City of Tamarac Commissioner Michelle Gomez will be mailing out an update to all the residents in the Woodlands and in her District.
Unfortunately, it looks like it was written by someone from the Public Relations Department.
Although she has never held public office before, Gomez had a solid resume when she was appointed to take the place of Patte Atkins-Grad in 2010 after her arrest. I had very high hopes for our new commissioner and believed she would take an active role in our community and her district which has over 14,000 residents.
Unfortunately, Gomez has never found her way. Instead of becoming one with the people she represents, she has joined rank and file with other city members. Whenever she makes appearances, she will usually be accompanied by another commissioner, the mayor or a staff member.
As a writer for The Woodlands Tamarac, which is our most read website in the Woodlands with over 528 email subscribers, I asked Gomez for a bio about herself after she was appointed. I thought our residents would like to know about our new commissioner as her family has a long history in our community After a couple of requests, she made excuses and then never responded again.
Recently, I asked Gomez for an update for our website. Specifically an update into what she is doing about getting the city to maintain the right-of-way on the corner of 64th Ave and Commercial Blvd. The corner which sits neglected by the city because they insist it belongs to the homeowners on the other side, is not only an eyesore for the Woodlands, but for all passing motorists heading eastbound on Commercial Boulevard each day. Surveys show this area is clearly outside of the homeowners property.
Instead of being our advocate, she informed me that this area is being handled by code compliance and that she’s asked city staff to review it and see what other options may be available. She also mentions it’s a “WIP” or work in progress.
To relegate this issue to the level of code enforcement is a slap in the face of our residents. It’s also very disheartening as a community activist to represent our interests and be told it’s a “WIP” several times, as you will read in her letter to the residents below. If that’s the case then we’re not making much progress!
In the City Manager form of government, the Commissioners make the policy and the City Manager enforces it. Unfortunately in the City of Tamarac, the city commissioners abdicated their primary function to the City Manager and staff. Our Mayor and Commissioners act like one big rubber-stamp and let the staff enforce the rules. In the case of 64th Ave, you can see that “WIP” such as this have been handed over to a staff member’s office.
This happens frequently in Tamarac where staff members seem to be running our city.
If you live in Woodlands, you will be receiving a great public relations piece from the commissioner which touts all the great things that are going on in the city, but for reasons I can’t understand, there isn’t much that benefits the rest of you that live in District Two.
My comments are in bold:
I wanted to follow-up with you regarding some topics mentioned at the February 2012 WHOA meeting.
1) Agreements between the City of Lauderhill and the City of Tamarac.
I have reviewed the Agreements. These Agreements were specific to (a) the median that runs from 64th Avenue through to University Drive on Commercial Boulevard and (b) the annexing and deannexing of property along NW 44th Street from Rock Island Road. The median on Commercial Boulevard is owned by both Cities and the area in question along NW 44th Street is owned by the City of Lauderhill, as it requested ownership in 1995.
Michelle, the issue isn’t the median on 64th Ave, it about the City’s right of way that the City of Tamarac isn’t maintaining at the corner of 64 and Commercial, not 44th street.
Cut and paste, global reports and platitudes seem to be the city’s standard operating procedure. I’ve seen how Lauderhill works. How is it that Lauderhill can and does do the very things Tamarac says it can’t do? How is it that Tamarac can maintain right of way for some communities, but not this very corner next to the Woodlands?
2) The area around 64th Avenue and Commercial Boulevard.
There has been a lot of commentary about this location. All I can do is provide the facts as I know them.
The facts are:
a) per the City’s Code, the property is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to maintain.
b) the City is limited in the way in which it can take over control of a person’s personal and real property rights.
c) The City has previously followed the procedures, properly cited the owners, conducted the work to clean the area and lien the property, but the liens were wiped out through foreclosure.
d) the City is doing what it can within the laws and procedures currently in place.
While some may be reading this and stating this is too long of a process, think of yourself in a potential violation situation. Maybe you have a driveway that needs to be fixed. Maybe you are trying to obtain quotes on having it repaired, but are having difficulty obtaining reliable contractors to provide you with quotes or provide you with realistic, affordable quotes. Wouldn’t you want to know that there is an opportunity to allow you to take care of the situation and be heard before fines and liens are imposed that will be more costly to you?
After meeting with City Manager, Michael Cernech, to discuss these matters, City Staff is exploring potential changes to City’s Code that may be able to assist in this area and others like this that may exist throughout the City. This is what I call a “work-in-progress” (WIP). What I mean by WIP is that I do not have details to provide now as the potential changes/solutions to the issues are being researched.
There’s that WIP Term which is another way of saying “Wait, I’m Procrastinating”
This leads me to my requests for your assistance in three ways, please:
Have patience…is that the code for don’t bother us?
As I have expressed in the past, while as residents we may think things are simple and should be able to move quickly through City Hall, what I have learned through Tamarac University and more so as your Commissioner, it is not always the case, although not for a lack of trying. All matters must be addressed on several levels and carefully thought out not just for the here and now, but ramifications, if any, on the future of our City. With that, when plans are made, funds must be appropriately budgeted. Sometimes a great project is not an emergency item, therefore it must be budgeted in another fiscal year.
B) open communication through appropriate channels
If you should ever have a question about an item in our City or within our Woodlands Community, I ask that you reach out to me directly for the answer, and make certain to cc Patti Fox, President of the Woodlands Homeowners Association. President Fox and the City have an active communication stream in place and some of the questions that arise may be completely under the WHOA’s control rather than the City’s.
Reach out but expect statements that look like they were written by Chad Quinn in the Public Information Office instead of Michelle Gomez, our neighbor and representative.
The official website of the City of Tamarac is: www.Tamarac.org (look for a completely redesigned and more user-friendly version of our website later in the year!)
She needs to remind you because she thinks our residents are too stupid and may mistakenly think TamaracTalk.com is the city’s website even though I have disclaimers everywhere.
The official website of the Woodlands Homeowners Association is: www.thewoodlandsfl.com
Maybe they would read the “official” website and not the more popular www.TheWoodlandsTamarac.com if there was something……anything to read on it!
My email address is: Michelle.Gomez@Tamarac.org
C) benefit of the doubt.
The City has no reason to hold anything back from the residents. There are just certain times when there isn’t an update to provide to the community. As stated earlier, there are many items that are a WIP and to provide incomplete details in the middle of the same can lead to miscommunication, confusion, frustration, and unsubstantiated concern. For interim details, all minutes of meetings are available to the public to read as to what the City is doing or, again, ask me and I’m happy to update you if there has been progress. There’s that WIP term again
The City Commission and The City Staff strive daily to excellently serve the residents’ and business communities’ needs. We love and take great pride in our City. We seek to keep our City vibrant, adjust with the times, and be economically sound.
I’d like to close by providing a list of items that have come before the Commission since the February 7th WHOA meeting
a) purchasing and installation of curbing along Southgate Boulevard Not even in our District
b) reorganization and updating procurement procedures Will Residents even know what this mumble jumble means?
c) selected the organization that will be conducting the corridor study that we discussed at the last District Two meeting in November 2011. Said study will take approximately 18 to 20 months. From this study we hope to learn whether barriers/walls should be placed along our corridors, if so the proper type for our City; structures or signage to promote our City when arriving and departing our borders, etc.
They need a study about walls? Call Lauderhill and save us from unnecessary expenses.
d) approval of the company that will be performing the renovations to the Multi-Purpose Center. Said renovation plan was reviewed and approved in 2011. This isn’t even in our District
e) approval of in-kind support for the Relay for Life that will take place at Millennium Middle School located at 5803 NW 94th Avenue, Tamarac, on May 4th and 5th benefitting the American Cancer Society. Nice, but that doesn’t help us out East
f) a new pool maintenance company was selected for the Aquatic Center (which is now open for the season).
g) Citywide Street Light and Parking Lot Lights Change Out to Induction Lighting project
h) approval for the City Attorneys’ office to prepare Nuisance Abatement Ordinance for the Commission’s review. The goal of this Nuisance Abatement Ordinance will be to authorize the City to make repairs or clean up areas on individual’s real property, through an expedited, legal due process system, but be able to recoup most, if not all, the taxpayers’ money used in the abatement. (This is a very simplified description. More details will be provided when available as this is a WIP.) WIP Again!
Of course, this is not an exclusive list. I invite you to read the minutes of the Commission Workshops and Meetings, which can be found on the City’s website to learn more. The Agenda is posted prior to every Commission Workshop and Commission Meeting, and the minutes are posted shortly thereafter. In addition to reading the minutes, everyone is welcome to attend the Workshops and Commission Meetings. Workshops are the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at 9:30 a.m. in room 105 at City Hall. Commission Meetings are the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and the 4th Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Commission Chambers, also at City Hall.
It is a privilege to serve our Woodlands community, the other 13,000 individuals in District 2, and everyone in the City of Tamarac. I appreciate your helping me do this and thank you in advance for reading this lengthy letter. I hope to see you at the April 10th District 2 meeting that will start at 6:30 p.m. at the clubhouse of Concord Village Condominiums. (A postcard should be in your mailbox shortly with more details.)
With warm regards,
Neighbor and Commissioner
It may have been before February 7th, but Gomez really should explain to residents why she voted to buy spend $3 million to buy the Colony West golf course, which was another unnecessary expense. She also voted to hire the family who ran the course into bankruptcy to “manage” it for the City. Also, what about the almost $1 Million she just voted on to buy new vehicles for the parks and recreation department in February?
How can these big ticketed votes be missing from this glowing report? We still have no parks out in the east part of her District and many unfinished parks around Tamarac.
Until then, save the stamps on the updates.
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.