More time is needed on the Hollywood General Obligation (GO) Bond. That is the message that was presented to the Commission during a recent meeting. Gus Zambrano, assistant city manager for sustainable development told the commission to allow for project refinement and voter education.
He recommended that the GO bond be presented to voters during a March 2019 election rather than the November 2018 election.
It would cost the city additional money to hold a special election, but this would give city staff and leaders more opportunity to educate city residents on the value of a bond. Zambrano said that the timing for a bond will be good in March because economic conditions are good and there is strong job growth.
A major concern is voter fatigue. Zambrano and other city leaders are concerned that because the November ballot is so long and that Broward County and the public school district will likely be asking for money tax money, Hollywood voters might not be interested in approving even more taxes. Also, some residents are not sure what exactly the bond might pay for. About 93 percent of city voters want to know how the money will be spent.
With more time, city leaders could work with residents and neighborhood leaders to address specific needs in various city communities. There would be an education campaign on the benefits of a bond. Projects would be more clearly defined. Also, more time could be given toward educating the public about the benefits of a bond.
One major item the City wants is a new police headquarters building. Police officials consider the current building to be outdated, not up to code, unable to accommodate current technology and unable to withstand a major hurricane. A new building would address these problems. An option that was presented to the commission involved placing the new police building on the current site but shifting it a little bit east and placing a parking garage to the south of the structure. Another option would be to place the building at David Park where tennis courts are now located. The tennis courts would then be moved to Orangebrook.
There was some discussion on the bond and Orangebrook Golf Course. A number of residents have said they want improvements to the 36 hole course. They believe it is important to preserve a large area of green space and that this area is important to hold flood water. They want a championship level course for serious golfers and maybe big tournaments and a Par 3 course for recreational golfers. Residents have said an improved course and additional hotel facilities will likely earn profits for the city. A study on the redevelopment of this course is taking place.
If the bond is approved, a steering committee to oversee the bond would be formed. This committee would supervise the implementation of bond projects and ensure that the money is spent properly. The committee would be made up of Hollywood residents and individuals with professional backgrounds.