Monday, June 30, 2008

Lauderhill Angels in the News - Netball

Lauderhill Angels Played in Jamaica at the InSport U13 Netball Tournament

The Lauderhill Angels U-13 team is in high spirits after an impressive showing in Jamaica last week at the Insport U-13 tournament. The Angels won their games against Saint Patrick 4-2, Quest 5-4 and Mona (Primary School Champs) 9-5. The team was defeated by 1 point in a semi-final thriller by Clan Carty (last years Insport and Primary school champs) 4-5. Although they lost both games to Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls U-13 (A) team 3-10 and 5-8 to their (B) team, Coach Robert Whyte asserts that they need games like these and expects them to benefit from the experience.


Lauderhill Angels in Atlanta

The Under 14 shut the lights off in Atlanta! Where they won the club division and won the area division for the Florida Netball Association. We hear they were really spectacular against NY. The U20’s were disappointed with a third place finish in the club division.


Lauderhill Angels will host at Home

Whats next? The Angels will host the 3rd annual Lauderhill Youth Netball Tournament Saturday July 5th at the Lauderhill Sports Park. Mavisville Prep, Mona Prep, Mona Primary and Quest Prep from the Jamaica school system will participate in this day of netball fun. Winners, a team from Coral Spring, as they have done in the past, will also participate along with other American teams.

Friday, June 27, 2008

FPL's Letter to the Mayor on a Mid-Year Fuel Adjustment Increase

As you know from news accounts and your own recent trips to the gas station, the cost of fuel has risen dramatically. Reflecting the worldwide trend in oil and natural gas markets, the dramatic increase in the cost of fuel is requiring Florida Power & Light Company to propose to the Florida Public Service Commission an increase in the pass-through fuel charge. We expect this to increase residential customer bills by approximately 16 percent.

We never like having to increase the price customers pay for electricity, however, the increase in fuel prices that we have been experiencing is extraordinary. This is not unique to FPL; utilities across the country are experiencing the same issue.

The price of natural gas, which fuels 50 percent of FPL’s electricity generation, has risen from $8.17 per million BTU in July 2007 (which formed the basis of FPL’s 2008 fuel filing) to $10.75 per million BTU in May 2008, a 32 percent increase. Fuel oil, which powers 8 percent of FPL’s electricity generation, has risen for the same period from $57.81 per barrel in July of 2007 to $89.02 per barrel in May of 2008, a 54 percent increase.

As a result, we project that $746 million will be needed to cover the additional fuel costs through the end of 2008. FPL is proposing to recover these costs through an increase in the pass-through fuel charge, which will increase a typical 1,000 kilowatt-hour monthly residential bill from $102.63 to $118.91, or 54 cents a day.

Following established regulatory procedure for a mid-course correction on the pass-through fuel charge, we have asked the PSC to vote on the adjustment at its July 1 meeting. If approved, the fuel adjustment would be reflected in customer bills from August through December 2008. FPL will file its 2009 fuel-price projections with the PSC this September.

It is important to note that FPL customers pay only actual fuel costs that the company incurs. When fuel prices go up, the additional costs are passed through to customers, and when fuel prices go down, the savings are also passed through to customers. There is no profit of any kind for FPL on fuel, which represents about 70 percent of the typical commercial/industrial electric bill.

FPL has taken numerous steps to mitigate the impact of fuel costs by improving the efficiency of its existing plants and building new generation facilities with low or no fuel costs:

· FPL’s fossil fuel power plant fleet is the most fuel efficient among large-scale utilities nationwide. The company has improved fleet fuel efficiency by 10 percent in the past five years and by 18 percent since 1990. As a fossil power plant increases in efficiency, it can generate the same megawatt hour of electricity with less fuel, thus saving money for FPL customers and producing fewer greenhouse gases.

· Looking forward, FPL has proposed to modernize its power plants at Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral, a move that will save customers roughly $450 million in fuel and other savings over the life of the project. The new units will be considerably more efficient than the existing facilities, using 33 percent less fuel to produce the same amount of power.

· FPL is also in the process of upgrading its existing nuclear facilities to produce an additional 400 megawatts of power, which is the equivalent of a medium-sized fossil fuel plant. Fuel costs for nuclear plants are dramatically lower than for fossil-fuel generation, costing roughly half a cent per kilowatt hour compared to 7 cents for natural gas and 10 cents for fuel oil.

· FPL has also proposed building new solar and wind generation facilities in Florida. The fuel used to power these renewable energy sources is free.

· In addition to upgrading its power plants, FPL operates the country’s number one program for energy efficiency and conservation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Working with our customers, we have been able to avoid building 12 medium-sized power plants since 1980.

We recognize that higher electric bills will be a burden on our customers, and we are encouraging them to take advantage of the many programs we offer to help them manage their monthly electric bills. They can start by visiting www.FPL.com and clicking on the Energy Savings Toolkit, where they will find tips to manage their energy usage, as well as a Home Energy Survey to find out how they can make their homes more energy efficient. Customers can also sign up for Budget Billing, which allows them to smooth out the amount of their monthly bills over the course of a year.

We at FPL are committed to continuing to do whatever we can to deliver the most cost-effective, reliable service possible to all our customers. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact me at 561-691-7114.

Sincerely yours,

Pam Rauch
Vice President
External Affairs

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Public Hearing on Sunrise Turnpike Entrance

The Florida's Turnpike Enterprise Environmental Management Office will be utilizing the Sadkin Community Center on July 31st, from 5 pm – 8 pm for a public hearing. At the meeting, they will be discussing the improvements being made to the Turnpike Interchange at Sunrise Blvd. The public is welcome to attend and comment on the selected plan chosen to be used at the interchange.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Federal Legislation Affecting Cities

Senate Ends Debate Early on Climate Change Legislation
After three days of debate on a comprehensive climate change proposal that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Senate today failed to invoke cloture to end debate by a vote of 48-36. On Wednesday, opponents to the legislation stalled action by calling for a full reading of the nearly 500-page bill, a process that took nine hours. Debate ended without any discussion or votes on many of the expected amendments.

The legislation included $136 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, $171 billion to support mass transit, and tax relief for the energy needs of low-income consumers. The current legislative language will likely serve as a starting point for next year's debate.

Join Building America's Future Coalition
Building America's Future, a coalition founded by Pennsylvania Governor and former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, continues to call upon local government officials to join this national effort to "create an environment where infrastructure is treated as a national priority."

According to the coalition's website, "In the short term, the Coalition will work with the presidential candidates and the platform committees of the national political parties to ensure that the next president understands the enormity of the infrastructure crisis, is committed to increasing federal funding, and that both party platforms reflect these commitments.

The Coalition will be made up of elected officials throughout the country serving in elected executive and legislative roles at the state and local levels of government. We will work closely with associations that represent these officials, like the National Governors Association, the US Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of County Officials, the National Conference of State Legislators, and the Council of State Governments."

Congress Passes Budget Resolution, Appropriations Delays Still Expected
Congress took the first step in the annual federal funding process by passing the Congressional Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2009 (S.Con.Res. 70). The budget resolution, which is drafted b the majority party, does not become law but spells out the parameters for spending and tax bills and sets an overall spending cap for the 12 annual appropriations bills.

The budget resolution passed the Senate by a vote of 46-45 and the House by a vote of 214-210, largely along party lines. It calls for $24.5 billion more in fiscal year 2009 discretionary spending than the $991.6 billion the President requested.

The budget resolution rejects the President's recommended cuts to several programs important to cities, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), the Byrne State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program, and the COPS program.

The next step in the federal funding process, consideration of the 12 annual appropriations bills, is just beginning. Although the budget resolution would allow Congress to fund programs above the President's recommendation, President Bush has threatened to veto any appropriations bills that exceed his request. As a result, leaders in the House and Senate have acknowledged that action on the fiscal year 2009 spending bills will likely be delayed until after the next President is elected.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Notes of Commission Workshop of June 16

On June 16, the City Commission held its Regular Monthly Workshop. The following items of interest appeared:

1. STATE REPRESENTATIVE ARI PORTH GAVE A LEGISLATIVE REPORT ON WHAT PASSED AND WHAT DID NOT.

2. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE BY RUSS KLENET GIVEN BY LAUDERHILL'S STATE LOBBYIST.

3. DISCUSSION ON PROPOSED CULTURAL CENTER (REQUESTED BY VICE MAYOR M. MARGARET BATES). Based upon the desire to building a performing arts center, the facility is not financially feasible to build. Discussion was to give staff direction on alternatives and ideas. Monies to be used from the city bond are to be used by 2010, unless we receive an adjustment to our plan. Staff was directed to come up with plans based upon comments. One of them was to combine the proposed Library with the Cultural Center/Performing Arts Center (with 500 seats hopefully).

4. DISCUSSION ON SISTER CITY RELATIONSHIP WITH PETIONVILLE, HAITI (REQUESTED BY COMMISSIONER DALE V.C. HOLNESS). Consensus was to proceed.

5. DISCUSSION OF ORDINANCE NO. 080-06-125 TABLED AT THE JUNE 9, 2008 CITY COMMISSION MEETING:

ORDINANCE NO. 080-06-125: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL CALLING FOR A REFERENDUM REGARDING THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL CHARTER, TO CREATE A CITIZENS’ BILL OF RIGHTS, TO APPEAR ON THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION BALLOT NOVEMBER 4, 2008. The Commission discussed this at a prior workshop, but it created significant confusion as to what this proposal would mean. The Commission directed the City Manager and City Attorney to review it against Florida Law and provide a matrix of its provisions. In this process, it was shown that each and every item in this Bill of Rights are already rights granted by Florida Law or by the City Charter, and therefore provides no new rights. Concern was expressed as to whether it would create more confusion than clarity, and truly would the public even understand what the proposal was about. It was expressed by the Mayor that it makes no sense to put a matter out there with a false hope that it gives something it doesn't. Commissioner Benson supported it. Vice-Mayor Bates had no objection to let it go forward. Mayor Kaplan and Commission Berger felt it should not go forward using the explanation above. Commission Holness had no opinion to go forward. Therefore, there was no consensus to put it on the agenda in the Commission's name. This does not prevent a Commissioner from putting it forth in their own name.

6. PRESENTATION ON ENTRANCE WAY SIGNS. Plans and designs were shown on the signs to be placed throughout the city. The signs and money for the signage was approved under the 2005 GO Bond Issue. The designs will subsequently shown to different associations throughout the city. If everything receives approval, installation could be started by November, 2008.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jamaica Cricketers at Lauderhill/Goldson Cricket Finals win 5th Championship in 6 Years


Jamaica’s cricket team continued their dominance of the game in the Lauderhill/Goldson 20/20 International Night Cricket Tournament. For the fifth time in six years, after defeating Pakistan in the finals last night, Jamaica claimed the Championship Trophy. Playing in front of a large crowd, on the same night that the CASA Night Soccer League held its own finals, as well as a Netball Tournament at the Lauderhill Sports Complex.

Jamaica chasing a total of 176, scored a total of 178 while loosing only two wickets. Pakistan lost seven wickets in their allotted twenty overs of which Glen Anglin bowled four for Jamaica and took three wickets for 21 runs. Shawn Beckford was the top scorer for Jamaica with 72 runs, including 6 sixes and 4 fours, while Shane Ford made 59 for Pakistan, hitting 5 sixes and 4 fours. The match was a replay of last year’s finals in which Pakistan came out the winner. Jamaica has been to every finals since the championship started in 2002.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Notes of the Commission Meeting of June 9

On June 9, the City Commission met, and the following items of interest were discussed:

PRESENTATIONS:

A. A PRESENTATION/UPDATE BY ALBERT TUCKER ON THE GOSPEL COMPLEX FOR EDUCATION AND PRESERVATION

B. A PRESENTATION BY THE ARTS, CULTURAL AND TOURISM (A.C.T.) BOARD TO RECOGNIZE PARKWAY MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS AND DAVID RIVERA FOR THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE EVENT “CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS”.

ORDINANCES & PUBLIC HEARINGS ----- FIRST READING:

1. ORDINANCE NO. 08O-05-118: APPROVED AN ORDINANCE APPROVING THE AMENDMENT TO THE SCHEDULE OF RATES, FEES AND CHARGES PURSUANT TO THE FRANCHISE AGREEMENTS WITH WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC.

2. ORDINANCE NO. 08O-05-119: APPROVED AN ORDINANCE APPROVING THE AMENDMENT TO THE SCHEDULE OF RATES, FEES AND CHARGES PURSUANT TO THE FRANCHISE AGREEMENTS WITH ALL SERVICE REFUSE COMPANY, INC.

3. ORDINANCE NO. 08O-06-123: ULTIMATELY APPROVING AN ORDINANCE TO ELIMINATE THE POSITION OF DEPUTY VICE MAYOR TO APPEAR ON THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION BALLOT NOVEMBER 4, 2008. Originally it failed on a 2-3 vote. Commissioner Benson and Berger voted in favor. Later on reconsideration it passed 4-1, Mayor Kaplan voting against. (REQUESTED BY THE CITY COMMISSION). Statements were made that even though there may be a need for the position, which costs no money to have, the voters should have a right to weigh in on this. The position was created to provide someone to run a Commission Meeting in the absence of the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, which, though rare, has occurred. Mayor Kaplan stated that without the position, there can be a problem on who will run the meeting under such circumstances.

4. ORDINANCE NO 08O-06-124: APPROVED AN ORDINANCE CALLING FOR A REFERENDUM PROVIDING TERM LIMITS FOR CITY COMMISSIONERS TO SERVE NO MORE THAN THREE (3) CONSECUTIVE FOUR-YEAR TERMS. Passed 4-1, Commission Berger voted against. (REQUESTED BY COMMISSIONER BENSON). Several Commissioners expressed no endorsement for this proposal, but it was the voters right to consider. Note: If this proposal was already law in Lauderhill, it would not, as of this date, had ever had an impact since no elected official has ever served more than 12 consecutive years in a particular office.

5. ORDINANCE NO. 08O-06-126: APPROVED AN ORDINANCE TO PROVIDE THAT A PUBLIC REPRIMAND, OR LESSER PUNISHMENT, OF A COMMISSIONER, WHEN THAT COMMISSIONER VIOLATES THE CHARTER BY INTERFERING WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, SHALL BE PURSUANT TO ORDINANCE(S) WHICH WILL REQUIRE A UNANIMOUSLY VOTE OF THE REMAINING MEMBERS OF THE CITY COMMISSION ON A 4-1 VOTE. Commissioner Berger voted against it. (REQUESTED BY THE CITY COMMISSION). The Mayor brought this forward because presently the Charter prohibits Commissioners from Interfering with Administration. However, the Charter provides no penalties if they do. It was brought to the Mayor's attention that a Commissioner had "Interfered with the Administration," but being there was no penalty for doing it, the city could not pursue and remedial action against the Commissioner, but it did against the employee for complying with the Commissioners orders.

6. ORDINANCE NO. 08O-06-127: APPROVED AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING WHEN TO HOLD THE FIRST MEETING OF THE NEW CITY COMMISSION, TO BE 14 DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION(REQUESTED BY THE CITY COMMISSION). This is to accommodate the Supervisor of Election, who has stated that they cannot certify a city election within the present 3 days required under Lauderhill's Charter. That by giving the 14 days should be sufficient to certify the election for a properly set swearing in ceremony.

ORDINANCES & PUBLIC HEARINGS --- SECOND READING:

8. REMOVE ORDINANCE NO. 08O-02-105 FROM THE TABLE AND REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:

ORDINANCE NO. 08O-02-105: APPROVED AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL, FLORIDA AMENDING THE LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS AND PERTAINING GENERALLY TO CHILDCARE AND FAMILY DAY CARE HOME, AND AMENDING SCHEDULE A TO PROHIBIT LARGE FAMILY DAY CARE HOME UNLESS VESTED BEFORE FEBRUARY 15TH, 2008; ADDING PROVISIONS REGARDING PERSONNEL, PRE-REQUISITES, GROUPS, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS. BASED UPON PRIOR MEETINGS, THE COMMISSION AMENDED THE ORDINANCE TO ADD NEW LANGUAGE. THEREBY REQUIRING A 3RD READING.

RESOLUTIONS

COMMISSION


9. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-128: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL, FLORIDA ADOPTING THE U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL’S LEED FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS: OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE SILVER STANDARDS TO REDUCE OPERATIONAL COSTS AND TO CONSERVE ENERGY AND WATER; ADOPTING THE FLORIDA GREEN BUILDING COALITION’S GREEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT STANDARD RELATING TO OPERATIONAL EXPENDITURES IN FLEET MAINTENANCE AND LANDSCAPING TO REDUCE OPERATIONAL COSTS AND CONSERVE ENERGY AND WATER; PROVIDING THAT THESE ARE VOLUNTARY GOALS AND STANDARDS AND THAT THE CITY IS NOT REQUIRED TO GO THROUGH CERTIFICATION PROCESS; SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INCENTIVE PROGRAM TO ENCOURAGE OTHER DEVELOPMENT IN THE CITY TO ADOPT THESE STANDARDS(REQUESTED BY MAYOR RICHARD J. KAPLAN).

10. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-129 & 130: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL, FLORIDA, SUPPORTING HOUSE AND SENATE BILLS; SUPPORTING INCREASED AWARENESS, EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE COVERAGE FOR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (REQUESTED BY VICE MAYOR M. MARGARET BATES).

11. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-131: A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL REQUESTING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO REVIEW THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS REGARDING THE COMPOSITION OF ALL CITY BOARDS AND COMMITTEES IN ORDER TO MAKE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE CITY COMMISSION REGARDING WHAT BOARDS OR COMMITTEES COULD BE MODIFIED TO BROADEN OR LIBERALIZE THE NECESSARY QUALIFICATIONS IN ORDER TO SERVE AS A MEMBER.

12. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-132: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL EXPRESSING THANKS AND APPRECIATION TO THE MEMBERS OF THE CHARTER REVIEW BOARD; ACCEPTING THE TRANSMITTAL OF THE PROPOSED CHARTER AMENDMENTS FROM THE CHARTER REVIEW BOARD(REQUESTED BY THE CITY COMMISSION).

13. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-133: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL APPROVING THE MEDITATION PARK GROUND LEASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL AND THE INVERRARY ASSOCIATION.

14. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-134: APPROVED A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE START UP BUDGET OF $10,700, FOR THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT TO BE HELD ON JUNE 20, 2009. (REQUESTED BY CITY MANAGER, CHARLES FARANDA). THE ORIGINAL REQUEST WAS FOR $154,743, BUT WILL BE DISCUSSED WITHIN THE NEXT BUDGET. THE MAYOR AND SOME RESIDENTS EXPRESSED DEEP CONCERN OVER SPENDING SUCH LARGE SUMS OF MONEY DURING A PERIOD WHEN THE CITY IS FACING SIGNIFICANT MANDATORY AND ECONOMIC REVENUE CUTBACKS.

15. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-137: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL APPOINTING SEVERAL MEMBERS TO THE MASTER PLAN TASK FORCE FOR THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL (REQUESTED BY CITY MANAGER, CHARLES FARANDA). Additional positions are still available on this Board, as well as other Boards. Those interested can submit their resume to the City Clerk to be considered for appointments.

D.E.E.S.

16. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-139: APPROVED A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE AWARD OF BID (P2008-005) TO DYNASERVE FLORIDA, INC. TO PROVIDE GROUND MAINTENANCE FOR MEDIANS, RIGHT-OF-WAYS, DRAINAGE DITCHES, AND CITY-OWNED COMMON AREAS.

17. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-140: APPROVED A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE AWARD OF BID TO TENEX ENTERPRISES, INC. IN THE AMOUNT OF $177,026.60 FOR MEDIAN IMPROVEMENTS TO N.W. 31ST AVENUE AT N.W. 12TH PLACE, N.W. 14TH STREET, N.W. 16TH STREET AND FOR THE WIDENING ON N.W. 14TH STREET

FINANCE

18. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-141: APPROVED A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE WAIVER OF COMPETITIVE BIDDING, AND APPROVING THE AWARD OF CONTRACTS TO BV OIL COMPANY AS THE PRIMARY VENDOR AND TO MACMILLAN COMPANY OF FLORIDA AS THE SECONDARY VENDOR TO ALLOW FOR THE PURCHASE OF DIESEL FUEL, ON AN AS NEEDED BASIS, BASED UPON THE BIDS SOLICITED BY THE CITY OF CORAL SPRINGS AS “LEAD AGENCY” FOR THE SOUTHEAST FLORIDA GOVERNMENTAL PURCHASING CO-OPERATIVE GROUP

POLICE

19. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-144: APPROVED A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL AND GEORGETOWN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. FOR LOCAL TRAFFIC CONTROL AND PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE AREA KNOWN AS THE GEORGETOWN COMMUNITY.


QUASI-JUDICIAL MATTERS, FIRST READING:

20. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-145: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF LAUDERHILL, FLORIDA RESCINDING AND REPLACING RESOLUTION NO. 06R-02-257; CHANGING THE NAME OF THE TENANT FROM “OASIS GAMES, INC.” TO “OASIS BINGO, INC.” AND APPROVING THE SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE DEVELOPMENT ORDER, SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS, TO ALLOW IN THE GENERAL COMMERCIAL (C-3) ZONING DISTRICT A BINGO HALL AND GAME ROOM, MORE COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE FORMER 10 CENT BINGO LOCATED AT 4475 NORTH UNIVERSITY DRIVE, LAUDERHILL, FLORIDA; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

21. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-06-146: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF LAUDERHILL, FLORIDA RESCINDING AND REPLACING RESOLUTION NO. 08R-02-53; CHANGING THE NAME OF THE LESSEE AND APPLICANT FROM “FINE ENTERTAINMENT AND ELEGANT AFFAIRS” TO “FINE ENTERTAINMENT & ELEGANT AFFAIRS II, LLC”, APPROVING THE SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE DEVELOPMENT ORDER, SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS, TO ALLOW IN THE GENERAL COMMERCIAL (C-3) ZONING DISTRICT AN APPROXIMATE 3,173 SQUARE FOOT PRE-EXISTING PUBLIC DANCE BALLROOM LOCATED ON ROCK ISLAND ROAD AND 44TH STREET.

OLD BUSINESS:

22. RESOLUTION NO. 08R-05-120: APPROVED A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAUDERHILL APPOINTING MOST OF THE MEMBERS TO THE LAUDERHILL LOCAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVISORY COMMITTEE AS REQUIRED BY FLORIDA STATUTES, SECTION 420.9076; PROVIDING THAT THE COMMITTEE SHALL CONSIST OF ELEVEN MEMBERS AND PROVIDING REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPOSITION OF BOARD MEMBERS. There still remains a position for a person involved in Labor and Affordable Housing. If interested, please send your resume to the City Clerk.


NEW BUSINESS

23. SCHEDULED THE ANNUAL BUDGET WORKSHOPS ON JULY 15,2008 AT CITY HALL STARTING AT 11 AM.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

As Fuel Prices Rise, More Turn to Transit

by Leslie Wollack, National League of Cities

As lawmakers struggle to find answers to surging fuel prices, states are weighing alternatives to help their citizens and use of mass transit has skyrocketed across the country. Car dealers report that demand for fuel-efficient cars have been soaring, as well.

According to Stateline.org, states are offering proposals such as flex-time hours for state employees, allowing campers to store their recreational vehicles longer at state parks and gas tax holidays. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) proposes to give residents debit cards for gas, heating fuel and electricity.

Mass transit systems around the country report standing-room-only crowds on bus lines where seats were once plentiful and parking lots at many bus and light rail stations are suddenly overflowing.

“It’s very clear that a significant portion of the increase in transit use is directly caused by people who are looking for alternatives to paying $3.50 a gallon for gas,” according to William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

The largest jump has come from metropolitan areas in the South and West where there are fewer transit options. Denver has seen an 8 percent jump in the first three months of the year compared with last year. Charlotte, N.C., has reported a 34 percent jump in ridership in the past year on its new light rail line. Southern Florida estimates an increase of more than 20 percent in riders during March and April on its commuter rail system between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Central Arkansas Transit Authority reported an increase of about 600 riders a day compared to this time last year. Cities with established public transit systems such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston are seeing smaller increases that still are setting records. New Jersey Transit is setting ridership records for the sixth consecutive year, reporting more than 900,000 trips per weekday on its trains, buses and light-rail vehicles, an increase of 3.5 percent over a year earlier.

A survey by APTA found that a growing number of vacationers also intend to take advantage of the local subway trains and buses while vacationing in U.S. cities this summer. Thirty-five percent of those who will use public transit while visiting a city said they are more likely to use it this summer as opposed to last year.

“With soaring gas prices, the expense of parking your car or renting a vehicle, a growing number of travelers say they will use the local bus and train as the quickest way to save money while visiting major cities,” said Millar. “Travelers also like the fact that its use helps make the environment greener while they can keep more green in their wallet.”

Travelers who originate from large metropolitan areas are more likely to take advantage of a city’s local public transportation system. Fifty percent of those traveling to a city who use transit on their trip are from large urban areas, while 24 percent are from medium-sized metro areas and 27 percent are from smaller cities and towns.

Note: eLauderhill News has been advised that Tri-Rail boasted its highest monthly ridership ever in May and was among the nation's fastest growing commuter rail systems in the first quarter of 2008.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which runs the commuter train, said 371,798 passengers boarded last month, the highest ridership recorded in a single month since service began in 1989.

The trains carried an average of 15,343 passengers a day weekdays in May, a 22.4-percent jump over the same month last year.

At the same time, due to the lack of the State Legislature in providing a dedicated funding source for Tri-Rail, and Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County Commissions having to make significant cuts due to State Legislature and voter approved mandatory reductions in revenue sources, the three counties may be reducing their subsidy to Tri-Rail.

If this happens, Tri-Rail will have to cut back from 50 trips/week to around 20 trips/week. It would also put them in jeopardy of being in violation with a Federal Grant. Therefore, it is possible that the Federal Government could demand the return of $300 million, which Tri-Rail does not have.

No matter how this is viewed, it is clear that a transportation service, whose need is growing every day, stands a good chance of being reduced or even lost when it is needed most, due to the response by our State Legislature.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Lauderhill Police Department is Re-Accredited


The Lauderhill Police Department and other law enforcement agencies will be receiving their approvals for re-accreditation by the Florida Commission for Accreditation. The Accreditation Ceremony will be on Wednesday, June 11th at 10am at the Coral Springs Marriott, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd. Coral
Springs.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Federal Legislation Affecting Cities

CONGRESS

Mandatory Collective Bargaining Bill on Hold
Acrimonious and partisan disagreements over Senate procedures, a White House veto threat, and the unexpected absence of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), the bill’s primary sponsor, brought debate and action on the mandatory collective bargaining bill (S. 2123/H.R. 980) to a halt earlier this week.

Before debate on the bill was suspended, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asked Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), the bill’s chief opponent, to negotiate terms for further debate on the legislation. Staff-level negotiations continue, but it is unknown at this time when the Senate will resume debate on the bill.

Climate Change Proposal Includes Support for Municipal Programs
On May 20, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. John Warner (D-VA) introduced S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, a comprehensive climate change proposal, which includes funding, $136 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and $171 billion to support mass transit. Additionally, the bill calls for tax relief for the energy needs of low-income consumers.

The bill also establishes a cap-and-trade system designed to gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases from approximately 2,100 facilities nationwide, including coal burning power plants and factories, natural gas processors, and petroleum refiners, by set amounts by set time frames.

The Senate is expected to begin a two-week floor debate on the legislation beginning June 2.

House Subcommittee Approves Amtrak Reauthorization
On May 22, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved by voice vote the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (H.R. 6003). The bill authorizes $14.4 billion for Amtrak for capital and operating grants, state intercity passenger grants, and high-speed rail over the five years (FY 2009-2013). Of the $14.4 billion, $4.2 billion is set aside for capital grants, $3 billion for operating grants, $2.5 billion to states to finance new or improved intercity passenger service, and $1.75 billion for grants to states and to Amtrak to fund up to 11 new high-speed rail corridors. The full House is expected to vote on the measure before the August recess. The Senate passed an Amtrak reauthorization measure last year that included $11.4 billion in funding but did not include the high-speed rail provision. Amtrak reauthorization expired in 2002.

Senate Reauthorizes National Flood Insurance Program
Two weeks ago, the Senate passed legislation (S. 2284) to reauthorize the nation’s flood insurance program through 2013. The House passed similar legislation last year for the program, which is set to expire on September 30, 2008 (H.R. 3121, the Flood Insurance and Modernization Act of 2007).

Both versions of the bill phase out subsidized rates on commercial properties, vacation homes, and second homes built before 1974 and increase the amount by which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can raise policy rates in a given year from 10 percent to 15 percent. Both versions also require FEMA to review the nation’s flood maps and provide more funding for updates.
There are two key differences between the bills that will have to be reconciled in a House-Senate conference committee. First, the Senate version forgives the program’s debt, which rose to $17.5 billion in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005. The House version requires a revenue offset in exchange for the debt being forgiven. Second, the House bill includes language to expand the program to allow for the purchase of coverage against wind damage. The Senate version does not include wind coverage, and the White House has threatened to veto any bill with wind damage.

Senate Committee Advances Housing Stabilization Measure
On May 20, the Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved a housing stabilization measure by a vote of 19 to 2. The bill, which is similar to recently-passed House legislation, calls for improved federal regulation and oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that together provide the majority of credit for the U.S. home mortgage market. The bill also calls for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure up to $300 billion in refinanced subprime loans to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure caused by rising interest rates.

The overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill came as a result of weeks of negotiations between the sponsor, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), principally over how to shield federal tax revenues from the risk of defaults on loans insured under the new FHA plan. Under the bill, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would create and fund an affordable housing trust fund. All money collected in the first year of the trust fund would go to FHA to cover costs and losses of the new FHA insurance plan. In the second year, 50 percent of the trust fund would go to FHA, and 25 percent in the third year. Trust fund revenues not directed to FHA would be used for the construction of new affordable housing.

The Senate measure, however, may become an obstacle to negotiations with House leaders, who want to devote the first year of affordable housing trust fund money to the construction of housing along the Gulf Coast in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and who believe that the stringent approval process for FHA insurance provides adequate risk protection for federal tax revenues. The Senate will likely consider the bill in the near future to ensure the more difficult negotiations with the House can begin quickly. Both House and Senate leaders have set unofficial goals of sending a housing stabilization and foreclosure prevention measure to the President before the July 4th recess.

COURTS

Supreme Court Upholds Tax Breaks for Municipal Bonds
On May 19, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the preferential tax break that 42 states give their residents who invest in bonds issued by those states and their municipalities. The ruling came as a relief to the $2.6 trillion municipal bond market, a primary vehicle that state and local governments rely upon to raise funds to finance public projects.

Voting 7-2, the justices rejected the argument that a state engages in unconstitutional discrimination against interstate commerce by exempting the interest on its own bonds from residents’ taxable income while taxing the interest earned on the bonds from other states. The Kentucky Court of Appeals had accepted this argument in a case filed by Kentucky residents who paid state income tax on interest from out of state municipal bonds.

The National League of Cities, the National Governors Association, Government Finance Officers Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, Council of State Governments, U.S. Conference of Mayors, International Municipal Lawyers Association, and International City/County Management Association filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Kentucky court and uphold the preferential tax treatment.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Lauderhill Elementary School Students “Cruise” the Job Market

The future is now for 88 fifth grade students from Lauderhill Paul Turner Elementary, who visited, on May 22, the Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas as part of a year-long School-to-Career program called KAPOW – KIDS AND THE POWER OF WORK. The program is a year-long career development initiative by Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, The City of Lauderhill, Learning for Success, Inc. and Broward County Schools. Through KAPOW, teachers and business volunteers collaborate to teach lessons that connect classroom learning with real-world workplace skills. Students are also exposed to many career options.

“The KAPOW site visit is a true work experience” explains Helen O’Connell, Royal Caribbean’s Community Relations Specialist. “During the visit the students will try on fire-fighting equipment, see how the ship's Youth Activity Center Staff leads passengers through a "Mad Science Activity, work at computers with the ship’s Systems Specialist in their Internet CafĂ©, and see what it takes to become an exercise instructor in the ShipShape Center – exactly what we do here.”

“These experiences are designed to introduce students to the skills needed to be successful in the workplace and teach them the importance of staying in school to prepare for their own future,” said John Casbarro, KAPOW Regional Coordinator. “We are delighted and very grateful to Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises for their extraordinary commitment.”

Lauderhill Paul Turner Elementary School uses the monthly KAPOW lessons taught by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity volunteers to fulfil part of their School Improvement Goal of teaching students the importance of reading, writing, and math skills and how they apply in the workplace, and in life. In the Cross Curriculum Connections component of the program, teachers integrate KAPOW's lessons into science, social studies, math, reading, writing and the fine arts. “This program has given students a new appreciation for the world of work and its volunteer teachers a new appreciation for the world of the classroom,” explains Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness.

Note: eLauderhill News needs to recognize that the KAPOW Program has been one of Commissioner Dale Holness's many initiatives in Lauderhill. He has tirelessly worked to make the program successful.