And the winner is….Hollywood!

Oh, Hollywood, it’s a helluva town — home values are up and crime is down.  No matter how you felt about it personally, 2017 was a banner year for the great city of Hollywood.  And every indication is that the trends are going to continue.

So, let’s take a look at some highlights for the fiscal year 2017:

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Property Values

Residential and commercial property values are way up.  Citywide, we enjoyed a 15.6% year over year increase in taxable property value.  We went from being a $13.2 billion city to a $15.3 billion city, in one year; the greatest city value appreciation of all the cities in Broward County.  

The goal, said Mayor Josh Levy, is to get us to be an $18 billion city.  

Doing so will enable our city government to have a better capacity to fund continuing improvements to services, public spaces, and infrastructure.  We are, he believes, well on our way.

In 2017, Hollywood issued over 13,000 building permits, so many that the City’s old Building Department systems had a hard time keeping up.   2017’s building permits brought in improvements valued at $365 million, with the majority of permits for smaller projects.  This is important because it indicates that broad reinvestment is taking place in neighborhoods throughout the city, adding to the longevity of our housing stock and helping to sustain the residential tax base,

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

Hollywood’s primary employment drivers continue to be tourism, healthcare, and the service sector, and all grew in 2017, with unemployment at record lows – under 4%.   In 2017, we added over 2,000 new jobs, in hospitality, construction, retail, healthcare, specialty manufacturing, the service industry, and other sectors.  

Most notable was the creation of over 1,000 new jobs at Chewy.com’s new customer service center at Hollywood Hills Plaza.  We also saw the groundbreaking for Sintavia‘s new 52,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility at our Port 95 Commerce Park, creating 130 jobs.  That’s in addition to Quantum Marine’s new 30,000 square foot facility at Port 95, and Fresenius Medical’s new Dialysis Center at 2700 Hollywood Blvd., which will create between 35 and 50 new jobs.

Business Tax Receipts indicate 2,304 new businesses registered in Hollywood in 2017, with a record total of 12,834 businesses now registered in our city.

Driving through city commercial corridors such as Federal Highway, Dixie Highway and State Road 7, it’s clear that there is still so much more opportunity for new investment.  In 2017, the city enacted new zoning to facilitate reinvestment in these corridors, and the City’s newly organized Department of Marketing, Communications, and Economic Development is working to attract additional investment to continue the City’s strong economic momentum.    

Lots of investments of all sizes are already in the pipeline from West Hollywood all the way to the beach, Levy added.

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Keeping Us Safe: Hollywood Police Department

 

  • 87,320 calls responded to
  • 14,049 citations issued
  • 3,886 arrests made
  • Realized an overall reduction in Part I Crime (murder and nonnegligent homicide, rape (legacy & revised), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson) of 7% for 2017 compared to 2016. In particular, violent crime was reduced by 19%.
  • Opened a new computer lab at the Police Athletic League.   Held two sessions of the PAL Summer Camp at no cost to area students.  
  • Expanded the Youth Ambassador Program. Obtained funding to support Youth Programming.
  • Responded to 87,320 calls, made 3,886 arrests and issued 14,049 citations
  • Installed CCTV cameras in Charnow Park on the Broadwalk and in Downtown Hollywood.
  • Conducted a workshop on the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative and launched the Dating Violence Initiative.
  • The Violent Crimes Unit began focused deterrence toward career criminals.
  • The SVU obtained funds new DNA technology for computerized sketches.
  • Increased frequency of “Coffee with a Cop” events.
  • Hosted Citizens’ Police Academy for the 22nd year.  
  • Developed a Textile Recycling Bin to create approximately $100,000 for community and youth engagement programs.

Fire Rescue and Beach Safety

  • Fire Rescue crews responded to 31,319 calls.
  • Beach Safety staff conducted 94,690 preventive actions and made 184 rescues.
  • Started a Citywide initiative, Stop the Bleed, in conjunction with Memorial Regional Hospital staff to train City employees on active shooter kits.
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Key Public Works and Code Compliance Accomplishments

 

gallons of free paint provided

pounds of trash removed from the beach

  • Collaborated with FPL to execute grants for lighting improvements and to save money for the city.
  • Obtained grant funding and installed E-85 alternative fuel for the City’s fuel island and City Fleet to further green initiatives. 
  • Organized the set-up of the Broward County animal sterilization mobile unit to offer convenient, low-cost animal sterilization services.  Minimized feral cat colonies through a catch, neuter/spay, and release program.  Worked with several rescue agencies to place stray animals and minimize euthanization.  
  • Implemented a no-tolerance policy on illegal dumping.
  • Developed new Vacation Rental Ordinance.
  • Completed tree planting Arbor Day event with volunteers.
  • Gave away over 9,820 gallons of free paint through Operation Paintbrush.
  • Removed 4,917 lbs. of trash with almost 2,000 volunteers at monthly Beach Sweeps. 
  • Coordinated the adoption of 23 streets/14 miles with the Adopt-A-Street program.
  • Redesigned and installed new landscaping along Hollywood Boulevard medians.

Environment and Sustainability

  • Planted over 50 trees and hosted four community education events.
  • Facilitated Green Team Funtastic Fridays Goes Green event and Environmental Speaker Series.
  • Released the Sustainability Action Plan.  Added sustainability content to City website.
  • Achieved Community Habitat status for the City from the National Wildlife Federation.
  • Hosted “America Recycles” event and “Be Seen Being Green” Earth Month competition.
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New Development and Projects on the Hollywood Horizon

 

Permitting activity exceeded a five-year high with the processing of 14,837 new applications and issuing of 13,130 permits with the work valued at $365 million.   Generated $10.7 million in revenue from permit fees and conducted 56,600 inspections.

Besides those already mentioned, other new development projects include:

  • Bloomin’ Brands/Carrabba’s Italian Grill/Outback Steakhouse
  • Port Everglades’ South Port improvement project
  • Hyde Beach Resort
  • Hollywood Circle (Block 55)
  • Parkview at Hillcrest
  • The Preserve
  • Hyde Beach House
  • Costa Hollywood

Bloomin’ Brands/Carrabba’s Italian Grill/Outback Steakhouse

Port Everglades’ South Port improvement project

Hyde Beach Resort

Hollywood Circle (Block 55)

Parkview at Hillcrest

The Preserve

Hyde Beach House

Costa Hollywood

Additional maintenance and beautification projects include:

  • Designed and implemented an updated automated inspection response system, and a simple online permit fee calculator for customers.
  • Incorporated SmartGrowth and sustainable strategies to promote walkable neighborhoods. 
  • Installed 108 new multi-space parking meters, with new no-transaction-fee technology.
  • Completed Dog Park expansion at John Williams Park. Completed Henry Graham Park Improvements.
  • Began Van Buren Garage structural repairs and improvements.
  • Completed Phases I and II, began phase III of Turtle Lighting Project.
  • Began Alley Resurfacing and Reconstruction Program.
  • Completed the downtown lighting installation project on several streets, without change orders, and below original construction cost.
  • Completed downtown ADA Upgrades in full compliance with federal and state regulations.

Affordable Housing and Social Services

The issue of equity is all too often not often considered by those who make the rules because they themselves are not experiencing that level of difficulty and don’t truly understand the needs of those who are. Hollywood however, has a history of caring for its community and took viable steps towards an equitable future for all who call Hollywood home in 2017.

The city acquired four foreclosed homes, then rehabilitated and resold them to eligible households.  Five new replacement homes were funded – two were completed, two are under construction and one is in permitting.  22 housing rehabilitation projects were completed.  $171,000 was provided for grant funding to support the local Community Housing Development Organization’s construction of two affordable single-family dwellings in the Liberia Neighborhood and the Washington Park Neighborhood.   Temporary rent assistance was provided to twenty-two households.

Hollywood allocated $434,000 in support of a developer’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application to construct 120 affordable apartments for seniors and generated Program Income of $1,042,000 as a result of housing program activities. Social service assistance was provided to more than 578 families and eighty-four home visits to clients were conducted.

A $145,000 loan was provided by the city to conduct repairs at the Sue Gunzburger/Washington Park Child Care Center to facilitate the continued provision of affordable childcare services for local households.

Financial support was granted to seven nonprofit agencies in the amount of $75,000 using Community Development Block Grant funds. The disbursement of $20,000 in grants to local public school teachers in collaboration was facilitated by the Education Advisory Committee and Broward Education Foundation, Inc.

Public Utilities

  • Gained approval for a State Revolving Fund loan (SRF) from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for Water Main Replacement.
  • Installed thousands of feet of pipes, performed trench restoration, repaired and replaced a large number of pumps and other items to alleviate localized flooding conditions in Hollywood.
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Parks, Recreation, Culture & Art

 

  • Received licensing from Broward County Childcare for after-school programs at local Community Centers.
  • Renewed Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center and Boulevard Heights Community Center partnership with Memorial Senior Partners.
  • Renewed Elder Grant, which allows the City to offer new programs, trips, special events, and classes for seniors.
  • Received Children’s Services Council of Broward County Grant award for a new site with year-round aftercare program.
  • Partnered with Global Village to provide food distribution program for qualified residents 
  • Renewed Barry University commitment for weekly mini-clinics for seniors, using student nurses.
  • Expanded fitness programming at the Boulevard Heights Community Center to add classes for Special Needs population.
  • Renewed Broward County School Board Reciprocal Use Agreement to continue use of pools for Swim Central Water Safety Education program, open swim and summer programs. 
  • Added adult water aerobics programming at the Driftwood Community Pool as a result of a 10% increase in attendance for the Aqua Zumba program.  
  • Added Special Olympics training programming to complement the Hollywood Swim Team and promote adaptive aquatics.
  • The Competitive/Recreational Hollywood Swim Team was officially registered as a USA Swimming Team.
  • Received sponsorships for Veterans Barbecue and Spring Marshmallow Drop, which allowed them to continue.
  • Secured a four year, $95,000 contract with Burger Beast to conduct a weekly food truck rally at the ArtsPark.
  • Entered year two of a five-year contract with Hollywood Hot Glass with five-year projected revenues of $72,000.
  • Installed community gardens at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and Kay Gaither Community Center.  
  • Started a pilot composting program at Kay Gaither.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)

  • Work is beginning on the Nebraska/Nevada Street Parking Garage.
  • Work is underway for the Beach Renourishment Project.
  • Downtown, new pedestrian and decorative lighting have been completed on multiple streets.  
  • Work has begun on the Hollywood Boulevard Beautification Project.
  • The Downtown Hollywood Mural Project now features 25 murals.  
  • The Downtown ArtWalk Project has won “Best Artwalk” 2017 by The Miami New Times for the second year in a row.
  • 19 signalization cabinets in Downtown Hollywood and 20 more throughout the city have been customized with local children’s artwork.
  • The CRA has created a Mobile App for the visitor and local markets. The app includes a map, business locations, events and self-guided tour features.

Looking back, 2017 has been a great year for the city of Hollywood.  But better than that, our county fared well.

“It was an honor to serve as Mayor of Broward County last year, the second time since I was elected to office in 2010. There were a lot of challenges in 2017,” said Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. “We learned valuable lessons from a tragedy at Broward’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. And, as a powerful hurricane approached our County, we reacted quickly, keeping our residents informed before and after the storm. These were not easy times for our County, but we remained steadfast and resilient.”

She added: “On an exciting note, I am so proud to report to you that the State of the County is excellent. Our economic indicators are strong and (in many cases) leading the State. We are experiencing above-average economic growth, and our unemployment rate has dropped to 3.3 percent – the lowest it’s been in more than a decade.

Broward’s Port Everglades, airport and tourism industries are also thriving and setting records. And, a balanced budget for FY2018 we successfully passed with no increase in property taxes.

“We look forward to an exciting year ahead working hard to hold true to our promise of “our best and nothing less,” concluded Sharief.