If anything, Comm. London is being charitable about what has been going on here, especially about the favored few getting their hands on taxpayer dollars too frequently without much -if any- genuine scrutiny, public accountability or transparency.
For a city with so many self-evident, longstanding problems that have merely been kicked down the road each and every year, without much if any serious attempt to address the root cause, there was far too much back-scratching with certain people the City Manager seemed determined to cultivate for reasons that still remain unclear.
That these people made out like bandits, even as the city commissioners and the public continually were forced to find out after-the-fact about tens of thousands of dollars going out the back door to people and groups that seemed to have undue influence already, only further raises the stakes now, and puts the the public skepticism of the City Manager and his employees' honesty and professionalism right on the table for discussion.
Having attended these workshops for the past few years, they offer the rare opportunity to ask tough questions of the city commissioners and staff -to literally kick the tires and check under the hood- I can tell you that they can often be eye-raising and troubling for all sorts of reasons.
Recently, the best questions were ones never asked by the City Commission because they were afraid to know the answer, since that would require a commensurate action take place that they were reluctant to take while Mike Good was City Manager -remind him that they were his boss, and that they were the elected policy-makers, not him.
If you come to this blog even fairly often, I'm sure this last point has been made crystal clear to you by now, as the number of times that four of the five commissioners have voted no on a proposal over the past year can be counted on one hand.
But how will the City Commission act at these budget workshops in the post-Good era, with two seats up in November and so much public anger and antagonism towards them for failing to be the proper custodians of the city's funds the public expected?
Well, that's where the curiosity factor comes in...
See also: http://www.changehallandale.com/
Please plan on attending the City of Hallandale Beach Budget Workshops scheduled for this Wednesday, July 28, 2010 and Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM at city hall. The workshops will include a review of our millage rate and property taxes. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns.
For too long, the elected officials in Hallandale Beach have provided residents and business owners their “spin” on the city’s budget.
While calling themselves fiscal conservatives, our elected officials have allowed the city’s budget to increase by $46.6 million over the last five years, a 48% increase!
During the same time, vital services have been cut, while fees and assessments have increased. And our property taxes continue to increase. Last year alone, Hallandale’s millage rate increase, on a percentage basis, was the highest increase in Broward County.
In the past five years, the city’s property value has increased by $1 billion, but instead of seeing tax decreases, the residents and business owners have seen increases in their taxes and fees.
It is time to stop the unnecessary spending, and reduce the city’s inflated budget.
Tell your City Commissioner’s to stop wasting your tax dollars. As your commissioner, and as I have done in previous years, I will vote NO on the budget if I see continued waste in our budget.
Tell your City Commissioner’s not to raise the millage rate, and to realize that the taxpayer is not an endless stream of money to be wasted by them. I will vote NO if the millage rate is raised.
The following are just a few examples of waste and abuse of your tax dollars:
- Charitable contributions should be made only to organizations providing essentials, like food and shelter. Strict accountability must be attached to every dollar so the taxpayers know their money is being used wisely.
- Stop spending taxpayer’s money on needless visits to Washington DC and Tallahassee.
- Stop buying band uniforms for charitable organizations.
- With people struggling, and even some losing their homes, its time to reduce taxes and let taxpayers choose to whom they want to make charitable donations!
- I will vote NO on charitable contributions if there are donations that go beyond the basic necessities.
- Hallandale currently pays the Sun Times over $50,000 a year for advertising, FIVE times what the city spent with them just a few years ago. Who is benefiting from this unnecessary expenditure? And why was it never voted on by the city commission?
- I will vote NO for the budget if there is money for the Sun Times.
- Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) loans made with NO collateral in direct conflict with our policy and rules. Our city attorney did nothing to prevent our own rules from being broken. This breach of the public’s trust cost “our” city $75,000 last year.
- This vote was 4:1 I was the only NO
- Spending tax dollars to end a contract with former city manager Mike Good, despite him being “FIRED” for not coming to work. The city attorney and mayor signed this contract each year since 2003. Due to our city attorney’s failure to address severe contract deficiencies, and the Mayor’s refusal to address them, the taxpayers must now pay:
- Nine months severance
- Health insurance for him and his family for the next 19 years
- All costs to earn a masters degree
- This vote was 4:1 I was the only NO vote
- This year, the city must spend $100,000 for the City Attorney’s pension plan
- The City Attorney earns over $200,000 annually
- The City Attorney outsourced over $350,000 to outside council in order to avoid political heat from the mayor
- “Our” city attorney is more concerned with keeping his job than following the law.