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Uniting by Removing the Tracks!


HALLANDALE BEACH - So many important things have been moving forward this week in Hallandale Beach. Our city has been keenly focused

HALLANDALE BEACH - So many important things have been moving forward this week in Hallandale Beach. Our city has been keenly focused on continuing a dialogue about our city’s community policing policies. One of the most important elements in healing a community and moving forward is not just about police. As we have seen play out in Baltimore, it is about addressing the root causes. It is not just about the police or policing tools. It is about understanding the past social economic history of a community and how the current conditions can be changed to make sure there is opportunity for everyone.

It is not only about simply upgrading bricks and mortar infrastructure, it is about addressing economic conditions as well. Over the past years, despite many 4-1 votes our city has been addressing infrastructure in once neglected neighborhoods. Just recently, plans for OB Johnson passed on a 4-1. Change takes a clear path and political will. We have also been working on job creation and to date, we have created results. The more difficult issue is the racial divide.

This Monday, in partnership with Inside Out Theater, our city will be hosting a play “Removing the Tracks.” For years, our community like many others in the nation, have divisions within our borders. In our city, the segmented area was west of the railroad tracks.

Just like many cities throughout our nation there were segregated homes, stores, schools and parks. After the past year, parks have been rebuilt and uninhabitable homes have been demolished to make way for brand new homes. The work is still not 100 percent complete, but now it is time to celebrate coming together on discussing racial divides by “Remove the Tracks”.

This play has been developed by residents and students for residents to help present the often unspoken history through the arts. I encourage every resident to take a few hours of their time on Monday and join us at our Cultural Center from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. and become part of this movement. Let us continue the “One Hallandale Beach” initiative that has been headed by Commissioner Sanders. Let us show everyone that we can be different from other communities. Open, equal and willing to participate in solutions.

Another important event took place without much fanfare. I have promised to keep our readers up to date with our parks bond. Last week, the courts validated the bond. In laymen’s terms, this means after reviewing all of the related documents pertaining to the referendum election, the courts found everything is in order to proceed, the hearing went without any challenges. This means our city manager and attorney can begin to move forward with bond council and go to market to acquire the bonds.

In other news, I know that there have been some concerns over temporary flooding on 14th avenue and along 2nd Street. I have been in communication with our City Manager to find out why. Both pumps are functioning, however the southernmost pump has been taken off line until an environmental cleanup from the illegal dumping of oil into southern drains can be completed. Last week, they turned on the northern pump and the streets were clear in 10 minutes. The environmental cleanup is critical to the health of our water supply. Our city along with Broward County is investigating the matter.

Closure to this project and the issues with Lanzo are on the horizon. Our city manager and staff have gone through every change order to verify which ones they believe are justifiable, of those the city could only agree to 42 that amount to $1.7 million dollars. Lanzo was claiming over $3.6 million dollars that was owed to them. Some of the changes were due to bad soil conditions and multiple conflicts with underground and overhead utilities, others are not justifiable.

Once staff started challenging the change orders by withholding payment, Lanzo started to proceed with delaying the project. There was no stop of work they just were putting less crews on the site. This created $104,000 in liquidated damages to the city. The contract was $500 dollars for every day the project was overdue. The final counter offer by Lanzo was $800,000 to the city.

The funding for this project was from a FEMA grant that was acquired through a joint lobbying effort by myself, staff and our lobbyist(s). The financial close out of the project was due on March 31st with all of the cancelled checks and accounting due before May. City Manager Miller informed the commission that the $800,000 figure would be considered by FEMA as part of the construction costs.

The choice was, do we fight a legal battle that would involve Lanzo and the city for years in litigation with a possible $2.0 million dollar exposure to our general fund or move on at no cost to our taxpayers? While every commissioner pointed out how frustrating the talk of settlement was, we all supported the offer to protect our taxpayers.

Since this project is complete, we are now ready to pursue the Southwest Drainage Project. Since our experience with the Northeast, we have found these projects are very invasive to the residents. We want to make sure that this project is fully engineered with all possible contingencies. We also want to make sure our residents are thoroughly informed of all impacts up front, we are currently working with the state and federal FEMA offices to secure an extension on the approved funding for the project. Once the funding extension is granted, we will be aggressively addressing the planning and construction of the project so our residents do not have to live with the threat of flooding in the Southwest.

As always, please feel free to contact me any time with your questions/concerns and ideas on how to make our city a better place at my office: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or visit my web-site at: If you are heading out of town and want to stay connected to our city issues you can sign up for my weekly update.

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