Posted on 19 September 2013 by LeslieM

Back to Work!

Last month, we got back into the swing of things with the first meeting since June when we broke for Summer Recess.

A great deal was accomplished over the summer. With unemployment rates lower than the state and national rates, a seaport that makes us a relevant force in the global community, and with investments into county assets that draw tourism and create even more economic growth; Broward County is hard at work for you, and it is indeed working.

As we plan the future use of your tax dollars in a series of two budget hearings on Sept. 10 and 24, the Board of County Commissioners will discuss and vote on the Fiscal Year 2014 Broward County Budget. The County’s General Fund reserves are in a healthy state and have received favorable ratings from multiple credit reporting agencies. In fact, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has revised their Financial Management Assessment (FMA) from “good” to “strong” based on the county’s financial management practices. The common theme from all the reporting agencies is that local governments are strongly discouraged from utilizing onetime funds, such as reserves, to fund recurring expenses such as personnel salaries and benefits for other constitutional officers in the county. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommends that regardless of a county’s size, at a minimum, their reserves should maintain no less than two months of General Fund operating revenues or General Fund operating expenditures. The informal policy of the Board of County Commissioners has been to not expend funds from the reserves unless there is a dire emergency. This practice negates the need for short-term borrowing during the first two months of the fiscal year before property taxes are received.

Our responsible budgeting leaves us in a stable position to handle any and all situations we may face here in South Florida with the threat of disastrous hurricanes such as Katrina, Rita and Wilma. We’re still waiting on reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) related to Hurricane Wilma, and, despite that, we still thrive in the economic climate the rest of the nation is facing.

We owe it to the residents of Broward County to continue being responsible with county’s millage rates, even during an economic uptick.

The real economic stimulus is when tax payers get to keep more of their-hard earned money and spend it how it best suits their needs. This is what really helps to make Broward County a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.

Chip LaMarca

Broward County Commissioner

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