Thursday, February 16, 2006

Notes from Commission Meeting and CRA Meeting of Feb. 13

On February 13, the City Commission met both as to a Regular Commission Meeting, and as the CRA Board. As to the regular meeting, the Commission's business included:

1) Approval on first reading of a State Road 7 Redevelopment Trust Fund for the CRA to collect funds and finance improvements on the corridor;
2) Approval on first reading the issuance of a $10,000,000 bond to repay the costs to the city incurred for Hurricane Wilma repairs and cleanup. The city has already expended $6,000,000, and is expecting within 1 to 2 years to be reimbursed from FEMA. To the extent the city is not reimbursed, plus interest on the loan, Lauderhill will have to absorb as a loss;
3) Final Approval on ordinances restricting adult entertainment, adult video/bookstores, and prohibiting adult related language on signs advertising such services;
4) Appointing members to the Public Art Committee, Nuisance Abatement Board, and Unsafe Structures Board;
5) Approved an agreement for FPL to install a 15' chain link fence around their substation, adjacent to the athletic fields at Lauderhill Middle School (also requesting further discussion to upgrade the type of fencing);
6) Approved a contract for design services for the walls being built in the city under the Capital Improvement Bond Issue.

At the CRA Meeting, the Commission approved proceeding with negotiations on purchase of certain properties in Central Lauderhill, and the implementation of eminent domain proceedings if negotiations are not successful. All items passed unanimously, except Commission Howard Berger voted against the approval of a contract for the voluntary purchase of the Mission Lakes Plaza. The purchase was with the intent to remove the commercial areas from the residential neighborhood to reduce crime and lower traffic flow. This area has been problem for the city for over 25 years, and the only time crime has decreased there was during the time the center was rebuilt following the fire that burnt down half of it.

Commissioners Berger justified his vote against by stating that the city will lose revenue by closing the center, and that if the city spent tax money on rebuilding the center for a private owner and expanding even more police services to it, we could eliminate the crime problem.

It was pointed out to him by several people that when we had the old City Hall, Main Police Station, Police Sub-station, and Main Fire Station adjacent to the property, it did not resolve the problem. That the property has been recently rebuilt so that it did not need to be rebuilt further, and therefore spending more tax money to rebuild would not help the situation as well. That devoting continual police support (as in a private security service) to the center is an option not given to any other business, and was not believed would be viable on a long term basis. It was also pointed out that nothing previously has worked on reducing crime or traffic flow in the area, and it has been a continual and significant drain on city services. Therefore, the remaining Commissioners and Mayor voted to support the recommendation of the Executive Director to proceed with the purchase.

The future use of this property, plus old City Hall and the land on the SW corner of 19th Ave. and 55th Street, is for additional park land and/or housing.

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