Lauderdale Lakes May Declare Financial Emergency Over $9 Million Shortfall
LAUDERDALE LAKES (CBS4) – Layoffs, higher taxes and pay cuts.
Those are options on the table for city leaders in the cash-strapped city of Lauderdale Lakes as they try to navigate a $9-million dollar budget shortfall.
City commissioners voted Tuesday night to cut their pay by 10 percent. They also voted to cut the pay of city employees by up to 10 percent. City leaders have also said they will likely raise property taxes and fees for residents — like fire rescue fees and EMS fees.
That did not sit well with residents who attended the meeting.
“Forty percent of people are on fixed income and it’s going to be extremely awful for them,” said Tyecie Causwell. “I don’t know. What are they going to do?”
Lauderdale Lakes owes millions of dollars to the Broward Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement and fire rescue services.
The city commissioners said the city is a victim of the recession and did not adequately plan for a drop in property values that cut into revenues.
City leaders have already asked Broward County Commissioners for a loan to cover their debts. County commissioners have not yet decided what to do.
Commissioner Dale Holness, who represents Lauderdale Lakes on the County Commission, said he believes the county will find a way to help the city work through its’ financial crisis.
“We can’t take the city from them,” Holness told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “The thing that worries me is, can they do it?”
Residents gave commissioners an earful. Saying they lacked leadership and put the residents in a terrible position. One resident suggested the financial crisis and expected increase in building permit fees would keep builders from coming into the city.
Kimberly Bobo-Brown has lived in Lauderdale Lakes for 16 years. She said commissioners should not expect residents to take the news in stride.
“Their constituents think they’re going to stand for it and they’re not going to stand for it,” she said.
Commissioners already laid off dozens and fired the former city manager, Anita Fain-Taylor.
Tyecie Causwell said she believes the commissioners got lazy, stopped asking questions of city administrators and did not see the trouble the recession would cause.
“To me there is a lack of leadership in the dais,” Causwell said.
Bobo-Brown is not worried about Lauderdale Lakes being merged with another municipality, as has been suggested.
“No other city is going to take Lauderdale Lakes at this point,” she said. “Who wants a broke cow?”