Hopefully residents have been busy getting their Jack O’ Lanterns carved, costumes picked out, and now ready for the spooktacular festivities this coming Halloween weekend here in the Island City.

Step out on The Drive this Sunday night to catch a glimpse of ghost, goblins, and who knows what else to be witnessed as the night comes alive on All Hallow’s Eve.

Costume wearing children running door to door are not the only ones trick or treating this year. Many involved with local governments are salivating, already running around with their goodie bags held open looking for treats to be handed out by municipalities flush with cash from the American Relief Plan Act. The City of Wilton Manors will be receiving just over six million dollars. Much of those funds will have to be used for infrastructure and broadband improvements, along with water and sewer projects throughout or city. There is no shortage of projects needing attention in those areas. Thankfully the federal government recognized the needs of cities across the nation and passed a lifeline to many communities through the appropriations known as the ARPA funds.

Tricksters will be out and about looking to get hold of some of these goodies over the next few months as cities look to allocate the first round of ARPA funding. Trick or treat, be careful, you might just get tricked. Residents must stay informed and aware, so that these funds are used to make a difference in our community, to benefit residents, and to strengthen our city.

With so many spirits, ghosts and wandering souls swirling around gathering strength as Halloween approaches, there is a sense of strangeness in the air. Weird things begin to happen around every corner. So was the case at the city commission meeting this past Tuesday night. On the agenda were items proposed by the Charter Review Board for placement on the ballot in the next election. The main item was that of term limits. In a three to two vote the city commission voted not to put a proposal of term limits on the ballot as recommended by the Charter Review Board. The weird thing here is that Mayor Scott Newton voted for the proposal while a member of the Charter Review Board but voted against it this week as mayor. Strange, but it’s that time of year.

My own feeling on time limits is that we already have them, but they go by a different name: elections. Perhaps in a Congressional seat or a statewide office, we might need term limits to counteract the millions raised by incumbents and the entrenched power of office. However, on a local level, here in our Island City, a strong candidate involved in their community and with a proven track record can touch base with the few thousand voters needed to win. Term limits impose restrictions on smaller communities, limiting the choice on who the voters want to have represented their needs in local government.

Perhaps our mayor and city commission should have voted for the ballot proposal and let our residents decide. However, we elect our city officials to make tough decisions, to make the right decisions, even when those decisions might not be that popular. I guess this might be one of those cases. We have not heard the last of term limits here in our city, but for now we get to still do it the old fashion way and vote to keep our good public servants in office for another term or to vote the bastards outcomes on Election Day.

Another good thing about Election Day is that it signals the approaching end of Pumpkin Spice Season. This mania hits a peak during the Halloween festivities, then thankfully seems to fade towards the approach of Thanksgiving, by which time most of us are so tired of pumpkin spice that we forgo the traditional slice of pumpkin pie for some other holiday treat. Too much of a good thing rings true when it comes to pumpkin spice lattes, butter, muffins, pop tarts, vodka, candles, lip gloss, and even pet food.

This weekend is no time to worry about too much spice — go ahead, spice it up and enjoy the Halloween festivities up and down The Drive and throughout our great city. Ghost, goblins, witches, trick or treaters, celebrating and spicing it up is what makes life just better here…


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.