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Here’s The Scoop …. June 8, 2010 LBTS Budget Workshop # 1 …. It’s Not On The Menu …

YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT? …

Dear Readers … Budget Workshop #1 was quite a change from the previous 3 years…thanks to the Interim Town Manager and her backup materials supplied to the Commission…. (prev. post-agenda-scroll down)….

After the Pledge of Allegiance Mayor Minnet began the meeting with item 1. …the Fire Assessment Fee Discussion… Int. TM Hoffmann stated that the agenda worksheet covered pretty much everything (see prev. June 8, 2010 agenda post -scroll down).. She said she did a history to also benefit the new Comms. …The methodology has been the same for years…and she stated the fire assessment left the same ($130) the estimate is a little more than a million in revenue…She has been working with Finance Director Kaola King…They met with VFD Chief Perkins and Fire Administrator Danny Chavez (No name for the Chief- “Go-To Guy” Danny Chavez was mentioned by name) …Hoffman said they covered a “variety of issues” …The VFD  she stated offered to reduce their operating expenses and want to increase their equipment fund to $100,000 a year… The Int. TM then spoke of relaying concerns still coming from the dais on the medical calls … “The Chief” will be responding as to how often that is necessary …Hmmm…Haven’t we heard this one before…a jellyfish sting could turn into something huge …or how about a door that needs to be knocked down for AMR to enter (we again put out the obvious answer to that one…AMR carry the axe..as many are VFD members employed by AMR- VM Dodd pointed that out in his remarks this evening) … The Int. TM spoke of the concerns of who owns what equipment and wisely (as rev. posted) stated if the Town is to own the trucks why give the money to the VFD…An independent analysis may be necessary to see the equipment to assess and report …Quite amusing to hear Hoffmann speak of it being obsolete…Guess she was not informed that the prev. VM/Dep Chief McIntee purchased trucks that he was familiar with…She did touch on the “huge donation” the VFD received and used to buy the truck ( ladder…which the VFD wanted the Town to buy at a reduced cost -prev. post) ..That would be the McIntee pal from the Fountain Head who died a few years ago and  was a major VFD benefactor ..That money was intended to build a fire house …which according to the 2nd 2010 VFD Income/Expense Report now has $100 in it… She wants to come back with further information in July…

Comm. Clottey who must be getting an earful from one faction within the VFD Dept. spoke up and said one reason we were paying the VFD so much was they were to put $100,000 in an account already…and she restated that at the last meeting Chief Perkins told her they has $60,000 in it (prev. post) ..the same 2nd Qtr. Inc./Exp. Report shows a $31,000+ trans. of funds in their 2nd year… She wanted a joint account with the Town/VFD stating it costs alot of money for trucks…

Comm. Vincent had this writer scratching her head as I was zoned in on the fire assessment ..the item being discussed and he went off on … ” I just have one quick question, Interim Town Manager. What was the determination on the disbursements were gonna go from the sinking of the Titanic out there.” …Took me a minute to realize he was talking about the VFD Fireboat that sunk (prev. post)…The Int. TM said we were informed by VFD the Town would be getting the money.. and an insurance adjuster found it to be a total loss…The VFD holds the insurance policy…

Vice Mayor Dodd thanked the Int. TM for a succinct report and spoke of the medical calls and the cut in those calls based on the 2nd Inc.?exp. Report shows they could cut their operating costs by $88,000 a year…thus they could forgo a 4% increase …something he was asking all providers to do again this year (he asked in 2009) as he felt the dais would again forgo their increase…VM Dodd spoke of some oversight being required by the Town and spoke of past actions by the VFD with buying a truck such as the ladder truck…with no input from Town…with no justification ..If the Town would end up owning it the Town has no say into the depreciation of it…He looked forward to Chief Perkins report on how many medical calls the VFD were required at stating AMR had 2 ambulances as opposed to one in most towns and AMR has VFD members on board in many of its trucks…

Comm Sasser agreed with VM Dodd about the past void of oversight of the VFD and requested who would fulfill that role…who would be responsible for that…He also wanted to know why the Town pays for the VFD audit …as well as addressing the buying of new apparatus …he recommended proper oversight…

Comm. Clottey spoke again and said many firefighters have contacted her to say the Bylaws require a vote of the members to purchase equipment and she wanted the Town to look into seeing they are abiding by their Bylaws!… Too, too funny…Comm. Clottey wants “oversight” of the VFD Bylaws now!…Ha!…

Item 2 was the millage ..The Interim TM stated what was in the backup (prev. post-agenda for this meeting -scroll down)…She explained the numbers …a 7.4% decline…She reiterated what she included in the backup of the misunderstanding taxpayers have about the millage…stating it is not a tax… describing the “inverse relationship” there is …. Again, as stated in the backup..staff will look at the reserves and the undesignated monies and come back to the Comm. at the end of the month…

Comm. Clottey reiterated what she said in the previous years that those with homestead will see a 3% increase from the Broward Prop. Appraiser regardless of the millage… She left out that it will affect every homestead property owner at the same time….

Vice Mayor Dodd wanted to alert the new Comms. to the fact that you cannot raise the millage during the process…you can only lower it…The Mayor added it was not up for consideration this evening…

Comm. Sasser really hit home for those who wanted some real numbers to contemplate…he spoke of meeting with Ms. Hoffmann and asking her if the millage remained at the 3.999 what the dollar difference would be with the decline…The Int. TM replied approximately $600,000…

Next up the BSO …and again the Int. TM used much of what she had supplied in the backup for the meeting..(scroll down-agenda)…She added that she received a formal letter from the Sheriff the day before but needed time to review it…She also spoke of a meeting she attended in the morning with the Sheriff and contracting cities…She walked away thinking we are lucky not to need to deal with the negotiations of a new contract now… She said the discussion at that meeting centered on what has been in the papers for a while now…the County wanting contract cities to pay the full load and not be subsidized by taxpayers in the county…as they have been (prev. posts)..She also touched on the looming dispatch (911) costs that could be per contract/non-contract cities rather than paid by the county…leading to huge fiscal problems (Pomp/Ft. Laud are in the millions if it goes through)…Hoffman wants elected officials to push for the County elected officials to not go there…She spoke waiting and watching what transpires with the negotiations in other towns (5-6) …In Sept. she foresees a brouhaha with the Sheriff and the County… We will deal with the upcoming contract in Oct./Nov. ….She asked for direction and feedback on the BSO service to the Town from the Commissioners..

Comm. Vincent “Thank you Mayor. First I do want to say BSO has done a fine job in this town and we’d like to see them stay but obviously dollars are very important in this town especially during these times. ”

“A couple of questions that I would want entertained to the Sheriff is I understand we’re surrounded by two major cities the city of Fort Lauderdale ans Pompano Beach.Is there a service with those cities that seem to absorb alot more dollars than our city that we really don’t need that we’re absorbing at the same rate in the sense of I don’t know if we don’t have gang units in this town. I don’t know what Pompano  and Fort Lauderdale spends a year on gang but is that filtering down to us in their cost and their budget for our city. I know we’re surrounding that city and it, but it hasn’t seemed to flow over the bridge yet or over the city lines. I guess the Chief could answer that question but things like that. Are we paying for a service that we’re really not utilizing in our small city, our small town. We are a unique town and I just want to make sure that we’re not, that money isn’t filtering into our city, our town and we’re paying for that in other cities.”

BC- Is there something about sitting in that seat…at that end of the dais? …..

The Int. TM spoke up and “definitely we are not”…explaining again to Comm. Vincent we are getting a “great deal” …that the subsidizing is “regional in nature”…

BC- LBTS is getting subsidized …not subsidizing …We are a town not a city… Fort Lauderdale has their own police dept. not BSO… LBTS voters voted overwhelmingly in March to keep BSO and dollars were not a priority when it comes to public safety …As far as gangs “flowing over the bridge and city lines”…cannot stomach to comment on what that could dredge up….

Comm. Clottey told the Chief he was doing a great job and that she hadn’t heard a complaint…she asked if the Sheriff was “unbundling” ..Ms. Hoffmann that was not in this years budget or next years…Clottey said it was her understanding we pay the highest per capita …and that we are being subsidized (at least she got it right) and the costs would increase  significantly …she wanted to vocalize it and state it…

BC- again, that end of the podium?..(.excluding the TM’s seat, of course)…

Comm. Sasser stated BSO is “our hometown force” and asked  the Int.TM about the “relational” situation we have as compared to other municipalities stating the unique one the Town and residents have with BSO…Ms. Hoffman was emphatic in her response “Absolutely”…saying she had never seen BSO adapt the ways in our town and it was a tribute to the command staff …excellent and happy….

BC- That was what we heard in the election on the campaign trail in a nutshell…wholeheartedly!…

Vice Mayor Dodd joined in on the sentiments of BSO being outstanding and cited their catching the bad guys and recent drug busts… He countered Clottey’s claims with the cost per officer being the lowest..He stated the contract price is going up due to the low rate we have had for quite a while now… He spoke of the county wide “piecemeal” that may be coming …for the helicopters…K9s …Hazmat…Dispatch… (want fries with that?)…. Prices will go up…He spoke of continuing with BSO with the option of an RFP…reiterating he is pleased with BSO…

Comm Clottey wanted to know about the option to renew for 5 years…(we have renewed before…as well as extending the contract)…Hoffmann said she wanted to ask that question at the meeting she attended that morning but did not have the right opportunity..Unfortunately she added the contract states mutually agreed for a renewal and that is unlikely as other cities with that clause are renegotiating …only lucky city to not have that clause Cooper City…

The Mayor spoke of the millage and tax rates that we pay to the county…the fiscal impact as well as the school board .. She said we should contact those county officials …that are putting pressure on the Sheriff..She thanked the Int. TM for addressing many of the items she too had on her list such as BSO pensions…lab testing to perhaps come from the county to the town…She said direction was given …

The Interim TM asked the Comm. to make their feelings about the dispatch services being regional known when they attend the Broward League of Cities (on Round Table – Aug. conference in Hollywood-prev. post)…

The meeting adjourned at 5:42 pm with approx. a 15 minute break before going into a Shade Session for the Bert J. Harris dismissals (prev. post)…They met back at 6 on the dais..then left for approx. 35 min….

BC- Before the “faction” pundits have a “field day” thinking this writer is targeting Comm. Vincent…please let me explain…When I vote for someone…and campaign for someone it is with the belief they are running on the issues and ideals I support and want in an elected official …I believe that they will do their homework and be prepared to bring it to the dais …That is the hope in every election ….for all voters…. whether local…county…state or national ….. Case in point….just look at the supporters of Obama of late…. not so supportive…as they call him out on his performance with the oil spill…

After the election is over the winning candidate goes from running on promises to governing …The  “Chief Blogger” goes from campaigner/ supporter of the candidate to supporting or not supporting the newly elected official’s preparation, performance and voting record and then writing about it … often times using their own words to make the point …it doesn’t matter who is sitting up there … after the election is over…It’s that simple…

more to come….

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