Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sunrise/Lauderhill Jaycees Support Youth Activities

The Sunrise/Lauderhill Jaycees recently donated $1000 to the City of Lauderhill to support the Jumpstart Cricket and Netball programs for kids. These programs help direct our youth and have been well received in our community. For more information about the Jumpstart Cricket Program contact: For more information about Netball or other recreational activities contact the City of Lauderhill Parks and Leisures Services Department:

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What Happened to City Hall?

By now you should know that Lauderhill suffered significant damage from Hurricane Wilma. Most of the damage has been already repaired so that the facilities have reopened. However, our City Hall sustained damage beyond a quick fix up. The damage is great enough that we have had to vacate the premises to a temporary facility until future decisions can be made regarding City Hall.

City Hall had been planned to received several million dollars of normal repairs in the next few years. This is because the building has had roof, mold and a/c problems for some time. There were also other problems as well. As a 25 year old building, it has not held up well, and is not designed to withstand hurricanes, being built pre-Andrew.

Hurricane Wilma shattered several windows in the building, drenching the interior. Additionally, there were roof leaks, and ceilings fell. The mold that was in facade on the exterior is feared to have now penetrated the interior, which could result in a sick building.

So, Lauderhill must consider its options of what to do with City Hall. Basically, there are 3 options under discussion:

#1) Repair the present City Hall. Advantages are that it would be the quickest answer. Disadvantages are that the cost may not be worth the trouble or may even exceed the cost of other options. After repaired, it would still not be very sound for hurricanes, and therefore this issue may come up again in the future. Additionally, other options may have significant benefits to the city. It is still possible that we may institute temporary repairs to use the facility until another option is completed.

#2) Tear down the present City Hall and rebuild on the same site. Advantages would be that we would have a better building. Disadvantages are its location, loss of benefits from other options, the cost, and the time of construction (which would probably exceed the time of Option 3).

#3) Rebuild a new City Hall on Oakland Park Blvd. Advantages are that it may be the most cost effective option, give us a better location for City Hall in a major business district, and allow us to spur other economic development. It will also give us a building that is designed to withstand hurricanes. Disadvantages are that it will cost money and time.

If we built a new City Hall on Oakland Park Blvd., where would it be? There are 2 parcels that are being brought up. The parcel adjacent to the Police Station, which we own, or at the Old Publix building which is scheduled to be torn down. The land where the present City Hall is situated could be sold for development of new housing, which would reduce the cost substantially for a new City Hall. Of course the city would retain the park area next to City Hall. Construction could take 1 1/2 to 2 years to complete.

To otherwise pay for the answer, the city does have insurance, FEMA and its own funds available (particularly the monies we will not be spending for the repairs described above). There probably are some other creative financing arrangements that could be worked out. This would include involving our new CRA district for this area.

The strength of the situation is that in the end, the result of building a new building will be something of extraordinary benefit to the city, from a situation which was a major disaster. In the long run, depending on the answer chosen, it may work out better for the city than if we had maintained status quo at our present site.

No decisions have been made on how this should be resolved. Discussions are underway and studies are being made to evaluate damage, cost of repairs, and alternatives. At some point a decision will be made by the Commission. The next time discussion on this matter will come up is at our Annual Retreat on January 19 from 10 AM to 3 PM.

Comments are appreciated to get your input to the Commission, but until all of the information is available, it is difficult for the Commission to make any final decisions. Though a decision is needed quickly, preferably in the next 3 months, the situation is still fluid, and without answers an educated decision is difficult.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

State of the City Speech

For those that have missed the 8th Annual Lauderhill State of the City Address on Comcast, and copy of the text is available at the following link:

Saturday, December 17, 2005

CRA's and You-Part I

The State Road 7 Master Plan

One of the many techniques that Lauderhill is creating to help redevelop and spur on growth is the establishment of Community Redevelopment Agencies ("CRA"). The purpose of the Agencies is to create a redevelopment plan, and to secure financing to implement the plan.

Funds can be generated by several sources, but the most talked about source is through Tax Incremental Financing ("TIF"). This is a process where county and city property tax revenues on the growth in value is captured for future use. With these funds, some of the powers of a CRA's is to purchase property, condemn property, and build improvements. CRA's can also borrow and assume debt. When carried out properly, they are a vital tool to an area's redevelopment.

In the case of Lauderhill, we have created two CRA's. One for Central Lauderhill from Sunrise Blvd. to Oakland Park Blvd. (both commercial and residential areas), and the other along the State Road 7 corridor (primarily commercial). The Commission decided to sit as the Board for the CRA's, with the Mayor and Vice Mayor sitting as the Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, (as per our City Charter). Though the CRA's are not sitting as the City Commission, its responsibilities are very similar, and the need to keep consistency between the two organizations is essential. Don Giancoli is the Executive Director (similar to a City Manager) for the CRA's.

Why did the city create two districts? For two reasons. First, the two properties are not contiguous, and second, because they are distinctly different areas. For efficiency sake, when the CRA Board meets, it is meeting for the two districts at the same time. Meetings are being developed at regular intervals, but for now are called when the Director requests them. The Chair or the Board can also set meetings as they desire. As with all meetings, they are open to the public, but under the present Board's rules, public discussion can be more limited than at a normal commission meeting. Alternatively, comments on the CRA's can be made at the Public Hearing held before our Regular Commission Meeting. Unless the Commission has an item on the Agenda that evening for the CRA. Then you may speak at that time.

Each district is well on its way to creating its plans and has already begun the process of instituting these plans. The process will take many years to complete, but in our case, unlike in most CRA's, I believe you will see a substantial return in the next 3 to 5 years. In future Parts of this series, I will examine each of the Districts and provide a link to view the plans.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Some Old News and Some New

Our Lauderhill All America City Team Presenters

Over the past year, Lauderhill has had many Ups and some Downs. Among the many Ups was being named an All America City, among other awards. Among the Downs was Hurricane Wilma. Throughout it all, we have shown the strength and resolve of our community. For that we can be very proud of.

We have reached out to many and try to help in many ways. Recently, with the help of the Educational Advisory Board, we raised $10,000 for a Teachers Reimbursement Grant Program. Over 100 teachers received up to $100 reimbursement for spending their own money to help our children with their education. This was a direct grant to them. For the children, we had a contest to pick the cover of this years Holiday Card. Our neighborhoods have reached out and today the Inverrary Homeowners Association held its Annual Holiday Party at Jackie Gleason Park. I hope in the future to have pictures of these programs and events. As soon as I figure out how.

NOTE: If you have a digital photo of an event, you could always send to me and I may be able to include it.

I personally feel that we are at the threshold of some amazing times in our city. Where years of work are now coming together and we will do something that will be very special to all of us. If you want to hear more of this, you may be able to watch my 8th Annual State of the City Speech, supposedly to be broadcasted on Comcast, Dec. 12 at 7 PM (Channel ?, probably 12 and/or 78). If there is interest, I may try to link it to this Blog, or at least post the text of the speech.

Soon I will be write about other points of interest that will be coming up. Hope you find them of interest too.

A New Beginning

December 10, 2006

For some time, I have wanted to be able to communicate with those that have an interest in Lauderhill, but did not know how this could be efficiently done. In the past I have used letters, newsletters, and a variety of ways to help me help those I represent. As Mayor of Lauderhill, this is had some success, but I always wondered if I could reach more, I could help more.

This new media, web log or "blog" is a way for me to keep you better posted on items you may have interest in and around Lauderhill. Also, you can let me know more about what you think of what I write about, or about what we don't write about. I recently learned all about this at a conference I attended.

In the end, it should allow more information to get to you and others about what a community is all about. I will do my best, with my limited knowledge of this media, to put out this information. I am positive I will make mistakes on putting this together. However, that's part of the fun and the exploration of this medium.

Some rules about this process. First, this is not a newsletter affiliated with, or in anyway paid for by the City of Lauderhill. This is my own private electronic newspaper, so to speak. Second, while comments are encouraged, and I expect both positive, negative and anything across the board, I would ask no inappropriate language, and that negative comments of my family be left out. Not an unreasonable request. Finally, as an elected official, I am up for re-election. This Blog is not a campaign device, though clearly that could be debated. At least up until the election on March 14, 2006. I do expect to continue this afterwards, so then it would lose this point. Therefore, even though this does not cost me anything to put together, the service is free, I will put in the required disclosure.

I look forward to this New Beginning.

Mayor Richard J. Kaplan

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Richard J. Kaplan, non-partisan, for Mayor of Lauderhill-Seat 5