Posted Under: City Employee Salaries,Economic Improvement Suggestions,Ft Lauderdale City Budget Issues,Important Issues for Fort Lauderdale
Call to Action!
A grass-roots petition drive in Fort Lauderdale will be starting soon!
After years of swollen budgets and wasteful City spending, Fort Lauderdale residents appear to have “had enough”. We saw our property values (and property taxes) increase by as much as 50% since 2004. Our City’s budget grew accordingly, increasing by as much as 15% in one year! Now, property values have declined by as much as 50%. Many Fort Lauderdale families are losing their jobs and their homes. All of us have to make do with less. Our City should be doing the same.
Yet our current Mayor and Commission continue to spend money lavishly, having just passed the biggest budget in Fort Lauderdale history and using up our precious fund reserves to close the budget gap. The budget today is not balanced. It has now grown to such a size that it can no longer be sustained in the future without tax increases, fee hikes, staff layoffs, or a combination of the three.
Mayor Jack Seiler has had two years now (with two budgets) to make the necessary reductions; yet he has lacked the willpower to do so. It appears that we must take action ourselves and send him a clear message: “CUT THE BUDGET AND REDUCE SPENDING”.
Within the next few weeks, I will be sending you a link to a “Budget Reform” petition document that is being drafted with the help of many Fort Lauderdale residents. We will need to get as many Fort Lauderdale registered voters to sign this document as possible. This document so far has gone through several versions, as we try to refine the message and insure that it is an enforceable document.
This will be a grass-roots effort, dependent upon YOU to help us collect signatures. “Signature Petition Binders” will be assembled for small business owners and for those who want to go through their neighborhood to collect signatures. An address will be given for you to mail in the completed forms.
Why are we doing this?
We are trying to avoid the situation that is happening right now in Miami-Dade, where a proposed tax increase is causing a recall drive against their Mayor. We also want to avoid a situation similar to what is happening now in the City of Miami, where mass layoffs of employees are proposed and lawsuits are forming. We are trying to “thread the needle”, with this petition. If successful, we’ll avoid both scenarios.
Know this. If we don’t get this budget reduced this year, we will have tax increases, more fee hikes, and employee layoffs waiting for us next year. And we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
For a better look at what’s been happening to our budget (versus the budget of a typical city our size), take a look below: This chart shows our City’s Budgets since 1997. The red bars show how rapidly the city budgets increased when our property values went up. The orange line shows the unsustainable growth trend of those budgets. The black line shows what a controlled budget growth (of 2% a year) would look like, had we limited our City’s budget to a growth rate similar to other cities. The purple diamond shows the current size of the average budget ($330 Million) of all 20 US cities that are similar in size to us (175K to 195K in population). The green bars show the approximate reduction we are looking to achieve over the next four years with our petition.
If you would like to become an active participant in the final development of this petition, send an email to us at: email@example.com. Once completed, we will be sending you the on-line link to the petition, along with supporting documentation and instructions. Stay tuned!
Fort Lauderdale Committee for Budgetary Reform