It’s still unknown if Broward County voters will pass the one percent sales tax increase on the ballot this November, but Wilton Manors officials already have plans for the money if they do.
Voters will actually be asked to approve two increases – 0.5 percent for countywide transportation improvements and 0.5 percent for local infrastructure. Both must pass or neither will be implemented.
Mayor Gary Resnick said the money raised from the sales tax, an estimated $1 million for Wilton Manors, could be used to fund projects that would have been paid for with money directly from city taxpayers. “The question is how are we going to pay for it?”
Resident Paul Kuta opposes the sales tax increase because he thinks it will be harmful to low income families and individuals and the transportation and infrastructure projects are “poorly planned.”
For Wilton Manors, the money would be used to perform roadway resurfacing, expand and add amenities at Colohatchee Park, repair sidewalks and increase connectivity throughout the city, make renovations to the fire station, improve infrastructure to prepare for a rise in sea level, and purchase security cameras.
At Colohatchee, the money would be used to expand dog play areas, upgrade security, the addition of a water sports facility and the construction of a walking trail around the outside edge of the park. The first phase is expected to cost $625,000.
After that, later projects would include land acquisition, fitness opportunities, an improved pavilion and picnic facilities, and improvements to the boating facility across the street. The desired land acquisition would be parcels north of the boating facility and north of the park.
Patrick Cann, director of Leisure Services, said the additional land for the boating facility would help eliminate some of the bottlenecks that occur there, especially during the Island City Canoe race. The improvements would be made between 2017 and 2021. Cann said the entire estimated cost of the Colohatchee project would be over $2 million when finished.
The purpose of the Sidewalk Connectivity project is to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety and make the city more walkable. The cost would be about $600,000 and take place in four phases. The improvements would be made between 2017 and 2021. The reconfiguration of infrastructure to protect it from sea level rise would cost about $450,000 and take place between 2027 and 2031. Road resurfacing would cost $760,000 and take place between 2017 and 2021.
The fire station infrastructure plans are estimated to cost about $350,000 and will be undertaken between 2017 and 2021. Regardless of whether or not the sales tax increase is improved, city officials are already moving forward with the renovations to the fire station.
On Oct. 13, officials advertised a request for bids for the fire station improvements. The deadline to submit a bid is Nov. 15.
In the city’s capital improvements plan, planned renovations for the station include a kitchen remodel, replacement of tiles, new air conditioning unit, new bay doors, new lockers, removal of ceiling tiles and a new generator.