October 11, 2012 9:15 pm
LAUDERDALE LAKES --
October 11, 2012
Property Tax Administration Program
Post Office Box 3000
Tallahassee, FL 32315-3000
Subject: City of Lauderdale Lakes- Fiscal Year 2012-2013 TRIM Package
We understand Florida Statute (FS) 200.065 requires that the City has to file a completed TRIM package (previous letter attached) with the Department of Revenue to receive certification of the TRIM process as per FS and to continue to receive revenue sharing from the State.
Prior to your office receiving the package from the City, I am notifying you of some noted discrepancies in the City’s compliance with FS 200.65 for your review prior to certification.
Enclosed is the Agenda for the Commission Meeting of Tuesday, September 25, 2012. In our attempts to review the budget we found that the required Budget Public Hearing was included in the regular Commission Meeting for that date. If you notice from the agenda cover, neither Ordinance 2012-16- Budget Ordinance for 2012-13, or Resolution 2012-111- Adopting a Final Millage Rate for 2012-13, were identified as a public hearing as required.
Further enclosed here are both individual agenda cover sheets for these items. You can clearly see that both the agenda pages for these items clearly show no indication of a public hearing. Also noted is the fact that there is no Exhibit A (Budget Summary) attached for Budget Ordinance 2012-16.
How would the public or anyone else be able to compare this to the legal advertisement? Where is the sunshine and transparency?
After searching further, we found the enclosed Notice of Budget Hearing with Budget Summary on the City’s posted on the City’s website. It was not located anywhere near the meeting agendas. There is absolutely no indication that the Public Hearing is included in the regular Commission Meeting and as we have shown there is absolutely no indication in the regular Commission agenda that there is a required public hearing.
Enclosed is the approved agenda for the Commission Meeting of September 25, 2012. While it does show that order of consideration for the two budget items as required in the FDOR certification also note again that there is no reference to a public hearing on either.
Digging further, we have enclosed the Commission Meeting agenda for October 9, 2012 with the approved minutes from the September 25, 2012 meeting. Notice again the lack of reference as there being any public hearing on the agenda. For Ordinance 2012-16, Budget Ordinance for 2012-13, there is a reference to closing the public hearing.
When was the public hearing opened or even announced at the meeting or in the agenda?
For Resolution 2012-110, Approving Final Millage for 2012-13, there is also a reference to closing the public hearing. Again- when was the public hearing opened? The City Manager stated that the meeting was advertised as a public hearing. Not in the agenda for the Commission meeting- there is no reference to any public hearing or any items requiring a public hearing.
Trying to confuse/deceive the public?
And finally after due diligence and our constant pressure on them, the City posted the adopted 2013 budget on the City’s website. From that positing, notice that the Budget Summary does not agree with either the legal advertisement’s Budget Summary or the Budget Summary that was attached to the Notice of Public hearing posted on the City’s website that we have enclosed. Also provided is the adopted Budget Ordinance which shows that the City Manager does not have authority to make changes to the budget. And you have the minutes from the September 25, 2012 meeting. Exactly when was the budget change made and how was the public informed.
Reject the City’s request for certification under FS 200.065. Make them fully comply with all FS and due process. There are too many issues with public hearing requirements being violated, questions about changes being made and public not being informed during the process. Where are the sunshine, transparency, and open records access in L Lakes?
Deerfield Beach, Florida
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