Friday, February 23, 2007

10th Annual Unite-A-Fest - Caribbean Celebration

The 10th Annual Unite-A-Fest, “A Caribbean Celebration” will take place at the Lauderhill Mall, one block north of Sunrise Blvd. on State Road 7, on Friday, March 16th, Saturday, March 17th, and Sunday, March 18th.

Unite-A-Fest, winner of the 2005 City Cultural Diversity Award given by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, also was a Finalist for the Spirit Award from the Florida League of Cities in 2006.

Taste the tropics with live music and dance, fresh Caribbean food, authentic West Indian Arts and Crafts, and amusement park rides for all ages! Meet the Consul Generals, local officials, and learn about the various countries and cultures in the Caribbean!

Admission is FREE and all are welcome!

Friday, March 16th – Steelpan Jamboree – 7 pm – 11 pm
Saturday, March 18th – 11 am – 11 pm
Sunday, March 19th – 2pm – 10 pm

Sponsored by: The Caribbean National Cultural Association, The Lauderhill Mall, Sun Sentinel, Hot 105, LaParkan Shipping, Comcast, Money Gram, Air Jamaica, HI Class Promotions, Caribbean National Weekly, Team Force Audio, Mystik 1400 AM, & Hot 105.

For more information please log onto or Or call 954-972-9628 or 954-730-4218.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Update on Oakland Park Turnpike Exchange

A few months ago the Turnpike Authority released a new study showing how it could create a new interchange at Oakland Park Blvd., allowing for SunPass usage only. Though it is a significant improvement from their previous studies, providing several new options to overcome traffic problems, there remains several significant issues. These issues include a proposal for a traffic light on the top of the Oakland Park Blvd. bridge, which is still unacceptable.

To help facilitate this process, and at the urging of Lauderhill and Lauderdale Lakes residents and businesses, the Mayors of the two cities, with their City Managers and members of Florida Medical Center, met to discuss how to proceed in solving this situation. At that meeting in late December, it was felt that if the cities could conduct their own study, from the city's perspective, we may find a way to approve an interchange that the Turnpike Authority could accept. To date, the Turnpike studies reflect the Authority's point of view, and we believe it does not satisfactorily address the cities' concerns. The estimated cost of this study was estimated to be $40,000 to $50,000.

To pay for the study, each city would pay half, and that Mayor Kaplan, as Chair of the MPO would seek other transportation planning funds to reduce the cost to the cities. Subsequently, the MPO has agreed to pay $25,000 of the cost. Though other funding is being sought, nothing additional has been secured yet.

The idea would require the City Managers to coordinate all activity, with their city's objectives and objections in mind. When the report is complete, they are to take those elements that each city can agree with and submit them to the Turnpike Authority. It is felt that if both cities can agree with a plan, then the Authority would be more willing to accept this and move forward with a final agreed solution.

With the cities each looking at a cost of $12,500 or less, each City Manager (though it is in their authority to approve without Commission approval) decided to bring this to their Commission for comment and support. Lauderhill Commission on Jan. 8 immediately supported moving forward. The Lauderdale Lakes Commission has now discussed this matter at least 3 times, and as of yet no movement towards consensus, vote, nor decision has been made by them. A time line was requested, and it was expressed that it would not be in our best interest to go much beyond March for fear of losing the MPO $25,000 study grant.

Lauderdale Lakes is expected to bring this matter up again at their Commission meeting February 27, however, it is unclear as to how they wish to proceed in this matter. The decision to move forward with the study affecting the entire corridor rests with Lauderdale Lakes. The City of Lauderhill has conveyed that it requires both cities to be an equal contributing partner for this to proceed, and additional delays will jeopardize the ability to move forward.

If both cities can agree to proceed, and a solution acceptable to both cities is also accepted by the Turnpike Authority, construction plans then could start. The expected time for construction is unknown, but will take several years to implement.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Notes of Lauderhill Annual Retreat - January 2007

City of Lauderhill, Florida
Report on Planning Workshop
January 12, 2007

On January 12, 2007, Ralph M. Parilla, Jr. President of Parilla & Associates facilitated a planning workshop for the leadership team of the City of Lauderhill, Florida. In attendance were the Mayor Richard Kaplan, all of the City’s Commissioners, Margaret Bates, Hayward Benson, Howard Berger and Dale Holness, the City Manager, Charles Faranda, staff members, and members of the Public.

The participants focused on the current climate and issues that must be dealt with over the next several years. The purpose of this was to define the concerns that need to be addressed in strategic planning and the circumstances that will assist or hinder the accomplishment of the City’s goals and objectives.

The team first addressed the environmental factors that will be affecting the City over the next few years and the opportunities that the City might be able to make the most of in the immediate future. Following this discussion, the team defined general areas for goal development.

This report summarizes all of the results in the goal formulation process. The following pages summarize the issues discussed at the workshop and document the goals and objectives upon which the team agreed.

Environmental Issues:
1) Ongoing and planned major capital improvements – both public and private
2) Property Tax Reform
3) Demographic Changes in the City
4) Increased Traffic Problems
5) City has a Large Number of Small Businesses
6) Illiteracy Rate Greater that Average
7) Overall Educational Level of Residents
8) Large Number of Renters
9) Housing Affordability Issue
10) Possible Changes coming from the Charter Review Board
11) Increasing Cost of Government such as increased labor costs and Rising Cost of Insurance
12) Unfunded Government Mandates
13) Addressing the Needs of Seniors
14) Business Development Requests
15) The Public’s Perception of Government’s Role
16) Improvements Needed in Schools
17) Average Income Lower that Other Cities
18) Environmental Issues
19) Need for a Clearly Stated Dynamic Master Plan
20) The City is often at odds with the County
21) Political Issues with the State
22) Competition among Cities
23) Need for Continued Beautification
24) Increasing Demands for More Free Services

Opportunities - Environmental Issues:
1) Need to Develop a relationship with School Board and with Local Schools to Create a Process of Structured and Planned Support Including: all levels of education (Elementary, Middle, and High Schools)
2) Workforce One
3) Contact the National League of Cities and Research Model Programs that Might be in Place in other Locations
4) Need to Create an Affordable Housing Strategy including:
a) The Purchase and Rehabilitation of Properties by the City
b) Conduct Research and Find Sources of Revenue to Address the Affordable Housing Issue
c) Conduct Research and Create a Strategy to Increase Opportunities for Home Ownership
d) Find the Means to Implement the Strategy
e) Capitalize on Private Investment Opportunities
f) Find the Means to Assist Seniors to Maintain to Maintain their Properties

Opportunities in General:
1) Capitalize on the Popularity of Events and Leisure Programs. Improve Marketing of Events and Leisure Programs to Increase Turnouts and Participation
2) Work with Chamber of Commerce to Assist Small Business and Promote Events – Strengthen Partnership with Chamber of Commerce
3) Capitalize on Memberships in other Organizations to Better Communicate and Coordinate Efforts to Achieve High Priority Objectives
4) Attempt to Attract/Relocate Educational Institution to the City
5) Anticipate, Analyze and Evaluate the Potential Impact of Various Forms of Property Tax Cuts
6) Enhance and Expand Efforts to Make Lauderhill a "Destination"
7) Work for Participation and Potential Funding from The Tourist Development Council
8) Promote the City as a Family and Retirement Location
9) Work to Attract National/International Tournaments and Festivals
10) Enhance Civic Involvement and Strengthen Relationships with Home Owners’ Associations, Condo Associations, and Non-Profit Organizations
11) Explore the Possibility of a City-Sponsored Summit Meeting for Home Owners’ Groups
Support Home-Grown Businesses and Help Promote Opportunities for Businesses and Residents

Goals and Objectives - In General:
1) Increase Homeownership Rate in the City of Lauderhill by 10% (est.) by 2012
2) Continue to Improve Attractiveness (Curb Appeal) of Various Areas to Encourage Ownership 3) Review, Revise and Modify City Rules that Hinder Processes
4) Create and Promote Educational Programs for Home Ownership
5) Explore the Formation of a Home Ownership Task Force
6) Leverage Various Sources of Revenue to Facilitate the Increase of Home Ownership in the City
7) Make Strategic Investments for the City to Own and Rehabilitate Properties
8) Educate Home Owners’ Associations and Condo Associations as to Roles and Functions, Legal Issues and Association Best Practices
9) Create Partnerships with Other Organizations to Help Promote Affordable Housing Ownership Opportunities
10) Seek Out Organizations to Assist Senior Citizens to Maintain their Properties and Keep Their Homes

Goals and Objectives - Economic Development – "Destination-Related"
1) Ensure the Completion of All Elements that are Part of Creating Lauderhill as a "Destination" are Complete by June 29, 2009 (the Fiftieth Anniversary of the City)
2) Ensure Expedited City Services for "Destination-Related" Projects
3) Assist in the Facilitation of Approval and Processing with Other Governmental Agencies
4) Ensure that Infrastructure Programs Support "Destination-Related" Projects
5) Obtain a Seat on the Tourist Development Council and Obtain Funding for "Destination-Related" Tourist Development
6) Enhance Sister-City Affiliations
7) Focus and Stimulate Improvements on the 441 Corridor
8) Expand the CRA to Include Annexed Areas (31st and Broward)
9) Ensure Redevelopment of the Transportation Hub in the General Vicinity of the Current Location
10) Educate Businesses and Residents on the Benefits of Becoming a Destination Area
11) Pursue the Creation of the Arts District and Trade Center/Free Trade Zone

Goals and Objectives - Economic Development – New Businesses:
1) Attempt to Attract and Relocate an Educational Institution to the City
2) Market the Benefits of Creating a Business Presence in Lauderhill to Major Corporations
3) Create a Brand for the City and Market to Niches
4) Attract International, National and State Tournaments, Festivals, Fairs and Tradeshows
5) Attract International Consulates
6) Promote New Businesses as a Part of Gaining Exposure for the City

Goals and Objectives - Economic Development – Strengthen Existing Businesses:
1) By Being "Business Friendly"
2) Enhance Relationship and Partnership with the Chamber of Commerce
3) Review and Revise Categorization of Businesses on Forms
4) Collect Email Addresses for Better Communication
5) Conduct Joint Events and Activities
6) Provide More Business Services Online (such as Permits, Inspection Notifications, etc.)
7) Explore Wi-Fi for the City
8) Continue to Promote and Patronize Local Businesses

Goals and Objectives - Education:
1) Develop Relationships with Educational Entities to Create a Process of Planned and Structured Support
2) Find Model Programs Through the National League of Cities
3) Promote G.E.D. Programs
4) Increase the High School Graduation Rate by X% (to be determined)
5) Create Internships with the City and Businesses
6) Work with Schools to Obtain a Rating of "B" or Better
7) Support Programs for FCAT Preparation
8) Become a Leader in Mentorship Programs
9) Promote Financial Educational Programs
10) Tie Community Service to Career Orientation

Goals and Objectives - Civic Involvement:
1) Continue to Support Home Owners’ Associations and other Civic Groups
2) Assist with Public Relations and Marketing including Web Site Creation
3) Provide Grant Writing Assistance and Conduct a Grant Writing Seminar
4) Conduct a Home Owners’ Association Symposium on Association Roles and Best Practices
5) Develop a Program to Increase Voting Participation, Board Membership and other Areas of Association Involvement

Goals and Objectives - Other Areas:
1) Expand Beautification Program to Include Businesses and Condos
2) Review all Existing Programs to Determine if they are still Viable
3) Expand Citizens on Patrol (COP’s) Program
4) Transition the City’s Original City Hall to a Historic Site

Editor's Note: These are the notes of the facilitator above, which often, but not entirely, received consensus. They came from the discussion of the participants. Some points had additional comments, and an occasional disagreement by individuals, which are absent from the report of the facilitator. They were not voted upon, nor approved by the Commission as an official statement, but serve as points for future discussion and action as appropriate. The notes were slightly modified to read in an clearer outline form, but the content remained the same.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Vote For Your Favorite Park and Raise Money For Your Park

Staples Inc. and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade teamed up to promote area parks. They are launching the "Staples Dream Park Challenge" -- an online initiative to bring awareness and improvements to area parks.

Residents are being asked to pick their favorite from among 14 parks in Broward and Miami-Dade counties at The park with the most votes will receive $25,000 to make improvements; the other 13 will each receive $2,500. The winner will be announced in April.

Residents who vote will be entered into a contest to be one of five winners to meet Wade, who will attend the ground-breaking for the winning park. Another five winners will receive autographed jerseys. Voters will also have a chance to multiply their vote by 10 by visiting one of 13 area Staples stores to pick up a "power card" featuring Wade's photo and a code that can be entered online.

Please help out the City of Lauderhill, and City Hall Park, by voting for our Park at Help Dwyane Wade come to Lauderhill and meet you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Notes of the Regular Commission Meeting of 2/12/07

On February 12, 2007, the City Commission held a Regular Commission Meeting and a Special Workshop (to catch up on the cancellation of 3 consecutive Regular Workshop). The items and discussion on the Special Workshop were as follows:

1) Tap Tap City - Both Vice Mayor Holness and Mayor Kaplan announced that they were personally paying for the travel cost of the trip to France. They will be leading a delegation of Lauderhill business leaders. 4 of 5 Commissioner had no problem as long as personal money was being used. One Commissioner still objected in they did not believe that it would not be beneficial to the city, even though city monies are not being used. The principal of Tap Tap City is a Lauderhill resident, as well as others involved in this venture. Also, discussion was on the look of the facility. No request for funding from the city has been requested. The city has not received any design plans and discussions with the developer continue.

2) Bobby Jones Gospel Center - No plans have been submitted, but the city is awaiting a feasibility study. The Florida Black Caucus has made this development a priority to receive State funding.

3) Presentation was given concerning upcoming discussion on that will be held on creating an additional homestead exemption, and the impact to city services.

4) Proposed entryway signs into the city were viewed and discussed.

5) Update Stonebridge Gardens - presently they are moving towards completion of some units which could be occupied by the end of February or early March. However, several buildings are not near completion. Fund raising efforts are being directed with the Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact the Chamber.

6) Notice was given that on February 15 at 7 PM at St. George Community Center, Dickey Consulting will be presenting to gather input on a proposed Broward Blvd. light rail proposal.

7) Old City Hall - only one Request for Proposal on redevelopment of the area. It did not meet with Commission desires. City Manager will pursue it further.

8) Red Light Enforcement - until such time that more information is available, and certain legalities are resolved in the legislature, the Commission does not wish to go further. Direction was given to the Police Chief to continue investigating this matter.

9) Broward Estates Park - discussion on the development on a Park in Broward Estates, which appears to be owned by the Association. The Association states they deeded back to the county due to the expense of maintaining it. Funds are being requested from the county to help develop it. The request is based upon the annexation transfer. The Commission by consensus agreed to arrange for it to be developed as a passive park. However, there is a concrete structure that may need to be removed from the property.

The items on the Regular Commission meeting were:


1) Ordinance proposed by the Mayor, to institute a requirement that all buildings must submit with their site plan those elements which satisfy the US Green Building Councils LEED Certification requirements. It does not mandate that any such requirements are implemented, only that they must identify them. Passed 5-0.

2) Ordinance proposed by Commissioner Berger to expand the prohibition of water flow extending to adjacent properties. Presently it is prohibited to water flow on hard pedestrian and vehicular surfaces, building walls and fences. The Planning and Zoning Board voted against recommended this item 1-4. Like the P & Z Board, the majority of the Commission felt this was not appropriate and unnecessary. Fails 1 - 4 (Commissioner Berger was the sole yes vote)

3) Ordinance proposed by Commissioner Benson to modify the vending vehicles to include only ice cream vendors and not other food vendors. Requiring annually inspection and the display registration sticker. It was found that the Ordinance, while supported to ice cream vendor vehicles, the ordinance as drafted eliminated certain provisions to food vendors that was not intended. Item was Tabled to fix this problem to address the specific concern, 5-0.

4) Ordinance proposed by Commissioner Benson to increase our Senior Homeowner Exemption another $25,000.00. No city or the County, in Broward County has passed this except for maybe the more affluent cities that have significant cash flows and/or little effect upon. Discussion concerning the proposed $25,000 additional homestead exemption being discussed to all homestead properties, and the effect to the city was brought up. Because of the unknowing situation, the Commission Tabled the item until such time that the tax structure issues are clarified, 5-0.


1) Passed on Consent Agenda Ordinance providing no more than 4 permits to erect special event banner signs within a 12 month period.


1) Approved Tri Party Educational Mitigation Agreement between Lauderhill, Broward County and the School Board regarding the mitigation of the impact of students anticipated due to the Development of the remainder of units within the Lauderhill Transit Oriented Corridor, 5-0

2) Approved a policy of the city to encourage the design and implementation of green buildings as set forth by the US Green Building Council's LEED Program, 5-0

3) Approved on Consent Agenda a policy to encourage business to support direct sales tax collection allowances to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund for Classroom Technology

4) Approved members to the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. Two members have been appointed, passed 5 - 0. Additional volunteers are being sought. Applications can be submitted to the City Clerk.

5) Approved amendment to Lauderhill's CDBG Funds Program to be used for hurricane disaster, to add a strategy to assist applicants with paying rent, 5 - 0


Pre-Budget Workshops - Authorized the City Manager to set the time and place for the meetings during March and the first half of April.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bicycle Awareness Day

On March 10, 2007, 10 AM to 2 PM, the City of Lauderhill Parks and Leisure Services Department will hold a Bicycle Awareness Day. The event will be for kids 5 to 14 years of age, and conducted at West Wind Park, 4550 NW 82nd Ave. Prizes, scavenger hunt, bike repair, free food and a DJ will be part of the event. For more information, call 954-572-1473.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nautilus Memberships

One of the best kept secrets is that Lauderhill has Nautilus equipment at several of its parks for an extremely reasonable fee. Daily, Seasonal and Yearly Memberships are available, far below the costs of any private facility.

Equipment can be found at Veterans Community Center, Sadkin Center, West Ken Lark Community Center and St. George Community Center. Additionally, after a workout, at Veterans Park and Sadkin Center, you may wish to use the adjoining pool for a swim. A Fitness Instructor is available at Veterans Community Center every Saturday from 2 - 3 PM.

For more information contact 954-572-1459, or check out the city web site at

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

511 Real Traffic Information

Through the Florida Department of Transportation and SunGuide, a web site on real time traffic information is available. From this site you can find out about traffic reports, delays and construction, arrange for traffic alerts to be sent to you, see real time traffic cameras views, create a route, get information about public mass transit (including planning a trip on transit) among other useful information. The web site is:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Federal Telephone Tax Refund Information

Florida’s Public Counsel, Harold McLean, today issued a consumer alert to Florida telecommunications customers to be aware that this year’s federal income tax forms include a specific line item to claim a refund for long distance taxes paid between February 28, 2003 and August 1, 2006.

The telephone tax refund is a one-time payment available in 2006 to refund previously paid federal excise taxes on long-distance or bundled services. It is available to anyone who paid federal excise taxes on wireline, wireless or Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service and does not apply to taxes paid for local telephone service.

The IRS is making it easier for individual taxpayers by offering a standard refund amount between $30 and $60, so that these taxpayers do not need to locate old telephone bills. Taxpayers with only one exemption may claim a standard refund of $30. Taxpayers with four or more exemptions may claim a standard refund of $60.

Taxpayers who wish to calculate their actual excise taxes paid may do so by filing IRS Form 8913, which itemizes the actual payments for each month starting March 2003 and ending July 2006.

The telephone tax refund will be available only for tax returns filed in 2007 for the 2006 tax year. Because of the IRS rulings, telecommunications companies no longer are billing the tax for long-distance or bundled services. The Department of the Treasury estimates that the total refunds will amount to $10 billion this year. More information regarding the refunds is available on the Internet at

Editor's Note: I have been informed that the refund is available even to those that do not have to file an income tax return.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Notes of the Commission Meeting of 1/29/07

On January 29, the City Commission of the City of Lauderhill met and the following items of interest were acted upon:


A) Robert P. Legg, presented a Sales Tax Initiative to direct business's sales tax collection allowances to be donated to Broward County Public Schools. It is estimated that it will raise from $4 to $6 million/year. For more information, contact Bob Legg, 954-436-7000 x264; or

B) Kent Rice and Becky Boland, of the Florida Turnpike Authority, made a presentation on the proposals for the redesign of the Sunrise Blvd. Turnpike Interchange construction scheduled to start 2012. Selection of the design for the interchange to be made by the Summer of 2007.


1) Modified minimum housing size units; prohibited vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum siding on any residential dwelling; require in most residential dwellings, new or existing, the use of barrel tile, s-barrel tile, barrel tile shaped or standing seam metal materials for roofs; require a minimum of a one car garage for a single family unit. Passed 5-0.

2) Modified special event banner signs to be 1 sign per business at a time, no more than 4 times per 12 month period, for not more than 10 days. Prior law was for 6 times per year with no limit on how many signs per business. Passed 5-0

3) Modified composition of Pension Boards to allow a current city employee to also serve. Passed 5-0.


1) Modified the City Charter to incorporate the annexation of Broward Estates into the City of Lauderhill. Passed 5-0.


1) Authorized a grant for $101,156.60 to obtain a city bus. City to match with $10,156.50 of its own funds. Passed 5-0.

2) Approved a resolution supporting an increase in the members on the Tourist Development Council from 9 to 11 members. Passed 5-0.

3) Approved an Interlocal Agreement with Broward County for designation of sub-recipient and disbursement of SHIP funds for Minor Home Repairs Program in the amount of $42,000. Passed 5-0.

4) Approved the proposal of McMahon Associates, Inc., in the amount of $53,920.25, for preparation of necessary construction documents to support the bid process and inspection services for construction for Phase I of Neighborhood Pavement Maintenance Program. Passed 5-0.

5) Approved bid of $386,349.14 to Tropic Fence, Inc. to fabricate and install approximately 4,000 linear feet of decorative fencing in various locations within the city. Fencing is planned for Veterans Park, West Ken Lark Park and Golf Course. Passed 5-0.

6) Approved bid of $479,228 to Lambert Bros, Inc. to remodel and renovate the existing Windermere Community Center. Passed 5-0.

7) Approved submitting a Broward County Trafficways Plan Amendment Application to Broward County Planning Council, etc., along State Road 7, between NW 19th Street and Oakland Park Blvd., to reduce current right of way from 200 feet to 150 feet mainline, with a 175 feet expanded intersection at Oakland Park Blvd., plus additional terms and reductions of distance. Passed 5-0.