Money! By Tracy Olson – Tracy O
By: Sharon Aron Baron
Cuts resulting from lost revenue have made the City of Tamarac close its parks every Monday, with no plans to revert to the former schedule. It’s no wonder why today’s story in the Sun-Sentinel about cities hoarding extra rainy day cash so upsetting.
According to the article, Tamarac has $24.5 million in unreserved funds. This amount is more than 75 percent of its total annual expenditures of $32.6 million for 2010. It goes on to say that the recommended minimum of the Government Finance Officers Association is about 17 percent of its annual expenditures. To clarify, this means that Tamarac is holding on to over $19 million in excess reserve funds.
Weston, who has around the same population as Tamarac but with more than twice the amount of land, spent $18 million in 2005 cleaning up after Hurricane Wilma. According to Weston’s Assistant City Manager, FEMA reimburses for most clean-up. However, it takes years. We should have money in reserves for emergencies like this. Still, I can’t imagine Tamarac ever spending anything near what Weston spent cleaning after a hurricane. Not for our size.
The $24.5 million is way more than any hurricane fund. This money belongs to us, the taxpayers, and if the City of Tamarac isn’t going to return the $18 million excess by cutting our taxes, then they need to put our money to work this way:
- Open our parks on Mondays. These parks belong to the residents, and I’d like to see those gates open every Monday so we can use them.
- Beautify our city. Take a look at Lauderhill, which has beautified their city by building walls surrounding their communities while adding miles of landscaping in front of them. We need to clean up Tamarac and make it look desirable to attract new residents to our city. They should tear down broken down fences lining Commercial Boulevard and Rock Island and model this look.
- Use the money to build beautiful bus shelters for our residents. Our mishmash of various types of shelters needs one cohesive look. The city has been waiting for Broward County Transit to build them. I say, build them now and keep our residents dry and safe. Weston built their beautiful shelters through a gas tax. We don’t need a gas tax because we have the funds right here.
- Develop our proposed parks. Several parks are empty lots at the moment, waiting for grants to pay for them. Let’s use the money to get a few of these completed.
Remember, it’s the resident’s money, and we should demand that it be put back to work for us.