In keeping with the Island City tradition, our City Commissioners voted to cancel the first scheduled City Commission meeting in August for summer break.
There will certainly be plenty on the agenda when they return Aug. 25.
Finalizing the city’s budget for the next fiscal year will be a top priority. Add to the mix the upcoming municipal elections for our new Mayor and two City Commission seats, along with our county and national elections, and you have a very busy and uncertain few months ahead.
Uncertainty has definitely become a regular part of our lives due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Mid-August usually is a time for families to prepare for the new school year as summer moves to a close with the arrival of September and the Autumn Season.
Unfortunately, this year many families are uncertain over homeschooling, closed campuses, and childcare options. Sending children off to school during the day while parents go to work will not be the norm this year. On top of that is the uncertainty many adults are feeling over jobs, employment, the state of our economy, and the health threat to all. Many were hopeful that our lives would be somewhat back to normal by now, but as the uncertainty continues and the calendar days keep getting checked off, it looks like we will be planning a COVID Christmas holiday season and beyond.
No uncertainty about the hot and humid weather as summer in the city blazes on. Without the option of movie theaters, bars, and other gathering places, I am spending my hot summer leisure time at home with my aging air-conditioner.
Staying home and not spending as much, I will at least have some extra cash to pay for my spiking electric bill. Mental health is a growing concern as any excitement of being isolated at home with loved ones has long since worn off as we battle COVID blues spurred on by the no end in sight of troubling headlines.
Waiting around for cooler nights and a drop in infection rates, we can turn our attention to the upcoming primary elections Aug. 18 and then on to the general election in November.
Looking beyond our Island City’s municipal elections, we have three important constitutional offices here in Broward County up for grabs. The offices of Broward County Sheriff, the Clerk of Court and the Supervisor of Elections will mostly be decided by the outcome of the primary vote next week.
Early voting is already taking place, with a local voting site right here in Wilton Manors until Aug. 16. This year early voting is not located at City Hall as in years past, but just a short distance away at the Women’s Club building also known as Art Gallery 21.
Once the primary election is over, you will see a robust local campaign kick into high gear as three candidates battle to become our Island City’s new Mayor, and six candidates battle it out for two Commissioner’s seats.
No matter who wins, our City Commission will see the biggest makeover in many years. Residents have had some opportunities to tune into virtual interviews and candidate forums that have taken place online. This coming Monday, Aug. 17, the Oakland Park Wilton Manors Democratic Club will be hosting a virtual candidates forum for Wilton Manor's candidates with more information available on their website at OPWMDC.com. On Sept. 24 at 7 p.m., the three neighborhood associations of Wilton Manors will host their virtual Candidates Forum.
If you are not registered to vote, you have no right to bitch and complain about elected officials, taxes, or anything else to do with how the government operates. That right is reserved only for those who vote and participate in the process. If you are interested in registering to vote, you have until Oct. 5 to register for the November General Election. Just check out the Broward County Supervisor of Elections website at www.browardsoe.org.
While much uncertainty clouds our horizon, the dog days of summer will still be blazing away here in South Florida. September is just a few weeks away, and then it’s only a hop, skip, and jump to the Holiday Season. Hard times lie ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our lives, our daily routines, our economy, and the way we live our lives.
Much has changed this year, and so much uncertainty lies ahead.
We must continue to find new ways to interact with our friends, our families, our coworkers, and our community. Get more involved in your local government, get out and vote, and look for ways to participate in making life here in our Island City just better and better.
Sal Torre has been a columnist for the Wilton Manors Gazette since its inception. Sal has served on the Wilton Drive Task Force, Budget Review Advisory Board, and Charter Review Board, among others. Sal is currently President of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors and Secretary for the Friend of the Wilton Manors Library. He is employed with Broward County in the Human Services Division.