The City Council ratified Mayor Lynn Stoner’s selection for city attorney, voting 4-0. (Council member Ron Jacobs was absent.)

  The contract is with the firm Goren, Cherof, Doody, Ezrol, P.A. The firm does legal work for 12 other municipalities in South Florida, which I consider an asset. Such issues as vacation rentals, sober homes, etc., are somewhat universal and having a stable of attorneys who have all faced the same issue can only bring positives.

  I’m especially happy with Kerry Ezrol, who will be the main attorney for our city. (Michael Circullo Jr. will be the second, when Ezrol is not available.) Ezrol is a Plantation resident, and he and Circullo answered all of our questions at a special council meeting on Feb. 11.

Ezrol has been serving as city attorney for Wilton Manors.

   The special council meeting was necessary because our longtime attorney, Don Lunny, notified Mayor Stoner that his firm had set a Feb. 28 final date for departure. Had we waited for the Feb. 20 meeting and hit a snag, we’d be in a scramble. Also, making the hire on Feb. 11 gave Ezrol two days to meet with departing CAO Horace McHugh, who left the city on Wednesday for a job in Coral Springs.

 Eight firms applied for the position and Mayor Stoner and Mr. McHugh rated Ezrol’s firm No. 1. Our meeting Monday also spelled out compensation. The firm will receive $225 per hour – the same rate they charge for all the other municipalities – and we all agreed to a three-month period where we’ll evaluate expenses and then see if adjustments need to be made.

Tax help

I’d like to point out the availability of the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program, which helped about 6,000 clients in Broward County obtain approximately $6.3 million dollars in tax refunds last year. In our city, VITA helped about 250 residents, which generated $308,242 in returns. (That helps our economy.)

The program is available to those who earn $55,000 or less. There are 16 sites that offer free tax help and other pop-up sites as April 15 approaches.

VITA is a partner with Hispanic Unity of Florida and about three dozen other volunteer organizations. Go to

Coming up this week

Monday is Presidents’ Day and city hall is closed. The city council meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Check for the agenda. I also have the Firefighters Pension Board meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The rescheduled Doggie-Palooza runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Happy Tails Park, 6600 SW 16th St. Dogs are free; humans are $2 with that money going to Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc.

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