Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Estate Planning and Real Estate Advice

At the request of others, it was suggested to me that beyond the articles that I have written or posted on my Blog, I could also include information about what I do for a living. The reason being that many of the questions I have received from residents are not questions for a city, but that for a private attorney. If it is in area that I have knowledge, I have tried to provide free private consultation to them. If not, I can suggest where they may get legal advice. Therefore, this has become a service to the community, though I have always tried to keep the two positions I hold separate.

For those that do not know, besides being Mayor of Lauderhill, I have also been a practicing attorney for 27 years. My legal practice is in areas of Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), Probate, Real Estate/Mortgages closings, and Corporate/Business. I do not do litigation (except as it relates to probate), due to time constraints.

My main office is in Coral Springs, with offices also in Delray Beach and Hollywood. Though I have practiced throughout the US, primarily it has been in Florida, specifically in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties. I also have an interest in SunFirst Title, Inc., a title insurance agency. If someone has a particular question they would like me to address, they can call 954-752-1732 or e-mail me at rkaplan2@comcast.net , to keep it confidential. I will not be able to answer questions in areas that I do not practice.

If an organization would like me to speak at a function, on these topics, or on a topic related to my capacity as being the Mayor, please let me know as well.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Brief Notes From The County

Restitution Fund Available To Property Owners

Broward County’s Building Code Services Division’s Contractor Licensing & Enforcement Section is accepting applications from property owners who have been victims of certified and uncertified contracting work.

The fund, created by the County Commission in 2003, provides restitution to consumers due to violations of Chapter 9 of the Broward County Code of Ordinances by certified and uncertified contractors, business organizations or financially responsible officers.

To be eligible for compensation, consumers must file a complaint against the contractor or liable entity and submit claim forms. Claims are restricted to violations that occurred after April 1, 2003 and should include copies of contracts, cancelled checks, and other documentation supporting their claim. The consumer is eligible to receive restitution up to $5,000. To download forms and file a complaint, visit
http://www.broward.org/building, and click on File a Complaint and Restitution Claim.

Upon completion of an investigation, the Building Code Services Division will forward the complaint to a Central Examining Board or hearing officer. Upon a finding of probable cause, the Central Examining Board or hearing officer will hold a disciplinary proceeding to determine if a violation of Chapter 9 occurred and, if so, may order the contractor or entity to provide restitution to the consumer. If the contractor or entity does not provide the consumer with the ordered restitution within the time period required by the Central Examining Board’s or hearing officer’s order, the consumer may be awarded compensation from the trust fund.

The Restitution Trust Fund is restricted to property owners who have pursued and failed to obtain compensation through all other means. For more information, visit
http://www.broward.org/building, or call 954-831-4000.

Yard Waste Accepted At Three Locations

In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season (June 1-November 30), Broward County residents may dispose of residential yard waste at no charge at the County’s three trash transfer stations every Saturday during May and June, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This free service is available to residents of all Broward County cities except Pembroke Pines, Parkland, Pompano Beach and Hallandale Beach, which are not Broward County Resource Recovery partners. Proof of Broward County residency is required. Acceptable materials include tree trimmings and residential yard waste, such as lawn and landscape items, and fencing. Debris brought in on commercial vehicles, by private contractors, or on trailers longer than 8 feet will not be accepted.

Yard waste will be collected at:
· 2780 N. Powerline Road, Pompano Beach
· 5490 Reese Road, Davie
· 5601 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd, West Park

For additional information, call 954-765-4999.

County Distributes 9,000 Gallons of Free Paint

More than 700 people stood in line on Sunday, April 22, when Broward County’s Waste and Recycling Services Division distributed 9,000 free gallons of paint to residents. The latex, exterior paint was recycled from discarded paint containers collected by the County. The paint, available in five colors, was distributed in five-gallon containers with a limit of 20 gallons per household—enough to paint the average house in Broward County. Because of the success of the program, a future event is in the planning stages.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our New City Hall

Hurricane Wilma may have destroyed our old City Hall, but we are fast at work on rebuilding a new one. The location will be on Oakland Park Blvd., at the site of the old Publix and CVS/Eckerd.

The cost of the building is planned to be less than $13 million, which is substantially less than other City Halls being developed presently in Broward County. Financing is through a Certificate of Participation (COP). The top ranked lender which we are negotiating with is RBC (Royal Bank of Canada). Completion is expected before the city's 50th Anniversary on June 26, 2009. The above is the most recent drawing for the new facility.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Police Blotter

The following is a brief summation of some of the activities going on in your police department:

1) Residents have advised of vehicles speeding along NW 70 Ave. between Commercial Blvd. and Inverrary Blvd. In response, traffic enforcement was conducted during the rush hour between April 9th and April 27th. 110 speeding citations were written. This location will be placed on our rotation list to return shortly.

2) A Lauderhill Police Officer responded to a Burglary of a vehicle at 6950 Landings Drive. He arrested the suspect while in the vehicle with screwdriver and car stereo in hand.

3) The Lauderhill Police arrested a suspect at 5566 West Oakland Park Blvd. for selling boot leg CD's and DVD's. A loaded firearm was also located in his vehicle

4) On Friday, May 4, a Lauderhill Officer responded to 4200 NW 16th Street to take a report about a vehicle that had returned after it was stolen. It was determined that the vehicle was used in a fatality vehicle crash and FHP was looking for the vehicle. FHP responded and impounded the vehicle.

5) On Friday, May 4, a Lauderhill Officer responded to a Robbery at 4120 NW 26 Street where a woman was talking on her cell phone and several known females approached her and struck her with a wood stick and took her cell phone. A vehicle description was given out and the vehicle was stopped by another officer. The three females in the vehicle were arrested and the cell phone recovered.

6) One of Lauderhill's Sergeants responded to the Landmark Nightclub concerning a possible assault in the parking lot. The Sergeant noticed that the security staff member was in possession of “950,000 Volt Blast Knuckles” and attempted to conceal them. He was arrested.

7) On Sunday, May 6, Officers responded to a shooting at 1981 NW 43rd Terrace # 463 (Brampton Court). A victim was found in the hallway. Information was received that a second victim and suspect may be in apartment 463. The Special Response Team arrived and entered apartment 463. A second victim was found and treated by SRT medics attached to the team from the Fire Department. The suspect was not located.

8) Information was received on Friday, May 4, that The London CafĂ©, located in the Inverrary Plaza at 44th Street and Inverrary Blvd. was going to hire a promotional company to hold a “After Prom Party” on Saturday from 10pm to 4am. Flyers were being distributed with partially dressed females on it and stating the first thirty females free. Considering the City Ordinance violations, Code Enforcement, along with 2 Lauderhill Sergeants were present on Saturday evening prior to the event and closed the business. Many came to find no party.

9) On Friday, May 18, 2007, members of the Vice unit worked information about a delivery of narcotics made by vehicle to a condo in Environ. Detectives were able to stop the transaction in progress and a drug search warrant was obtained. Details of the arrest and location will be forwarded to you today.

10) There were several weekend parties where the police were called and three of those were concerning gunshots. A motor vehicle accident occurred at Inverrary Blvd. and Oakland Park Blvd. where one vehicle ended up in the waterfall. An accident victim was lying face down on Oakland Park Blvd. and a passing nurse stopped to help. She assisted the victim in rolling over and she noticed an automatic firearm in his waistband.

11) The SWAT team was dispatched for an occurrence in the Hills of Inverrary. The resident at 5501 Dogwood Way had purchased the residence two weeks ago and was having a house warming party. The neighbors were invited and at approximately 1:30am., the last person, (the next door neighbor) who was intoxicated, became angry and pulled out a .25 cal firearm and shot out the patio glass door. The residents ran out and called the police. After arrival, the officers heard another gunshot with the possibility the suspect went to his own residence or wandered onto the golf course. The SWAT team made a forced entry into the neighbor's home and arrested the suspect. The firearm was recovered.

12) Officers responded to a domestic disturbance at 130 NW 33 Av. where the female became hostile and attacked the officers with a large butcher knife. A Lauderhill Officer deployed his taser and she was taken into custody.

4 Drug arrests
4 Domestic disturbance arrests
2 Drug warrant arrests
1 Loitering arrest
1 Criminal mischief arrest
1 Theft arrest
1 Aggravated Assault on a police officer

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Empowerment through Literacy Summer Camp

The “Empowerment through Literacy Summer Camp” sponsored by the City of Lauderhill and the Oscar Thomas Foundation is aimed at students who continue to struggle with reading comprehension, spelling and math skills.

The camp emphasizes a “read first play later” plan. After a morning of academic activities, students will engage in creative literacy programming that incorporates higher order thinking, creative arts and physical fitness.

The population shall be limited to grades K-5 with no more than ten students in each grade level. Registration has begun and takes place at the Sadkin Center (1176 42nd Way), Monday – Thursday, 4:30pm – 6:30pm.

The camp will be held at St. George Community Park, (3501 NW 8th Street, Lauderhill) from June 4 – July 27, from Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm, (includes lunch, snack, t-shirt, field trips).

* Space is limited
* Pre and post test shall be used to monitor student academic progression and provide measurable results
* Acceptance into the program is based on teacher recommendation and other academic requirements
* There is No cost for this program

For more information call (954) 476-3846.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Officials to Show Zero Tolerance for Those Not Wearing Safety Belts

Lauderhill, Fla. – Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest holidays for roadway travelers. During the 2006 holiday alone, 32 people were killed in traffic crashes in the state of Florida, according to preliminary data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Of those, a staggering 66 percent were found to be unrestrained at the time of crash. In an effort to increase safety belt usage among Florida motorists, the Lauderhill Police Department is joining law enforcement statewide in the “Click It or Ticket Florida” initiative. From May 21 through June 3, 2007, officials will show zero tolerance for unrestrained motorists.

With the support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Lauderhill Police Department hopes to make this a record-setting year for lives saved.

“This campaign serves to protect all motorists on Florida’s roadways,” said Lt. King of the Lauderhill Police Department. “These tickets will serve as reminders and hopefully get people to consider the real costs of not taking safety measures. If we save one person’s life, it is all worth it.”

Too many Floridians still choose not to wear their safety belts. “Click It or Ticket Florida” is designed to raise awareness about the importance of buckling up through high-visibility events and increased enforcement. Memorial Day is deadlier than New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, so it is an appropriate time for this heightened effort.

According to FDOT, just 80 percent of drivers and passengers in Florida are using their safety belts. But this leaves nearly 4 million Floridians unrestrained. NHTSA data shows that drivers and passengers who do not buckle up are approximately 14 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than those who use their safety belt, which is why this initiative is so significant. Buckling up is the single most important thing one can do to prevent injury or death when involved in an accident.

“It is too common for drivers and passenger to have an invincible mentality,” said Lt King. “The numbers don’t lie. We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of not wearing safety belts, and we want to prevent fatalities in any way possible, even if it means giving people tickets.”

The combination of increased safety belt enforcement with television and radio announcements has been shown to increase safety belt usage because of the constant reminder for motorists to “click it.”
For more information on the national “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, please visit http://www.clickitfla.com/.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Notes of the Commission Meeting May 14

On May 14, the Commission met, and the following matters of interest were discussed and acted upon:

1) Recognizing members of the Lauderhill Middle School Basketball Team (Division 5 Champs) and Shot Put winner (3rd Place to Andrew Wilson).
2) Recognizing and awarding officers of the Lauderhill Police Department for their outstanding accomplishments.

1) Approved on final reading changing the penalty on delinquent bills from 2% to 1% to coincide with a change in the water bill from bi-monthly to monthly billings.
2) Approved the six months budget review adjustments in the amount of $2,360,379.
3) Tabled granting FPL an exclusive electric franchise for another 30 years.

1) Approved the distribution formula of Broward County from receipts on local Gas Tax. However, a request was made to explain why the University of Florida population numbers, which are used for the formula, are lower than that produced by Broward County Urban Planning Department, and why the county does not use its own numbers for the formula.
2) Disapproved the Resolution on a 1 to 4 vote to encourage the Broward County Fair to hold the Fair in Lauderhill annually in November at the Regional Park. Concerns over public safety and county support were expressed. Commission Berger sponsored the Resolution and was the sole vote in favor of it. Commission Berger attempted to table the item because of the concerns, but that failed on a 2 to 3 vote (Berger and Kaplan in favor of tabling). Mayor Kaplan felt that he could not vote in favor of it because of the lack of information, and because the Commission would not table the item, he joined in the dissent. Commission Bates expressed that the item could come back to the Commission as a new item in the future if concerns were addressed.
3) Approved Community Development Block Grants Funds in the amount of $125,805.
4) Approved the SHIP budget in the amount of $567,402.
5) Approved funding and authorization for the Lauderhill Housing Authority, in an amount not to exceed $4,000,000, for purchase of 34 units in Central Lauderhill for rehabilitation and management, for rental purposes.

1) Special Exception Use request was denied 0-5. This house of religious worship never was given approval to operate, nor had ever requested such approval, though it has been operating since 2000. The city had issued a license to operate, in violation of city ordinance because of this lack of approval. Also, it is in the same shopping center as another house of religious worship that has been in operation since 1994, and therefore is in violation of the separation requirement. Staff had recommended against its approval due to these violations.
2) Special Exception to allow a convenience store at 5510 W. Oakland Park Blvd. was denied 1-4, with Commission Berger voting in favor of it. Staff had recommended against its approval. There were numerous issues concerning the property which has been in violation of law. Normally such approvals are not granted until violations are cleared, if they can be cleared. Several of the violations were not possible to clear, and therefore did not qualify for approval. Alternatives were suggested to the applicant to help them recover, but the city was not a source to resolve this situation.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Open Enrollment for SHIP/HOME Grants To Individuals

The City of Lauderhill announces an Open Enrollment to establish an Eligibility List for financial assistance from SHIP and HOME Funds, for the Repair/Rehabilitation program, which is open to City of Lauderhill homeowners only. Homeowners may sign up to be placed on the Minor Home Repair/Rehabilitation Program Eligibility List on Wednesday, May 23, 2007, at the City of Lauderhill. The Intake Form that will be completed during this enrollment establishes the Eligibility List. Pending eligibility, enrollees may be called back to the City of Lauderhill complete an application to acquire the funds.

Day/Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Location: City of Lauderhill
3800 Inverrary Boulevard, Commission Chambers, 1st Floor - Suites 111-112, Lauderhill, Florida 33319


Applicants for SHIP assistance cannot exceed the following household size and income limits (FHFC – March 8, 2006):

Household Size Very Low-Income Low-Income


NOTE: Homeowners are not required to bring documents during Open Enrollment.

Important: Please do not come to the City of Lauderhill to sign up on any other day than the above listed, scheduled meeting day, date and time.

Stonebridge homeowners can also register at this time for the CDBG Emergency Assistance Program. Eligible families will receive a one time payment of $15,000. Funds are limited to 100 families.

If you have any questions, you may contact the Business and Neighborhood Enrichment - Housing Office at (954) 730-3036.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Summer Softball League

The City of Lauderhill Parks and Leisure Services Department announces its Summer Softball League. The league will take place at the Lauderhill Sports Park, conveniently located at 7500 W. Oakland Park Boulevard, just east of University Drive.

The league is open to men’s recreational teams with players ages 18 and older. The league will begin in June and games will be played on Monday and Wednesday nights. The league entry fee is $350 per team and prizes will be awarded for top regular season and playoff finishers.

The league has limited spaces available. Registrations are reserved on a first-come, first served basis.

Please contact Brian Picinic at 954-572-1478 for more information or to register a team.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brief Notes of the City-First Week of April

1) Lauderhill's City Hall Park was the winner of the Staples contest, and will be awarded $25,000 for park improvements. Also, to a select few that voted, they will have the opportunity to meet Dwayne Wade.

2) The city conducted it's house lottery. Eight members of the general public and five city employees will receive a house in Renaissance Village and around 1/2 the actual price. Each winner must qualify on a mortgage, and funds may be available to provide up to an additional $40,000 on closing costs. The purchase price of the 3 to 4 bedroom homes (2300 to 2500 square feet) is from $150,000 to $170,000. Broward County also has available an additional 13 homes under their program on a first come first serve basis to those that qualify. Contact your County Commissioner for more information.

3) Work is proceeding on The Villas, to determine whether repairs may be sufficient or the buildings need to be demolished. The authority by the city is through the newly constituted Unsafe Structures Board created by the Commission in 2005.

4) The prior Code Enforcement Board meeting had 31 out of 50 cases brought before the Board for action. The remaining 19 were brought into compliance prior to their hearing.

5) The Code Enforcement Department had written 79 Notices of Violations, and wrote 34 tickets.

6) The Fire Department reported that they responded to 212 matters, including 6 fire emergencies, 2 hazardous conditions, and 163 emergency medical calls.

7) Basketball Bounce off was successful. There were 180 basketball participants.

8) The city has purchased, through its CRA, the townhouses behind Mission Lake. The management shall be through the new Lauderhill Housing Authority, which was established in 2004.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First Annual Lauderhill Juried Art Show

The City of Lauderhill ACT (Arts, Cultural and Tourism) Board announces its 1st Annual Juried Art Show. Students from Parkway Middle Schools' Arts Magnet Program will compete in six different artistic categories.

There will be a reception on Thursday May 24, from 6-8 PM, at the Lauderhill Mall. For more information call 954-572-1459 or 954-347-3228.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Notes of Commission Meeting of April 30

On April 30, the Commission met, and the following matters of interest were discussed and acted upon:


1) Presentation on honoring youth, parents, and coaches of the Lauderhill Lions U16 Travel Soccer Team for winning the South Florida United Soccer League Championship and the U10 Boys Team for winning the west on invitational tournament.
2) Presentation on recognizing retiring employees and employees having served many years.


1) Approved on first reading changing the penalty on delinquent bills from 2% to 1% to coincide with a change in the water bill from bi-monthly to monthly billings.
2) Approved the six months budget review adjustments in the amount of $2,360,379. Note was made that public safety overtime was an increase of $452,900 (some from extra patrols, but most is from special events).
3) Approved granting FPL an exclusive electric franchise for another 30 years. However, the agreement was amended to add a "Me Too" clause. This clause allows that if another government in Broward County receives a contract with better terms, Lauderhill's contract will receive the same improved terms.


1) Passed amendment of Franchise Agreement with Waste Management and All Service Refuse, increasing garbage rates as required under their contract which is common to all such contracts.
2) Tabled a change in the code changing the name of "Local Occupational License" to "Local Business Tax," to be consistent with Florida Statutes.


1) Approved the official intent of the city to issue Tax Exempt Certificates of Participation to finance, through a lease agreement, the cost of a new city hall up to $13 million.
2) Approved and adopted the amendment to the 2007-2010 Local Housing Assistance Plan for the SHIP Program.
3) Tabled the Community Development Block Grants Funds to address a concern.
4) Approved a proposal from McMahon Associates in the amount of $48,865 for professional design services to prepare the necessary construction and coordination of the installation of a traffic signal with Broward County at NW 31st Avenue and 14th Street.
5) Approved the recommendation and ranking of #1 RBC Capital Markets, #2 AG Edwards, and #3 Raymond James, for negotiating financing in regards to the issuance of $13.9 million in 2007 to acquire land and construction for a new city hall.


1) Tabled a Resolution for a Special Exception to allow a game room, to address an issue in the code that may require modification to permit such use by Special Exception.
2) Approved a Resolution for Special Exception to allow a dual drive through facility on University Drive, to be used for a new drive up coffee shop, Caffino Coffee Shop.


1) Budget Workshops shall be held July 10 and 11 (if needed), beginning at 2 PM
2) Special Commission Meetings have been set for Sept. 12 and 26, at 7 PM, for the purpose of passing the Annual Budget, setting the Annual Garbage Non-Ad Valorem Assessment in the newly annexed areas, and setting the Fire Rescue Fee Non-Ad Valorem Assessment.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ken Mirsky's Passing

I am sad to report that this morning, May 6, it was reported that Ken Mirsky, husband of former Commissioner Lee Mirsky, has passed away. Our condolences go out. No further information is available at this time.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Youth Participates in KAPOW

The City of Lauderhill helps Youth Appreciate the Work Place through KAPOW (Kids And the Power Of Work)

On May 10th, 2007, fifth grade students from Royal Palm Elementary will be going on unusual field trips. The students will visit The City of Lauderhill’s Police and Fire Departments, the All-Broward Realty/Transcontinental Lending Group, and Commerce Bank. The field trips are designed to help youth discover – first hand - how businesses and government like the City of Lauderhill operate daily while being introduced to various careers and professions.

Through KAPOW, teachers and business volunteers collaborate to teach lessons that connect classroom learning with real-world workplace skills. With that, the students are exposed to many career options as they begin considering a profession.

Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness explains, “Employees of the City of Lauderhill and local business volunteers meet with students at Royal Palm Elementary monthly to stress the importance of reading, writing, and math skills in the workplace. The KAPOW program has given students a new appreciation for the world place. We need to excite and develop the youth’s appreciation for business and careers at an early age to ensure their future success.”

To find out how you can participate in KAPOW as a volunteer, contact John Casbarro at (954) 434-5021 or jcasbarro@aol.com or visit http://www.kapow.org/.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New Population Tables Released

Just released, the City of Lauderhill population is now 71,693 for 2006. That makes it the 11th largest city in Broward County, out of 31 cities. Based upon projections through the year 2030, Lauderhill's population is to increase to 91,610, and will remain the 11th largest. The next largest city is a significant drop below Lauderhill, pretty much assuring that it will retain this 11th position.

Also released is that Lauderhill has 28,961 dwelling units, which is to grow to 33,487 by 2030. The city is also expecting redevelopment of 3,429 units, which is a 75.8% growth increase (3rd highest in Broward County and substantially higher than the 44.6% average county-wide).

The report shows that vacancy rates will continue to decease in Broward County (presently 12% in 2006, reducing to 10% in 2015), and Household Sizes will increase (presently 2.53 persons/household in 2006, to 2.625 persons/household in 2015).

For more information: www.broward.org/planningservices/demographics.htm.