The Oakland Park City Commission passed a $127.9 million budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, what the city’s finance director Andrew Thompson called “record-breaking.”
During the Wednesday evening meeting, the commission also agreed to a millage rate of 5.8890, a decrease from last year’s 5.8910. Last year’s budget was $91.6 million — since 2015, the budget has grown by 40% with about a third of it paid for by grants and federal funding.
“It’s more than just a few million dollars,” Thompson said of the budget. “It’s a really huge change in how the city operates and the level of intensity of the work being contemplated and being performed today.”
Last week, the commission approved an increase in the city’s fire assessment fees (with exemptions for the elderly and those with disabilities) and solid waste fees with no changes to the stormwater assessment fee.
Mayor Jane Bolin said she wouldn’t be surprised if talks of having a chief planning officer came to fruition, because of the “exponential growth that we’re experiencing right now.” Looking forward to next year, first-time Commissioner Mitch Rosenwald challenged staff to try and make a more “significant reduction” to the millage rate as well as taking a closer outlook at the number of consultants that the city employs.
“I would be interested in the number of consultants we have and the amount of money we pay them,” he said.
The city has major plans for rebuilding Oakland Park’s downtown as well as the burgeoning Oakland Park Design Development District (also known as OP3D). It was this innovation that earned the city a recommendation by the Florida Department of Transportation to consider the city for a commuter rail stop. In a survey by the city, a majority of its residents are in favor of redevelopment.
Other plans in the city include improving its fire stations, more recreational facilities, walkability and green space in downtown, and welcoming more businesses to Oakland Park — Sprouts Farmers Market and ALDI have plans to move in.