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Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea September 13, 2010 Budget Meeting … Is That Pork You’re Wearing With That Lipstick? …

COMMISSIONER CLOTTEY-“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN YOU CAN PUT LIPSTICK ON A PIG BUT IT’S STILL A PIG” …in her closing Comm. comments concerning the FY2010/2011 millage rate to be kept at 3.999…

Dear Readers … unfortunately old habits continue in LBTS when it comes to attending yearly “Special Public Hearings” in September to speak up about the budget  for the next year … Few show up…and many complain before …during and afterward!… This year carries on that unfortunate tradition…

Tonight the meeting started at 7 pm due to the comments made in prior years of an earlier time impeding the ability for many to come and actively participate in voicing their concerns…Guess that was a load of bull …sad to say…

The meeting was started at 7 pm as advertised and after the Pledge the Mayor recognized Vice Mayor Dodd who asked to change the agenda which called for public comments…Commissioner comments and then the Resolutions…He asked for public /Comm. comments after the Resolutions were read to allow comment individually …With no objection the change was made..

The Mayor stated the agencies looking for Town donations were in the hall and would approach to make their pitch for funds yet again this year…

First up was Area Agency on Aging …They were asking for $7,387.00 …The Representative stated there were 24 seniors in our Town who use the service including 9 who use the recreational facilities in another town … She stated the Town has provided a full match every year except one since 1974 (16 yrs.ago) … She stated she had provided “fair share reports” to the Commission prior …That was good because she had quite an exchange with Comm. Clottey when questions were allowed from the Commission…She held her own and made Clottey look pretty bad …. coming across in a somewhat badgering manner when she continued to attempt to discredit the “fair share” statements being made ….Clottey said LBTS senior were not getting their “fair share”…It produced nothing in the end…as the Rep. countered each one of Clottey’s charges…For some reason Clottey thinks she can come up with 25 seniors who would come for “free” lunch at Jarvis Hall in order to qualify as a nutrition site…Note to Comm. Clottey …she of the “Lipstick on a pig comment”…There is no such thing as a free lunch!…

Next up was Women in Distress who were asking for $2,000 and the Rep. stated they had 7 domestic violence calls from LBTS last year with services being provided to three …

Number 3 was Kids Voting Broward…A familiar representative came to the podium to ask for the $1,404.00 dollars …LOWVoters Carol Smith…the moderator at the last municipal debates…Readers will remember Ms. Smith and her non-researched …inflammatory questions that had to have come from the former TM on racist remarks.. Why does the LOWV need monies from municipalities to partner in this program?..

4. Family Central asking $551.00 and stating they served to aid one child in LBTS this year…

5. The Boy Scouts came to ask for $1,100 and they were met with a question from Comm. Clottey after all the pitches were done on the number of scouts… There was a disconnect in the Q & A when he responded approx. 100 cub scouts on up…It was clarified he when he stated he was talking zip codes…

The 6th and final agency was again a no-show for the 2nd year in a row……The Broward Coalition for the Homeless asking for $2000…

Before the Commission questions…the Mayor read the amounts again and after Comm. Clottey came one brief question from Comm. Sasser asking about the cost put forth by Women in Distress ($94.00) if it was per person per day  …and was informed it was per night… and the Mayor touting the Kids Voting Broward that received no funding last year..but she felt is worthy due to lack of civics being taught in schools…

The Mayor asked for any public comments…and apparently there was some confusion due to the prior agreed change to the agenda by VM Dodd…After the Town Clerk stated she did not have the list…went and retrieved it to state there was only one speaker…The decision was made to let him speak …

Resident Larry Soleil, 4636 Bougainvilla Drive came to the podium and proceeded unfortunately to show he had not done any research into the budget or where this Commission and Administration stand as he spoke of the millage going up (the majority on the Commission and Administration have stated they are aiming to retain 3.999) and going after the donations being made and living within our means…He was quite upset and on a rant…when a simple read of the past few months would have shown he has little to be upset or rant about…

With no one else wanting to speak.. ..the Mayor went on to the Resolutions…stating each one..followed by the TAtty. reading them (see prev. agenda post) …followed by public comment/Comm. comment and a vote… with the exception of a brief power point presentation by Acting Finance Director Doug Haag…

5A. Resolution 2010-26 was the final hearing for the fire assessment which was kept at the $130 rate…The Mayor read the sq. footage rates and there was no discussion ..A motion was made by VM Dodd with a second from Comm. Clottey ..passed 5-0..

5B. Resolution 2010-27 was the millage which was 4.090…The TAtty. read it and stated it was a “tentative millage”..

The TM informed the Comm. of the presentation…

Dir. Haag showed a graph of the comparisons of 3.999 for FY 2010/FY 2011 at 4.3553 to generate the same dollars (trim notice figure/rollback )/ 4.2199 which was the TM proposed rate (prev.)/ 4.090 (from the 8/25/10 mtg.) which produces a $465,306 loss of revenue/-6.1%  for the Town/ 3.999 which produces a $600,179 loss/-8.9% …

Mr. Haag stated the majority in town will see “some decrease ” from the Town’s 20% ot the total tax bill… The TM reminded all the Town staff will come to the Sept. 20, 2010 Roundtable with the 3.999 figures for the budget to pass 3.999 on Sept. 27th…again stating this was a “tentative rate”…

Comm. Clottey stated as she had at prior meetings she did not like the word majority due to many seeing a hike due to” save our homes “…and “perhaps an increase in the millage” (by whom?)… She asked Mr. Haag to break it down..He replied he could give it his “best shot” and stated 2/3 of the Town is non-homesteaded and would see a decrease while she was correct the other 1/3 “will see some type of increase”…He touched on the “other complement of taxable value as opposed to appraised value” … The TM concurred and added that even homesteaded properties could see a decrease depending on when they bought…

The Mayor added once again the other entities that increase their millage to impact taxpayers (prev. post) and to contact them as well to complain…

Comm. Sasser added to that in clarifying 20% was from the Town and 80% was from other sources…That was acknowledged as correct and the VM added that Hillsboro Inlet (which he sits on) has retained the same millage rate FY 2010/2011 …

At public comment the same gentlemen came up to state he found it disgusting so few were in attendance to speak of the millage and how taxpayer money was being spent…He compared 25 years ago and a million dollar budget to now..He was incensed that he had asked twice the budget for the Town and did not receive an answer …chalking it up to the dais not knowing the budget…He did not understand despite the Mayor informing him prior they could not respond to his comments… If the gentleman had gone to the Town website (backup now fixed) he would have seen all the info he would need including the $15 million dollar budget…

The Mayor asked the TM to give the numbers he referenced as he ended his comments…which she did…Budget $15,756,155 and the goal of 3.999 millage retained…witha 9% decrease to the Town in property tax…

The VM reiterated this was a “tentative millage” and they could lower it next meeting but could not raise it..

Comm. Sasser clarified with the Town Manager what key items would put the 3.999 in jeopardy…

Ms. Hoffmann replied the insurances…both health and liability…She asked for 7 days to see those numbers and what the County does with the Sheriff and the communication situation … http://forums.leoaffairs.com/viewtopic.php?f=302&t=99577 ….

Comm. Sasser also asked what the difference was to get to the 3.999 …She replied $153,000… He added he would like to discuss the Chamber when appropriate to maybe help in the amount needed to retain the millage…(He is the Comm. liaison for the Chamber budget)… It was decided that would fall under item C….

Comm. Vincent stated he wanted to inform the audience of the real numbers and spoke of when taxable values decrease there is a decrease in the level of services…He stated there was a shortfall of $600,000 to retain the millage and staff worked to reduce expenditures to get there …He thanked them for trying to make up that difference…

Comm. Clottey asked about the decrease in cost stated in the TM letter for the budget workshop and if that was funded by the $130 fire assessment..The TM said it was …and there was no effect on the millage from any change to their contract…Clottey went on to ask about the stated change in LETF funds used for the Public Safety Building renovations and if those unused funds could help to hold the 3.999… rather than to eturn the funds to the LETF…The TM stated it is restricted for that use only by state law…Clottey countered the TAtty. had stated previously those monies could have been used for the renovations…She also said it was “a done deal” to repay the costs VM Dodd wanted returned that he believed were not used properly..

VM Dodd countered Clottey by correctly stating the Comm. had not made that decision yet ..They decided to wait until the budget was set to see if it could be done…Clottey wanted to know if that could be reversed…

The TM stated the unused funds had to go back to the LETF fund and the amount for the holding cell was to be decided on …

Comm. Sasser stated VM Dodd wanted the Sally Port costs to be refunded …The VM agreed….

The TM stated she might have given them the wrong numbers…

The Vice Mayor made a motion for a “tentative 4.090 millage” with Comm. Vincent seconding …It passed 4-1 (Clottey voted no)…

5C. Resolution 2010-28…Adopting a Tentative Budget …The TAtty, read the resolution and stated it was required by state law (it was done with the 4.090 millage rate (in backup on Town website)…

Comm. Sasser  spoke about the Chamber of Commerce and indicated the report the Commission/Town received last week along with updating the dais of his meeting today with Chamber President Paul Novak..He stated after discussion the Chamber was willing to stick with the $35,000 and would like $11,159 for advertising for a total budget of $46,159.00

Vice Mayor Dodd said he read the figures in the report and had a problem with the original amount of $55,000 and spoke of the Comm. as well as others keeping their salaries at the same rate…He spoke of the Chamber being able to provide service at $27,000 last year and stated they should do it again this next year…He was still wanting to correct the wrong move enacted by the previous administration of holding back $8,900 dollars FY 2010 due to a P & L for the Chamber showing a $19,000 profit…

Comm Sasser stated he asked many of the same questions but added that without Broward County’s assistance the Chamber would not have been able to run it…

VM Dodd again stated we need to go to Broward County and get ongoing assistance being one of two centers in Broward County to make up for any shortfall…

Comm. Clottey had a few questions for Mr. Novak ..asking him how they differentiate the activities of a Welcome Center and a Chamber…

Mr Novak descibed people walk in and ask questions …seeing a big difference in their purpose…

Comm. Clottey stated Chambers promote businesses in town and added it was the Chamber’s idea to get a Welcome Center …and spoke of seeing the advantages of having the center for signage…She asked if the Chamber coordinates with the County and other municipalities…

Mr. Novak responded they mostly do it alone..

Mayor Minnet interjected to speak of Nikki Grossman from Greater Broward Chamber being well aware of LBTS …

Comm. Clottey asked where they do most of their advertising…

Paul answered they had success in the past with “See Ya There” .. http://www.seeyathere.com/ …. and keeping to 5 states ..south/midwest/east and in tougher times and summer months the west coast of Florida for weekend getaways… He added in response to VM Dodd that it was the Chamber that went to then-BCounty Comm. Ken Keechl for the monies  ($20,000/$10,000) but added Keechl was not elected yet so it would be difficult to get money now… (BC- I believe easier …wanting LBTS votes)…He also stated Ex. Dir. Judy Swaggarty had sent a letter to Keechl asking for a portion of monies received from BP by the state due to LBTS having been impacted as well by loss of dollars…

Comm. Sasser stated he agreed with Comm. Clottey that while the $11,000 was a significant increase it was not all that much for advertising …He compared the cost to the prev. 2 years ..$2,715 and $3,000…

Comm. Clottey asked if the Chamber ever went to pompano Beach and again stated we are a small town paying an unfair portion ..She said the Chamber needs to “lean on some of these people.”…

Mr. Novak was again exasperated at the podium…as he stated they could try and go after pompano …but stated last time the Chamber was asked for a plan..He said they spent a week putting that plan together with Dick Clark and local staff and now he was not sure they (Comm.)like the plan or not.. He went on to state the Chamber were the only ones doing marketing and events …He spoke of the repairs needed at hotels in LBTS and the importance of the Welcome Center..

Comm. Clottey said she was glad they did the report and it was a “big step in the right direction”…She said they should go in front of the Pompano Beach Commission…

Comm. Vincent stated he felt we are “blessed” to have the Welcome Center in Town and asked Paul if he had a percentage of those who came in and spent money in town…Paul misunderstood and answered people who come to his hotel go eat at town restaurants etc… Comm. Vincent clarified the question and Paul responded he did not know the percentage but it was substantial… Comm. Vincent stated there had been a lot of “brainstorming ” from the dais but was concerned about some conflict from getting funding from Broward County if we went to the other cities as well…He stated he agreed with the VM about the $46,000 (VM Dodd was not for the $46,000) and to receive less money from the Town if Broward County subsidized again..He said he appreciates the Chamber…

The Mayor also thanked Mr. Novak for the plan and stated that it should extend beyond the Chamber for obtaining funding for the Welcome Center ….She said it was Executive Director Judy Swaggarty who procured the funding from Ken Keechl…and spoke of the brochures in center from everyone in the county…She stated she was okay with he $35,000 but had questions on the advertising ..and wanted to make sure it covered all of the businesses…wanting to know who would have control and where the monies were going…

Comm. Sasser stated they were valid questions and that he had gone back and forth on the subject and stated it is “our Welcome Center” not Broward County’s or Pompano’s …He said we asked the Chamber to operate a Welcome Center and now we’re asking them to get funding…He concurred with the Mayor it was their responsibility …He went on to ask if the Town should operate it and said he did not think we can… He added the $27,000 for a full time employee plus $6,904 which is to cover Executive Dir. Judy Swaggarty’s salary for Welcome Center duties (per report) adding the Welcome Center is “of value to our town” and the “raw numbers “..”$35,000 is a fair price”…

VM Dodd stated if you walk into many Chambers there will be brochures…and they are not called Welcome Centers…He stated he fought for them to stay in their building (prev. posts) and again stated everyone was staying at the same rate as last year and the Chamber should as well with a return of the $8,900 and any funds from Broward county would be kept by them …essentially $35,900…

Comm. Clottey said she agreed with some of the Vice Mayor’s points about Chambers and their standard practice and made one request that the Chamber have their personnel keep a chart on what’s being asked  etc..

Mr Novak countered they have always done that and reported it monthly in their newsletter (on Chamber website/prev. posts).. It breaks it down…

BC- He is correct and the Chamber could answer Comm. Vincent’s % question with those statistics… http://www.lbts.com/chamber.html

The Mayor spoke of the $35,000/$11,159 for advertising and the reduction from $55,000…The TM asked for direction seeing a split from the dais and needing some amount to work with for the budget …

Vice Mayor Dodd made a comment that he also wanted to include a raise for the Director of the Community Center ($2,500) which was in the orig. budget and then reversed…He stated it was his understanding to do so with the contracted vendor the Comm. would need to suspend the policy manual temporarily…He stated it was his opinion Armilio deserves the raise …after being treated badly by the former administration..and not receiving a raise for 6 years… The consensus was to put it on the Sept. 20th Roundtable to discuss…

The TM reiterated a budget for the Chamber of $46,159 and the VM made it clear he wanted 2 separate motions on the Chamber and Reso. 2010-28 …turning the motion over to liaison Comm. Sasser to make…

Comm Sasser made the motion for the $46, 159 amending the Chamber’s budget pending more information on advertising…It was seconded by Comm. Vincent and passed 4-1 (VM Dodd voted no)..

The Manager reminded them of the donations (the agency reps were still in the hall)…Comm. Vincent asked if there was a line item in the budget for them (He should have known there was)…The TM affirmed there was…The VM stated since Broward Homeless again did not come to pitch …again they should be denied…It was seconded by Comm. Sasser  and a vote of 5-0 was made in the amount of $12,442 to the agencies present…

The VM made the motion for Resolution 2010-28 with a second from Comm. Sasser…It passed 5-0…

Some comments were made before adjourning…

VM Dodd thanked the staff and reminded all of the changes made due to the terminations and how well they had done despite it…Comm. Sasser could be heard saying “hear-hear”…

Comm. Clottey made her statement of not wanting the millage rate to go up and the “Lipstick on a pig” comment…..

The Mayor also acknowledged what the new Administration had uncovered and dealt with and commended them on not sacrificing services to get to the 3.999 millage…

Comm. Vincent thanked the agencies who came to make their pitch and Comm. Sasser could be heard to state “hear, hear.”…

The meeting was adjourned…

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