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My New Years Resolutions for Cooper City

By Commissioner John Sims Davie & The Ranches Magazine 1/2009

The latest Real Estate Market Report stated that home values in Cooper City decreased -20.60% in the third quarter of 2008, while decreasing only -9.7% during this same period nationally. One-third of homes sold in the past 12 months sold for a loss, and 14.3 percent of all homeowners have negative equity. This report highlights the current crisis affecting Cooper City residents and their home values. As such, I believe that it is incumbent upon the City to economize to the maximum extent possible, not to stick to a budget that is increased by 18.5%. This is not the year to indulge desires, but rather the real needs of the city, such as the large losses in the city's pension funds, that will have to be made up largely from the tax payers and those using city services, along with our reserves. The Legislature and The People have voted to reduce the burden of taxes and fees on all Floridians including the residents of Cooper City. The response of many governments has been, on the contrary, to hike fees and other assessments, which has happened in Cooper City. Things like a 150% increase for the city's anniversary seem beyond the pale for items that have no true need for such an increase and are largely for show and tell. Therefore, we have the 18.5% increase in the city budget at a time where doing so is simply unconscionable. It is past time for the commission to start reviewing the 2009, budget part-by-part, with an approach that says If you cannot justify your request with an objective benefit-to-cost evaluation then the item will be held to an amount for 2009 that is 1% les than the rate of inflation. How can this happen? We must review every detail of how we do business as a city, and how we lead as elected officials. Emphasis on Open Government must rule. The value we're trying to protect here is public integrity, responsibility and accountability. The idea that we give public service not for the benefit of ourselves, but for the benefit of the public for whom we give service must prevail. I am of firm belief that leadership by example will instill teamwork and respect. Additionally, it will motivate subordinates and those on the Commission to work with enhanced vigilance and commitment toward a common goal. I will be posting surveys on issues that affect us in our great city on my website and around town. Please feel free to participate and let your concerns be known in order to improve the citys services to you. Also, feel free to let me know what topics you would like surveyed. As always, I remain dedicated to excellence in government, and it is an honor to serve you on the commission. If there is ever anything I can do to help you, please dont hesitate to call me directly at 954-445-6997. You can also feel free to visit me on the internet at http://www.johnbsims.com 499 words