Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I Support Bill Ganz for Mayor of Deerfield Beach

 Deceitful Cowards

I received an email flyer from a person or persons identified only as Deerfield Solutions. There is no way to know who the writer is.  The entire flyer is dedicated to smearing Candidate for Mayor Bill Ganz.  How cowardly, if you truly believe something, why fail to stand up for it? 

Filled with lies.  My guess is he/she/they are hiding because the flyer is full of lies and inaccuracies.  The lies are clearly meant to make Bill Ganz look bad in order to benefit a less qualified candidate. 

Bill Ganz has put the quality of life and interests of the Citizens of Deerfield Beach in his decisions as a Commissioner.

 Good Growth.  Bill has supported economic development in the city which brings in added tax revenue but he has protected the residents from seriously bad projects that would badly impact neighborhoods and traffic including a misguided development plan on Dixie Highway that would have doubled the highest density the city allows and blocked adjacent neighborhoods.  Bill puts the residents’ quality of life first.

Untying the City’s hands – Sober Homes.  Bill has worked very hard with the folks in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to try to get legislation changed about how sober houses and rehab facilities are allowed in neighborhoods.  The Americans with Disabilities Act categorizes those facilities and no matter what the city zoning says, they have to be allowed, it is a Federal Law.  Any move to ban, place a moratorium on, or confine sober homes to a particular zoning district is going to invite litigation and extensive damages, and this is especially the case if the action is the result of animosity against disabled people. Some changes are coming due to the diligence and commitment to this issue from residents in cities all over the USA. 

Voted it out. A number of years ago the commissioners at that time voted to allow themselves fully paid medical insurance upon retirement after eight years of service.  The commission that Bill was on, voted to repeal that benefit.  Yes, Bill was considered grandfathered in, but he never, ever, voted for it, he voted against it.

Felons and Children. Bill has had to put up with a number of residents, commissioners and especially a mayor who didn’t do their homework and/or let emotions override what’s best for the city.  Bill has always been very forceful in protecting our children.  Bill spearheaded the effort to have the City require background checks for volunteers who worked with our children’s sports teams.  Bill wanted Level 1 (local) and 2 (nationwide) background checks to protect our children.  In fact, these checks found that there were some convicted felons and sex offenders.  Among the many things the mayor opposed Bill on was the proper extent of the background checks.  Fortunately for the children, Bill prevailed and the children won. 

Credit rating excellent. Bill agonized with us all through the recent recession where the city had to make some very hard economic decisions, but our city pulled through, and our credit rating which had slipped one level is now back.  Our reserves are at good level and our tax rate is solidly in the middle of the Broward cities where it should be.* 

Utility Tax helps homeowners. The utility tax, similar to all other Broward cities, spreads the city costs among all.  People who pay no property taxes still pay the utility tax which takes some of the burden off homeowners.  Snow birds, who enjoy our City, pay by having to pay a utility tax. Without the tax, the property taxes would have to be raised to pay for city services.

 Low Crime Rate. Bill continues to work with the Sheriff’s Department to keep Deerfield Beach’s crime rate low, and Deerfield Beach has one of the lowest crime rates in Broward County when the entire city is taken into account, and not just one zip code.

Thanks to Bill, our commission has had to pay attention to the residents, especially the children, the fiscal realities of our city and our quality of life.  I have known Bill for over ten years and absolutely know he has the good of the residents in mind with everything he does.  I’m Bett Willett, proud to be a citizen of Deerfield Beach and proud to have, Bill Ganz, a person of such high abilities and integrity to serve our town.


*Fitch Ratings has announced that the overall Ratings Outlook for the City of Deerfield Beach is stable and has therefore, upgraded the Credit Rating to AA- from A- for the $17.2 million covenant to budget and appropriate (CB&A) bonds, and to AA from A for the $12.6 million general obligation (GO) bonds.

"A two-notch credit rating improvement is highly unusual. This is a well-deserved upgrade," said Sylvia Dunlap, Senior Vice President of Dunlap and Associates.

Fitch noted many key drivers for the ratings upgrade including:

·        An improvement in credit quality due to the City's improved financial flexibility, strict reserve policies, revenue growth due to higher taxable values and property rate increases.

·        It was noted that City's tough but "prudent efforts to reduce spending" was a key driver in the ratings upgrade.

·        There has been steady growth in the tax base in recent years and that is expected to continue with numerous residential, commercial and light industrial projects planned and underway.

·        The City's historical general fund revenue growth has exceeded national GDP due to a combination of tax base gains, policy action by the City to increase property taxes.

·        In response to declining property taxes City Management pursued other means to diversify its revenue base, it implemented a 10-percent public utility tax in fiscal 2012, which resulted in an additional $7 million in annual revenues.

·        In order to manage rising costs during the recession, the City reduced its work force, froze hiring, reduced wages and outsourced certain city operations.

The City closed its pension plans and now offers a defined contribution plan to employees.

"This is a humbling affirmation of the hard work of our City Commission and staff. We truly worked hard to get a steady handle on our City's finances. We made many difficult and unpopular decisions, during a very tumultuous time. But we had a plan and we knew that it was the right plan. Fitch has reaffirmed that strategy and we are excited about where we are economically as a City. This is all I ever hoped to do for our residents. This is a good day for our City," said Commissioner Bill Ganz.

Fitch Ratings also indicated that the city maintains healthy expenditure flexibility with moderate carrying costs. In order to control costs, the City Manager moved the organization towards a hybrid business model for its operations, utilizing both in-house and contractual resources. The city merged its police and fire operations with the Broward County Sheriff's Office and outsourced its building department and park maintenance operations, as a proactive measure to manage costs in the event of a future downturn.

"The merger with BSO enabled the city to control long-term liability expenses by closing the Fire Fighter's Pension Fund and removing those employees from the City's healthcare plan and future retiree healthcare plan costs," explained City Manager Burgess Hanson.

The City Commission and management team worked steadily since 2010 to increase efficiency and effectiveness in every single department, which entailed the streamlining of expenditures. Chief Financial Officer, Hugh Dunkley made it his mission to create new processes that would right-size the City's fiscal profile. The City also made the budget reporting easier to understand and more transparent to the public. In June of 2014 Deerfield Beach finally saw some of that hard work pay off, when Standard & Poor's Ratings Services upgraded the City's credit for its senior-most, tax-backed debt from A+ to AA- with a stable outlook. As for the AA rating from Fitch, this is the highest credit
that the City has received in nearly a decade.

Commissioner Joe Miller expressed, "We made really tough choices that deeply impacted us all. I am ecstatic over this news and blessed to see just how years of hard work has paid off."

City Manager, Burgess Hanson recalls many late nights, "It's been a long road, but I was always confident that if we just got back to the basics we could right the ship. We've overcome massive deficit, so to be able to celebrate a surplus and be acknowledged by experts like Fitch is a wonderful thing. Our entire workforce needs to be commended for their sacrifices and dedication to our citizenry. This is great news, but there is still much more work to do be done."


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