Government News: Week of January 16th
Weekly Government News Roundup

The Hollywood Commission agreed to some major purchases during a recent commission meeting

The Commission agreed to a resolution to issue a purchase order to Nalco Water for the purchase of Nalco antiscalant for $150,000.

The Commission agreed to a resolution to approve a purchase order with Pane-Liss Glass Product Supply for replacement and installation of the Water Treatment Plant impact windows and doors for $102,268.

The Commission agreed to a resolution to issue a purchase order with Kompan for the purchase and installation of playground equipment and safety surfacing at Filmore Street Playground for $73,852.

The Commission agreed to extend the blanket purchase order with Laz Florida Parking for cashiering services for an estimated expenditure of $71,481.

The construction of a new police headquarters is a General Obligation Bond project.

Hollywood residents may see a change in the approach used for fee collection for solid waste services

During a recent meeting, the Hollywood Commission held a lengthy discussion about changing the method used for solid waste services fee collection. This change would apply only to those residents who now pay for this service on their utility bill.

The fee would be billed annually as a non-ad valorem assessment on the property tax bill. This is being done to benefit residents and homeowners of the City in various ways. 

Prior to any changes the City will have to enter into agreements with the Broward County Property Appraiser and the Broward County Revenue Collector for assessment and collections. It will have to adopt the annual assessment methodology, set the rate for the assessment, hold a public hearing on the non-ad valorem assessment and after the public hearing, authorize the assessment.

Moving collections to the tax bill will improve collection rates and reduce collection costs, both of which will help provide sufficient resources to pay for solid waste services without increasing costs to other customers. Also, it will eliminate the current confusion of billing taxpayers versus renters.

More significantly, since the assessments typically come at the beginning of the year, it should allow for portions of the revenue to be invested to earn interest. This earned interest will provide an additional resource to pay for a number of solid waste needs.

Multiple approaches to distribute information about the change and its benefits will take place between now and a public hearing in September.

The City of Hollywood is proposing to buy a 45 acre parcel of land that is known as the former Sunset Golf Course at 2727 Johnson Street

After some discussion among the Hollywood Commissioners, city staff have been directed to prepare a contract for the purchase of the land for a price not to exceed $12 million.

The City is now in negotiations with the owner of the property, a Limited Partnership called RICHGREENS. LP. The Commission is not obligated to purchase the property.

On March 12th, voters approved the General Obligation Bond initiative, which included allocated funding for the acquisition of the property. 

The City began negotiations with the property owner to purchase the site. In accordance with the City Charter, an appraisal was done, indicating an as-is valuation of the site of $7.5 million, and a conditional offer in this amount was provided to the property owner. Any purchase agreement will require City Commission approval and will be discussed as part of a public City Commission meeting.

A counter offer of $14.3 million was received by the City for the sale price of the property. An appraisal performed for the property owner is provided with a valuation of $18.5 million, assuming that a Site Plan permitting residential development is in place on the property and that the site may be developed with up to 344 total units. 

In August, as a result of a Stipulated Agreement with Broward County and its Environmental Engineering and Permitting Division, a Soil Management Pilot Test Program permit was approved for the property.  While operating as a golf course for several decades, the land became contaminated due to the use of herbicides and other chemicals commonly applied to the grass and greens of golf courses. Elevated levels of arsenic are often found on sites of former golf courses.  

An estimate $4,097,000 for the site work is provided to the City, indicating 210,000 Cubic Yards of clean fill will be blended into the top 18” of the existing grade.  

In order to address concerns of residents regarding potential hazards associated with the material being utilized for mitigation, an independent Engineering Firm, Hazen and Sawyer, was brought in to assess the operation. Hazen and Sawyer noted that it is a common industry practice to use water treatment plant lime sludge for agricultural use, soil enhancement, or remediation. In general, the State of Florida has determined that land application of lime residuals from drinking water systems is not a threat to the public health or the environment.  

Hazen and Sawyer concluded that the analytical results for the Pilot Test Plan at the former Sunset Golf Course property confirm that the materials being used are non-hazardous and are safe for land application. Although incidental runoff would not normally be expected to significantly impact a waterway, the December 22nd incident indicated that preventative measures should be improved immediately as a best practice.  

Political and Community leaders celebrate large Port project

Political and community leaders got together to celebrate the Port Everglades Navigation Improvements Project.

The project will deepen and widen the Port’s navigational channels.

The project can now begin with $29.1 million in funding under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan. The funding will be used to build a new facility for the U.S. Coast Guard Station so the Intracoastal Waterway can be widened by 250 feet at a chokepoint where large Neo-Panamax cargo ships currently have operating restrictions that affect their ability to transit past docked cruise ships. The Coast Guard Station reconfiguration is the first phase of the larger dredging project.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke at the event. She said it is a very significant project for the local area. “This is tremendous news for Broward County and all of South Florida,” said Wasserman Schultz. “Beyond job creation, the deepening and widening project at Port Everglades will open it up to larger, more efficient cargo and cruise ships. It will also improve the ability of larger ships to navigate through the Port, ensuring that tourist and commercial vessels can enter and exit the Port more quickly and safely.”

The Port’s Navigation Improvements Project is anticipated to create an estimated 2,200 construction jobs and nearly 1,500 additional permanent direct jobs locally resulting from additional cargo capacity.

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy spoke. He said the Project is significant and will be good for the economic development of Hollywood.

“Our community has been a great supporter of Port Everglades because businesspeople and residents recognize the economic benefits that the Port generates. As a community, we have been actively advocating to our elected officials in D.C. for this new start designation,” said Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness. “What many people may not realize is that the Port is a self-funded enterprise that is supported by user fees as opposed to local property taxes. So, this project, while generating a terrific economic impact for the community, will not use any property tax dollars. However, it will need additional funding from the federal government to move forward.”

The Coast Guard station reconfiguration is estimated to be completed by November 2023 at a total cost of approximately $39 million, with $29.1 million paid with federal funds and the balance paid through port revenue and state grant funds.

“This is a bi-partisan effort to make our navigation channels safer, globally competitive and environmentally progressive. I applaud our Congressional Delegation for making this project a priority and recognizing the needs of our community,” said Glenn Wiltshire, Port Everglades Acting Chief Executive and Port Director. “Addressing this chokepoint is a critical step to widening the Intracoastal Waterway so cargo ships are able to transit to and from the southern part of the Port.” 

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