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September 16, 2014

History at High Noon Highlights Arboretum

History at High Noon,on the third Wednesday of every month at noon, in September features Jerry Behan of the Deerfield Beach Arboretum. Behan's talk, at noon on September 17th, at the city commissoin chambers in city hall, 150 N.E. Second Ave, will be about the city’s arboretum and its collection of native plants and trees. Light refreshments will be served. For information, call (954) 429-0378 or see the website for the Deerfield Beach Historical Society:
www.deerfield-history.org.

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September 15, 2014

Lighthouse Point sets hearing and final budget approval for Thursday

For Lighthouse Point residents, this year’s property tax assessment is like a good news bad news joke.
The good news is that property values that plummeted 20.1 percent between 2009 and 2010 now are continuing their upward crawl. The bad news is that this year’s propert value increase -- 6.26 percent – will leave residents paying higher property taxes, despite what Finance Director Frank DiPaolo described at a sparsely attended preliminary public hearing on September 10 as “the second lowest operating rate of all of Broward County.”
DiPaolo indicated the 3.5893 mils the city wants to charge per $1,000 of assessed valuation is 5.75 percent above the rollback rate -- or the rate the city would charge to raise the same amount of revenue in 2014 as it did in 2013. He said that to balance the budget while keeping the millage rate level, he relied on the city’s savings account to fund $238,000 in expenditures this year.
DiPaolo told an audience comprised entirely of city staff and elected officials that the city portion of the total millage was a little less than 20 percent. The $13.3 million general fund reflects a 2.5 percent increase, he said, adding that a full 8 percent of the total is accounted for by fixed costs such as salaries, health insurance and other benefits.
The fire assessment will remain the same.
“That it is down from $300 [$306,000] to $238,000 shows that we continue to decrease the city’s reliance on the fund balance,” he said.
City commissioners approved the tentative budget. A second public hearing and possible approval are set for 5:05 p.m. Friday at Fletcher Hall, 2200 N.E. 38th Street in Lighthouse Point.

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September 12, 2014

Taste of the Islands in Deerfield Beach

Westside Park will erupt in island music and food on September 20 where, from noon to 7 p.m., cultural food and crafts, and free, live entertainment, will be on hand to evoke what the city is calling a Taste of the Islands, featuring the culture of the islands as well as the flavors of Brazil. Located at 445 S.W. Fourth St., the park will offer a variety of cold beveragtes and food for purchase, as well as vendor booths, a kid’s zone with waterslides, and free entertainment by musical and specialty acts. Food and craft vendors interested in participating must submit an application, available at
www.deerfield-beach.com/toti. Please note: ALL food vendors must have the proper licensing and health certificates in order to participate.
Free shuttles will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from the Main Beach Parking Lot at149 S.E. 21st Ave., to Westside Park at 445 S.W. Fourth St.

For information, see www.deerfield-beach.com/toti or call 954-480-4429.

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September 11, 2014

A Home Field of its Own

The man who created a $1.1 million park in a built-out city didn’t live to see it dedicated Wednesday, but he was not forgotten.

Bob Harbin was battling throat cancer when he came out of retirement to head up Deerfield Beach’s parks department in 2009. He stepped in to fill large shoes, when grant-writing wizard Vince Kendrick retired, but Harbin during his tenure engineered a three-way land swap with the county, city and school board that made this park possible when it seemed anything but.

Harbin died earlier this year, but he was present in spirit at the dedication of Deerfield Beach’s newest athletic field on Thursday.

City crews groomed the red baseball diamond as 1,100 of 1,400 students at the adjacent Quiet Waters Elementary School, many dressed in red, white and blue to commemorate September 11, filed onto the school’s first and only athletic field to watch the dedication.

“Students, I know you are required to be here, but I’m glad you are -- because it is all about you,” said Commissioner Bill Ganz, in whose western district 4 the park lies. “My daughters were students here when we started this project and, now, they are in seventh and ninth grade. The only thing slower than a snail is three governmental agencies trying to work together…”

Getting them to work at all was Harbin’s gift to the city. The former director of Broward County’s park system, Harbin was in a unique position to elicit concessions from each of the three governmental entities involved in the deal. On Thursday, everything reflected Harbin's arbitration skills: from the glass-smooth grass and red clay that replaced tangled woodland carved from the county’s Quiet Waters Park, to the chain-link fence that defined the land as shared, now, by Quiet Waters Elementary School during the day, and by the city at night.

Eventually, $400,000 worth of lights will be erected in the nine cement pillars, facilitating night games in a city devoid of same.

“One person is not here today and his absence is glaring,” Ganz continued. “Bob Harbin served the residents of Broward County and Deerfield Beach for many decades here he is here with us in spirit…”

Then Coaches Jeff Kiene and Joe Alfonso lined up the first team to use the field. Students waited behind colored cones then scattered across the grass for a relay race.

“It looks good!" pronounced Eli Santiago, a fourth grader whose jersey proclaimed his loyalty to the Parkland Predators soccer team, explaining why he was eager to try it out for himself. He motioned in the direction of Coconut Creek. “We’ve been playing over there,” he said.

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Lighthouse Point sets final hearings on 2015 tax rate and fire assessment

For Lighthouse Point residents, this year’s property tax assessment is like a good news bad news joke.
The good news is that property values that plummeted 20.1 percent between 2009 and 2010 now are continuing their upward crawl. The bad news is that this year’s increase -- 6.26 percent – will leave residents paying higher property taxes, despite what Finance Director Frank DiPaolo described at a sparsely attended preliminary public hearing on September 10 as “the second lowest operating rate of all of Broward County.”
DiPaolo proposed a millage rate of 3.5893, and said the amount charged per $1,000 of assessed valuation 5.75 percent above the rollback rate, or the rate the city would charge to raise the same amount of revenue in 2014 as it did in 2013.
That means the owner of an average house with a homestead exemption saw the value increase 5.7 percent from $463,496 in 2013 to $489,661 in 2014. That homeowner would pay $166.78 in city property taxes in 2014, up from $157.38 in 2013. For the owner of the average condominium with a homestead exemption, the value of which rose 7.6 percent to $81,103, the amount of property tax paid to the City of Lighthouse Point would increase from $27.08 to $29.11.
DiPaolo told an audience comprised entirely of city staff and elected officials that the city portion of the total millage was a little less than 20 percent. The $13.3 million general fund reflects a 2.5 percent increase, he said, adding that a full 8 percent of the total is accounted for by fixed costs such as salaries, health insurance and other benefits.
The fire assessment is set to remain the same, with a hearing set for 5:05 p.m . tomorrow, September 12, at Fletcher Hall, across from the police station.
To balance the budget while keeping the millage rate level, DiPaolo relied on the city’s savings account to fund $238,000 in expenditures this year.
“That it is down from $300 [$306,000] to $238,000 shows that we continue to decrease the city’s reliance on the fund surplus,” he said.
City commissioners approved the tentative budget, sending it on to second public hearings and possible approval on September 19 at Fletcher Hall, 2200 N.E. 38th Street in Lighthouse Point.

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About the Reporter

ELIZABETH ROBERTSELIZABETH ROBERTS
Elizabeth Roberts has covered Deerfield Beach, Lighthouse Point and Hillsboro... < More >

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