I had the pleasure of attending the Town Hall Meeting sponsored by State Representative Jones and Senator Braynon on March 28, 2018.
Also in attendance were former Senators Gellar and Smith, Judge Gottlieb and the entire City Commission. The Town Hall meeting was held to address recent rumors going around that claim the City was not formed legally, among other rumors. Let me assure you, there was nothing illegal done at the time West Park was incorporated. Did we initially make the decision to form the City based on a flawed feasibility study? Yes, however, it was not learned that the study was flawed until years later, and when this was discovered, Broward County stepped up and subsidized us for about three years to assist with the tax revenues that were lost due to the expansion of State Road 7/441.
There was much discussion about where we go from here, and what sort of remedy exists. It was suggested that we move to de-annex commercial property from the Town of Pembroke Park that was “taken from us”. The problem with that statement in general, is you can’t have something taken from you if it was not yours to begin with. When Pembroke Park acquired much of the properties being discussed, West Park was not created yet and since the land was unincorporated, the County let the land go to Pembroke Park at that time to take the burden off Broward County.
Representative Jones and Senator Braynon suggested that if it was the desire of the Commission and the residents, they would file a local bill at the legislative level to try and redraw the boundaries of both cities, which in and of itself sounds like a promising idea. However, there are many flaws to this plan. Senator Smith agreed that it would be a long, uphill battle to try to move this forward in the Legislature.
The fiscal concern I have with this idea is that we might be left to foot the entire public safety bill on our own. The idea will also most likely trigger a lawsuit that we will find ourselves having to defend for a potentially extended period of time (years) and could cost millions.
We currently run the City on a shoestring budget and in all honesty, I am not sure where we would find the funds to defend such a suit. A comment I have heard over and over again from residents is that we have “one of the highest tax rates in the County”. Well, what do you think will happen if the City has to defend a lawsuit that there is no guarantee we will win?
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying – if it is truly the will of the residents to pursue this option, I will get behind it. However, I want to make sure all residents are well informed before such a serious decision is made. I cannot stress how important it is to get involved, attend the Commission meetings, attend your HOA meetings, and contact the Commission directly with concerns. The more you are involved, the more educated you will be on all matters pertaining to the City. There were about 50 people in the Commission Chamber at the Town Hall meeting, and there are more than 17,000 residents in the City! An average HOA meeting has the same 10-15 people in attendance on a monthly basis. These numbers enable a select few to determine the fate of the whole. I believe you should all have input in a decision as potentially costly as this one and would appreciate hearing from you with your thoughts. I can be reached at email@example.com or 954-232-2940.
On another note, I encourage everyone to attend our Annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday April 21, 2018 at McTyre Park beginning at 10:00 am with a recycling fair, Shred-a-thon and Operation Medicine Cabinet (where you can turn in outdated or unused prescription medications to BSO).
The Earth Day event will be followed by the monthly Free Fresh Foods Giveaway beginning at 1:00 pm.
I look forward to seeing you all at upcoming meetings and events, and in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please reach out to me.