This post was updated at 9:55 a.m. Wednesday March 13, with additional information.
Voters in both Fort Lauderdale and the City of Hollywood overwhelmingly approved property tax increases, in the form of bond money, Tuesday in the spring special elections. The tax increases will pay for renovations to public parks and a new police station in each city.
Hollywood voters approved all three ballot items regarding bond projects. The measures needed a simple majority to pass. The question to build a new police station, the least supported of the bond measures, still received more than 54 percent of the vote. The bond is worth $165 million in total, and will be paid for with a property tax increase over the next 25 years.
Of that, $78 million will go towards a new police station on Hollywood Boulevard. Another $64 million will go towards fixing up public spaces, including complete renovations for two of the city-owned golf courses, and purchasing a third. Lastly, $23 million will go towards neighborhood and traffic improvements across the city, including new seawalls and flood control projects.
"In some major, large areas there are no seawalls, the city never had sea walls built," Mayor Josh Levy said ahead of the election. "Water is overrunning the shoreline during our spring and fall tides...we've got to make sure that stops."
Polls were slow Tuesday, and some voters said that they wished the ballot items had been saved for a general election.
"I'm lucky I can go into work late, but most people don't really have that luxury," voter Kathryn Sellwood said Tuesday morning. "It does affect everyone in Hollywood and they really should have the opportunity to vote on it."
Voter turnout was less than 10 percent across the cities that participated in elections. That's down from the last municipal election in March 2018 - where close to 12.5 percent of voters in six municipalities cast ballots.
In Fort Lauderdale, more than 63 percent of voters approved a bond worth $100 million for a new police station off Broward Boulevard. And nearly 60 percent of voters approved a bond worth $200 million to renovate and update more than 80 public parks.
But bonds weren't the only thing voters in Fort Lauderdale had to consider. More than 66 percent of said they wanted to eliminate primary elections and switch to four-year terms to have elections in line with presidential ones, every four years.
Five other cities in the county also held municipal elections Tuesday: Coral Springs, Pembroke Park, Miramar, Coconut Creek and Deerfield Beach.
Coral Springs voters voted for a new mayor to take over for Walter "Skip" Campbell, who passed away suddenly last October. There were four candidates vying for the position, but Scott Brook - who previously served as a commissioner and mayor from 2003- 2010 - won 37 percent of the vote, and won the race.
It was the first election overseen by Broward County’s new Supervisor of Elections, Peter Antonacci. Antonacci was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to take over the office over former supervisor Brenda Snipes was suspended following recount issues during the November 2018 general election.
“We have been running a smooth election,” Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections Mary Hall said late Tuesday afternoon. “Every precinct opened on time, every poll worker is working, and we’re just experiencing a great election day.”
Other Election Results:
- Wayne Messam was overwhemingly re-elected to Mayor. He took home more than 85 percent of the vote.
- Alexandra Davis won Seat 4 on the city commisison.
- Michael Hudak won the commission seat for District 1.
- Ben Preston won the commission seat for District 2.
- Rebecca Tooley was elected to be the new District A commissioner. She took home more than 73 percent of the vote.
Town of Pembroke Park
- Reynold Rey Dieuveille won the commission seat for District 4.
WLRN Producer Alexander Gonzalez contributed to this report.