LauderBriefs: Updates from the June 2 City Commission Meetings
The City of Fort Lauderdale will be hosting virtual Commission meetings using audio/video conferencing software until further notice. The public can listen to and view virtual meetings on FLTV, YouTube, Zoom, Comcast Channel 78, and AT&T U-verse Channel 99. To learn more about virtual City Commission meetings, including how to view agendas and sign up to speak, visit fortlauderdale.gov/vcmeetings.
In case you missed it, following are highlights from the virtual Fort Lauderdale City Commission meetings on Tuesday, June 2. The video is available at youtu.be/gUg2sQov9YI and the vote summary is available at bit.ly/ftlccagendas.
OTHER POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BOARD (OPEB) MEETING
Report on Other Post-Employment Benefits Trust
The City Commission, acting as the Board of Trustees of the Other Post-Employment Benefits Trust (“OPEB Trust”), received an investment report for the period ending March 31, 2020. The asset allocation for the City’s portfolio is as follows: Domestic Equity 40%; International Equity 17%; Fixed Income 40%; and Real Estate 3%. The investment report compares the portfolio’s rate of return for the quarter to the corresponding benchmark, which is a blended rate of 40% Russell 3000 Index; 40% Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate; 17% MSCI AC World ex USA (Net); and 3% FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. While the stock market lost value of approximately 23% for the quarter ending March 31, 2020, those losses were offset in part by a strong fixed income market. The City’s portfolio (-12.16) performed better than the blended benchmark (-12.36) by 20 basis points for the period ending March 31. For details, visit bit.ly/2zWHcO3.
CRA BOARD MEETING
CRA Board Approves Funding for Emergency Business Assistance
The City Commission, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board of Commissioners, approved a budget amendment transferring $63,290 from the Central City CRA operations to fund a portion of the Emergency Business Assistance Program. The transferred funds will be made available to assist with small business loans within the Central City area due to the impact of COVID-19. Details of the Emergency Business Assistance Program are expected to be brought to the CRA Board at the June 16 meeting. For details, visit bit.ly/3eGEew3.
CITY COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING
The City of Fort Lauderdale continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and maintain close contact with state and local officials. During the Regular Meeting, the City Commission discussed ongoing response efforts, the status of phase 1 reopenings, and progress being made as we move closer to phase 2 reopenings. For updates regarding City operations, community resources, and business assistance, please visit the City website at bit.ly/ftlcovid19.
Commission Amends Housing Programs Policy
The City Commission approved an amendment to the Housing and Community Development Division’s Housing Programs policies and procedures to decrease the lien term for forgivable loans up to $30,000. The new policy will provide a 10-year lien for loan amounts of $30,000 or less. The changes will help streamline the housing rehabilitation process and encourage increased program participation for minor home repairs. For details, visit bit.ly/2zVldan.
City Commission Accepts Clean Vessel Act Program Grant
The City Commission accepted a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Clean Vessel Act Program for the repair and renovation of a vessel sewage pump-out station at the New River/Downtown docking facility. Two stations are located at the docks that provide free pump-out service to customers and area commercial and recreational vessels. The grant will fund up to 75 percent of the cost of the $86,267 project that will improve water quality. For details, visit bit.ly/2XssKq1.
Commission Designates 900 NW 7 Avenue as Green Reuse Area
The City Commission designated approximately one acre of land located at 900 NW 7 Avenue as a “Green Reuse Area” under Section 376.80(2)(c), Florida Statutes, of the state’s Brownfields Redevelopment Act. The designation will enable developer Seven on Seventh to manage the environmental complexities associated with the property and facilitate redevelopment for a project that will include affordable housing designed to emphasize health, wellness, safety, and economic opportunity. When completed, the developer will have invested approximately $27.1 million into the area to construct 72 units in one building with an array of community amenities including a clubroom, fitness center, library, business center, and game room. For details, visit bit.ly/3cnkps0.
Commission Approves Applications for Broward County Transportation Surtax Funds
The City Commission approved the submission of five transportation and maintenance projects to Broward County for funding consideration through cycle one of the County’s Transportation Surtax Repair and Maintenance Funding Program. The proposed applications include: a Seawall Replacement at Las Olas Boulevard and S.E. 10 Street ($3 million); Replacement of the South Ocean Drive Bridge over the Marion River ($2.55 million); West Lake Drive Bridge Replacement ($1.6 million); Citywide Sidewalk Repair and Maintenance ($1.25 million); and Asphalt Repair on E. Las Olas Isles ($5.2 million). For details, visit bit.ly/2TZ1DAX.
Contractor Approved for Streetscape Project in North Beach Restaurants and Shoppes
The City Commission approved a $958,792 contract with Sagaris Corp. for improvements along NE 32 Street and NE 33 Street from NE 33 Avenue to A1A. The scope of the project includes milling and resurfacing, installing new landscaping and an irrigation system, installing new decorative pedestrian lights, and upgrading existing lighting with LED fixtures. Construction is expected to begin in July and be completed by the end of this year. For details, visit bit.ly/2MqyY3E.
Commission Approves Grant Application Submittal for North Fork Riverfront Park
The City Commission approved the submittal of an application for a $75,000 Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) grant for Phase 1 of the new North Fork Riverfront Park that will be located on a City-owned parcel of land on the south bank of the North Fork of the New River. This grant is intended to promote public access to local waterways and waterfront parks and requires a City match of $75,000. The new park will serve as a green space for the surrounding neighborhood with access to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway for recreational vessels, kayaks, and paddle boards. Phase I of the project will consist of a site plan design and permitting. Phase II will consist of constructing the proposed improvements, which include a new concrete seawall, boardwalk, floating dock and gangway, and viewing platforms. For details, visit bit.ly/2XWdcdm.
Playground Projects at Hortt Park and Coontie Hatchee Park Moving Forward
The City Commission approved contracts with Rep Services, Inc. for the replacement of playground equipment at Hortt Park ($316,394) and Coontie Hatchee Park ($284,447) for a total of $600,841. The scope of work includes, but is not limited to, the construction of two new playgrounds with multiple play equipment pieces for children ages 2-5 and 5-12. The projects include surfacing replacement at both parks and replacement of the exercise equipment at Coontie Hatchee Park. Also included in this contract are delivery and freight charges, as well as labor to construct the playground. For details, visit bit.ly/2XpgZAG.
Stormwater Management Program Assessment Moves Forward
The City Commission approved an ordinance on first reading to establish procedures and standards for levying assessments to fund the construction, reconstruction, repair, improvement, and extension of stormwater management systems within the City of Fort Lauderdale. The assessment methodology is based on equitably recovering costs in proportion to the benefit that each property receives from the stormwater system. The stormwater utility rate structure considers total square footage, trips generated by various property types, and the benefit that free, passable roads bring to each property. The hybrid rate methodology has been presented to the Infrastructure Task Force and the Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations, both of which support the program. For more details, visit bit.ly/2Mu9HFr.
This item was deferred until the June 16 meeting.
Commission Passes Ordinance to Amend Comprehensive Plan
The City Commission passed an ordinance on second reading to update the Comprehensive Plan by amending the Future Land Use Element and Infrastructure Element and revising the goals, objectives, and policies related to the City’s Water Supply Facilities Work Plan, General Sanitary Sewer, Solid Waste, Drainage, Potable Water, and Natural Groundwater Aquifer Recharge Element. The updates are consistent with the City’s current Comprehensive Plan. The changes will ensure that the City develops and maintains an adequate water supply, treatment and distribution system, which meets the existing and projected needs of the service area in an efficient, economical, and environmentally sensitive manner. For more details, visit bit.ly/2zYiL2N.
Rezoning Request Approved for NW 5 Avenue
The City Commission approved a request to rezone approximately 1.4 acres of land located at 701 - 748 NW 5 Avenue from General Industrial (I) to Heavy Commercial/Light Industrial (B-3) zoning district. The new zoning designation will permit a greater range of commercial uses for the property including food and beverage service and retail. In addition, it will stimulate further redevelopment opportunities to support the Northwest, Progresso, Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). For details, visit bit.ly/3crqDaj.
City Commission Approves Ordinance to Modify Parking Fines and Rates
The City Commission passed an ordinance on second reading to increase fines for parking citations from $32 to $40 in alignment with other municipalities in Florida. The amendment also establishes three parking zones: Zone 1 – east of the Intracoastal Waterway and south of Oakland Park Boulevard; Zone 2 – east of I-95, west of the Intracoastal Waterway, south of Northeast 11th Street and north of Southwest 7th Street; and Zone 3 – any land outside of Zones 1 and 2. New hourly parking rates will correspond with each zone, leading to rate increases or decreases in some areas. The ordinance provides a resident discount rate with a maximum cost of $1.50 per hour, while the non-resident rate could reach up to $4.00 per hour in some areas. The changes are necessary to fund structural repairs, capital improvements, new service features, and to replenish the parking reserve. Due to COVID-19, the parking fund has experienced significant revenue losses. The new fines and rates will take effect on July 1, 2020. For details, visit bit.ly/2Y1utC2.
July 4th Independence Day Celebration to Feature Fireworks Around the City
The City Commission approved moving forward with the coordination of four fireworks shows as part of Fort Lauderdale’s Independence Day Celebration. Locations being explored for the shows will include Holiday Park, downtown, the north beach area, and Carter Park. The shows will not be open to spectators, however, neighbors are welcome and encouraged to enjoy the fireworks from their backyards and front porches as we celebrate the 4th of July together by staying apart. As more information becomes available, updates will be shared at www.fortlauderdale.gov.
Next Virtual City Commission Meeting on June 16
The next virtual meeting of the City Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16 at 6 p.m. The public can listen to and view the virtual meeting on FLTV, YouTube, Zoom, Comcast Channel 78, and AT&T U-verse Channel 99. To learn more about virtual City Commission meetings, including how to view agendas and sign up to speak, visit fortlauderdale.gov/vcmeetings.
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