Letter to Mayor and Commissioners: Open our Parks; Cut Excessive Car Allowances

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Parks in Tamarac have been closed on Mondays since 2010

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The 2014 budget will be finalized on Thursday evening and unless someone speaks up for our interests, the city commission is moving ahead with staff budget recommendations which includes keeping our parks closed on Monday’s except for major holidays.   This is an insult to the residents of our city.  National holidays amount to no more than five additional Mondays per year and this new proposal will not open our parks up over the summer for our children.    We also need to request that our Mayor and City Commissioners rid themselves of their excessive car allowance compensation that exceeds other municipalities and even county commissioner’s.

September 16, 2013

To: Beth Talabisco, Harry Dressler, Pam Bushnell, Diane Glasser
CC: Michael Cernech, Mark Mason

Mayor and Commissioners:

Please consider these two items before you finalize the 2014 budget on Thursday:

Parks

For years our parks were open on Mondays and operated smoothly without the necessity of closing every Monday for cleaning. Back In 2010, in what was supposed to be a temporary budget cutting measure, all city parks were closed on Mondays. This has now become the new normal in Tamarac.

Now after four years, instead of doing the right thing and being the “City of Your Life,” Tamarac is throwing a bone at its residents by opening our parks only several Mondays a year. Parks will be open only on those Mondays which are National Holidays, or if Broward County Schools are closed. I totaled these holidays up and they only amount to an additional five open days.

This is unacceptable and makes Tamarac the lone city with Monday park closures. Our residents cannot use our facilities, or even our Dog Park. This is solely because our elected officials refuse to fight for the residents, by keeping our parks open on Mondays.

I am speaking out because you, our representatives, must reconsider your positions. Do the right thing for our families and for the future of our city.

Car Allowances

Another budget item that should be adjusted is the Mayor and the City Commissioner’s excessive car allowances. At $700 per month, this is one, if not the highest in the county. Our commissioners barely tool around the neighborhoods, much less the state of Florida. What should only have been compensation for wear and tear on a car, has turned into enough money to make a monthly payment for a luxurious car, plus pay the insurance as well. We should not be giving our elected officials free cars, but essentially we are.

Consider this: In a city twice our size, Coral Springs, their Mayor and Commissioners only get their mileage and tolls reimbursed. In Sunrise, Commissioners get only a $200 for a car allowance. Broward County Commissioners, get only a $200 monthly allowance and Broward County School Board members only are reimbursed .52 cents per mile. Both drive all over the county and attend meetings in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

How did our public servants ever get to the amount of $700 each month? This is not only excessive, it’s embarrassing.

It is not too late. You, as our representative have the power to make a motion to amend the budget.

Sharon Aron Baron

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Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk and Parkland Talk.

Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac.