District 3 Digest: Your Monthly E - Newsletter from Commissioner Julie Fishman. December 2018. Julie.Fishman@Tamarac.org. Office: (954) 597-3460. Cell: (954) 461-1311
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Wrapping Up 2018 


With the busy holiday season upon us, I hope you'll forgive me for simply sharing my Commission Report from December 12th in this month’s newsletter, as it’s been impossible to get anything else written.

The report looks at two projects I’ve spent considerable time on in the last few months of 2018 – and I do believe it’s a good way to end the year.
 
Back in October, I spoke briefly about several murals going up in the cafeteria of Tamarac Elementary School. These murals are part of a fantastic partnership that started with our City’s Education Stakeholders meetings. From many of our stakeholders, we heard that Tamarac Elementary was in need of some TLC. 
 
The outside of the school has seen better days with plants and mold growing on the outside of the building. The landscaping is patchy in some places and missing altogether in other places. Many of the murals currently inside the school were painted in the 70s and 80s.
 
It was because of this discussion that Tamarac resident and Children’s Services Council Chief Communications Officer Sandra Bastien suggested to me that we reach out to Hands on Broward. Dale Mandell met with me and City staff to discuss the needs of the school and to see what projects could be done. The first project was the new murals and boy did the students and faculty love them!
 
Even more exciting is that Dale and her team at Hands on Broward didn’t stop there. One of the things that Hands on Broward does is help businesses organize days of service as a way for companies to give back to communities. One of these companies has chosen Tamarac Elementary as the location for their day of service on January 15th. There will be 250 volunteers from an international company called KAO, USA coming to do a variety of projects to beautify and improve the school!
 
The school will be pressure cleaned on the outside with fresh Florida-friendly landscaping replacing the current landscaping. The play areas used by the older students will be transformed with giant chess boards and other interactive games for the students to use. New murals will brighten the hallways and even the existing butterfly garden will get a facelift.
 
The best part of this partnership with the Children’s Services Council and Hands on Broward is that both have committed to continue to work with the City and Tamarac Elementary going forward with other projects still in the works.
 
This day of service will not only change the look of Tamarac Elementary; it will also change the way parents, teachers and students feel about the school and the community when they see that there are people working with them to make positive changes at the school.

Image of the Tamarac Elementary School Mural
Tamarac Elementary School Mural
Another big project I have been working on these past few months is in conjunction with the Florida League of Cities. I sit on the Utilities, Natural Resources and Public Works Committee and this past November during the Legislative Conference the committee, and then the League as a whole passed a policy statement on water supply and water quality. I am proud to say that I was part of the subcommittee that drafted the majority of the language that was ultimately passed.
 
Why is this important to Tamarac? In a condensed version, here is why.
 
Currently, in the State of Florida, each municipality or county is in charge of the water projects that impact their residents. Unfortunately, water projects cost a lot of money, sometimes in the millions of dollars, which is usually more than a city can afford on its own. 
 
This causes the city to do one of a number of different things to come up with the needed funds. A city can go to their voters and ask for a bond referendum. This can be difficult to pass and may not be a good option for distressed cities. A city can also go through the process of applying to the state for funding. Unfortunately, the current system in Tallahassee pits city against city with no real criteria and with the result being that the cities with good lobbyists and political clout get the dollars. This system is known as member projects. I personally know of one city that has been applying to the state for at least 15 years to replace their outdated water system to no avail.
 
Additionally, there is no statewide comprehensive plan for water projects as there is with our transportation plan. In my past life as a legislative aide, if my member wanted to know what transportation projects were in the 5-year plan for a specific area, I could call the Department of Transportation and get that list. There is no equivalent for water projects.
 
The language crafted and passed in November is asking for both the creation of a comprehensive plan and to find a better funding mechanism for the projects.
 
I thank you for allowing me to update you on these two important projects.

As this is my final newsletter for 2018, I wish you all the best this holiday season and the very best for 2019.

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