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Wilton Manors commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance granting two homestead exemptions to low-income seniors.

Passed on first reading, the city’s finance department proposal provides tax relief for seniors over the age of 65 who have lived in their homes for more than 25 years.

To be eligible for the exemptions, a homeowner’s property must be under $250,000 in market value as determined by the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office.

The ordinance moves on to a second and final reading scheduled for the next regular commission meeting on Nov. 23.

Other notes from the Nov. 9 meeting include:

Police Chief Gary Blocker announced the promotion of Michael Littleton to sergeant. Littleton, a Hollywood native, joined the department in 2018 as a patrol officer.

Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to continue exploring redevelopment possibilities for the city hall complex. Commissioner Gary Resnick voted no, asking that more time be given for the private sector to digest changes to the city’s comprehensive land-use code.

Chef Nate Horner addressed the commission with complaints about the Wicked Manors street festival. Horner said the Halloween event was the biggest disaster he’d seen in 30 years of business on the Drive, complaining about not being allowed to have sidewalk seating at his restaurant and receiving a parking ticket.

Resident Michael Rajner thanked Mayor Scott Newton for his leadership during the recent controversy over students at Wilton Manors Elementary School taking a field trip to Rosie’s Bar & Grill. Rajner said Newton’s presence in the meeting with the state investigator and the principal was described by those in the room as like “a gift from God” to stop a politically motivated witch hunt by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary.

Resident Jake Valentine said public officials who use Zoom to attend meetings are gaming the system. He challenged commissioners who work remotely to disclose their location.

“Heck, I’d be just happy to know what zip code you’re in,” he said. Valentine also took issue with Commissioner Mike Bracchi’s description of “antagonists” in the recent debate over term limits. “If you can’t stand the heat Commissioner Bracchi, I suggest you get out of politics,” Valentine said.

Michael Sansevero, Chair of the Community Affairs Advisory Board, gave a report about the board’s efforts to develop criteria for honorees for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Sansevero said another Wilton Manors Car Show, supported by the new Three Bridges Neighborhood Association, will return to the city on Nov. 20.

Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve a contract with Redevelopment Management Associates for business marketing and branding analysis. The one-year deal pays the Pompano Beach-based firm $74,500. Resnick voted no, primarily, citing the firm’s high cost. Resnick questioned if RMA had any conflict-of-interest issues with Pompano Beach, referencing a 2017 allegation involving the firm’s role in the Old Town redevelopment. Sharon McCormick, RMA director of marketing, said there was no conflict.

Community Development Services Director Roberta Moore gave an update on the Broward County Safety Inspection program. For 2021, Moore said 12 properties are due for the 40-year inspection and 15 properties are due for the 50-year inspection. As of Nov. 9, only three of the 27 properties have submitted building permits. The rest of the list has been referred to code enforcement, Moore said, to begin issuing notices of violation.

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