Which Broward County City Commissioners Get the Highest Car Allowances?

Money-roll-car

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Tamarac city commissioners receive generous car allowances for tooling around in their small districts, but after researching what other Broward County commissioners make, some taxpayers are being taken for a ride.

City commissioners in Tamarac earn around $29,000 annually. On top of this, as well a a host of other benefits, they receive a $700 monthly car allowance to get around a city that’s only 12 square miles. This is enough to fill a tank over 14 times,  or make payments on a pretty expensive car.

carallowanceWhat’s even more shocking is that Tamarac commissioners aren’t even paid the most in Broward County for their car allowances as once thought. The City of Lauderhill has them beat with a whopping $950 monthly car allowance for the mayor and commissioners. Lauderhill commissioners earn around $29,000 annually as well, and both cities have roughly the same population, however, Lauderhill only has 8.5 square miles.

Mayor Richard Kaplan confirmed that Lauderhill is even smaller than Tamarac, at only nine square miles, but because it is diagonal, he said that they must drive through other cities to get to portions of their city.

“We do not have districts like Tamarac so we do drive the entire city.  But most importantly, we drive the tri-county area quite a bit,” he said.

Does the commission in Lauderhill drive substantially more than, say, commissioners in Pembroke Pines who have the largest city with 34 square miles, yet receive no car allowances? They may also have to drive occasionally to Palm Beach or Miami as well.

Even Fort Lauderdale commissioners who oversee the city with the highest population of all in Broward County don’t receive a car allowance.

In third place is Parkland whose Mayor and commissioners tell their voters they only earn $200 a month salary, but forget to tell them that they also make a$593.92 monthly car allowance. A change in their charter to raise their salaries will go to the voters in November so it can be more in line with what other city commissioners earn, however, if that’s passed, will they still keep their hefty auto allowances?

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car driven for business is 56 cents per mile. I believe we should go back to this method, and elected officials should be reimbursed for each mile they drive on official city business.

There is no reason why we should be paying our commission enough money to pay for car payments, gas and insurance. The car allowance should help the Mayor or Commissioner compensate them for mileage on their car, not the very car that they drive.

Running for office this November? Then abolish this excessive car allowance.

The chart depicts figures from the city clerk’s offices of their respective cities that we requested information on. Dania Beach city commission has a general expense allowance of $6,000 annually.  It is not specifically allocated as a car allowance.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident’s a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That’s why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • Richard Kaplan

    Sharon,

    With all due respect, as I tried to inform you, the monthly allowance is only partially towards the car allowance. The allowance covers a variety of items that cities reimburse elective officials separately. Each city may have its own way of handling this.

    It covers phone allowance (at the city’s convenience and request), insurance to protect the city from liability (that we have to purchase separately) and other items that we don’t seek reimbursement from our city. It also covers traveling throughout the tri-county area, not just within the city itself. So unlike many other governments, we don’t get reimbursed for mileage outside our city but within South Florida, which we often travel in.

    I estimate that that the actual portion of the monthly allowance, which is attributable just to our cars is around $300 to $400/month. This makes it one of the lower of those cities that provide a specific car allowance. I am sure cities have a different mechanism for reimbursing such expenses. Note: Also, Lauderhill’s population is over 10% greater than Tamarac, not roughly the same.

    So as far as our city goes, to call it just a “monthly car allowance” is a misnomer and an overstatement.

    Richard

    • Richard, your city clerk gave me information for your monthly car allowance. I don’t know what you choose to use it for but this is what you and your commissioners are getting on top of your very generous salary.

    • This is the same Dick Kaplan who doesn’t report his rental income? I’d take his accounting with a large grain of grain alcohol.

  • Richard Kaplan

    There must have been an error in that to my knowledge we do not have the term “monthly car allowance” but instead “monthly allowance” which covers several items. In fact there are ordinances in the city that describe what some of this money must go towards.

    I guess that when you asked our clerk, she must have thought you asked about the “monthly allowance.” I tried to explain this to you when you emailed, but I guess I didn’t make it clear.

    Honest mistake.

    Richard

    • Here is my letter to your city clerk, which was very specific:

      I’m the Editor of Tamarac Talk and I’m doing a comparison of all city commissioner’s monthly car allowances in Broward County cities as compared to our city.

      For instance, Tamarac’s city commissioners receive $700 per month in car allowance.

      I was hoping you could provide me what yours our so I can compare them with other cities that have provided information.

      Thank you.

  • Richard Kaplan

    Chaz,

    Though I don’t feel I need to get into it, I received a legal opinion by our attorney that the rental income (which is actually a loss) you are referring to is not an item to be disclosed under the Broward Ethics Code. So you are mistaken. I only wish you would have asked first before writing an article based on an anonymous person making a unsubstantiated claim.

    Sharon,

    I can only cite you to our code which when it was originally written several years ago (and has been subject to adjustment) specifically allocated only $250/month for car allowance. I believe that number is now around $300 to $400/month. It is in our code. Sorry about the misunderstanding.

    Richard

    • Dick;

      Sorry… but your city attorney works for you. That’s like well, putting the Pope in charge of prosecuting the systemic rape of little boys by Catholic Priests.

      I am certain your city attorney could author a finding absolving you of nearly all sorts of sins.

    • So your commission gets an extra $500 a month? If you don’t use it, do you return it? This is a great deal of money.