A National Discussion on Budgets
On March 1st, the Sequestration went into effect...
On March 1st the Sequestration went into effect and many of us have yet to feel any change in our daily lives from this across the board cut. The cuts will trickle down to all of us; especially the most vulnerable, our children and the disabled right here in Hallandale Beach. We can all agree that there is an opportunity to evaluate and cut budgets where it makes sense. Families like yours and mine do it; local governments and the national government should do the same. What is missing from the dialogue is reality. The Nation’s budget was cut this year to ward off the fiscal cliff and these cuts are being applied; not to a new budget cycle, but the current budget year.
The last round of cuts impacted cities by reducing programs that help offset the cost of providing services to our families and neighborhoods. In essence, if grants are cut and we still must provide services, costs are displaced on the backs of local communities and our fellow neighbors. COPS, Community Orientated Policing Program grants that help put more officers and resources on the street were cut by 79%. Clean Water and drinking water funds were cut by 28% and 34% respectively. And Community Block Grants were cut by 27%. This does not include the education cuts and human service cuts.
In our city CDBG helps to fund much needed infrastructure projects and the after school program at our Hepburn Center. Human Service Programs like Meals on Wheels will be affected immediately. Representatives of the programs have already cut staffing and are projecting to cut meals to 4 days a week rather than seven to our disabled residents and seniors. These meals are typically the only food they receive.
In Hallandale Beach there is a waiting list for Head Start. Further cuts will mean that many young children will not have day care and those in it now may be cut. This means parents that are at poverty level depending on care so they can work will have to find other care, or worse; stop working. FEMA cuts have already impacted the victims of Sandy and will have a chilling effect on flooding and emergency food and shelter programs. Everyone in Florida certainly knows how critical these programs are.
This past week Vice Mayor Lewy and I both were lobbying our Congressional and Senate Delegations alongside other Florida elected officials. It is, and will remain, regretfully; a partisan battle and the losers are all of us. In my opinion the worst message was there was not compromise on pulling oil subsidies and farm subsidies to add revenues. When we asked Senator Rubio’s aide, he shared their leadership has considered closing these loopholes as a tax increase. As a nonpartisan group, the Florida League of Cities has been challenged to take this issue to our cities and encourage all our residents to contact the congressional leaders to stop the sequestration. You can get their emails addressed in a link on my website.
DEMAND A PLAN
Many readers know how I, along with many Mayors around the nation, have championed common sense gun laws for well over 5 years. Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MIAG) has created a commercial that is asking every American to sign on to DEAMANDAPLAN.org . Find out about our plan for common sense gun laws and then sign our petition. If you have not seen the commercial on local TV I have a quick link on my site. Let us all work to make our neighborhoods safer,
We have started our budget off with our neighborhood budget meetings. The city commission and staff have met with neighbors from the SE, NW and the SW sections of our city. Many residents have also been randomly selected to participate in a Citizen Survey. If you have received the survey please take the time to fill it out. We want to know what your thoughts are on the delivery of services and how we can be more accountable and effective in addressing our neighborhood needs.
CLEAN AND GREEN:
The city continues to focus on energy efficiency and water conservation. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released to retrofit two of our facilities. This program will be unique in the fact that companies will provide the upgrades up front with a saving. The future savings will be utilized to pay for the implement refit.
The City and Chamber of Commerce GLO Committee is Partnering for the Annual “Green Fest” ECO Fair. The event will be held on Saturday April 6th at our Municipal Complex at 400 Federal Highway. In addition to many vendors, educational programs and tree give away we will be hosting a Green Market. For more information please Contact the Chamber of Commerce at 954-454-0541.
As always please feel free to contact me at anytime with your questions and concerns at my office 954-457-1318 or cell/text 954-632-5700 or e-mail me at www.MayorJoyCooper.com