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Here’s The Scoop … Traveling Salesmen Selling Magic Elixers Brought To You By Town/City Managers & Commissions In Every Town They Go To? …

IN THIS BOTTLE IS MAGIC ELIXER FOR MARKETING & REDEVELOPING YOUR TOWN … LOOK FAMILIAR? …

Dear Readers … we are winding down from the last year of a full-our Master Plan Re-do … or so we were led to believe since the final numbers are set to be turned over from the RMA Group ….the Pompano Beach company hired by Town Manager Connie Hoffmann under her $15,000 limit (which they met in cost) for hiring without Commission approval (prev. posts) who were later approved by this Commission to continue on for just shy of $20,000 … Not so fast!… This writer was told by those who are more well versed on consultants and municipal managers than I told me long ago don’t buy in to it …pun intended …They were right!… Town Manager Connie Hoffmann has put item a3e on the still bloated Roundtable agenda for Tues. night the 14th… She didn’t arrive to place alone…To be fair members of the dais took a drink of the magic elixer as well with this latest Master Plan re-do and marketing the Town “traveling show” that was brought to LBTS  leaving the door open for more “acts” to follow in the upcoming fiscal year that will cost us $62,000 which includes $25,000 for market research of 250 visitors to Town along with a phone survey! …Longtime LBTS residents know how poorly received phone surveys are in this Town!… (Doesn’t any of the staff offer this TM a heads-up to foibles of the past?) … The TM does add funds are available in this year’s “consultant budget” …Hmmm …. We all know how well consultants and having a budget for them goes over in this Town as well …yep, right up there with phone surveys!… The Town Manager states RMA has advised we hire a marketing director for the Town with a salary of $70-75,000 per year and it would take approximately 3 months to find that person…Coincidentally RMA would take 3 months to do their marketing role for the $62,000… TM Hoffmann states  we could set aside $100,000 in the budget for next year for this … I want to remind Readers that the TM may just get direction to go ahead from the majority of the Commission (they cannot vote at a Rtbl.) due to the desire at last year’s budget for wanting to offer up to a similar amount to the Chamber to market the Town which they took a pass on… (but that was before the traveling consultants were in the picture) …My concerns are many…which I will expand on below…My first my concern at this juncture is that I have no faith left in this Administration based on what I have seen thus far with this whole Master Plan Re-do and what has not happened as a result in this fiscal year … We have seen no streamlining of the Town’s staff as the number of employees … (moved up to the #1 priority per 2010 agreement by all 5 Commissioners ) …We have seen no movement towards private companies for taking over certain departments…while hearing the TM may have already decided not to budget next year for certain positions of longtime employees that are needed and are actually an asset in the positions they are currently in…This one struck me as odd if true since the Administration is actively retaining some employees that continue to be sub-standard …We have long been told it is due to a fear we are told of lawsuits… (as seen by former employees O’Brien/King/Olinzock)  …Perhaps that fear may arise for the current TM due to what she experienced from a  longtime whistleblower she employed in Fort Lauderdale  …I recently stumbled upon his book online “While We Sleep – A Story of Government Without Law” by Alan R. Adaschik  …. It was published in 2006 and covers grievances the author had which involved Ms. Hoffmann in her role as City Manager of Fort Lauderdale right up to the time she resigned … I’m not insinuating anything except it was a long drawn out process according to the book which would give any TM pause when faced with legal action coming from employees in a future TM position … My concerns have continued to grow each month as I watched this Master Plan revision morph over this past fiscal year with the caravan of traveling salesmen arriving within our Town limits armed with “visions” of what this Town could be and the dire straits we are surely in as we continue to stagnate in our present condition thus thwarting the progress we need to jump head- first into to keep up with the “Jones” aka other municipalities who have either been the recipients of these same “salesmen” or who are experiencing their latest “elixers” as well…. After seeing the Town Manager’s item on the agenda and seeing no date listed for RMA’s report for a 5-year plan which according to the 2nd agreement are due in June …(a workshop was expected we believe before the first budget meeting which is scheduled on Tues. June 21, 2011 at 5 pm) … I did some Googling on RMA and Pompano Beach our neighbor to the north who is using the RMA Group …RMA is in charge of their CRA and their hired marketer for Pompano Beach’s CRA is also an RMA employee …. A few of the Pompano Beach Commissioners were a little irked by RMA taking on a position with LBTS believing it would impede their work for them…(Prev. post)… What I found was eye-opening and jaw-dropping… The comparisons were abundant…Not only with what RMA was brought to the municipalities …but those who came before them in previous versions of redevelopment for Pompano Beach … including some familiar “salesmen” recently bringing their show to Jarvis Hall … RMA has renderings contained on it’s projects page on their website as well as in proposals for Pompano Beach and seen in renderings at presentations (see below-#6-Youtube videos ) that all look alike …They look just like all the recent redevelopment in warm climate communities… multi-colored buildings with the same building components …even the streetscapes appear to be  the same as what we are being offered by UM…the benches…light fixtures etc…This writer is not a fan ..I don’t want LBTS to look like every other coastal town …http://www.metrostrategies.net/index.php …. RMA became the executive directors of the latest Pompano Beach CRA and maintains an office as such…with a newsletter and monthly meetings  http://www.mypompanobeach.org/… A look at the Pompano Beach Commission meetings and long list of resolutions to disperse monies for the redevelopment improvements shows what is needed …a largely populated municipality with a large commercial component and tax increment financing … (see below -#1) … Of course programs offered up are never bulletproof and it requires a municipality to have a good  size cushion in place to deal with setbacks that come from dealing with the branched off recipients of these programs ….which are being offered up to us as well as ways to redevelop commercial properties …(prev. post UM presentation /see below- # 2 & #3) … One aside this weekend this writer heard the former Holdiay Inn may have been sold …If this is accurate it goes to show government should stay away from private development…We paid UM to come up with renderings for a hotel that may have already been involved in a deal to sell it?…WOW!….Speaking of these programs among the top two eye-openers found while searching the net was from  2008 … “Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council Technical Assistance Panel for The Pompano Beach
Community Redevelopment Agency on The East Community Redevelopment Area” …(see below-#4) …It includes the same speaker Chuck Bohls who spoke at the UM design presentation…Some of the captions found in the report are eerily the same as those made  in Jarvis Hall…(prev. post) …The list of recommendations are the same…pedestrian friendly…shade trees…parking  etc… A look through the CRA monthly minutes offer up some other items that leave this writer a little perplexed when they deal with undergrounding downtown on Atlantic  Blvd… Why in the world did we have to go through months of waiting for the TM to produce an RFP to go out for real costs for doing the same in our downtown when RMA must have had those numbers readily available …The Town Manager doubled back on the RFP and stated at a recent Rdtable she would look at other municipalities to get some estimates which might throw a wrench in the idea … no doubt!… The second of the top two eye-openers was “Tourism In Pompano Beach :: 2011  Planning, Development, Marketing & Management” (see below-#5) …It is a 42 page report that covers the very same components LBTS will has discussed and no doubt will pay for to discuss again…Included in it was this doozy on LBTS…” Brand recognition within the Greater Fort Lauderdale area does not appear to be a challenge for Lauderdale-­‐By-­‐The-­‐Sea since “Lauderdale” appears in their name. Also, the LBTS Chamber of Commerce can focus almost exclusively on the tourism industry because they are a small municipality whose boundaries are within the Scenic A1A corridor and most of their members are engaged in tourism related businesses.”… Who was on the panel who made this call….The  “Team Composition” includes none other than “Kim Briesemeister/Chris Brown CRA Co-­Executive Directors” the very people we are being asked to pay an additional $62,000 (we have already contracted with them for $35,000) to help us “brand and market our Town”… OOPS!… All of these reports are available through the links provided above or by Google…

The taxpayers need to think about all this as we prepare to swallow the next “Magic Elixer” in 2012 if the status quo continues at the Tuesday June 14, 2011 LBTS Roundtable….

GOOGLE FINDS-

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#1-‘$15 Million Bond Floated by City of Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:29pm EST

POMPANO BEACH, FL, Feb 20 (MARKET WIRE) —
The City of Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) closed
today on a $15 million tax increment financing package that will provide
funding for streetscape improvements along Atlantic Boulevard, as well as
the beach.

Included in the financing is a $5 million reserve to fund the CRA’s
potential participation in a beach parking garage near the Pompano Beach
Pier.

The lender is Branch Banking &Trust Co. and the bonds are for 20 years.

Mayor Lamar Fisher, sitting as the Chair of the CRA while executing the
documents, said, “This is a great accomplishment for the CRA. The projects
it will fund have long been a priority for the City and we are pleased in
this very tight economic market to be able to find a way to move them
forward.”

The CRA, created in 1989, recently selected Redevelopment Management
Associates (RMA) to manage its two districts: CRA West and CRA East. RMA
said that while this financing is for projects in the CRA East, the CRA
is working on similar projects for the CRA West, an area of about 3,084
acres that generally encompasses a large part of the western portion of
the City.’

http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/02/20/idUS75170+20-Feb-2010+MW20100220

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#2-‘Incentive Programs

Facade & Business Site Improvement Program
This program encourages business owners to enhance their existing business sites through exterior improvements. This includes most exterior elements from windows, doors, paint, signage, design elements, etc.

Strategic Investment Program (SIP)
This program, which uses a formula that considers the amount of tax increment generated from each project, is for rehabilitation or renovation of properties, tenant improvements, etc. Payment is made either on a reimbursement basis or payment directly to the contractor after inspection.

Capital Improvement Grant Program
This program works in conjunction with the lenders and provides interest only payments on loans amortized over a five year period. The maximum loan amount the incentive will apply against is $350,000. The interest payment amount is intended to reduce the upfront costs of renovation to buildings.

Strategic Investment Streetscape Program (SISP)
This program is for projects that are less than $5 million in total estimated costs. Matching funds are provided for sidewalk and streetscape improvements or other streetscape elements in a project.

Relocation and Development Incentive Program
This program allows the CRA to cover moving expenses or other items associated with attracting a new tenant to the area, or relocating an existing tenant. Each project is considered separately since conditions vary from project to project.

Real Estate Development Accelerator (REDA)
This program is for all major projects that are (usually) ground up development projects. The minimum amount of investment must be $5 million in construction. This is a tax increment financing program whereby the incentive funds come from the development itself based on the new tax created from the new development. This program requires an extremely detailed real estate analysis and a development agreement for each project

Merchant Assistance Program- Phase I
This program is designed to assist restaurant businesses with increasing sales through merchandising techniques, as well as updating certain aspects of the operations. The program is available to restaurants that have been located in our target areas for two (2) years or more’

http://www.mypompanobeach.org/cra/east.html

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#3-  ‘ Hawkins Homes got $140,000 but did not build; Ortanique contractor suing the city; Parc Lorraine rented, not sold
By Judy Wilson and Judy Vik
Pelican staff
Pompano Beach – Hawkins Homes, a local builder of low-income housing projects here, received almost $140,000 in public housing dollars but has failed to build eight promised town homes at Legacy 11.
Hawkins, owned by Charles and Emma Ellington, received $118,000 in Federal Housing and Urban Development Funds from the city’s housing division for “soft” costs: architectural drawings, engineering and administrative fees, and another $20,000 from LISC, a national non-profit organization that lends money to improve distressed communities. The new homes were to be built adjacent to the 18-unit townhome development Legacy 1 on NW 13 Street, and completed by the end of 2009. Hawkins Homes was also the Legacy 1 developer.
Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA, co-director Chris Brown said last week his agency is in the foreclosure process and if the city can get title to the Legacy 11 addition, about one acre of land, he does not recommend action against Hawkins Homes.
City Commissioner Rex Hardin asked, “How much out of pocket are we?” Including litigation expenses, Brown estimated between $25,000 and $30,000. “Once we get the property back, we are on our way,” Brown said. Hardin persisted asking, “What about the HUD funds?”
Brown said “HUD would have to forgive the city, or we will have to litigate.” He indicated he does not believe Hawkins Homes has money that can recovered.
Hardin said, “If HUD comes a’knockin,’ someone has to pay.”
As far back as September of 2009, Brown wrote city commissioners, acting as members of the CRA Board, that Hawkins Homes was in default of its agreements. He recommended that the one-acre lot be re-conveyed to the CRA and a new builder found.
The city is embroiled in another problematic situation involving the Ellingtons, this one at Ortanique Estates where Hawkins Homes established a CEHDA (a community group that oversees housing projects) and agreed to construct 43 single-family homes by June of 2008. In September of 2009, only 31 of the homes had been completed and Brown found the CEHDA in default of its agreements with the CRA.
Last week, Brown said the CRA is finishing up site work at Ortanique at a cost o
$200,000. According to one report, the city invested almost $3 million in Ortanique for land and infrastructure. Now a contractor is cleaning up the 13 undeveloped lots, applying the final asphalt coat on the roads and completing irrigation and storm drainage work.
Until this work is completed, Brown says he hesitates to discuss the homeowners’ responsibility to form a homeowners’ association.
Complicating matters is a third-party lawsuit filed by Darryl Simpson, the contractor for Ortanique Estates. Simpson is suing for $300,000 on three counts, the first, that when the CRA terminated Hawkins Homes, he lost the ability to build there; the second, that he did infrastructure work that he was not paid for and thirdly, for lost profits due to the termination of the agreement with the CEHDA.
Brown said neither the city nor the CRA had a contractual arrangement with Simpson. Simpson was hired by the CEHDA.
“If you want an executive session on that, just ask,” he told the CRA Board. “It is not interesting yet. If it becomes so, I’ll call you.”
City Attorney Gordon Linn said he believes the “litigation won’t be protracted “because the issue is limited.“
The CRA is attempting to get Ortanique homeowners to buy into its plan to reduce the ‘junior mortgages’ on the properties from 30 to 10 years. Ortanique homebuyers were offered a $70,000 second mortgage, equal to the cost of each building lot, when they purchased their homes. Mortgage payments were to be deferred and forgiven in 30 years. But if the property were sold before 30 years, the $70,000 would have to be repaid.
Reducing the time line to 10 years is an advantage to the homeowner, Brown said, but there is reluctance on the part of the homeowners to sign the revamped mortgage. “There is a lot of mistrust between the buyers and the city and CRA,” Brown said. “Some may never sign.”
Ortanique Estates has been the subject of much controversy. In 2009 an internal audit found numerous irregularities including falsified mortgage agreements, unqualified buyers and poor records. An outside auditor later confirmed the city’s findings.
Parc Lorraine Developer is not in compliance
The third troubled property, Brown told the CRA Board, is Parc Lorraine, four lots at NW Eighth Street and NW 10th Avenue where developer Vince Johnson built four houses.
“The developer agreement is not in compliance,” Brown said. “The houses were built and rented, and that (renting) wasn’t in the agreement.”
Brown said he has tried without success to get the developer to do an amended agreement. “He doesn’t want anything to do with us or with government, and he doesn’t want to talk about it.” He recommended sending Johnson a final default letter, notifying him the agreement is ended and he’s on his own.
“We lost our card when this board released the letter of credit in January 2009 and you knew it was rented,” Brown added.
Brown said the taxes on the property have not been paid in three years.
“The CRA gave the property to the developer?” Commissioner Rex Hardin asked.
“Yes, $100,000 worth,” Brown responded.
“I’ve got a problem,” Hardin said. “We have $100,000 out on the street. We gave it to someone who says, ‘To heck with you guys.’”
City Attorney Gordon Linn said the city could sue to enforce the agreement. Hardin said he would rather do that than accept a recommendation to walk away from $100,000. “I really have a problem with the developer saying, ‘Thank you very much, but I’m not going to perform,’” Hardin said.’

http://pompanopelican.webs.com/apps/blog/show/next?from_id=6880974

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#4-‘Urban Land Institute
Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council
Technical Assistance Panel for
The Pompano Beach
Community Redevelopment Agency
on
The East Community Redevelopment Area
May 15-16, 2008
The Emma Lou Olson Civic Center
Pompano Beach, Florida
Urban Land Institute
Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council
Technical Assistance Panels
What are Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs)?
Since 1947, the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Advisory Services Program has been assisting
communities by bringing together week-long panels of seasoned real estate, planning, financing,
marketing, and development experts to provide unbiased pragmatic advice on complex land use
and development issues. Several years ago, the ULI Southeast Florida/Caribbean District
Council began providing panel services of one or two days to address specific local government
issues in areas such as housing, parking, redevelopment, and future land use development. The
District Council has some 1,200 members spread along the east coast of Florida from Indian
River County through the Florida Keys and from Puerto Rico.
How Do TAPs Work?
Sponsors request the services of a TAP with regard to a specific issue that can be addressed by a
panel of experts in one or two days. The District Council assists the sponsor in refining the scope
of the assignment and convenes a panel to address those specific issues. The sponsor works
within ULI guidelines to provide background information to ULI panelists prior to the panel’s
convening. When convened, members of the TAP view the subject site, hear from public and
private stakeholders, and then deliberate on the assigned issues. At the conclusion of its work,
the panel presents an oral report to stakeholders; that is followed by a written report within
approximately two weeks.
What Do TAPs Cost?
A fee is charged for the advisory service, but the panel members are not compensated for their
time. The fee depends on the length of the actual TAP convening but is typically between
$15,000 and $20,000, including panel expenses. Each TAP is different, and fees are negotiated
individually with the client sponsoring it. Panel members donate their time and are only
reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses, such as overnight lodging and transportation to
attend the TAP. To ensure objectivity, panel members cannot be involved in matters pending
before the sponsor, be working for the sponsor, or solicit work from the sponsor during the
panel’s assignment period.
Who is ULI?
ULI was founded in 1936 as a non-profit institute to facilitate the open exchange of ideas and
information among local, national, and international real estate industry leaders and policy makers
dedicated to creating better places. Today it has more than 36,000 members worldwide. The ULI
does not lobby or act as an advocate for any single industry. It is committed to providing leadership
in the responsible use of land and creating and sustaining thriving communities.
Panel Members (by discipline)
Land Planner, Planner, and Urban Designer
Dr. Charles C. Bohl, Director
Knight Program in Community Building
University of Miami School of Architecture
“There are no visible signs that anyone cares
about Atlantic Boulevard. The first step is to
move ahead with the streetscape plan.
Consider the cost of doing nothing. To
succeed, the city needs to be the champion
and find other champions. Through a well
thought-out collective set of steps and
collaborative actions, you will succeed.”
(ULI Technical Assistance Panel)
“Nothing is better than on-the-ground
demonstrations. Pick two key blocks on Atlantic
Boulevard and do it, using the demonstration to
leverage private investments consistent with the
desired development character.” (ULI Technical
Assistance Panel)’

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#5-“Tourism In Pompano Beach :: 2011  Planning, Development, Marketing & Management”

“Municipal Partners (pg. 13)
A scan was conducted of the neighboring cities of Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Lighthouse Point,Lauderdale-­By-­The Sea,Coconut Creek and northern Broward County Government.It is important to note that the CVB promotes the eight (8) Broward County coastal municipalities by dividing them into North, Central and South areas. Lauderdale-­‐By-­‐The-­‐Sea is part of the Central area along with Fort Lauderdale. Brand recognition within the Greater Fort Lauderdale area does not appear to be a challenge for Lauderdale-­‐By-­‐The-­‐Sea since “Lauderdale” appears in their name. Also, the LBTS Chamber of Commerce can focus almost exclusively on the tourism industry because they are a small municipality whose boundaries are within the Scenic A1A corridor and most of their members are engaged in tourism related businesses.”
……..
“Team Composition”-(pg.11) included-
“Kim Briesemeister/Chris Brown CRA Co-­Executive Directors”

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#6-Youtube Pompano CRA presentation 1/6/11

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57gnjNr1r-A&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW-b4lpKQqg

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more to come…

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