet is essentially Commercial Boulevard and A1A. It’s the hotel and civic connection to the community. And so they carried out this project. Same thing about two stories, two to three stories along the street. Improve streetscaping. Cafes and businesses came in and wow you’ve got things you can actually do. It’s not just for the visitors. It;’s for the citizens as well. It’s a place for everyone to enjoy. I’m gonna leave those thoughts can do, you can do. You know think incremental and carry things out.”…

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Mayor Minnet’s closing remarks…

Mayor Minnet-” Well, I just have three words, wow to the u! I think ya all deserve another round of applause. That was incredible! I heard a couple of themes tonight and I’m going to steal some of the words that many of you have been saying, both the residents and the students. And one of the things that I heard tonight and also through the whole meeting is that the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is the business and I think that’s been a theme that has gone through all of this. We’ve seen what’s happened on Commercial or A1A or through our local you know small hotels or the large hotels. Again, I want to thank the University of Miami for bringing this incredible presentation to us this evening. I’m gonna ask for one of my Commissioners to adjourn this meeting but I’m going to ask that you all not adjourn. Stay here. Talk to the students. Talk to the professors.Talk to all of us. But more importantly, take all the information you hear and make this vision come true! Because we can only do as much as you want to do and we’re here because of you and I’m just asking that you take this. Let’s, if it is the decision of us to move forward with this we need to hear from you. We need your input. We need your commitment. This is incredible for this town and I’ve think, seen just from this presentation for two hours what we can accomplish if we all work together. And I think what one of the statements was, was an attitude of collaboration and I love that and I think that will be the theme that I’ll take forward from today and move on forward because we do have a great town. I’m seeing business owners. I’m seeing residents. I’m seeing um, business owners who are residents and visa versa. We have alot at stake in this community and I look forward to all working together in making this a better place not for today but for tomorrow as well.”…

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more to come….

Link to Town website for the video of the May 26,2011 UM Design Review Workshop … http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop… The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea May 26, 2011 Special Meeting … Don’t Make Plans Just Yet … To Be Continued …

May 26, 2011 by Barbara

NOT ENOUGH INFO? ….

Dear Readers …the special meeting called for and posted for the required notice in order to address the mess that has arisen due to the Marchelos brothers changing their plans for the leasing out the pier to the Town for fireworks at the contracted rate of $10,000 for a 3-year term and upping the cost for a 1-year contract along with making other demands at the podium on Tuesday night which included preferential treatment for their business along with pulling out of their 3-day special event at their pier parking lot was put on hold to a date certain of Thursday June 2, 2011 at 7 pm… The Mayor made a brief statement  that she was informed by staff they did not have all the information they needed to proceed with the votes.. This writer has heard an extraordinary amount of time was spent inside and outside of  Town Hall today dealing with the demands and the fallout resulting from their actions…  (previous posts) ..What a shame…

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …The May 24, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission Meeting … Commission Taking A Sharp Left Turn? … #3

May 26, 2011 by Barbara

TAKING A SHARP LEFT TURN OR STOPPING AT THE SIGNAL? ….

Dear Readers …continuing on with this second part of the fireworks being put on hold for July 4,2011 due to orchestrated trumped up accusations being made by the owners of the pier at the 11th hour concerning their lease to shoot them off at their pier we know the outcome is to be decided tonight at a 5:45 pm Special Meeting in Jarvis Hall called for the Commission to vote on the expected new terms that will come from discussions that were set to take place yesterday in order to add the demands put forth by Louis Marchelos and his brother Spiro which Louis presented at the podium on Tues. night (prev. post)… These demands in this writer’s opinion were almost laughable and they certainly ran counter to Marchelos’ statement “Do I intend to take advantage of the acts of a few and punish this whole town? Absolutely not.” … “I will help the Town stay within its budget” …which he made prior to the list of wants in order to have the venue that further benefited him at the taxpayer’s expense!…

We left off with Asst TM Bud Bentley wanting to give the pier owners all they put forth which I found inconceivable for him or the Commission to even entertain rolling over after the inflammatory public comments Louis Marchelos made …The Mayor needed clarification on the change from the 3-day special event in the pier parking lot that was on the consent agenda and the new demand to have instead Athena’s regular Sat. night even on July 2nd.. Bud Bentley said the 3-day was off and would be withdrawn and that he “would suggest that they just travel on their existing approved site plan for Saturday night event and that we just approve their existing permit”…M.Bentley asked Marchelos if he missed anything…The Vice Mayor could be heard to say yes …Louis Marchelos then said they wanted full access to their pier parking lot on July 4th…The Mayor said that presented a problem and went on to describe one of the other items on the Consent agenda for the site plan for the 4th which called for the area to be closed down per the desire of the BSO… This year is different than past years as the activities will be in that area after the parade and through the evening rather than at Town Hall and El Prado Park… The Vice Mayor tried to explain the situation but that did nothing but further inflame Marchelos and some of the Commissioner (their comments to come) …The Asst. TM ignored the Vice Mayor in my opinion as well as the BSO and VFD and Town staff who put the plan in place when he asked Marchelos if he could live with a 8 pm closure over a 2 pm closure… The VM stood his ground and spoke of the layout and the package already put in place…Louis remarked “If I had known about this before Thursday this wouldn’t have happened”…Once again I must remind readers the Marchelos at that point in time were to have their 3-day pier event which would not have any cars in their lot… So his reply was less than credible in my opinion…The Vice Mayor tried once again to explain the dynamics and vehicles vs. pedestrians and safety… I found it amusing that the very same people who had ongoing concern on pedestrian vs. vehicles on El Mar Drive and A1A wanted pedestrian and vehicles in an even more precarious area for safety concerns!… The Vice Mayor stated he felt the Marchelos were being “unreasonable” and again stated his disappointment with their not being able to come to an agreement before this exchange began…He stated he was not going to “make a public spectacle of it and as far as I’m concerned the events that have been planned cannot go ahead without the road closures just as we specified” (in the agenda item)…. The Mayor clearly exasperated by the exchange and the standoff asked Mr Bentley after she shut down both Marchelos brothers from further responding to the Vice Mayor if discussions could take place the next day would that offer “sufficient time” for the VM and his committee to pull it all together… The VM said he was available 24/7 and said “provided we don’t have any allegations about underhanded or anything else. As I said before I have tried my utmost to organize this out in the open and with the assistance of Town staff that’s been terrific.”… He went on to say they could resolve this in the next 48 hours by calling a special meeting before the UM design workshop set for the 26th…The Mayor was on the same page and said that’s what she was proposing as well… I must disagree with the VM on his positive words for Town staff after hearing Asst. TM Bentley and finding the Town in this position at this juncture… The Mayor most likely thought the worst was over and the lengthy agenda could now be addressed…She wasn’t so lucky and neither were we… She extended the opportunity for Comm. Sasser to ask questions or voice his concerns due to his excused absence on Thursday night…Comm. Sasser had questions and concerns over the coordination of the event and Town vs. private with requirements and who pays for them such as toilets and trash as well as bands …What was not pointed out by staff was that with the exception of the 3-day pier owner’s special event the rest of the Town centered event was coordinated for these items… The pier owner’s event would have been required separately due to it being 3 days and a separate permit and separate vote… He also spoke of some of points having to do with the fireworks agenda item hoping to avoid problems encountered in the past and to ensure the Town was positioned well if anything unexpected occurred… He added as he finished up that he did not know what transpired and was not sitting up there to impugn anybody stating his take based on the information thus far appeared to be a communications issue and as for his other concern about competing bands and the suggestion he was going to make to stagger them so they did not compete …that was moot now that the pier owners were no longer  having their event…The Mayor again seemed to appear ready to move on and after telling Comm. Sasser he could send any other inquiries to the Town for Thursday night for which he thanked her and asked about being able to get some backup prior to that meeting in order to do so…(TAtty. and Asst. TM said they would try to do so)…Asst. TM Bentley made another rather odd assessment “From my perspective the parties are close. Any objections to the items raised except for the parking, any items the Commission could personally not abide with let them know before negotiations.” He added the  Vice Mayor said parking critical as far as access to the pier…  Talk about rose-colored glasses!…When Comm. Sasser asked Mr Bentley about the impact an 8 pm change in time would have in the site plan Bentley admitted he “didn’t participate” in the plan!…WOW!… So where was the staff member who did and the BSO?….

Commissioner Clottey and Commissioner Vincent had pushed their buttons and due to what appeared yet another incident of miscommunication on the dais after Comm. Clottey asked the Mayor if she should hold off on her questions with the Mayor seeming to imply the questions that should go forth …Comm. Sasser said he would like to hear the questions of  his fellow dais members…That made for even more flashbacks to the previous Commissions and the accusations as well as cross examinations made against a fellow dais member without regard to having all the facts … As previously posted the Mayor did speak up for the Vice Mayor by explaining the precedent held in past events chaired by Commissioners …but to no avail …Perhaps the Mayor was recalling her own inquisition from fellow Commissioners over Greenfest and that it was then-Comm. Dodd who stood by her and led the way to wipe away the travesty that was politically driven…

Tonight should be interesting indeed…I will save the comments made by Comms. Clottey (talk about strange bedfellows…Clottey-Marchelos) ) and Vincent on Tuesday night to compare to their comments made tonight and of course their votes after hearing the new terms laid down in order to even have a 4th of July event with fireworks in Town…or not…courtesy of the Marchelos brothers and perhaps some members of the administration…in my opinion… What seemed like an easy July 4th event to put together in the center of Town has become a time consuming albatross for all those who stepped up to the plate to plan and execute it ….and all because of one business feeling once again they were on the outside looking in and retaliating….as Louis Marchelos stated on Tuesday night when he made his public comments… . “Be ashamed!”…

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea May 24, 2011 Commission Meeting … How Many Times Can You Cry Wolf? … #2 …

May 25, 2011 by Barbara

SIGNAL SAYS …LOOKING FOR THE GREEN …

Dear Readers … the real fireworks came early for 4th of July this year and they began at public comments at the May 24, 2011 LBTS Commission meeting when allegations were made by Athena By The Sea owner Louis Marchelos of being the victim yet again of secret meetings and schemes to impact his businesses in town …The problem for this writer this time around after hearing such charges made by Marchelos and his brother so many times before is how many times can you cry wolf? …I watched and listened as Mr. Marchelos aimed his all too familiar laundry list of baseless accusations at Vice Mayor Dodd…That may have worked when aimed at the previous Vice Mayor  (McIntee) but it does not pass the smell test when aimed at the current Vice Mayor, Stuart Dodd… I am told by some of those who play both sides of the political aisle Marchelos found some fast support from those who thought these charges could serve as payback for my calling for no 3rd term for Mayor Minnet…as many of them know of my long friendship with the Dodds… The difference though is my reasons were spelled out and based on actions made by the Mayor that a reader and a voter can look into and see for themselves before they decide to agree or disagree …My opinions are based on the position held and not personal and never are they salaciously made calls of illegal acts … Mr Marchelos chose to make such allegations without regard to inflame …in my opinion….. Sadly I believe in the end it is the Marchelos brothers who will come out looking bad … They will come out of it looking not only like they were part of a politically motivated set-up but as trying to find a way to charge the Town even more for the use of the pier barely 2 months before the event with no other option available …..Oh sure I have no doubt the Marchelos’ “pals” will appease them on the corner by their restaurant and politically “gang up” on VM Dodd to show some sort of political camaraderie but in private they know this isn’t the first time and won’t be the last of hearing the same tired old charges being made….. There was alot of unwarranted ground covered to get in on the browbeating of the Vice Mayor and it was mind-boggling to witness in this latest “conspiracy” the Marchelos brothers think is so abundant here in LBTS when it comes to them…. It will need to be posted in more than one post… So let’s begin…

On February 22, 2011 during his Commissioner Comments VM Dodd said the following “Last but not least just as the Mayor is looking for volunteers for Easter, I’m starting to look for volunteers for July the 4th.”

On April 27, 2011 during Commissioner Comments VM Dodd said the following ” The July the 4th is progressing. I had another good meeting with the volunteer Fire Department who will be organizing the parade and will be submitting the permit to the Town shortly. Brief outline for anybody out there that is listening is the parade will be from 10 to 11:30. Then we’ll have a children’s opportunity with the Volunteer Fire Department from 11:30 to 12:00 in the Minto Parking Lot. That will be followed up with beach events. Sand castle building contest with some very generous prizes being put up by Arubas and also a demonstration or competition with Alley Oops that will be around 1 til 3. Ah, the Volunteer Fire Department have offered to do a sea rescue demonstration from 3 til about 3:30. Ah, they’ll be a band downtown from about 5 til 8:45 when people will be asked to move down to the beach to enjoy the fireworks and then they’ll be a final session from the band after that. Hopefully it will be a great day with the emphasis on the sea part of Lauderdale By The Sea as well as a low cost, low key, an event for all the people and the children of the Town.”

The April-May-June Town Topics-
Volunteers are needed for this
year’s July 4th Committee, which
is being chaired by Vice Mayor
Stuart Dodd. The Town’s annual
Fourth of July
event features a
great parade,
music and a
fantastic fireworks
show! If you can
help out at all,
please contact Vice Mayor Dodd
at 954-612-1600

BC- The Commission approved the minutes from this meeting last night at the very same Comm. meeting that many of them used for going after VM Dodd avidly inserting themselves into a situation they knew nothing about… The exception was Mayor Minnet who was right on target when she tried unsuccessfully to inform her fellow dais members of the long-standing precedent of allowing a Commissioner chair their event without dealing with such intrusive  and accusatory actions as were being witnessed … She went further to say if this was now going to be the norm that next year the staff should take over the event…Kudos to her!… Commissioner Sasser also tried to stay above the fray and concentrate on coordination and contract issues …

I know VM Dodd made the decision early on to not have a cavalcade of volunteers and to make it so the day returned to a simplicity not seen in Town on 4th of July in a very long time as the event morphed into something that left many of those who felt they were obligated to volunteer dreading being asked once again …..Loads of the VFD members was heard (prev. posts) in prior years to openly be unhappy about the amount of time expected from them to participate while taking away time with their families and friends… The Vice Mayor immediately went to the VFD and found a receptive response to the major role they would play informing the VM that it was also the VFD’s 50th year of service… The VFD was asked by the Vice Mayor to recommend someone for the Parade Marshal to personify that achievement and a longtime member will indeed be this year’s Marshal… The VFD has met often with the Vice Mayor over the past months and they have come up with what they feel is the right mix for the day’s events… The Vice Mayor knew fireworks were wanted by many in the community and sought help from the Town staff to secure the pier and the vendor and had meetings with staff many time to shore these issues up as well… The Vice Mayor decided since so many people are tourists in town why not move the festivities into the downtown and met with the businesses that are adept with dealing with events and are located in the area where tourists seem to gravitate for the holiday..The core of the downtown… I know for a fact the VM would not exclude the Marchelos brothers and that he was told by them they would be putting on a 3-day event…So he knew they were getting what they wanted and would be occupied with that…. In this writer’s opinion I believe it was gracious of the VM to not stop them from doing their event on the 4th… Knowing Stuart Dodd for so long I know that he goes out of his way to accommodate those who might be adversely impacted and he did so whenever he thought some issue for the event might do so… He did so when issues arose throughout….The Marchelos would not have had any parking impact if they were having a 3-day event in their pier lot so there would be no need for the VM himself to warn them of such an impact … The Vice Mayor surely assumed that staff would keep them in the loop as they were dealing with them on their 3-day event as well as the pier lease negotiations as Mr Marchelos pointed out in his public comments they were….I must say what also does not pass the smell test for me is that we are to believe Marchelos and his brother knew nothing of the Town’s event or the band planned …First you can now see from the comments above the timeline of events were made public…Second the Town Topics in April (see above) …and on top of that ….nothing happens in the downtown without one or both brothers knowing it…or so they have said …They are milling around the town constantly while attending to their businesses which are located at either end of the center of the downtown… One final note before continuing on …I find it quite amusing that there is this sudden clamoring for the roads to be open to the pier throughout the July 4th event coming from those who sat around the charette tables in March and just over the last days calling for no traffic east of A1A!… Now tell me that these collective cries of foul play are not trumped up!…

Louis Marchelos -public comments …

Louis Marchelos came to the podium with papers in hand and said ” Good evening Mayor, Commissioners. Louis Marchelos Athena By The Sea. I’ve had not too much to talk about lately. Um, I do now. This may appear to only affect my business but what these town representatives do to one of us establishes a precedent for all.Certain members of code services and one member of this dais do not believe a Town event includes all of us. I refer to the 4th of July Town event. The existence of the plans for 4th of July plans were intentionally concealed from me. In many contacts with Town staff while negotiating the use of the pier for fireworks and the pier parking lot for an event not one person in spite of numerous requests as to what citizen Dodd was planning had the moral courage to be up front and ethical. This includes at least Kim Williams and Stuart Dodd. The others that benefit from and participate in this secret planning must have at least turned a blind eye. Be ashamed! I found out suddenly. No contract for fireworks. Am I angry? Absolutely. Am I disappointed? Yes. Do I intend to take advantage of the acts of a few and punish this whole town? Absolutely not. I have the numbers and even though I will sustain some loss of anticipated profits I will help the Town stay within its budget by accepting the original sum of $10,000 provided the Town allows my Saturday night July 2nd event and waives my Saturday night parking fees for one year commencing now and that there is no impediment and is given complete access to use my pier parking lot on the 4th of July. It makes no sense for me to complete with a Town event from which I have been excluded. There was a finite number of people who will come to Lauderdale By The Sea  for the 4th and positioning and exclusion make it impossible. Code’s comment that we would get the spillover from the City’s supported event is without conscience. One last condition is that the matter be investigated placing Chairman Dodd and Officer Kim Williams under oath for full questioning by an independent counsel. There must be severe consequences for this outrageous breech of my rights. A little news I called Vice Mayor Dodd this afternoon. He was totally unapologetic.”…

The Mayor cut Mr. Marchelos off as he ran over the allotted 3 minutes to comment…He wanted to finish and she said “that’s it, we’re done.”…

VM Dodd’s comments were made before the consent agenda items were discussed after being put at the top of the order in order to allow the Vice Mayor to deal with the matter before he left due to recovering from hip surgery less than 2 weeks ago…

Vice Mayor Dodd-

“This saddens me that the town has not been able to reach agreement with the owners of the pier – I was told this at lunchtime today. I have tried to involve the businesses in this year’s event and approached the major restaurants in town to see if they would offer an Independence Day burger at a 10% discount and the vouchers will be handed out during the parade. The pier owners were included and agreed to participate. A sidewalk café request from the square to the pier that was submitted by Aruba’s and the Village Grille that was matched with an offer to allow the pier owners to have their own sidewalk café area from the square to A1A ,West bound commercial. Early on I was told that the pier owners would be submitting their own permit for a 3 day event and were “doing their own thing”. I even rang the pier owners to remind them to submit their permit on time. Staff have bent over backwards to accommodate all their requests even the one about the direction that the music to faces West in case there was a conflict with the musical event being organized by the town through the Village Grille. This I believe is the first three day event to be allowed at the pier site. I chose to let the owners hold their event on the 4th of July even if there was a risk of conflict with the town’s own sponsored event. The lease agreement was not in any way restrictive on the pier owners, nor did it prohibit them from holding their own party in their car park on 4th 0f July. At this juncture we do not have a lease to let off fireworks – Unless the pier owners are prepared to give their verbal agreement here tonight the next commission meeting is on June the 22nd before I can be receive formal approval to proceed with this year’s event. In my opinion Town staff and I have done all we can to accommodate the pier owner’s requests and there has been plenty of time for them to raise their concerns in the proper manor directly to myself or through town staff long before this evenings meeting. Even this afternoon I spoke to the pier owner who refused to tell me what the problem was and why he was withholding the approval of the lease.
One constructive solution would be to request a short recess to allow the town staff and myself to meet with the pier owners in order to try to salvage this year’s event. And that is what I propose. If the pier owner’s willing to meet with the Town staff and myself possibly in the kitchen while we can discuss this through and see if we can reach agreement to lease the pier There were allegations made tonight and I am not going to entertain even trying to answer them. I can simply say I am happy to answer anything under oath. There has never been and there never will be any backhand agreements or anything made that will exclude anyone of the businesses when I’m trying to organize a Town event and I actually take that as a personal affront. But in order to try and proceed forward and actually achieve something I would like to ask the pier owner publicly if you’re prepared to meet with Mr. Bentley and myself in order to  try and resolve this issue. Because without agreement tonight we cannot go ahead with the July the 4th. ”

It sounded like Spiros Marchelos yelled from the back of Jarvis hall and the Mayor said “whoa, wait,wait.”…Commissioner Clottey was confused about the item being discussed due to confusion that began when the VM asked for certain items to be moved up and the Asst. TM wanting items pulled off the “Consent Calendar” for discussion before a blanket vote was taken as well as the Mayor  stating item Fat the start of this portion of the agenda….The VM had asked for the two items that were part and parcel to the pier lease for fireworks and the pier parking lot 3-day event… The Mayor explained that to Comm. Clottey and said “So again, I think we understand what we’re all talking about here.”… She went on to say the Vice Mayor wants to get this resolved, it’s important and needs to be done as quickly as possible…She asked for a nod from Louis Marchelos to take VM Dodd up on the offer to talk during a brief recess…

Louis Marchelos ” With all due respect Mayor I want transparency. If he wants to meet let’s do it right now on the public forum so the people and the Commission could hear what’s going on. No backhanded deals in the kitchen!”

Mayor Minnet said after a brief moment of a standoff from Marchelos that the VM received his answer (no)…She said what Marchelos said in a public forum only and asked him what he wanted to do since it was his event. Before he could respond she asked if he wanted staff to come up and again before the VM could respond Asst. TM Bud Bentley came to the podium and it went from bad to worse…In this writer’s opinion the Asst. TM in his remarks below acted as if the demands made by Marchelos were valid!… Not to me!… I believe they were crazy to make and it was insane to even consider…

Asst. TM Bentley ” I heard Mr. Marchelos’ comments under public comments. I picked up on several things. One the um, I need to ask him for one clarification in the proposal was fora one year contract or a three year contract? (looking at Marchelos in the back of the all) … Ok, so the, the proposal was for a one year contract at the reduced price requested by the Town plus the waiver of the um, ongoing Saturday night parking which for you information is about $91 a night so if they have 26 events during the year that’s um, roughly well, roughly $2600 . Um, that’s what I heard as the core elements um for that, the pier owners um are asking to resolve this. There was some other things requested um, I would suggest that if we could come to agreement on the, on the pier license agreement tonight that those other things that we could talk about and explore how those communications occurred this year and then plan for next year. Um, you know it’s one of those things where um, everyone was acting from my perspective with good intentions and it was um, well and there was some communication issues from different parties. But if we could come together on the core elements and that is a one year license agreement with the pier and ah, which would include the price of $10,000 for the lease, excuse me and I left one out and approval of the event for Saturday night only this year which would be July 2nd and then waiver of the parking fees for um, the year.”

BC- This is where I end this for now… But come on …get real … The pier owners have disparaged  the Town’s Vice Mayor … They have accused him and the Town of illegal acts… They asked for and received the ok and go ahead for a 3-day event in their pier parking lot … They said they knew of no bands or Town event…Baloney…Look at the Vice Mayor’s comments in April and above…including an OJ moment to come in the next post from Comm. Clottey…The pier owners claim they will suffer financially from the Town’s event …Hogwash!… They would be having a 3-day event..They would have had food and drinks closest to the beach where the Vice Mayor stated the activities were front and center… They said they were going to not punish the Town and help keep the Town within budget and then upped the ante by $2600!… They want …they want …they want…and the Asst TM without the Town Manager or the TAtty. calling him on it was all too ready to roll over and say…anything else you want for pulling this stunt… The application for the special event was received on May 2, 2011…. and to be approved this evening…If he was not doing his own event VM Dodd would have asked him to join the rest of the establishments coordinating their efforts for the event… … The plans for closing the downtown to cars during the the day of July 4th in the afternoon was also on the agenda to be discussed and it was ironed out only in the last week or so …no longtime concealment …no secret meetings… The difference from prior years that allowed cars…This was a full day downtown event and the VFD and BSO would be at the beachfront…There is nothing in the backup for how long the negotiations went on for the fireworks but I believe it has been a while due to comments made and moving forward with the fireworks agreement that is also for 3 years…Is that now in jeopardy due to the Marchelos’ strong-arm tactics? ….How much will all this cost the Town and the taxpayers in the end….just to appease those who cry wolf?…

more to come…..

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea May 24,2011 Commission Meeting … Whoa …. Wrong Signals… #1 …

May 25, 2011 by Barbara

HOLD ON ……

Dear Readers … last night was a certainly a night of mixed signals … lots and lots of them….

Signal #1…

Under presentations the Town Manager introduced her the Town’s Traffic consultant and said she had “3 particular issues” she wanted her to present…There was the presentation of the 3 week test that will begin at the intersection of A1A and Commercial Blvd. in the center of Town this Friday through Tues. at 6am and the following 2 weeks on Friday thru Mon. morning at 6 am which takes the traffic signals off the system to allow the traffic and pedestrian walking to be altered…The Town’s Traffic Engineering consultant Molly Hughs who has been in the role she said for 3-4 months had observers watch the pedestrian traffic count on a Friday night at “peak hours” from 7:15-8:15 producing 915 pedestrians mostly walkers 98% ..no strollers,dogs, bikes and less than 3% children needing adult “maintenance” and on Sunday at “peak hours” between 4pm and 5 pm which produced 700 pedestrians 25% fewer with just over 5% walking and less than 2% children needing adult “maintenance” … Ms. Hughs said she had never counted  so many pedestrians at one corner ..With the data they were able to get the signals removed from the system to see what happens in a different scenario which may lead to other such changes in order to end up with seems to be the idea put forth at a charette in March of a 4- way red light that will allow pedestrians time to walk without any traffic going and then allow vehicles to do the same… It will not only make the fear factor go away for the pedestrians said Ms. Hughs but it will make the traffic flow as well due to no holdup from pedestrians in order to left or make a right on red … a win-win…The game plan in place…certain hoops need to be done to get to the goal line…thus the 3 week test/study… Then the awful looking poles could be removed…They were installed Ms. Hughs surmised after being asked by Comm. Clottey were placed there to keep drivers from turning into parked cars … She also went into the overpass over the intracoastal an d lowering the speed limit…Some data was compiled and she and Don Prince went to FDOT and were told no it would not be lowered to 30mph from 35mph…Ms. Hughs took the opportunity to inform the Commission and the audience how to get the speed limits lowered by designing restrictions such as less road space which lowers the average driver which then leads to the study showing lowered speed of vehicles and getting the FDOT on board…She said it was akin to needing 5 fatalities at a signal before it is serious enough to stop anymore… She explained difficulties on state roads and allowed traffic calming on non-state roads…  The Commissioners asked some questions… most we have heard before and were already covered in prior discussions…Comm. Vincent wanted to know how people were going to know they needed to wait when the 4-way red lights began…Ms. Hughs said education would go along with such a change… Comm. Sasser agreed with Comm. Vincent’s concerns and spoke of the length of pedestrian time required for those who cannot make it through at the present rate… The VM asked about the signal and the loop and triggers in place… and the Mayor made the last statement saying “the real key ” is they are addressing the issue….Which of course leads this writer to ask as I will continue to ask…We are now in late May 2011 and this situation was on the May 2010 priority list …Why did it take a year plus for it to get to this point…My opinion…the Master Plan redevelopment…(more examples to come )…

The next mixed signal …came at public comments…with early fireworks ….that arose ….it appears…. from mixed signals behind the scenes paired with a good dose of political fervor that ignited into some deja vu moments from the past at the podium and on the dais… LBTS pre-election season …. some things never change!…

more to come………..

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Is This Mayor Minnet’s New Branding Idea For Lauderdale-By-The-Sea For 2012? …

May 22, 2011 by Barbara

MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET ” I AM ASKING YOU NOT TO STOP HERE, KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING. I COULD USE WORDS LIKE PIE IN THE SKY  BUT WHAT I AM HEARING  IS THESE THINGS ARE FEASIBLE. I AM HEARING THAT YOU WANT TO SEE THE TOWN GROW!” Quotes sent to this writer from the 5/21/11 UM Design Team Charette where parking garage(s) /New Town Hall Complex & El Prado Plaza /undergrounding El Mar Drive & Downtown /Town land and building acquisitions reigned as anything but “low priorities”…

WELCOME TO LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA WHERE PIE IN THE SKY IS FEASIBLE …

Dear Readers …You know what gets voters backs up and makes them sit up and take notice more than anything else?… It’s when they suddenly become aware of a politician that skews their stance publicly and privately…cameras on or cameras off…for the audience they are pandering to… Such is the case… we hear…. after yesterday’s UM Design Team Charette in Jarvis Hall when Mayor Roseann Minnet took to the podium and made the above statements about momentum…pie in the sky items being feasible…and the rally for the Town to grow… (according to reports this writer received from some attendees)… No cameras were on and nothing was recorded… (despite this writer asking prior for the events like this to be online & channel 78 in order for there to be a record) ….The words spoken by Mayor Minnet to her enthusiastic room full of supporters for full re-development (details below) …are in startling contrast to her prepared written words spoken on May 10, 2011 for shooting down the notion of  allowing referendums to be included on the ballot with her when she runs for a 3rd term as Mayor in 2012 …A recap from the a prev. post to remind the voters what she said when the tape was running…and the minutes were being taken for a record to be approved …

“Alright, I’m just gonna jump right into it! Alright, thank you Stuart cause there are, there are definitions here and each one of us define them differently. But during the last election I ran on a strong message and that message was create a defined plan for the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. We criticized our predecessors for not having proper planning. This Commission is prioritizing and developing a long range plan that is consistent with positive change. We’re keeping the height limits and unique identity that defines our home and currently we’re doing just that. We have had resident input, business input and this month the University of Miami is coming in to study and offer a feasibility plan for A1A and Commercial that will again take our town into a constructive direction to developing this plan. Not only have we been developing this plan but the Commission has been ranking projects and we have even discussed the feasibilities of one of the items under discussion tonight as a low priority. So what are we really doing here?”

” Weren’t we elected to make these decisions and aren’t we in a fiscally responsible manner? We’re working on an RFP that will get us costs for undergrounding utilities in the downtown El Mar area only. By undergrounding this core area, this is where we may differ, the town will have created an area that is safer utilities, will be more reliable and the area will be aesthetically more attractive. Can you truly guesstimate the costs on safety, reliability and aesthetics and how can you get that into 75 words or less in a referendum?”…

” Yes we agreed to move forward with the Master Plan Steering Committee recommendations but I understood that undergrounding to be the responsibility of the Town. Presently two developments have occurred. Oriana and Minto. Through site plan approval they were required to pay for their undergrounding in the Town’s right- of- way. This doesn’t need to change. The residents should not be on the hook for this expense. Yes it may take longer but the burden is on the landowner, not the Town.”

” Parking garage, this Commission has already voted that this is a low priority so why are we even discussing it. And the hall complex, if this is even a viable idea it is a concept for future years and should be addressed in the capital improvement budget if necessary so we we can identify matching grants and partnerships. The Town is not again responsible for the entire revenue expenditure.”

” In conclusion I am saddened that policy decisions, decisions that people elected us to make, decisions I was elected to make truly transparent and fiscally responsible are turning into political issues.”.

“I hope as Commissioners we can inspire our town to move forward and not shirking our duties as leaders do our due diligence by defining our goals and stand strong to the decisions that are made. I have always said you may not agree with my decision but you will know the reasons why and they will be fiscally responsible and fair. There is an order to follow and if order is not followed failure is not far behind. So maybe this is the real question. Are we saying, are you saying you don’t want change? Because these measures will truly sabotage any plan before us before it is even developed.”

BC-The feedback this writer received about yesterday morning’s UM Design Charette was that it was “well attended” …Who was it “well attended” by?   It was well attended by University of Miami students. ..along with the usual crowd of Minnet supporters for a full out re-development of the town along with 4 of the 5 Commissioner members (Clottey was MIA we are told) … with the Town Manager, Asst. Town Manager and various staff members  ….

The Town Manager’s Report for Tuesday night’s Comm. mtg. (5/24/11) …

page 2 jpeg…

The above memo states the event was “advertised heavily” …. We are told a banner was put up on the Comm. Blvd. Pavilion late in the week … Also there was a press release was sent out from the Town’s PIO (prev. post) along with the same press release sent out by email blast from the Chamber …It was online on the Town’s website and streamed repeatedly on channel 78 ….A writeup appeared late last week online in the Sentinel…

The memo above states “an enormous effort has gone into preparing” for this event…and TM Hoffmann included the efforts made by the Mayor and those she “recruited” to distributed flyers to the condos and residences …. The response to that effort appears dismal at best as a result …The participants who came can be seen online and on channel 78 ….The Town put pictures taken we assume by PIO D’Oliveira of those in attendance on asap after the event ended at noon… A close look revealed those who informed this writer who showed up were correct…It was the “usual suspects”…as a few attendees put it… By that they meant those who support the Mayor and support a full out re-development of the Town ….decided by the Commission alone…

When this writer was managing the campaign for the Mayor and the rest of the slate I made a point not to use photos with these very same UOT supporters knowing full well the ire I knew these people raised with voters in the south and SRClub in previous elections due to their backing issues such as the Town paying for sewers in the Palm Club, the removal of the VFD, previous development plans such as overlay districts and heights, former Town Manager Baldwin and past elected officials such as former Mayor Oliver Parker  …The question now is will these pictures and this turnout have that same effect in 2012?… I am told the charette was run the same as the previous charette in March and that too pans out from the photos seen online and on channel 78 …We are told the procedure was dressed up quite a bit with photos and transparent covers to mark ($16,000+ allows for more than markers and cardboard) .. I was informed by all who contacted me …the same people in attendance this time provided the same priorities as well …parking garages ..no parking east of A1A…new Town Hall and Town Plaza…undergrounding downtown and El Mar Drive …hotel incentives for rehabbing  ..trolly cars …sidewalk cafes and west of A1A improvements…. buying the apartment building for the expansion of the Bougainvilla parking lot and a future garage as well as other land acquisition for public bathrooms …Basin Drive development and Town acquisition of property there … Great enthusiasm …a real rally and a rallying cry to go full speed ahead…summed up by the Mayor’s statements at the podium … “Pie in the Sky”… “to grow the Town” …

It’s true I was for a Town Hall complex … but that was when we had the money in the bank in 2008 …and that was before we paid it all back with a large pre-penalty payment (prev. posts) and after we bought a dilapidated hotel next door for the public safety complex …Not now!…I wanted a simple revised Master Plan when I was working under the facts I was informed of at that time that a Master Plan needed to be updated every 5 years and I thought we were already one year late in complying…That turned out to be false information per Planner Cecelia Ward’s statement at her presentation that a Master Plan was not even required… Not only did we not just revise the plan as I thought was the directive given in 2010 but we went all out at the expense of the priorities that were supposed to be addressed this fiscal year… I wanted drainage addressed as did many of those who voted this slate in from the south end of town….. For those with the rallying cry to grow the Town rainy season has not arrived and thus far flooding has not factored in this year to quickly remind those affected with the #1 priority in their backyard (front yard or side yard) … In fact a look at the TM Report for 5/24 /11  (pg 5/6/9) shows what this writer previously posted …those RFPs and/or ITBs were neglected way too long for all this “Pie in the Sky” (it’s  much more fun and exciting than sewer lines and drainage issues)… The sewer RFP was received this month and had 9 responses for engineering analysis  (the studies may exceed $200,000 as stated in the RFP) which is not expanded on just who will make the choice of the engineering  services and alternate …Will it be the TM and/or a committee of 3? … It will be presented to the Comm. in June… the same month they begin discussing the 2011-12 budget …The first drainage (258 pg) ITB (invitation to bid) went out this month and will be presented (for one street only)… West Tradewinds Dr. in June…Flamingo Rd. which was ahead of West Tradewinds will be a separate ITB (invitation to bid) presented to the Comm. in July due to a change in the original design concept…Harbor Drive which is in the same area was put on hold by the Administration who chose not to bring it to the Comm. The hold was due to the annual contract amount for Chen running over their limit …So the Administration stopped it in its tracks until the RFQ which just went out around May 18th comes back …Why?… Why not see if the Commission would extend the amount and put out an ITB for the entire area…(which should have been done months ago …in this writer’s opinion)… The downtown drainage…of Lake Colon or maybe now re-named Lake Minnet due to its being scratched as well in 2011 …was put on hold when the Commission decided to go out for RFP rather than assign work to Chen … costing a long delay…and then jumped to pile on undergrounding as previously posted which we all know will cost big bucks and cost those who need to hook up to the new service thousands just from what has happened in other municipalities..

It comes down to this….no big projects have happened over the last year (excluding policy issues in the first 4 months) with the exception of new parking pay stations and new colored benches in the pavilion which I was just informed are now being occupied by homeless people  (if true that is disheartening)… and the fish bicycle stand … shells and Adirondack chairs in El Prado Park and the Diane Boutin table and benches in the Washingtonia Park…

My continued and mounting concerns have nothing to do with personalities …They are based on actions …. In the last year the Mayor and the Town Manager have not been able show that they what they can do to fix Lake Colon-Minnet and how they can manage one million dollars in the downtown area…. When asked last year by both I told them to do this one  downtown drainage project well ……Show all in town how it can be done right…It’s something we have not seen in this town as evidenced by these very drainage problems that resulted from former TM Colon cutting the originally slated one million dollar pavilion budget that became a $400,000 project down to $175,000 by cutting out these very much needed infrastructure requirements … If we don’t know how well they can handle a million dollar project how can we trust them with these 20-30 million-plus projects… All theses actions made by Town Manager Hoffmann in hiring consultants such as RMA/Cecelia Ward /U of Miami and the Town Manager’s Report (5/24/11) inclusion under recruitments (pg 1) of a hiring a full-time staff planner  a “senior-level planning professional” point to big moves being made in addition to recent comments made about loans and bonds … Put together with the  “pie in the sky” comments made by the Mayor yesterday…the new editorial in the ByTheSeaFuture…and the rallying cry from those “pals” showing up at the podium and the charettes who have the Mayor’s and Town Manager’s ear… leave this writer little choice but to believe big plans are full speed ahead …. despite the pain I am told is being felt by those taxpayers not in attendance who are being hit with new assessments ..ever increasing fees and increased bills while seeing less income from their investments and watching their savings shrink …

Will we see “pie in the sky” in 2012 or “pie in the face” if there are no referendum items on the ballot in January?… I wonder if there are still people in south end of town and in SRClub who will do as they did in 2008 and 2010 and make their voices heard at the polls rather than the podium in Jarvis Hall ?… Are there any independent candidates out there with $12,000 they can come up with and/or raise to run against the incumbents who have their eyes on that” pie in the sky” after they sit back down on the dais next February?…That outcome will surely leave that pie bill for the voters to cover one way or another? …Will it be last man (woman) standing in round three of north vs. south as it appears is the case at this juncture in LBTS ?…

What happened to first term Mayor Minnet who ran on fiscal responsibility for a second term?…The bill for consultants and professional services will be close to the monies we paid out to former TM Colon…. It was a big issue she ran on in her 2010 campaign …How does Mayor Minnet run on that for a 3rd term?….What happened to Mayor Minnet who said sewers and drainage came first as priorities over streetscapes? …. (May 10, 2010)…They fell by the wayside …(see above) …..How does Mayor Minnet run on that for a 3rd term?….What happened to Mayor Minnet who ran on in 2010  and stated from the dais during and after the election that she did not want to do anything to “tie the hands of future Commissions”?.. What does she think would tie the hands of future Commissions more than “pie in the sky?”….How does Mayor Minnet run on that for a 3rd  term ?….

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea May 10, 2011 Commission Roundtable Meeting … Want Interest With That Debt? …#3 …

May 20, 2011 by Barbara

OUR PARKING SYSTEM DEBT  (aka  Bougainvilla parking lot loan) …….TO KEEP IT OR NOT TO KEEP IT …. THAT IS THE QUESTION ….TO USE IT FOR FUTURE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS  …. THE REAL QUESTION IS …..WOULD YOU BORROW MONEY AT 4% AND INVEST IT AT LESS THAN 1%?….

Dear Readers … Before I get to the verbatim discussion on item 3f Parking System Debt (5/10/2011) let me remind you as you read the remarks from your elected officials that three of them ….Mayor Minnet, Commissioner Vincent and Commissioner Clottey are on record just a few items before  (3aii) for not wanting referendum items on the January ballot asking us to believe them that the big ticket items such as Town Hall/El Prado (to become a grassed square)/parking garages and undergrounding downtown or the whole of El Mar Drive are 5-10 years away despite the incredible amount of time and money spent in the last year with no groundbreaking for drainage problems seen anywhere in town that says otherwise…despite the fact that that was the top priority this fiscal year….The UM Design Charette on Sat. morning to be followed by five days of a design “team” inside Jarvis Hall culminating with a Town Commission-Design Team Review on Thur. May 26, 2011 at 6pm touts the following in the press release…’The charrette is being held with professional architects and designers from the University of Miami’s School of Architecture to help the Town design a fresh look for State Road A1A, Commercial Boulevard, Town Hall and El Prado. Jarvis Hall, 4501 Ocean Drive (adjacent to Town Hall), is located on the west side of State Road A1A about three blocks north of Commercial Boulevard. The charrette is a collaborative session where UM designers will work with Town residents and business owners to develop new designs for Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to encourage future economic development.”…. RMA is now doing a $19,900 plan to further spell out the year- to- year plans and Planner Cecelia Ward is continuing on with her role as well… The above along with the comments made below by these three and the Town Manager and her acting Finance Director on why we should keep the parking debt (approx. $5,000 a month interest/$112,000 pre-pay fee/ ends in 2020) should make voters sit up and take notice …It’s for future capital improvement projects they want to do …This parking debt item will also explain why this writer is asking for a change on the dais once again next January…The verbatim content below is startling…dumbfounding and downright humorous with what comes out of the some of the Commissioner’s mouths as they digress on the topic… Read it for yourself, go online and watch the video on the Town’s website and then keep reading and watching before you cast your vote in 2012 in order to decide just how and just who decides how your money is to be spent…

3f. Parking System Debt

The Mayor began by saying that it was Commissioner Vincent who had requested this be put on for roundtable discussion ..The Town Manager could be heard to say “it was?”…and Comm. Vincent responded “I don’t believe so”…The Mayor said “I believe we did discuss that. I don’t know if anyone has any questions or concerns about that as far as the parking?”…Commissioner Vincent could be heard to say “no.”… after a lag time..Comm. Sasser sat forward and said “I do. I think it should be paid off!”… The Mayor reluctantly replied “Ok, I’m not in favor of paying it off, its;”…Comm Vincent interjecting said “I’m not at this point.”…Mayor Minnet continuing her sentence said “self, it’s a self funded fund and it’s not something I would be in favor of, of paying it off.”..

BC- Remember these statements as read on…

Comm. Sasser ” And, I mean I cannot fathom how we can say it’s self funding when in fact we could actually spend more money pulling out of the parking fund putting back into the general fund. It’s just moving finances from one side to the other. We’re spending money on interest every single year and we have the money to pay it off and so why pay interest? And the argument that it’s hard to get a loan doesn’t hold water with me. If it were my finances and there was a loan out there and I had the money to pay it off I’d pay it off simply to not have to pay the interest. It seems 101 to me and when we say things like well you know the parking pays for it well that’s the parking pays for the debt service on that. But if we can take the parking revenues and not have to pay the debt service on it, it seems intuitive to me. So, I am for paying off the loan or at least looking into it more. I think we have to get some answers regarding the termination fees. I think that’s important and to pay off debt seems to make sense.

Comm. Vincent “I have to agree with Commissioner Sasser, Scot on that. Well put! I think the problem that I’m trying to get wrapped around with this is it’s a 3.95 compounded monthly interest rate , fairly low.” (In the backup Finance Dir. Haag states the rate is way above market at this point in time) “We do the 112,000 plus other incidental fees let’s call it 120,000 dollars pre payment penalty. My concerns with all what we’re looking to do in this town I don’t want to go out to get another loan in a year or year and a half. Now if we choose to do that and start up a new loan when we’re all just gonna be paying it down and borrowing it back. That’s my concern. So, I think we still have ample time to really digest this and look through it. I agree with Scot, you know see if we need to do this. You know the backup in here’s pretty clear, pretty concise um, I don’t think there’s a need to expedite paying this down until we really look at you know the cash on hand, what we’re doing, what we plan on doing once we get all the reports back from University of Miami and this and that. What projects are gonna move forward um, and you know paying down this loan and then having to go back and re-borrow it and that’s just really my concern right now going through the semantics.”

BC- The backup explained the situation on the parking loan…The cash on hand was summarized long ago…we are flush… Comm. Vincent is all over the place and besides interjecting constantly throughout this meeting …he constantly needs to “digest” the information already served up as well as being on the bandwagon for the ever present projects the Comm. would like the funds for …”…

Comm. Clottey “I agree with Scot that I personally would like to see it paid down but we do live in a very hurricane prone area and we have alot of projects that we would like to use to improve things in our town. We need new storm sewers in many parts of town. What happens if something breaks and we have to have it really fixed and it costs almost a million dollars? Those are the concerns that I have and I think we need to look carefully at our options before we pay this off.”

BC- as previously posted…we have an emergency fund for hurricanes…The storm sewers have been idle while this redevelopment exercise has gone full throttle…and as for a million if something breaks..we’ve got it…As for the rest of it …again it’s all there …

Vice Mayor Dodd said he had a question for Mr.Haag and while Mr Haag was making his way to the podium Comm. Clottey said the following ” Let me just say this is the only loan that we have it isn’t like we have alot of the.”.. The Mayor visibly eager to attach onto Comm. Clottey’s statement said “This is the only debt that the Town does have”…

VM Dodd ” The money that we would use to pay off the loan, are we currently getting a better rate of return where this is invested or are we effectively going backwards?”

Mr. Haag ” The current rate of return on our investments is not anywhere approaching the 3.95 (%)

VM Dodd ” So we are basically going backwards. That we’ve go a loan of money and the interest on that isn’t covered by the other money that we have that we’ve got invested.”

Comm. Sasser ” One’s an expense and one’s a revenue item.”

VM Dodd ” Looking at your personal finances (asking Haag) what would you do if it was your money if you had x dollars here and you’ve got a loan outstanding would you personaly pay off that loan in order to free up that interest?”

Mr. Haag ” Vice Mayor, I think the question here and maybe I wasn’t very good at kinda getting to the point, was the concern I think, is one for overall liquidity in terms of to pay off the loan. This and I heard a comment earlier I agree with all of you but none of you (Comm. Sasser made a comment close to that while discussing the referendums) but actually, I think I agree with pretty much what everyone has said. Kinda what it boils down to”… The Town Manager chimed in “You’re elected!”… They all laughed… Mr Haag continued “The issue is more so one of overall liquidity. The bottom line is what this will do will substantially reduce by 50% our general fund reserves.”

The TM corrected him “Our un-designated general funds.”

Doug Haag “I’m sorry yes, thank you. So the question becomes, depending on what the Town , what you want to do down the road as far as capital projects and what funds those are required that type of thing. It might behoove us, I think somebody mentioned this, to continue to evaluate this especially during the budget process and see how things kinda shake out in terms of those capital projects and what our cash requirements are gonna be for those things. Um, so we don’t have a year or two from now go back out and get another loan.”

Vice Mayor Dodd ” Well can I ask you what’s wrong with that in terms of principal. Because if that loan that we currently have is incurring pre- payment penalties isn’t it better to go to the bank and negotiate those pre-payment penalties and pay off that loan?

Comm. Vincent interjecting “No guarantees. ”

The Vice Mayor continued ” and if you decide you need a loan down the road thay you go out and get the best that you can at that stage because that would seem to me to be the more prudent way of handling one’s finances.”

The Town Manager said “Well the issue is you don’t know what the interest rates” …Comm. Vincent interjecting “don’t know what the rates are gonna be.”…TM continuing on ” and that’s anybody’s guess whether the rates are gonna go up or not.”

Comm. Vincent ” There’s no guarantee we’re gonna get these pre-payment penalty payments off either. I mean you know there’s alot of um, variables here that are unknown.”

Comm. Sasser ” Point of information and Stu I know it’s your question but I just want to make sure that everybody at home understands that when we say we’re gonna take that down by half we’re talking about really one piece of , we have alot more money in the general fund. I mean we’ve got what 5 million there, we’ve got a least 4 million in the capital fund. I mean it’s not like we don’t have money out there. It’s not like you know we’re gonna take away half of everything. I just wanted , I think it’s still valid don’t get me wrong. I just don’t want everybody to think we only 2 million dollars out there and payin a million of it’s gonna take it down.”

Mayor Minnet “I think it’s important, go ahead Stuart you still have the floor” after she realized he had not yielded…

VM Dodd ” That’s quite alright, I was just wondering when I was gonna get it back.”…Laughter erupted from all…The Mayor chimed back “There you go!”..

VM Dodd ” I’m sorry I’m not a financial whiz here but I still, the way I run my finances in my home and I’m trying to look at whether this is applicable to the way the Town should be running its finances that we ended up with a rather large pre-penalty payment on a previous loan (the last loan paid off another Colon- Baldwin- Parker led acquisition) and I don’t want to get into that same situation. I believe that this Town is financially very strong and that we should go to SunTrust and negotiate that down and say look if you want our business then you’re gonna have to play our game because we’ve got some cash here that we want to either restructure it, refinance it , whatever if we decide we need that loan. I am leaning alot more towards Commissioner Sasser and Commissioner Vincent’s idea that we should probably look at paying off that loan and decide what money we need and then go and get that money out at the correct rate of interest.”

Comm. Vincent interjected ” No, I, that’s not what I said Vice Mayor. I was in total disagreement of Scot’s , I don’t want to pay it down. I don’t want to have to go out and re-borrow it in 6 months to a year after paying 118,000 dollars in pre-payment penalties. No I don’t want to do that. So I just wanted to stand corrected.”….Commissioner Sasser could be seen and heard seated between Comm. Vincent and the VM to say “What?” …Right he was …just scroll up to Comm. Vincent’s first comments where he states 2 times he agrees with Comm. Sasser…

Mayor Minnet “Alright it sounds like there is some consensus here to at least find out what it is that this pre-payment would be . To see if SunTrust would negotiate something um, on, on this loan. Um., you heard from me. I made it very simple. Again, this is a you know, we’re currently raising our parking fee structures to ensure that adequate payments are going to be made to pay off this debt. Um, it truly, it would be great to pay off the debt um, let’s get all the information together so that we could make a judgment to see if number one it is feasible for this town to do it . As Commissioner Clottey said we do not want to um, eat into our reserves. Ah, we have to look at the capital improvement budgets. So let’s have staff look into exactly what the amount the pre-penalty would be. Ask them to talk to SunTrust. See what SunTrust says and let’s see where we’re at!” Let’s get the numbers.”

BC- the backup provided the numbers…The TM made it clear at the Commission meeting the time to negotiate on the pre-payment was when the Commission knew what they were going to do …in other words when we were ready to got toe-to-toe …

TM Hoffmann ” Well we’ve asked SunTrust .They have not responded yet. Um, we can do that. The issue though you, it’s not so much the pre-payment penalty is the other more philosophical issue of do you hold on to the money you have in order to do some of these projects or do you wait and see whether you’re gonna refinance later?”

BC- again the backup …

“$1,396,965.27 Principal
112,223 Pre-payment fee
4904.90 Interest
$1,514,094.07 Total’

The amount is miniscule in terms of what needs to be done in the future of this town before the big ticket Master Plan redevelopment items …Just the drainage will be between 12-17 million …The sewers in the south …millions …The interest on this debt if carried until 2020 about what we are paying for the consultants etc… again borrow 4% to save less than 1% …That’s what happened when this Administration moved $3 million into low earning for over a year as was done over the past months rather than come to the Commission to pay off a higher interest loan at a percentage rate well over market at the present time according to the Finance Director…

Mayor Minnet ” Alright we’ve got budget time coming up. That’s a major concern during budget time because if we decide to pay off that debt that will reduce the amount of available funds that we have for capital improvement projects and that’s really where the decision will lie.”

BC- and that’s why I want referendums…No capital improvement projects were done in the current budget year so we have monies …lots of it as Comm. Sasser stated…

Comm. Sasser ” And how many months away is budget?”…The Mayor interjected “Now!”…Comm. Sasser continued “It’s just a couple of months away right? So what’s the interest per month Doug? Is it 4,904 dollars somewhere around in there?”… Mr Haag replied that was pretty close to which Comm. Sasser said he was ok with waiting until then to make the decision…

Mayor Minnet ” I think it’s close enough time. Look where we’re at, look at our capital improvement budget improvement program. See where we’re at to see maybe we just pay off half of it. Maybe ther’s not a pre-payment penalty. Is there a pre-payment penalty? Is there a pre-payment penalty for paying it all off? What about only paying 49% of the loan?”

TM Hoffmann ” Well I actually think that’s part of the negotiation process that we’ll have with them once we decide what you want to do.”

BC- That did not stop the Mayor…she was on a roll…a 180 degree roll from her first comments to keep this “self funding ” loan…

Mayor Minnet”You may be able to , to um, reduce just the amount of the loan itself for half like I said 49% of it before you trigger a pre-payment penalty and that would be something you could look at through the contract. I don’t know.”

Comm. Sasser ” Yeah, I think all those options are imprtant, yeah.”

Mayor Minnet” So let’s look at that during budget time. Not get caught up in this process. It was an issue that was brought up. We have, we’re discussing it and um, let’s move forward. So Connie you’re gonna come back with the exact information. You’re gonna continue getting information from SunTrust so that when we”

TM Hoffmann” Well Mayor, I really recommend that we, we’ll talk to SunTrust but I think our real negotiating strength is once we decide what we want to do.”

Mayor ” Alright the, I would still continue to talk to SunTrust.”

TM” We will.”

Mayor Minnet ” and also ask the question that I just asked about what triggers the pre-payment . Is it what, what substantial amount triggers the pre-payment penalty. We may be able to just reduce the loan by what I said 49% which is a considerable amount and still continue to fund what we would like to do in the capital improvement budget but then also reduce our debt on the other side which reduces the interest payment interest amounts. So let’s get that information.”

BC- YIKES!…

Comm. Clottey ” I have a question I’d like to ask Doug (Haag). Ah, in your opinion does pre-paying this or keeping it on the books , what effect would each of these alternatives have on our credit rating or our bond rating/” The TM replied “We have no bond rating”…Comm Clottey was puzzled and responded “We have none?” The TM said “We don’t , because we haven’t gone to the bond market and so”… The Mayor then chimed in “So that answers that. ok”..

VM Dodd ” The other question I really would like to know is if we had to decide to go out and borrow 3 million to do the undergrounding for the sake of argument on El Mar or just the downtown what are the current rates that we could get that money on compared to this plus its pre-payment?

Finance Dir. Haag” Ah, it’s gonna vary a little bit depending on terms, things like that but kinda just a very broad ballpark estimate that I received for financing on this which is roughly a 10 year term would have been just a little north of 3%”

TM Hoffmann” And we need to look to what the League of Cities does loans to cities too. So we’ll have to check their interest rates.”

VM Dodd” So you’re telling me that we could go and get another loan for around 2 million and for a little over 3% plus the regular fees and here we are with a #.95% loan with a pre-payment penalty. Doesn’t seem to add up in my book yet! Maybe I’m missing the point here? You’re telling me we could go out and get some more money if we wanted to at a little over 3%?

Doug Haag” But remember there’s at least right now we’re looking at the 112,000 dollar pre-payment fee. So refinancing when we look at a refinancing at about 3% the interest savings wasn’t enough to offset the $112,00.”

VM Dodd” No, I’m not looking at refinancing. I’m looking at going to SunTrust to say are you gonna play ball with us because if you’re not you took us over the coals for the 6 million one (loan) where we repaid a very high pre-penalty fee and if you want our business then my attitude would be that we need to actually put to them that we could pay this off now and we could go out on the free market and get a new loan for 10 years at 3% is what we could do and we could take our banking elsewhere if we have to because it doesn’t strike me we’re making any benefit here. We’re carrying a fairly heavy loan at 3.95% plus pre-payment and I agree with Commissioner Sasser here that we should do everything we can to get rid of this as a Commission and there are better terms that we could get out there and better banking terms probably.”

Comm. Vincent “Can I respond , you know in the real world Vice Mayor if we could go out pay this loan off and tell SunTrust we’re not giving you your 112,000 dollars and go out and get another loan for 3% yeah that’d be great! I’d do that tomorrow with my own money! But we don’t know those answers yet. So to sit here and micro-manage and split atoms all night long and we don’t have any answers yet, SunTrust has not gotten back to us as Connie stated. So to sit here and suggest they’re not gonna make us pay the 112,000 pre-payment is preposterous to even go on any further in a conversation!”

BC- The Vice Mayor never made any such statement…Micro-managing would be better aimed at the Mayor for her ongoing instructions to the TM and as for splitting atoms… all I can say is 2014 and Comm. Vincent will be split from the Commission…no doubt!..

Mayor “ok”

Comm. Sasser ” As philosophical as Connie stated which is do you want to pay off the debt that you can afford to pay off” …Comm. Vincent interjected “Right”… Comm. Sasser continued “My answer’s yes and I think that’s what we’re gonna come back to.”…VM Dodd could be heard to say “as is mine.”…

Mayor Minnet” As Commissioner Clottey stated too there are concerns about reserves that you want to maintain so I think that there are both sides to this. I think we need to really look at this and see where we want to go. So those decisions will be brought back during budget time and Connie this is certainly a priority cause it sounds like this Commission wants to see during budget time to see where we’re going to be at to reduce this debt. If we’re gonna reduce this debt as part of this next fiscal year. Alright is that the direction? I think we’ve got that. Connie’s gonna get that information together. Alright.”… Comm. Sasser clearly exasperated replied “Yes!”

BC- I’m with Sasser and Dodd …pay off the the debt…and do not even consider getting any other loans until you ask the voters what…when and how…

More to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …Lauderdale-By-The-Sea A Town Divided By Their Pocketbooks? …. Alliances vs. Action Taken … Hazardous To Your Health & Wealth ….

May 20, 2011 by Barbara

PHYSICIANS AND POLITICIANS … HEAL THYSELF ….

Dear Readers …before I continue on getting my next post ready to put on let me take this opportunity to answer a Letter to the Editor in today’s BTSFuture as well as the Editorial …

The Letter to the Editor…

‘I am writing in response to comments which Barbara Cole recently posted on her website. Barbara, I really felt a great
respect for your efforts in our last election. No doubt your involvement helped win for our candidates. What I don’t
understand is your attack on our mayor and commissioners. You seem not to understand what they are trying to accomplish.
Is it that difficult for you since you helped run their campaigns to sit and intelligently express your concerns
with their actions? I don’t think your “blog” unites, it seems to “divide.”
Buster Celestino, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’

http://www.bytheseafuture.org/

BC- Mr Celestino knows very well who ran the campaign and was always extremely complimentary each time we met throughout and immediately after the candidates won by a landslide… From the letter he sent to the paper it appears to be deja vu for this writer with the same charges made when I opposed the actions taken by the 2008 CIC candidates I co-managed once they were in office after a period of time… As I have previously posted… which I believe was very easy to understand for anyone who took the time to read my posts was that once again after a period of time I do not agree with the actions being taken…and I have clearly pointed those actions out…

It is always much easier to make a blanket statement such as  “attack” than to go point by point on the issues at hand… I fully understand where the majority on the Commission and the Town Administration is going and while I still cannot find when the direction was given to do so…I disagree with it… I know quite well what was to be accomplished within the first 2 years of the first term for Comms. Sasser and Vincent and the second term of Mayor Minnet as I sat in and participated fully in each one of those meetings as we discussed it until Sunshine was in effect (as previously posted) … Over one year later it appears that those items were derailed for items that were not discussed any further in detail other than to say it was not the right time to pursue them …

I came back to posting after a 3 month “retirement” because it was apparent that much of what was happening was being swept under the rug as far as the direction we as a town were embarked on with no one to make sure it was known to the public …

I often wonder about those that are so willing to forget the facts and the issues in order to keep their alliances in tact and support those they like at any cost whether for social situations or not wanting to enter into the fray … I pose this question to those who think this way…

If you went to a physician you chose due to the great references received from your friends and acquaintances … A physician who looked really good from the diplomas on the wall to the people sitting beside you in the waiting room who are all enamored with his style …only to find out after a short time his/her style was not your style of doctoring …. This doctor was keeping you waiting far longer than you anticipated …This doctor was not asking you all the questions you thought he/she should….This doctor was unable to answer all your questions and concerns coherently ..This doctor in fact changed all your medicine without regard to the medicine you have long been on and worked well for you and now you felt lousy …Not only that but he/she was costing you much more than you thought was fair or reasonable …Would you stay with him/her because of the alliance you have with those who brought you here in the first place and suffer in silence or would you speak up and move on hoping to find a doctor that will do what he/she should for you?… For this writer I would not hesitate to speak up and move on…based on his/her actions not on the alliances of those around me …Life’s too short…The same goes for those politicians I elect!…

As far as dividing the town, Mr Celestino… as I have always maintained…this town is made up of voters who are very smart and and they can make up their own minds how to vote once provided all the information to do so… I am providing my opinion along with the verbatim words spoken by those who serve …which I am told is a service to the many who read my site..

I do thank you though for your letter to the Editor …It will undoubtedly be of service as well as it will along with my ads now back in ByTheSeaFuture …the only locally printed paper in LBTS bring even more voters to read it before they decide next year who they want sitting on the dais…

………….

The Editorial written by Mark Brown on referendums vs. Commission decision … Mark and I agree to disagree on the referendum items… Mark and I agree to disagree on the plans being made at the cost incurred by the taxpayers and then who makes the decision to pay for them as well as how and when…

Mark’s example for the decision to be made by the Commission not the voters using the pier built long ago and opposition for getting it built in the first place to bring tourists into town leaves me perplexed … I wholeheartedly do agree that major redevelopment projects such as the pier ….projects like the parking garages should be developed and financed by private interests  ..But that’s not what’s happening with the referendum items I want put on in January ….The undergrounding of El Mar Drive /Town Hall and Town Hall Plaza (El Prado parking lot) and the parking garage(s) being discussed and planned for are to be built with taxpayer monies with taxpayers having no input as to how and when as I stated we agree to disagree on….

more definitely to come…

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Here’s The Scoop …How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? … In Downtown Lauderdale-By-The-Sea ….

May 20, 2011 by Barbara

LET’S GO DOWNTOWN …ICE CREAM?…YOGHURT? … OR A PUPPY? …

Dear Readers …you either love it or you hate it… So what else is new when it comes to LBTS…This time the issue is a puppy-jewelry store in the downtown area between Kilwinns and Cocoyoghurt… The P + Z board somehow ended up with this store as their sole item of business Wed. night (5/18/11) under conditional use …The applicant paid $900 to go through the conditional use process …This was after this  item was at the tail end of a Comm. Roundtable last month where the response from the Commissioners was less than enthusiastic as they laughed at the combo of “doggies and diamonds” …Again, I believe due to all eyes on”pie in the sky” redevelopment issues the staff/Comm. was remiss in putting this on the next Comm. meeting to attach it to the new business ordinances to either not allow it in town or make it allowable only west of A1A as other businesses are … I am for one am not for it in the location desired … I’m not a fan of these types of businesses …but especially in the heart of town…Forget the big plans for the town…What does it matter when we backtrack to let items like this fall through the cracks and get stuck with them … Did this applicant go through a $900 process for nothing? …I would have thought so until the P + Z board voted 3-2 in favor of it!…Chair Buz Oldacker/ Pat Murphy and Bend Freeney voted yes…VChair Yann Brandt and Peanuts Wick voted no…Alternate Eric Yankwitt was not allowed to cast a vote but he would have been a 4th yes vote….The staff also recommended it with the requirements for odors /soundproofing/ventilation /up to 15 puppies at any time under 10 pounds… The applicant was not someone this writer felt any confidence in after hearing his presentation …He was asked if he had ever put in the kind of insulation required and answered no… A look at his store with a different name in Miami Beach online produced 11 reviews which were approx. 50/50 for good and horrible results found in purchasing a puppy… More important though is what VChair Yann Brand stated …the Town code requires that the use promote that area not just satisfy… Is that what this type of a store will do so?… This will be in front of the Commission to make the final decision …Let them know …love it or hate it?…

more to come….

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Here’s The Scoop … Want S’More Reasons for Referendums In January? ….

May 18, 2011 by Barbara

THE  “INGREDIENTS” ARE BEING “PACKAGED” … HOW DO YOU WANT YOURS? ….

Town  of LBTS Press Release … 5/18/2011 11:41:32 AM EST

http://heresthescooponline.com/

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