Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cooper City Special Report


Cooper City Report: ‘Recession Hurt American Families’ Wealth; Recession wiped out nearly two decades of American families’ wealth; Net worth plunges 39% over three years; Median income dropped 7.7% from 2007- 2010’.

These are a few recent headlines reflecting our residents and businesses economic status. I mention them as we look to our city budget meetings this month (July 18th & 19th) and ask the question, “What are the challenges that face the Cooper City Commission?” What can we do to lighten the load on our businesses and residents?

I have asked this question to your commissioner’s previously, without a response. They responded by raising taxes for the 7th year in a row. When I ask residents about the city’s management style, the answer seems to reflect ‘lightening the financial burden on us’. When I asked what specifically do you mean? Here are some of their thoughts…

The cost of living in Cooper City continues rise exponentially and crime is increasing. When asked for clarification, here is the consensus...The cost of overall taxes rises without any improvements in the city. Quoting one commissioner, “We are starting to look like West Hollywood” and I agree. A review of the last several years shows a 15-17% of increase in assessed property values (under Save Our Homes) and taxes and fees continue to rise, the Fire Assessment being the most confusing to many.

“We already pay for that service don’t we?” is a frequent comment. The assessment increased from $64 to an increase scheduled for this year of $164, almost 2 ½ times. One resident made several blunt comments about the Special Magistrate, implemented as a service to our residents, saying that it has become a money machine for the city. The Commission has yet to review or question its performance (or that of our city attorney) since inception. The common item complained about is the cost of water. The Water & Sewer Enterprise is still an area that the city commission has failed to review or question during past few budget workshops.

Without fully describing the business climate in Cooper City, one only has to look around and see the number of empty stores. This in turn this costs our residents more money and time if they are not able to obtain goods and services from local vendors. Again, is the atmosphere created by the city conducive for businesses to flourish, or are we too rigid in our antiquated and controlling thinking about yard sales, signs, banners, balloons or other methods needed to attract more customers?  Should we not be asking, ‘What can we do to help?’ This is the pleading I have made since elected with no solutions by your city commission as a whole.

These, and many more questions I want to raise to prompt discussion and changes to many of the things that are essential to creating a friendly attitude of what once was ‘Someplace Special”, but may have lost its luster in the last 5 to 10 years. We can do better if we try, and we must do better at the November polls. We must elect candidates with business savvy, who want to take risks to make positive change on your behalf. We must reject city commission candidates who are political operatives, who have nothing substantial to offer to vastly improve your city’s future.

This upcoming election year will be about positive change on your behalf. Its way past the time for the city to take positive action for the well-being of our residents and business owners, which means reducing ‘feel good’ spending, eliminating unnecessary assessments and lowering taxes.

I can say for certain that I will continue to work very hard to serve the public and do my very best to be the leader that our residents and business owners rightfully expect without a political agenda. There have been many problems over the past that have not been addressed effectively, timely or appropriately by the current leadership. That must change in November.

As a commission, we must improve the city’s image, address unfunded mandates, address ten year budget projections, reduce our current spending, implement more diverse programs, improve customer service and most importantly, restore fiscal responsibility and accountability to public office.

How can we make this happen? We must review every detail of how we do business as a city, and how we lead as elected officials. Visit my website www.keepsims.com or e-mail me for any city concerns at Commissioner_Sims@CooperCityFL.org.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Message from Your ‘GO TO’ Commissioner


A Message from Your ‘GO TO’ Commissioner 

Dear Business Owners, Friends and Neighbors,

I consider it a great honor and a great privilege to represent the residents of District 1, along with all of Cooper City. As your fiscally responsible representative on the Cooper City Commission, a job I have been proud to hold since March, 2007, I have had much opposition by the career political cronies of this city. Many of you first met me during my campaign to eliminate favoritism, corruption, excessive spending and malfeasance in our city government. I was first elected in 2007 based on my vast experience in business and you convinced me that I could bring new ideas and a fresh approach to the City Commission which I have proudly done.

Since my election to the Commission one of my main focuses has been on assessing, prioritizing and expanding programs and services for senior citizens and recognizing the importance of utilizing data and technology in our current systems which has been underutilized. Earlier this year I served as the driving force for the Senior Advisory Board, which brought community elders and leaders to the table in order to discuss the troubling issue of the lack of top quality seniors programs. Providing for the needs of our elderly population is critical and will continue to remain one of my priorities. To that end, the Senior Advisory Board must be concerned with matters relating to the well-being and improvement of the quality of life for Cooper City’s elder residents, although to my extreme dismay, dirty politics, internal favoritism and prejudice have taken over that process.

I am referred to as the “Go to Commissioner” because many have said ‘Go to Commissioner Sims if you want results for your issues’. I resolve our residents’ and business owners’ problems and I timely address their issues. I know that with good business practices, and great leadership, good government will be an everyday occurrence. The one process that needs curbing is one that I am working hard to streamline: the party line bureaucratic process that is often inherent in government. I am and have always been committed to making Cooper City government more efficient and less costly.

One area that is of particular interest is the County’s bid process. Accountability is critical. Utilizing data to make decisions is in the best interest of the residents and business owners of Cooper City are paramount to our success. There have been too many issues not bid on, such our city attorney, who reports to no one and now is considered the ‘Rainmaker’ for his law firm. The position is unbridled, unmanaged and sometimes used for political purposes, which is one reason why our legal bills have soared beyond belief. 

Some of your elected officials have had long term relationships with the city attorney and failed to disclose that fact when they voted to hire him and his law firm. His decision making ability and legal advice has not always been in the best interest of the city, its residents and business owners, but sometimes made in the best interest of those he chooses to support politically and made in the best interest of making tons of money for his law firm. This must end immediately.  

One other issue of vast interest is the Charter Review Board recommendations, and the haste in which it was convened and adjourned. The issues will be placed on the November ballot and have been approved by the city commission. They will affect you greatly, and already have, as many of your rights were stripped away by a renegade few on the commission in 2006, without your knowledge. I will blog about this issue in the very near future, so stay tuned. 

In the past I served on a number of boards, committees serving our community. My involvement included alternate memberships on the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Water Resources Task Force. I also served as the Director of Government Affairs and Ethics for the Human Relations Council of Florida along with being directly involved in other entities supporting our community such as the Kiwanis Club and the American Legion.

I was raised in Dade County, but I have been a resident of Broward County for more than 20 years. My beautiful and loving wife Janet and I are proud parents and step-parents of two fine boys and now have had the pleasure of watching them grow up and remain close to our beautiful community. I want you to know that I am here to work with you and for you for any of your concerns no matter what the issue is. I understand the role of a policy maker and a leader, and I believe I have the determination, professionalism and integrity to serve you well leaving the politricks aside and doing what is right for your success. 

It is critically important to me that cities and other local governments work together for the common good of We the People. We can find the common ground necessary to create the partnerships which are beneficial and productive to you, our constituents without a lot of expense, political maneuvering and red tape.

As many of you have already discovered my office serves as a resource to all of you in our community. I regularly provide valuable and current information to our Home Owner and Civic Associations and all of our business owners on all matters affecting our city, both personal and political, and I work very hard to resolve the issues that you bring to my attention.

I strive to be fully accessible, accountable and responsive to your issues and concerns. Your opinions and thoughts are very important to me and intend to continue to put your concerns ahead of all else. As such, please feel free to contact me at any time by calling 954-445-6997 or by e-mail at: johnsims@bellsouth.net I look forward to hearing from you, so feel free to contact me at any time and for any reason and be sure to keep up with what’s happening in Cooper City at http://www.keepsims.com

John Sims
Cooper City Commissioner, District 1

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