Response to League of Women Voters Questionaire
1. Do you support an elected County Executive, elected county-wide, to work with an appointed County Manager?
We will not know if the current County Commission/County Administrator form works better than a County Commission/Strong Mayor form of government until the latter is implemented. If I could direct the Charter Review Commission on the development of their recommendations for a Strong Mayor, this is what I would suggest:
The County Commission should be decreased in size from the current nine members to seven with two of the seven elected at large. Currently there are too many Commissioners with too many staff members, especially if we add a Strong Mayor and staff.
The County Administrator’s office staff positions will report directly to the Mayor. The Mayor, without Commission approval will have the authority to fill all staff positions. NOTE: If this does not happen, there is a distinct possibility we will have expensive and duplicative Mayor and Administrator staffs.
The Mayor will assume all of the County Administrator’s responsibilities and will have the authority and responsibility to run the day to day operations of the County.
The Mayor will not be a member of the County Commission but will be the Chief Executive Officer of the County and will have veto power over Commission actions. There will be an override provision allowing the commission by a five of seven vote to override the Mayor.
The Mayor will be the official spokesperson for the County.
With these changes, the residents will experience a government that is less cumbersome, less expensive, more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the community. The Mayor will be held directly responsible and accountable to the voters.
2. What are the future needs of the county and how would you address them?
Present needs will become our more pressing future needs. Jobs, traffic infrastructure and transportation are big concerns. My proposals are on my website chucklanza.com. We must set aside revenues from the current and future budgets for a substantial bond issue to address our current needs. Strict oversight, to ensure projects are completed under budget and on time, is imperative. We must make tough choices today on how to spend revenues so the next generation will have a great Broward County.
3. What role should the county play in assisting with funding of arts, science and sports?
As we move away from printed to digital books in our libraries, newly available space must be set aside for art exhibits and science learning areas, all with support from County and private funding sources. Let’s make our libraries multipurpose areas for learning and entertainment. In addition, we must not implement policies that negatively impact these important amenities. We must make sure our allocations decisions between public safety and other programs are appropriate for the future.
4. What role should the county play in promoting the Complete Streets Program?
As a road bike enthusiast and as a driver in Broward, I see daily the importance of the Complete Streets Program. Whenever the program does not impact the viability of a project, I believe this benefit should be implemented. We must keep in mind, killing a job producing project or a needed road improvement, because there is not enough money for a Complete Street, does not benefit the community and will have negative job-related impacts on many.
5. What issues do you see affecting Broward County infrastructure?
The lack of infrastructure repair and maintenance has created problems for many cities and the county. The question is how do we deal with this problem before it becomes a crisis. The county and the cities want to raise the sales tax you pay from six to seven cents. This equates to $300 million a year, for 30 years. I strongly believe we will be better served if bonds are used with repayment from existing revenues. This will not financially impact our residents or our visitors.