One of our commissioners, James Curran, wrote an article in DRW Magazine about the sacrifices that Cooper City has had to make in order to keep it a special place to live. Like all Florida governments, the city is "knee deep" in budget issues and concerns.
One of the biggest issues is that it's becoming a struggle to keep up with necessary maintenance to the cty and still stay within our means. We were fortunate that our taxable value increased this year because of the new Monterra development, but that money is being used to fund increasing Public Safety (police, fire and rescue) costs. Cooper City employes have not seen any increases in the past 3 years, and there are numerous vacancies that cannot be filled in the upcoming years. We're trying to save money by contracting out a significant amount of services and duties. The entire city is served by 90 employees right now.
City officials have been asked that they collect fewer taxes and spend down the reserves (about $1.2-2 million a year), but Mr. Curran points out that they would run through the reserves in two years, and then have nothing to fall back on. Their strategy has been to keep taxes low and supplment the budget from revenues. However, he goes on to point out that as a community we have to have a serious conversation on how special we want to keep Cooper City. Additional maintenance is needed, and hard choices need to be made.
I know that many municipalities are in a very similar position. Do you know what your community has done to stay afloat while still covering everything they need to do?
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