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Here’s The Scoop …. The 2009/2010 LBTS Budget …. Doing a “NUMBER” On The Numbers … Part 1 …

ADD UP…ADD DOWN ….AD-LIB! …

Dear Readers…Yep, finally… here it is, the 2009/10 LBTS Adopted Budget brought to you live on Yom Kippur from Jarvis Hall at 5:03 pm…At the bottom is a link to the Town website and the video to view from start to finish……This writer intends to shake it up a little… with Town Manager Colon’s remarks… the numbers per her “power point”……..then the commentary I found of interest … from the commission ….(part 1)…

Town Manager Colon -“And this is a statement I give every year. It’s part of my um, budget message. I will read it so the audience and residents can hear it. (read from the power point) The Town needs to continue its town’s code revisions and ensure compliance in order to move forward with high- quality redevelopment, improved infrastructure, increased beautification, and a healthy and economically viable community that contributes to a healthy municipality. When done properly, the Town residents taxes will remain low and services high. Otherwise there is no redevelopment, lower taxes and reduced quality of life will prevail. Therefore, the Master Plan needs to be updated which requires a forward moving commission and citizen participation in order to ensure a healthy environment that is fiscally sound and a taxable base that in the future will rebound and increase.”

BC- What is troublesome to this writer is the underlying truth behind this “yearly statement”…WE WASTED THE PAST YEAR!…This writer and Comm. Dodd repeatedly asked for the MPSC and the P&Z to be supplied with all the past Master Plans and given the whole year to do just what the TM is again putting up on the wall!…The P&Z met maybe 3 times…the MPSC was thwarted from any such participation…and here we are…with a repeat performance..

Also what the Manager is really saying is with more code revisions…comes more FEES…and more FEEs …and the millage stays the same and it looks like people are paying less…they are not!…Between the garbage, occupational licenses, code sweeps, fire inspection fees, vacation rental fees…..both residents and businesses are reeling!…Any reduction found in our taxes are from loss in property values and being lucky enough to live in the coastal area we do which took less of a hit……..

TM Colon- from her power point presentation-” I put this organizational chart up, I wish I could just blow it up and cover the whole wall with this! And the reason I wrote this, I did this is as you’ve noticed back five, six years ago our uh, total budget was 25 million dollars, our millage rates were up to 4.7 and alot of residents need to understand that we do NOT have a Human Resource Department, we do not have and let me start again, we do not a full time  Human Resource Department, a full time Procurement Department or Purchasing Department, a full time Financial Adviser, Money Manager, Debt Management Department, a Finance Department. We have one administration that runs with all staff members who I think we’re DOWN to four people who now work 30 hours we used to have six if these approve the ah, salary adjustment gets, we’ve just instead of six now we have four. We have dedicated employees who continue to do more with less. I myself if I have to move boxes and I have done record management. I am the first one to assist my department heads. That’s my nature. So when this Town or this staff gets compared to other cities it’s not a fair comparison. We don’t have full departments.Every staff member here and I mean every staff member and every department starting with VFD,AMR,BSO we all work together. And we all try to do the best with the resources we can. And I include public safety because public safety is a very important component of this town and we all work very well together. Honestly I sometimes rely on BSO for my  emergency plan because they take the lead on those issues. Um, we get I get criticized. I have no problem with constructive criticism. I know I do my job and I know my staff members do more than they have to do. I just wanted the residents to see that we don’t have one person for every task in this town. It’s usually one person wearin’ two or three hats. We have no regrets, we took the challenge to come work for this town and we’ll continue to do that for this town. Whether you thank us or whether you don’t. I thank my staff. With that Id like to thank the commission for their support.” ” ….”I take nothing personal, I’m a public servant and I will continue to be one. Thank you.”

BC- ONLY VM MCINTEE APPLAUDED!….We now have 1- Town Manager/ 1-Town Mgr.- Executive Sec./1-Asst. Town Manager/ 1-Town Clerk/1- Deputy Town Clerk/ 1-Finance Director (4 employees in Finance per the 9/22/09 meeting-Mgr. report)/1-Director of Development/1= Zoning -Code Supervisor/1- Contracted Town Planner/2 Code Enforcement Officers/1-Municipal  Services Director /1- Asst. Municipal Services Director/1-Municipal Senior Office Specialist/1-Maint. Supervisor/ 4-Maint. workers I/ 5- Maint. workers -II/1-Parking Enforcement Supervisor/ 2-Parking Enforcement Officers /1- Parking Repair Technician/  1-Human Resources Department -Risk Management/ 1-Community Standards Supervisor/ 1-Contracted Town Engineer/1-Town Attorney ( pg. 13-14 2009-10 budget book)  in a town of approx. 5,852 residents (pg. 1 2009-10 budget book) ….. “No full time Financial Adviser, Money Manager, Debt Management Department”…well, we just had our Rep. from Sun Trust bank and listed on the Town website  is our 3 yr contracted auditors,Rachlin, Cohen & Holtz, LLP…As far as hands on with her Dept. Heads…as previously posted that’s because the TM did not properly advertise or hire Dept. Heads with the proper qualifications who would not need her micro-managing…Her staff that she says are “professional”…some of their actions in just the last few weeks…Her Asst. TM hung up the phone on a resident, TM & Asst. TM did not bring townwide survey to Comm./ Asst. TM told resident from Bel Air to petition to stop signage in Bel Air/ Deputy Town Clerk was disrespectful to Comm. and residents/ Town Clerk will no longer take PRR from resident (not this writer)/ Staff member was rude 2x to Plantation Police Dept.when calling and requesting information for the parking RFP.. ….(more on these to come)…. BSO,VFD, AMR and Town working well together …that’s not what we hear from those behind the scenes…..no where near the truth… lot’s of scared workers wanting to hold onto their positions…especially with the TM’s ” at will” contracts…previous terminations…and the latest RFP on the Senior Center…No one is safe…

THE NUMBERS…Per Power Point…

Millage rate 3.999 same as last year

Adopted Budget 15,502.557/

Government Fund 13,556,772

Proprietary Fund 1,793,964

Special Revenue Fund 151,821

Deductions ….

Capital Fund Debt payment 1,22,961

General Fund Debt payment  357,898

Eliminated Proposed Fund-Carry Forward Balance 1,017,104

Additions….

TM Colon-” I made the additions based on conversations with this Town Commission and based on conversations or comments made by the Town Commission on this dais.”

Contingency General Funds for Stormwater , Master Plan. Rate Study and Referendum ballot & Legal cost 337,889

BC- A legal opinion was given by our Town Atty that says stormwater sewer assessment is legal ….. (more on this to come)/Master Plan “proposed price was approximately $100,000″/ TM Colon -“The last time we did a rate study it was about $70,000″

Minimum Match Funds Solar Light Grant 20,000

BC- This was added unilaterally by the TM after she heard about it before this meeting..if not approved it would have been put back in the Contingency Gen. Fund

Contingency Capital Funds for Master Plan, Master Plan Construction cost, El Mar Conceptual Plan 259,038

BC- Big bucks to start over…after wasting a year when the MPSC & P &Z (who met maybe 3 times last yr.) could have been provided with all past concepts sitting on the shelves..

Town Clerk & Finance Staff to add 10 hrs. 16,240

TM Colon  9/28/09 – ” One Commissioner said it was like 30,000. It’s not 30 something thousand. It is 16,240. It happens to be the clerical staff, the lowest paid clerical staff. So that 16,000 covers the 2 positions and will cover the ten hours.”

TM Colon 9/22/09  TM Report -” The first item is staff discussion. As you know the directive of paying off the loan last, the loans , the General Fund and the Capital loan were paid the following morning. With the elimination of debt service I am requesting that the Town Commission consider approving 16,238 dollars so that the receptionist in the Town Hall, the front desk clerk can go back to 40 hours. She currently works 30. AND I AM ALSO requesting that one of the employees from Finance, WE HAVE 4 that work 30 hours, one of them be allowed to go back to 40 and THAT equates to 16,238  for salary, fica and retirement.”

BC- From the Manager’s statement on the 22nd it was easy to think it was for 16, 238 for each employee…and again “no debt”?..we have a 3rd promissory not for parking (penalty clause as well?)…Throughout the evening there will be NO discussion about the $300,000+ penalty paid on top of the debt due to the Town Manager as Finance Director CHOOSING to take a penalty clause attached to the notes!)…

Proprietary Funds 1,793,964

70,000 sewerline maintenance and repair

33,000 lift station maint. and repair

25,000 emergency repairs

Parking Fund 569,565

BC- The Vice Mayor wanted to make a motion to pay off the 3rd promissory note  and the TM addressed it….

TM Colon- “We don’t have sufficient funds to pay off the parking promissory note. But as you know we borrowed, the Parking Fund borrowed some funds from General Fund so they could complete the parking lot, Bougainvilla parking lot. What I would recommend which is something that’s historical in this town is that if there’s any excess funds or available end of the year fund balance from the Parkin’ Fund that the Parkin’ Fund does pay some of those fees as an extra $100,000, an extra $200,000. Right now the Parkin’ Fund owes the General Fund about $500,000.So maybe that debt from parking into general can be accomplished, but you don’t have enough funds to pay the entire promissory note.”

BC- Why would we not pay off some of the loan?…Is there another penalty clause attached to this one too?…

Special Revenue Fund

Police Law Enforcement Funds 151,821

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS (part 1)

Commissioner Silverstone’s opening comments…

CS- ” Thank you, um pretty much mirror what Commissioner Clottey was saying um, again I don’t know , we’re not robots up here. For the last meetings I can go back for I’ve been taking notes and answering everybody’s comments up there so I don’t know ho anybody could feel that I’m not paying attention for one. I don’t know where that comes from, but again we’re not robots up here, when we get attacked and we have to correct some misinformation we’re not  at least for myself at least. I’m emotional, I’m passionate I,I believe in what I believe in and if it seems like I’m attacking somebody well, lets reverse that. When somebody stands up here in front, in front of that um, podium and starts saying that I’m using misinformation um, and they feel they are correct and they’re passionate and they’re hateful, it goes both ways here. We’re human up here. So when we get attacked it’s , it’s hard not to, it’s hard to act like a robot and not, not take this without any feelings whatsoever….”

BC-Later after asking about the budget changes being online…the TM said they were (power point…unreadable) Comm. Silverstone continued…

CS- ” So there’s no backroom deals here no, there’s no playing games here everything is, I mean I can’t imagine a more transparent than that.”

BC- I spoke of people making Public Records Requests for information and Comm. Silverstone said the following…

CS- ” Okay and regarding Public Records Requests, the simple issue with that would be if I got a phone call requesting  certain information I would then call the Town Manager up. We’re a representative form of government up here that’s how we work. If you have an issue call us, we’ll try to resolve it. If we don’t resolve it then you make a public STATEMENT. I think that works, it’s alot more efficient that way. If you have any issues pick up the phone give me a call um, If I don’t meet your desires or your what you think is right with your request then maybe it will be worthwhile to make it public up here and voice a complaint. At least go through the process. I think that’s important. A simple phone call I think would ease a lot of the problems in this town. Um that’s it I yield”

BC- What part of a PRR does this first term Commissioner not understand?….EVERY PART!… Why in the world would anyone call him for him to ask the Town Manager?…How could he think calling him is the efficient way to handle a PRR?… And for the rest of his statement …it speaks volumes why he should ONLY be a 1 term commissioner …YIKES!…

BC- Commissioner Silverstone comments after the Town Manager’s presentation said the following…

CS-” A big thumbs up and a big thank you to the staff and also to the Town Manager and all of us up here. I know it doesn’t seem like we work together sometimes, but I think this budget and these numbers prove that!”

BC- so true Jimmy-boy so true!…

BC- Commissioner Silverstone’s last comments…

CS- “Thank you Town Manager, One last comment before I close up here. One of the funnest , this is directed at you Town Manager, one of the joys I have being a commissioner up here is the moments I spend at the Town Manager’s office just kicking around ideas about how to, for the betterment of the Town. And once in a while we get some good ones out there, so just on a personal note, I just want to thank you for those moments and I think it really helped the Town alot.”

BC- Yep, these two came up with the Public Safety Building acquisition…great moments …just great! NOT!…

Vice Mayor McIntee…. first comments  (1st part were in previous Yom Kippur post…scoops cat.) …

VM-“The Town Manager took 30% off ah, 30 hours a week our people are working. Doing the work of 40 hour employees. Why don’t people sit back and say thank you to these people? I do it all the time, all the time.There’s an attack mentality in this community which is sad, I think it’s beginning to, to backfire and I’m sort of sitting back watching it. ”

BC- This is the tactic the Mc-Furths “Broom Boys” are going to run on…they are being “attacked” and the administration is “attacked” by anyone who calls them on their bad acts…BUT while it worked well in the last 2 elections (2006/2008)…It is doomed this go round…why?…Facts and accountability on their record…through minutes and video …OUCH!…. Please Readers…go online and read the minutes from 2006-2007 and get the DVDs…make a PRR and see the real Mc-Furth”attacks”… eye opening…

BC- Vice Mayor McIntee after the Town Manager spoke to (not answered) Comm. Dodds questions concerning the debt..and the finances…

VM-” A couple of questions for the Town Manager ah, a year ago from today how much was the total town debt in a round figure, if you could give me that?”

TM Colon- ” Um, let me see. We just paid 6.1 and parking I believe is 1,6 so it’s 7.8.”

VM- ” So a year ago today there was a 7 million debt hanging over the heads of every citizen in this town. Today there is NO DEBT, NO DEBT IT’S GONE. Except for the parking which we’re gonna work on aggressively very shortly. Let’s take another step, we are one of the few towns and I hope the Sun Sentinel picks up on this because it was very sad to see.”

BC- The Mayor made a point of order to clarify the VM’s statements thus far…concerning paying down the parking …which was not going to be paid down…but transferred into the General Fund.”…The TM agreed with the Mayor that was what the M was proposing…

VM- ” I didn’t say that, we’re gonna work on it aggressively. And that’s exactly what we’re gonna work on Mayor. But let’s go another step now. Now we’re one of the few towns, with a 10.8% tax reduction. Everybody else is going up the halls are full,I watched the same things as all the commissioners have watched throughout the county. We have done a miracle here. In 2006  a 25 million dollar budget . We jumped down to a 15 million dollar budget. The Town has never looked better. They’ve done a great job. The bushes,the streets, the spirit and, and they just hold their heads up and keep going. How do you. those 3 points alone say to me this Town Manager and the staff and this dais has done a heck of a job. Again paid off 7 million dollars in debt in one year. Reduced the Town’s taxes 10.8% and finally brought a budget in 2006 25 million dollars down to 15 million dollars that’s almost miraculous. When every other community in this area, not everybody bu 99% of the communities in Broward County and Southern Florida are all in the hole. running on debt, having to borrow money, have to sell bonds. That’s not us. We’re a tight little community that’s done a great job. (….spoke of Beach Patrol repeat speech of many past Comm. comments)… People don’t like success in this town. They want to condemn and throw stones and it’s sad. But nobody can argue with the facts,the facts are the facts and we’ve done and I’m proud to sit up here and I’m very proud to support the Town staff led by the Town Manager that has proved her weight in gold, I yield.”

BC- What the Vice Mayor neglected to get straight on the payback in loans was addressed by Comm. Dodd…setting it straight…The VM’s famous re-writing of history to invent “his “facts…his M.O. …The 25 million went to 15 million by not paying for the Palm Club sewers and paying back that money last year…The promissory notes would NOT have been paid off  now if Comm. Dodd and Resident Yann Brandt had not been persistent with the Town Manager and her staff to get the bank statements and get the complete list of accounts showing funds, reserves and debt….The promissory note would NOT have been paid off  if VM McIntee had stuck by his statements at 2 meetings where he did NOT want to pay the loan off…and the VM and the Town Manager never address the $300,000+ penalty we paid due then- Finance Director Colon choosing to take out the debt with it attached to the loan……Add to that the apparent 3rd penalty clause on the Parkin’ promissory note of 1.6 million…

BC- Comm. Dodd had the last word…

below his last comments of the evening…(his other comments in part 2)

Commissioner Dodd….

CD- ” Um, can I just have some clarification from the Town Manager. This business about we paid off 7.8 million sounds like we conjured up 7.8 million from somewhere. But what I think I was understanding you said earlier was we had 6 million sitting there in an account ready and allocated if we needed to use it for that purpose for which was actually raised or we could use it to pay off the loan we took out that created the 6 million. So we haven’t conjured up 7.8 million as the Vice Mayor would try to have us believe. That we had the money in the first place. Is that correct?

TM Colon- ” The loan proceeds and lets start with the 10 million because we restructured 3 times um, we had um, I believe it was 6.1 million dollars we paid off and since you did not do any capital improvement project, we took the 6.1 million we designated as reserve because you only had, you had an intent to use these funds and we, the same same 6.1 million dollars we paid back.”

BC- along with the $300,000+ penalty…

CD-” But in effect we didn’t just suddenly conjure up and pay off a 7 million dollar debt overnight because the funds we borrowed in the first place and we had them allocated so we could use them for that particular project. We decided not to do that project or pay it back and I appreciate we have 1,6 million on the parking situation, a different situation. But I just wanted to clarify it for anybody out there that um, we didn’t suddenly conjure up 7.8 million to pay off overnight. Thank you.”

BC- What it really means is that this Town Manager and her staff decided to keep the Town in the dark for almost 2 years on what we had available to us for capital improvements…Her actions ….have left us with a 2 million dollar crappy hotel on an adjacent property…which cannot sleep the VFD which was its purpose…..cannot house the BSO as they required and they deserved… is housing AMR in sad surroundings that mimic a room at the Holiday Inn…But we have heard  it does provide the Town Manager with a room for herself!…(WHY?) …. If she had been straight with the commission and the residents…we might have been able to begin the process of a whole new Town Hall Complex…This unilateral action of keeping mute on our financial picture might even usurp her unilateral building of the Beach Pavilion …which we recently heard was approved by the County only after the Engineer of record signed off due to the Pavilion when completed was not the same as the Pavilion plans submitted…shades of Oriana!…OUCH!…

More to come….(part 2)…

http://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=256

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