Dania Beach is certainly one of Broward’s smallest cities, with a populace of 30,000. But the travel finances for commissioners within the county’s oldest town now eclipse those of towns like Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, where the populations approach 200,000.
“We’re soliciting for $80,000 for a journey for a city the dimensions of Dania Beach,” Mayor Lori Lewellen said earlier than Tuesday night’s vote. “This appears egregious. It seems excessive.”
Here’s how it breaks down: Each commissioner gets $10,000 12 months for his or her tour.
And in an unprecedented circulate, commissioners additionally gave themselves every other $6,000 a year for travel as a part of their function as board contributors of the town’s Community Redevelopment Agency — a perk maximum towns for the duration of Broward County don’t offer.
“Most other cities do no longer have a separate [CRA travel] budget,” Lewellen said for the duration of Tuesday’s meeting.
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Vice Mayor Lauren Odman and Commissioners Bill Harris and Tamara James defended their choice to amp up their tour price range, saying the meetings they attend will assist them in making higher decisions as elected officials.
Said Odman: “We are so tired of defending our requests for schooling as electeds. This board desires to continue to do higher for our residents.”
Commissioner Chickie Brandimarte stated she doesn’t plan to journey as good a deal as her colleagues at the dais, but she voted for the increase.
“I don’t see why we’re arguing over a rate for persevering with schooling,” she stated. “The folks who elected us trust us to recognize what’s pleasant.”
The commissioners additionally supersized their man or woman price range. That went from $6,000 in line with the commissioner to $10,000 a yr, a sixty-seven percentage boom. Taxpayers might be choosing up the $50,000 tab for that too.
The suggestion surpassed four-1, with the mayor casting the lone no vote.
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Here’s how Dania stacks up towards Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Hallandale Beach when it comes to journey and expense budgets for elected officials.
In Fort Lauderdale, each commission member receives a tour budget of $five 397 to wait for conferences and meetings. The mayor receives a yearly fee allowance of $6,000 while the commissioners get $3 six hundred.
In Hollywood, the mayor and commissioners get $1,857 apiece for travel each year and $679 every for expenses.
In Hallandale Beach, each fee member receives a journey budget of $nine 000 for the year. They additionally get $6,000 a year every to cowl expenses for local journeys within the tri-county region. Each commissioner also gets $500 to cover miscellaneous costs for the yr.
Unlike Dania Beach, none of these three towns has separate finance for CRA tours.
The mayor could be flying to Honolulu at the end of June to wait for the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s annual assembly. Also tagging along: Commissioners Harris and James.
Lewellen’s ride could be the cheapest at $three, three hundred. Harris plans to spend $three 500. And James has asked $5,000 to cowl her tour costs.
“I’m going,” James stated. “Commissioner Harris is going. The mayor is going. I locate it offensive and insulting [to explain my travel requests].”