City in good shape, fiscally and physically
While news reports document the financial troubles other cities are facing, we are good so far in Plantation.
Chief Administrative Officer Jason Nunemaker updated councilmembers on the city’s finances at an April meeting, saying “Being in a healthy position to start with is a big advantage.” He noted other cities are already mapping out layoffs or furloughs.
March 31 marked the end of the first six months of the budget period, yet the city has spent only 43 percent of its operating budget, he noted. Meanwhile, revenues are better than projected. For example, permit fees are at 121 percent of what we planned for.
“The demand in Plantation is still strong,” Nunemaker said. “That’s fundamentally vital to our future.”
City department heads and administration created two models, with one predicting a return to normalcy by May 20 and another by Sept. 20. Parks revenue, for example, is expected to drop $1.35 million with the earlier return. It grows to $3.4 million with the later return date. That money goes into the city’s general fund, so eventually some decisions will be necessary.
Revenues garnered by the state and shared with municipalities also will take a hit, and that event will need to be factored into our budget as well, Nunemaker noted.
I had proposed at our April 1 workshop that we explore ways to provide economic help. Nunemaker said at the April 22 meeting that the city has $800,000 in CDBG money and about $2.5 million from CRA money for the Gateway and Midtown areas to tap into. The city is also hiring an economic development specialist.
Meanwhile, almost all city services are still operating, with attention in City Hall focused on mask-wearing and social distancing. Nunemaker noted that as of now, not a single city employee has tested positive for the virus.
Want to save the city money?
DON’T FLUSH WIPES!
The wipes clog our waste treatment process. Staff has to manually remove them.
That costs manpower and manpower = time.
Charter talk tabled
Many people have been working on changing Plantation’s city charter, which has not been tweaked since the city formed in 1953. Mayor Lynn Stoner, when she was on the city council in 2018, pushed councilmembers to create a charter review board, and that group suggested revisions.
Then in 2019, the city council held a workshop to review the review board’s suggestions. A revised charter, optimally, would be placed on the ballot for the Nov. 3, 2020 election.
That would mean the city council would need to approve proposed charter changes by June in order to get it placed on the ballot.
The first of two required readings was scheduled for April 22 but council members voted to table it until the public and the full council could attend in person.
$9M approved for park
The city council approved a contract to being work on Pine Island Park. The work involves new soccer fields, including one with artificial turf. Special emphasis will be placed on improving the field drainage, which has prompted all-too-often closures at the park, south of Broward Boulevard and on the east side of Pine Island Road.
The project also will combine two parking lots into one.
Nunemaker noted that with this measure, all the money dedicated for in the parks silo has now been assigned. But that doesn’t mean projects such as Central Park renovation or improvements at North Acres Park are off the board. Money from the capital improvement fund and other sources is available. The council decides on the expenditures.
Places to go this week
Nowhere. Stay home!
Nick Sortal is president of the Plantation City Council. Contact him at NickSortal@BellSouth.net