We leave 2011 with a sense of community pride for the extraordinary efforts of our citizens, commission, administration and businesses that, through their hard work has us striving. We leave 2011 with gratitude for the generosity of our area residents and businesses that purchased gifts which ensured a happy Christmas for over 800 children who live in our city. You also gave generously to our Thanksgiving feast. The year 2011 demonstrated through its challenges and opportunities that we live and work in a warm and caring community. It is hard to believe another year is just beginning. I am excited for our new year. The economy is slowly beginning to thaw; projects are beginning, and more will follow.
Our Commission and staff are committed to working so that we position our city to be ready to reap the benefits from an improving economy. We have a vision and mission for our city from which we will build strategies to guide us to a successful future. I’d like to say at this time that it was a privilege to serve as your Mayor this past year. I am looking forward to 2012 with confidence and optimism for our community. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for the continued public trust that you have honored me with by allowing me to continue as your Mayor. I respect this position and consider it an honor and privilege to serve the residents of West Park. I want to officially congratulate Commissioner Fyffe and Commissioner Mack on their reelection.
Both have lifelong roots in the City, and I know that they will serve our city well. They have already demonstrated their service with their knowledge and commitment over the years. This year was very significant for our city as we officially opened our New City Hall. I am sure that those who attended the “Open House” were impressed. This state of the art facility will enable our Staff and Commissioners to meet the needs of the 21st century in serving our community. I would personally like to thank our Administrator and his staff for the countless hours required so as aid myself and the Commission in implementing our vision for the City. Although the budget process this past year was grueling and will only be more challenging this coming year we are committed to preserving a stable tax rate in West Park while maintaining quality services. Some of the accomplishments for the past year were as follows:
ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2011
• Grants: Following are grant applications prepared during the period indicated above:
1. Through Broward County’s Division of Housing Finance and Community Development, we submitted grant applications for various projects and secured over $300,000 in Community Development Block Grants.
2. Received grant for Youth Summer Program (Camp B.R.A.V.E.R.Y) for over $160,000 through the Children’s Services Council.
3. Submitted $125,000 grant application for parks improvement to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection through the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program.
4. Received the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant in an amount of $6,801 from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. These funds were used for surveillance cameras at the New City Hall.
5. Received the Home Depot Foundation community Beautification grant of $1,500 for the City’s Extreme Mailbox Makeover program.
6. Received $154,000 grant for establishing a single-stream recycling program throughout the City. The fund will assist with the purchase of recycling carts and for the program’s public outreach materials.
7. Secured $541,000 in grants from the Florida Department of Transportation for improvements to SW 56 Avenue, between Pembroke Road and County Line Road.
• Reduced Fire Department Annual Expenses: Negotiated a revision to the Fire Service contract with Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Department and the Village of Pembroke Park. The negotiation resulted in a 50%-50% split of the total operating cost with the Town of Pembroke Park. These efforts resulted in a savings of $538,429.30. Additionally, after restructuring the Emergency Medical Transport process, the emergency medical transport fee was estimated to yield $310,000 in revenue for Fiscal Year 2010-11, an increase of $72,500 in transport revenue. The negotiation of emergency medical transport fee and amendment to the current fire rescue services agreement generated a total savings of $655,929.30 to the City.
• New Residential Waste Collection Services: In an effort to reduce expenses and increase revenue, we elected to renegotiate the residential solid waste collection services through a request for proposal process. The saved the City over $250,000 cost for the collection service compared to prior year and improved services to the residents, to include:
1. Provided a free 96-gallon cart to all residents for garbage collection.
2. Provided a free 96-gallon cart to all residents for recycling collection.
3. Reorganized the bulk trash collection for better quality service and cleaner neighborhoods.
Also in consideration of the privilege granted to our service provider (WastePro) for the use of our roads, streets, easements, alleyways, swales and other public places; WastePro is required to pay a franchise fee of 15% of their gross revenue. This is an estimated increase of $92,100 from the amount we receive from the county last year.
• New Stormwater Utility Program: A Stormwater Utility Program was established in accordance with section 403.0893 of the Florida Statute. The program is intended to generate revenue sufficient to plan, construct, operate and maintain stormwater management system. In addition, this revenue will be set aside for such activities as storm drain cleaning, new drainage system construction, and various water quality initiatives required under the NPDES. This program is estimated to generate over $350,000 annual revenue.
• New Insurance Program: With continue effort to reduce expenses while increasing services, a new insurance benefit was negotiated by allowing insurance providers to submit prices and compete with the City’s current insurance provider (FIMT). The process resulted in better insurance benefits through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and at over $78,000 less than FIMT annually.
• Implementation of the West Park Enterprise Zone: The city was successful in receiving the state designation as an Enterprise Zone. The designation allows the city to be a target area for economic revitalization which offers financial incentives to businesses that invest in or are within the City. Incentives offered include: Job Tax Credit; Property Tax Credit; building Material Sales Tax Refund and Building Equipment Sales Tax Refund.
• Opening of New City Hall: The City negotiated and signed a lease with Interstate Development for construction of a New City Hall and Commission Chamber (first City Hall). The new City Hall further defines West Park as a municipality and provides administrative staff with the tools and space to improve the level of service to residents as the city grows; the Commission Chamber provides a formal, state of the art space for the public to attend Commission meetings.
• City Newspaper: The City established the West Park Community Newspaper in our effort to continue improving communication with residents.
• Playful City Designation: The City was recognized and designated as a Playful City USA. This designation allows the city to partake in the following:
1. Be included in a national media campaign and be provided local media support and receive priority status in accessing all KaBOOM! resources including playground builds, trainings, and grants opportunities.
2. Receive highway signs, awards and special incentive opportunities in honor of Playful City USA status.
3. Be given access to online resources and communication vehicles to keep connected to Playful City USA communities nationwide.
4. Be recognized at national municipal leadership and recreation conferences.
5. Receive priority status for KaBOOM! Playground builds and grants.
• Prescription Discount Card Program: The City partnered with The National League of Cities and CVS Caremark to provide the Prescription Discount Card Program to residents. The program allows the city to offer savings on prescription drugs to residents who do not have health insurance; a traditional pharmacy benefits plan for prescriptions not covered by insurance. The residents will save an average of 20 percent of the full retail cost of prescription medication. Benefits of the program include:
• NO COST to the City
• NO COST to residents
• Average savings of 20%
• 9 out of 10 pharmacies participate in the program – more than 60,000 nationwide
• No enrollment or membership fees
• No limit on how many times the card may be used
• No age requirements
• Coverage for all family members
• Pet medications used to treat human conditions are covered
• New Website: The City launched a new, user-friendly website in October which provides up to date information for residents. The website also features an interactive calendar, and links to current announcements, events, and the Community Newspaper.
• Code of Ordinances Launched Online: The City’s Code of Ordinances was officially posted online in November, 2011. This allows residents and the general public to access any of the City’s ordinances at their convenience. The City’s Code can be accessed at:
• Transfer of Property from FDOT: The City signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Florida Department of Transportation for the turnover of drainage retention ponds along State Road 7. In an effort to spur economic development in the City, the City desires to develop this portion of State Road 7 into an urban boulevard which would include commercial buildings, pedestrian friendly sidewalks, pedestrian lights and landscaping. This acquisition will bring potential revenue to the City’s tax base as these sites will be used as developable property, thus reducing property taxes in the future.
• Traffic Calming Study Area A Improvements: The City Commission held several traffic calming workshops and adopted a traffic calming plan for Study Area “A”. The boundaries of Study Area “A” include:
• North Boundary: Hallandale Beach Blvd
• South Boundary: County Line Road (NE 215 Street)
• West Boundary: State Road 7
• East Boundary: SW 56th Avenue The project will involve construction of various traffic calming devices such neighborhood circles, speed humps, speed tables and/or raised intersections at designated areas. The improvements will significantly improve traffic congestion and increase safety along these roadways.
• McTyre Park Master Plan: The City Commission approved a conceptual master plan for McTyre Park in an effort to meet the increased usage and demand for the park’s facilities. The master plan will define a meaningful balance between open field play areas; facilities for after school programs and events; improved vehicular parking; food and beverage concessions; exercise trails; a gymnasium and expanded green space areas. This master plan will result in a state-of-the-art, family friendly facility that residents will enjoy for years to come. Finally, I wish to thank West Park residents for their tolerance, patience, and support as we continue to move our City forward. I promise to continue to be readily accessible and responsive as your Mayor for the next five years. It was a privilege to serve as your Mayor this past year. I look forward to 2012 with confidence and optimism for our wonderful community. My ultimate mission is that West Park remain a great place to live and raise a family! May each of you have a wonderful New Year full of good health, peace and love.
GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU, GOD BLESS WEST PARK AND GOD BLESS AMERICA