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.