A common sense public policy overview from David in South Florida, offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt./public policy, sports and pop culture of the U.S., #SoFL and Europe, esp. the #UK, #Sweden and #France, via my life in #Texas, #Memphis, #Miami, #IU, #Chicago, #WashingtonDC & #SoFL. In particular, #Broward & #MiamiDade County, and the cities of #HallandaleBeach, #HollywoodFL & #Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln.

Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of HB's North Beach and southern Hollywood Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Watch out Hallandale Beach taxpayers! Stop them before more CRA money goes into another foolish, sweetheart deal. Hallandale Beach CRA wants some people to make a profit while taxpayers & Small Business get to play the Bank and bear all the burdens and risks. Why would that be a good idea?

On Saturday afternoon, one of the nicest days weather-wise we've had in many weeks, I was able to spend a few hours with my friend and fellow civic activist Csaba "Chuck" Kulin driving around and looking at many places/problems in all parts of the city that he or I -or in many cases, most of you- have some very legitimate concerns about as it affects public policy or public money or, in the case I'm writing about today, BOTH!
(I'll get to those other concerns in future posts, with helpful facts and photos as usual to give you the context and nuance you need to make your own decisions.)
One of those concerns is actually going to be the focus of a 6:00 PM public meeting tonight of the Hallandale Beach CRA, Agenda item 10-A, that I strongly urge you to attend and ask some very hard questions about, lest money from the Hallandale Beach CRA once again be used to continue the many frustrating YEARS of unsound public policy and irresponsible financial moves under Mayor Joy Cooper when she and her Rubber Stamp Crew had a firm lock on deciding issues at Hallandale Beach City Hall, as both City Commissioners and Directors of the CRA.
Those days are now over, thank goodness, and a 3-2 pro-reform majority currently holds sway in Hallandale Beach, but there are still many stinky deals that are legacies of those previous bad ideas, and one of them will be discussed tonight.
Do I even need to tell you that the people who want your money will be well-represented to try to take it away from you, no matter how fiscally unsound their ideas will be for you and the larger community.

See the link to see how it's being portrayed by city staff.


10 A. Resolution


I leave it to Csaba to further explain the general particulars and remind you that his letter below is merely an overview of what the problem to be dealt with is, so please show up tonight prepared to become better informed as well as let your voice for logical public policy and fiscally-sound financial decisions be heard by people on the dais who have said they are for doing things now the right way in this community: with the maximum amount of accountability, transparency and common sense
Which is to say, qualities which have been all too rare the previous 12-plus years here.
Where the public's best long-term interests are protected and enforced rather than private interests getting first dibs on public monies, no matter how preposterous their scheme is.
We have to prevent a situation in future where HB residents and Small Business owners will be cursing themselves and the fact that on February 13th, 2017, they failed to wake-up to what's involved here -and what this bad deal represents- when this sweetheart deal can be killed if you simply let your elected representatives know that you are against more bad, fiscally unsound deals that benefit a few at the risk of the the whole community.
After all, since the November 2016 election that changed the direction of things in Hallandale Beach and set a course for a different direction, have you heard or seen people at City Hall like Mayor Joy Cooper and Comm. Anthony A. Sanders or their sycophants in the community who backed bad deals like this publicly profess any regret or remorse for championing bad deals that hurt taxpayers and the community as a whole, with precious little to show for millions of spent CRA dollars?
No, you have not, and for the simplest of reasons. 
They DON'T regret their votes for these bad deals and they don't have remorse for wasting millions of dollars.
Their regret is that they can not continue to approve bad deals because they no longer have the will and means to force that upon the community, even when everyone speaks out against it.
Now, things are different. 
But you still need to do YOUR part.
February 13, 2017
RE: CRA February 13, 2017 Item 10 A Donaldson-West Venture, LLC
Chair Person, Vice Chair, Directors, Executive Directors and Staff,
The CRA received during the previous administration an unsolicited proposal from Donaldson-West Venture, LLC to build 10 townhouse units on Foster Road. The developer is asking for $90,000.00 “CRA Contribution” per unit, a total of $900,000.00. It is broken down to $184,000.00 the value of the three (3) CRA owned lots and $716,000.00 of CRA Gap Grant funding.
It is a typical Hallandale Beach CRA “Private/Public Partnership” project from the past administration. The CRA provides free land, the CRA provides grants to build the building and the CRA helps buyers to buy it. The CRA socialize the costs and privatize the profits. The “public” bears all the costs and the “private” gets all the profits.
I have three areas of concern and I hope I will be able to ask you about them Monday.
My first concern is the value of $184,000.00 placed on the three (3) CRA owned properties, it is unjustifiably low. Using the Broward County Property Appraiser’s value is not realistic. The CRA must hire its own appraiser and base the appraisal on recent transactions in the area, the size of the parcels etc.
The recent CRA purchase of the apartment building, across the street from the new fire station (Foster and N.W. 2nd Ave.), may be a good yardstick. How do the two properties compare as far as price the CRA paid per acreage or square feet? 110 N.W. 5th Street for $1,300,000.00 may be another good example.  
My second area of concern is the lack of information in the backup for the justification for the $716,000.00 CRA Gap Grant funding. How did Donaldson-West Venture arrive at that number?
We need an expert hired by the CRA to tell us if that amount is the right amount and if it is justified.
Is the $716,000.00 dollars the entire cost of construction? 
My third concern is that on top of the $90,000.00 “CRA Contribution” per unit there may be up to $50,000.00 in other subsidies (first time buyer etc.) for up to $140,000.00 per unit cost to the CRA.
Is it a prudent decision to spend so much money on one project benefiting so few people?
Does the CRA have so much money that it can afford to practically give a free apartment to 10 lucky people?
I hope the CRA Board of Directors will wait for an appraisal on the value of the land, get the justification for the Gap Grant funding and see if the CRA has the money now, before the completion of the upcoming audit. 


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