re Hallandale Beach's three-day 2013 Budget debacle last week: More thoughts & questions about what you didn't read about it in the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel, as Carli Teproff and Susannah Bryan continue NOT seeing the forest for the trees, or mentioning very important facts and context; If one reporter who perpetually ignores what she sees and doesn't try to find out what's really going on in this city is bad enough, why do we need another? What we need even less than incurious reporters are thin-skinned autocrats on the dais who are afraid to tell the truth and unwilling to admit when they're wrong; @MayorCooperDespite lots of patience from Hallandale Beach residents waiting for them to actually go out into the community and find out what's really going on, reporters Carli Teproff and Susannah Bryan have shown over time that they aren't interested in asking good-but-pointed questions of powerful people in this city, based on actually knowing something factually that City Hall didn't hand them.
Not that you asked, but the worst of all possible combinations in South Florida is now found in Hallandale Beach: continual government lies & misrepresentation and lazy journalism that doesn't tell the truth or share important context.Meanwhile Concerned HB residents like Maggie Ivanovski, Csaba Kulin and Rob Raymond continue to play very important roles in this city even while others in this city who could shirk their civic responsibilities
That being so, here are the first few simple questions of more that'll come that you ought to be pondering over the next few weeks as those September city budget meetings approach that Mayor Joy Cooper wants to be a formality, where she has HB citizens playing the role of punching bags.
a.) How much money from the city's Reserve fund has the HB City Commission taken out each year over the past six years, i.e. since 2008, all while Joy Cooper has been mayor?
b.) What's the grand total of that amount from those 6 years?
c.) How much is in the Reserve now?
d.) Why does the city under Mayor Cooper continue to use Reserve funds every year to pay operational expenses instead of making more strategic cuts in personnel or policies to better reflect the fact that the economy in this city is NOT booming?
The Village at Gulfstream Park is NOT booming, it's actually knocking over already-built buildings -Cadillac Ranch- that probably never should have been put up in the first place.
e.) Why did City Manager Renee C. Miller and CRA Attorney Steven Zelkowitz both say publicly that some CRA docs had already been dealt with promptly and appropriately according to state laws and requirements when the truth may well be that they STILL haven't been? (More on this soon.)
If you really want to get a financial fright, ask HB civic activist Maggie Ivanovski to tell you how much money in salaries and benefits the HB City Manager's office consumes in her proposed budget, while continuing to do such a poor job of actual oversight, yet remaining oblivious to longstanding problems in this city that are right under their nose and which they and Dept. heads have ALREADY been told about many, many times.
Ask HB civic activist Csaba Kulin if it's true that he figured out after going thru the City Manager's proposed budget that the person who will be in charge of the yet-to-be-built
City of HB pool at B.F. James Park will be making a salary of $120,000 a year once it opens next year.
It is true.
Ask Hallandale Beach businessman Rob Raymond if the so-called "improvements" in front of his very successful medical equipment business and all along N.E. First Avenue/Fashion Row seems like it's worth it, given how much unsafer that road is now, especially at night, and the large number of drivers who have hit the new curbs jutting out towards the now one-lane road since the city opened that area -even before the curbs were painted yellow.
The "improvements" that were supposed to be finished by last year's holiday season of Chanukah and Christmas but which were stopped twice for reasons that were never properly explained to the businesses there.
Now the curbs jutting out towards the road are various shades of black over yellow from all the drivers who continue to hit them since ALL the street lighting is on the west side of the street -away from the curbs and the parking spaces.
(If there aren't photos of this as you read this now, come back within 24 hours and they'll be here.)
The older man who recently banged on Rob's business's front door after driving and hitting a curb, who was slightly injured physically -but apparently, quite shaken-up emotionally, and angry- whom Rob let in and spoke to -and wisely, also photos of the curb- is someone whom Mayor Cooper wants to wish away, because that man's unhappy reality in this city now doesn't fit into her fantasy, where she is admired and respected, not loathed and resented, as is the true state of things in this city among people who pay close attention, which, admittedly, is never a majority in this city.
Given the way that the businesses along N.E. First Avenue/Fashion Row have been repeatedly taken advantage of by both the city and the CRA, very likely, on purpose, a situation made worse by the blatant disrespect that new CRA Director Daniel Rosemond has shown the business community at a meeting I've mentioned previously that the HB Chamber of Commerce and other so-called "business leaders" were no-shows at.
Tell me, why should someone as successful as Rob, someone whose business is so very successful that unlike any other business in this city, people actually fly from around the world to South Florida just to do business with him, keep his business in Hallandale Beach, and not just relocate it up to Hollywood or somewhere else where he won't get the perpetual double-talk and flat-out lies from city and CRA employees like he continually does here?
Mayor Cooper and her pro-crony capitalism pals around town and on the City Commission
-Anthony A. Sanders and Alexander Lewy, who want almost all CRA money spent only in Northwest HB, instead of thr entire CRA district- better start thinking about it, too, before Rob and others finally decide they've had enough of the city and CRA's broken promises, red tape and intentional headaches, to say nothing of the years and years of uneven enforcement of laws and rules in this city by City Hall towards both individuals and small businesses.
Read the two very incomplete and superficial accounts of what happened last week at Hallandale Beach City Hall and see if you can notice what important context is missing from the articles that's both very important in a well-run city and that both of these articles fail to mention at all?
Something noteworthy that both Carli Teproff and Susannah Bryan FAIL to disclose to their readers that they really ought to know but don't because... well, that's a good question.
Answer is after the articles.
Hallandale Beach homeowners will pay a little more in property tax
By Carli Teproff
August 2, 2013
After commissioners made a few cuts to special projects and dipped into the city’s reserves, Hallandale Beach residents will likely see the same tax rate as last year, officials decided this week.
While the commission proposed to keep the tax rate at $5.6833 per $1,000 of assessed property value, taxpayers can still expect to pay slightly more because of rising property values.
Over a two-day workshop, commissioners agreed they did not want to raise taxes, but with rising costs, needed to draw on their rainy-day fund. The reserve account is now about $22 million, from which the city plans on pulling $3.9 million.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale using $4 million in reserves to balance next year's budget
By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
5:28 p.m. EDT, August 4, 2013
Residents won't see a hike in their city tax rate or fire fee next year, city leaders vow.
Instead, City Hall plans to use $4 million in reserves to balance a $56.7 million budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. That would still leave taxpayers with $17.5 million in emergency reserves.
During a recent budget workshop, Commissioner Michele Lazarow suggested the city might want to stop relying so heavily on its "rainy day" fund. Last year, the city used $6.5 million in reserves to balance the budget.Read the rest of the article at:
meeting requiring that all members, other than "professionals," must live within the
b.) the residents of Hallandale Beach were NOT allowed to speak during two of the three meetings that took place last week, and comment after the myriad presentations by the various Dept. heads and city officials, many of whom said things that were simply not true and used numbers that neither add up or make sense given the size of this city.
So why didn't Teproff and Bryan mention that, since the tenor of the conversation of the room would've been quite different if the city's officials and employees knew that they could be corrected and have mistakes pointed-out, and have residents at home watching on TV or via the Internet to know when they were being served up a fresh slice of B.S.?
But then HB citizens weren't allowed to speak at the city's Visioning meeting earlier this year either, and that glaring and galling fact has somehow NEVER been mentioned in the Herald or Sun-Sentinel, though mentioned here on the blog at least twice, below.
Before I give you Teproff and Bryan's office email addresses so that you can ask them those questions yourself if you so choose, here's an email that I sent out last week that gets to the very heart of the matter that both of these reporters completely ignored, to the dismay of anyone paying attention to what happens in this city.
Last Monday, the first day of the city's Budget workshop, the public could only speak before the meeting started, not after anything was actually revealed or described in depth.
Which led to the following email of mine on Tuesday July 30th at 1:09 p.m.
Subject: FYI: Csaba Kulin on Hallandale Beach Mayor Cooper's welcome and ideas on open government
Later that day I sent the following update at 6:45 p.m.
Update: Adamant about not allowing the public of this city to speak for even a few minutes at Hallandale Beach's Budget Workshop that will already likely run 6-7 hours today -and still ongoing as I write this- except before the meetings start and any info is mentioned by the Dept. heads, Mayor Joy Cooper was defeated 4-1 on a motion to overrule her by the other HB Commissioners.
But the next day, it was gone.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4554
It could hardly be more clear that the current beat reporters assigned to this city, who are very infrequent as it is since their papers also have them cover Hollywood, which has its meetings on the same days, do NOT have what it takes to give residents of this city the information they want in a timely and informative fashion.