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Another year of the same Lighthouse Point budget process

In 2006, I requested the city start increasing transparency of expenditures. How can city commissioners really have any oversight, or anyone for that matter, without any real information to look at? As far as I can tell, there has been no change.

Here’s the Lighthouse Point 2008-09 adopted budget (pdf)

Here’s the City of Parkland 2008-09 adopted budget-zip/pdf file. I recommended our commissioners look into Parkland as an example our city should strive for two years ago. Parkland’s population is roughly the same size as ours, a little bit bigger and they provide similar services.

Look at the difference in the annual report. Everyone knows what money is being spent on, what objectives and achievements are in various departments. As our state and country continue to look for ways to cut costs, you must have transparency and accountability. There is a bigger report than the LHP link above that is used for budget reviews, but the line items on the reports change frequently so there is no year to year comparison, plus there is simply no comparison to Parklands.

What about other cities? How do we match up? The fact that we have a good bond rating doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. We’ve brought money in, we’ve spent it, and we haven’t gotten ourselves into big debt. That’s great.

Nearly all residents have a beef about something. Kids aren’t happy with the book choices in our library. We’re told there are not enough funds to buy too many books (we have $60,000 budget). Many aren’t happy with our bumpy road conditions. Where will the money come from to fix them? Our capital improvements projects list cannot be fulfilled due to lack of funds and we’ll probably need to float another bond. This is why we need transparency. So that over time, we can meet whatever needs face us. So we can make logical decisions based on facts, not based on how it was done last year and 10 years ago.

closing 34th ct in Lighthouse Pt

NE 34th COURT ROAD CLOSING
On June 16, 2008, the temporary road closure at NE 34th Court at Federal Highway began. NE 34th Court will be open at NE 21st Avenue for all residential traffic but will not be accessible as a through street to Federal Highway. From Federal Highway, NE 34th Court will be open to the businesses but not as a through street to the residences.

The road will be closing for safety and security reasons for the entire community. Understandably there will be inconveniences for some in an effort to benefit the entire City. In order that all issues be heard and evaluated before permanently closing the road, a public hearing will be held on September 17th at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall before the City Commission to fully understand all effects of the closing.

Our goal is to continually make the City as safe and secure as possible.

## That’s the official word. I got wind of this from residents who asked me to take up the cause because they didn’t want it closed.
I chose not to start a petition as asked, because I thought the one I was already working on was enough. However, I wasn’t going to let my 80-year-old neighbor go out and do this on her own. I ask a few people to mark down their ‘opinion’ on a poll that I had made up. It was either for or against the closing. Nearly everyone was against the closing. I actually forgot that I had the poll with me until someone in a completely different part of the city reminded me when he suggested what this city really needed was a petition to stop the road closure.

I brought this matter to the city commission prior to the closing In June. Afterwards I was approached by someone who lived on the street. Apparently she has spoken against the closing at multiple prior meetings, and did not stand up this time because I had. She informed me that an official petition was submitted with the majority wanting to keep the road open. So three people I met who live in three different parts of the city started or wanted to start a petition to keep the street open.

I’ve had to go ‘the other route’ multiple times since the closing. I was against the closing and I still am. As far as the dentist goes, it can absolutely make you late for an appointment, or late getting to your next place. Let’s face it, being rerouted to Sample Rd and having to take 3 lights is not convenient. Additionally, I’m in agreement with the others who said they were very unhappy to have to go on to Sample Rd. The odds of having an accident are much higher on Sample than they are by traveling on 34th where they are basically non-existent.

So how did this closing occur when a vocal few wanted it closed and a lot more petitioned to keep it open? I can only guess, but here’s what I see happening:

Hey Chief, would our homes be safer if the road was closed? Answer: By closing more access, you can reduce crime.

So our commissioners decided, hmm sounds like a good idea. Let’s do it!

Did anyone ask:
How many burglars or other criminals do we suspect might have escaped via 34th as opposed to other streets?
How many crimes were committed in the neighborhood of 34th or inner isles, vs North of Sample? If I were fleeing police, I think I’d take the path of least resistance so going out of my way to get to 34th is a big stretch.

How many burglaries did we have in LHP in the last year? 5 years? If you had to guess, how many do you realistically think could have been prevented by, or the criminal caught, because 34th was closed?

These are the questions we need answers to. Our commissioners need to listen to petitioners and not act on their own accord, without solid facts to back it up. Yes, if you closed all the entrances to LHP but 3, we would reduce crime and it might look nicer too. But if that’s not what the majority want, then it should stay the same.

One more note- for those who live on 34th, I don’t think we should make a change just because they asked. The street has always been open and they are not entitled to a change in traffic flow just because it would be nice for them.

Sadly, unless enough people speak out, this closure will almost certainly become permanent.

If you cannot appear September 17th at 7:30 p.m to comment, please send a letter with your opinion and ask that it be read into the record for the meeting.

home business- official petition information

I spent the bulk of the weekend working in getting petition signatures throughout Lighthouse Pt for a BUSINESS TAX RECEIPT, the document required by law for any business, specifically for home based businesses.

I talked with people of all demographics and in all parts of the city. People gave their opinions not only on this, but on other city issues. I’ll address the other issues separately.

boca raton-home occupational-license
lighthouse pt business tax- 1st draft, based on Boca’s
lighthousept-biztaxb

other resident comments will be added later- It’s Sunday and I want to relax for what’s rest of the day:)
Would you like to speak out on this subject?
Regular meetings of the City Commission are held at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in Fletcher Hall located in the City Municipal Complex.
Be at the next meeting to discuss this subject!!!