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Here’s The Scoop … Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Resident Yann Brandt Did More Than Just Speak Up About The Budget As Budget Season Begins …

Dear Readers … It’s really something to watch when a “watchdog” steps up to the podium to speak out …writes the local newspaper and takes to the web with a new site …. Yann Brandt did all three over the last month in a big way …He is currently the vice -chair of the LBTS P & Z Board  …He is a longtime town resident who was raised here and has chosen to remain here to raise his own family …His family owned a hotel on the beach so he has insight into  what is being discussed at this time with the new Master Plan …He was a member of the VFD and really was the last man standing in an effort to right the wrong that was done when the department was shut down in a political payback scheme … He was instrumental in trying to get things back on track during the last election and well into the past 15 months …Now seeing as many of us have the lack of implementation of those priorities Yann decided to do what he can to ensure that the future of this town moves forward in a manner that is competent, constructive and fiscally responsible in order to keep LBTS from following so many other municipalities we have read about recently who bit off more than they could chew in their zeal to redevelop and now find themselves in big trouble administratively and financially… I believe he is the voice of the silent majority in LBTS at this time …A majority that includes those of us that voted for the candidates who won big in 2010 as well as those that did not… We now see many of those who emphatically stated they too were for a more transparent streamlined Town government and for being fiscally responsible were not being truthful then and are apparently now trying to pull the wool over our eyes once more in order to get past yet another municipal election only to go for a full-out redevelopment upon securing their position as soon as the new commission is sworn in… If you are reading this and are saying …”No way!” …What’s the alternative?… Were they just plain ignorant and fiscally irresponsible with time and money spent implementing a full redo of the Master Plan? …. Below is the verbatim public comments made by Yann Brandt at the June 14th meeting as well as his letter to the BTSFuture newspaper that came out today…Included in that letter and as well as at the top of this post is the link to his new website … Make sure to bookmark it and get yourself on the email alerts he offers on the site….This is definitely another way to ensure LBTS voters are provided with accurate budget information that can aid in making the right choices when entering the voting booth in 2012…

Yann Brandt Public Comments 6/14/2011 LBTS Commission Roundtable …

“Budget season is indeed upon us as you can see. First workshop next Tuesday 5pm. I encourage everyone to get out and make your voice heard. I hope the commission will accept public input even at the early stages at the workshop because there’s alot of them and we may not be able to make them all. The town carried 3 million dollars in undesignated funds into 2011 fiscal year and it appears we may yet again carry forward some funds due to unstarted projects. I count only about 45% of the capital improvement projects haven’t yet been advertised for RFP for the 2011 fiscal year. In the last audited year alone, LBTS overcharged the taxpayers by 2.6 million dollars without a plan to return these overcharges to the taxpayers. Under tonight’s agenda we are looking to add 75 thousand dollars plus benefits for a marketing director in addition to nearly 100 thousand dollars for marketing expenses. This is in addition to the 75 thousand dollars plus benefits for the town planner the Town is currently advertising online. Also on tonight’s agenda is to spend 60 thousand dollars for a sweeper which will represent a premium over outsourcing to private industry. Bear in mind that current fiscal year 2010-2011represents a budget spends 1.8 million dollars for salaries in addition to 700 thousand dollars plus for employee benefits. That represents over 18% of our total all in budget including sewers, fire and the general fund. We need to move our town to outsource to private sector competing to earn our business and that really brings me to the point that’s kind of being discussed today. I don’t think people that are pushing for referendum are necessarily against projects moving forward. I think people want projects that are budgeted for what actually happened and show a success being done. University of Miami I think did a good job of presenting some options to this town but they also said start with a project, give us something. We have been playing with this million dollar fine that we received from a developer on El Mar Drive and have yet through two administrations and multiple commissions been able to actually do something downtown. I sat at a roundtable with all of the major owners of downtown businesses and they said not only do we want to see a project go we want to participate in funding some of that project and I think today that still stands. Show us you can do it and this town will follow a plan. But the same thing goes with the referendum items, if you don’t show us what you want to spend the money on and you want to bring almost 200 thousand dollars of consultants in I don’t think this town will follow you in spending the money when we have a history of trying to catch up with the tax dollars that we’re spending. Almost 22% of our tax dollars were not used and we have over budgeted and they were not returned to the taxpayers.
Lastly. I want to thank on an important item Jeff Bowman and his team for the successes in keeping the priorities of the code with successes with Holiday Inn and the Little Inn and bringing those stakeholders to the table I think that’s a great success and I encourage them to continue doing that. Thank you.”


BTSFuture 6/17/2011…
In the last decade the residents of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea have
seen a tremendous expansion of our Government. This is true
for Town, County, State and Federal. Property values skyrocketed
and the same low millage allowed for tax rolls to expand,
even double in some cases. If you are upset with the spending in
Washington, then the overcharged taxes in Lauderdale-By-The-
Sea will astonish you.
Our property taxes pay for Government spending; some call
it waste, at multiple levels including: Broward County, School
Board of Broward County, North Broward Hospital District and
the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. At every level there is excessive
taxation and lack of sensible budget preparation causing
taxes and budgets to be bloated. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is far
from immune from overcharging its taxpayers.
In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the residents, businesses and property
owners were taxed nearly $12 million through the numerous
revenue channels including: property taxes, fire assessments,
sewer fees and utility taxes. At the end of the fiscal year, the
Town’s auditors reported that we overpaid 2.6 million dollars in
taxes. Imagine this number, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea stakeholders
paid 21.6% more in taxes than the Town needed. Do we get
this money back? The simple answer is no. The funds are quietly
pulled into different funds and accounts to pay for pet projects.
You have seen these projects just recently. Some highlights include
the following.
— Nearly $200,000 in consultant fees, many repetitive of previous
consultants and studies;
— Over 1.7 million dollars in employee salaries, PLUS employee
benefits exceeding $700,000;
— Plans put into action to build a new Town hall complex, a parking
garage, or a Town “green.”
There are many moving parts to the Town budget, and for this
reason I have placed the backup to this information on
for all residents to see. Some expenditures are
valid and retain the quality of life the residents want to preserve
and maintain the infrastructure as required. However the following
remains true. The budget should remain accurate to the
needs of the Town and sensitive to the residents. Large capital
projects should be put to the people and budgeted according to
sound financial planning. The residents should not and cannot
sustain being overtaxed by 2.6 million dollars. Imagine being
overcharged at the grocery store by 20%, would you go back for
your refund? Of course you would!
No Government entity should be allowed to overtax its residents
and burden current and future generations with excessive spending.
Start the change you want in Washington, DC right here
in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Budget workshops start at 5 pm on
June 21st, come and ask for your money back.
Yann Brandt, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’


More to come….

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