Coronavirus Money And Budget Talks: What's On Tonight's Agenda For Fort Lauderdale Commissioners
Fort Lauderdale city commissioners have a 13-page agenda to go through tonight, at their 6 p.m. regular meeting. And, due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, their meetings continue to be held online.
Many of the issues up for vote and further discussion Tuesday evening are about money.
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Because City Hall is still closed, people wishing to speak during public comment need to register ahead of time and fill out a speaker card form through the city's website.
There's a motion on the table for commissioners to accept more than $265,900 in emergency coronavirus relief funding in a grant from the US. Department of Justice. In a memo, city staff members propose putting that extra money towards personal protective equipment, or PPE, for police and fire rescue workers.
Commissioners will also consider whether or not to enter into an agreement with Broward County to help enforce code restrictions and investigate complaints for businesses that are not complying with coronavirus restrictions.
There will be some other budget issues before the commission, too, like making changes to this year's budget to prioritize some water infrastructure and park projects — and abandon other projects, including painting inside the George T. Lohmeyer wastewater treatment plant.
Concerning parks, the city is looking to allocate funds from the general obligation bond that voters approved in March 2019. The city plans to purchase park space on Waverly Road in the Sailboat Bend neighborhood, renovate Virginia S. Young Park, as well as move forward with the Las Olas Tunnel Top Park project over the Henry Kinney Tunnel.
Commissioners will also discuss whether they'll spend $595,000 to purchase the gunshot detection, location, and forensic analysis service ShotSpotter. If approved, the city would enter a three-year contract with the service.
The investigative tool is part of a city plan to reduce gun violence, and will allow police officers the chance to respond more quickly to incidents that often go unreported now, according to a city memo. The memo was partially prepared by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
The meeting will also include a look at what City Manager Chris Lagerbloom has in mind for next year's budget. In a letter, Lagerbloom wrote about the impacts that the Coronavirus will have on the city's finances and how there are plans around expected budget shortfalls. You can read that letter and the intitial proposed 2021 budget overview in full, below.
Under the current proposal for next year's budget, it would show an increase of about $20.4 million dollars compared to this year's budget. Yet, as it stands now, the budget would keep the city's millage rate the same for the fourteenth year in a row.
The commission will take a final vote on the 2021 budget in September. The first budget meeting is scheduled for Sept. 3 and the final budget hearing and vote is scheduled for Sept. 14.
The City Manager's budget message and the initial overview of the proposed 2021 budget:
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed the park the city is looking to buy at 1600 Waverly Road. The city printed an incorrect address in the meeting agenda. The correct address is 1016 Waverly Road, according to the City Manager. We regret the error.