Commissioner Tom Powers Discusses Downtown Complex in Latest Video

By: Sharon Aron Baron

City Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tom Powers released a video to educate the public about the new municipal complex that is being proposed for the city.

Powers, who was elected in 2008 told the Sun Sentinel last week that the city did the right thing by deciding to fund the construction of the proposed municipal complex using revenue bonds.

“My opponent says we should have funded the project using general obligation bonds,” Powers said. “That would have meant a tax increase for our residents; does he want that? We have the financing in place to ensure that we can build the municipal complex without raising taxes. We have the revenue stream to pay for it.”

His video takes a tour of the new downtown area in the corridor of University Drive and Sample Road and he discusses the reasons why the new city hall is needed.

From his website:

“I am announcing an exciting new feature of my website entitled “On The Record”. In this section you will find an evolving collection of short videos covering topics of importance to the citizens and voters of Coral Springs. I believe in fully transparent government and I will always tell you the truth behind the meetings and decisions that affect our city. This is about facts, not opinions and it is vitally important that you understand how the entire commission as a team of five reaches decisions as compared to relying on opinions that you may hear or read. I encourage you to watch these videos and form your own conclusions. If you are left with any questions whatsoever, please reach out to me personally for clarification. I have always been and always will remain available via my personal mobile phone or other means to speak to any resident of our great city.”

Powers is running against Walter “Skip” Campbell for the mayor’s seat.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.

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  • Joy Carter

    Commissioner Powers neglects to mention that the city has BORROWED 10 million dollars to start this project. Money borrowed comes with a debt service cost!

    • jhkilroy

      cities do not ‘ borrow ‘ anything , they TAX . Any short falls are always passed to property owners this includes FAT pension plans … the city ‘ borrowed ‘ money to build that fancy new police and fire station on Coral Springs Drive , were you against that too ? I doubt it…. as obama would say this is a ‘ shovel ready project ‘ bet you have nothing bad to say about that either…

  • Barb

    I think it is pretty clear that taking out revenue bonds means that it is money that is borrowed. That they had the revenue to pay that debt as opposed to adding it to our taxes, like an obligation bond would.

    • The Truth Seeker

      Exactly. And borrowed at a great rate of 2.47 (I think) percent. And of course they have borrowed the money to start the project, they are actually moving and getting things done.

      Joy: Thanks for commenting here. Please share YOUR plan. All I have heard you say is the proposed project is ridiculous. You have said its a 9-5 building and shouldn’t be related to downtown (a very narrow and wrong view in my opinion). Ok, so I think its been proven any kind of comparable building to Wellington (as you like to refer to) would cost in the 15 million range. You claim you are a leader so in that regard please share your plan. What would you do? What building? How paid for? Where? Do you think the 4 corners area should just be left stagnant? Do you not believe in a downtown there at all? Leaders lead, they don’t just tear down others ideas even if they don’t agree with them. All I have heard you (and Skip) say is its wrong, fiscally irresponsible and voters not allowed to vote on it. I have not heard a counter argument or solution. Please share so we know where you really stand. We truly want to see what you have to offer instead of repeating the same tired arguments against.

      • Andy Holz

        I’ll share part of my plan here. If you have more questions, please ask.

        While the claim that taxes won’t be raised for the new complex is technically true, the fact that there is “room” in the budget to fund this project reveals how inflated our budget has become.

        Increasing spending power of our residents goes a long way in helping promote local businesses within our community. Tax revenue has increased by 16% since 2008; the same period of time saw property values decrease by 16%. The millage rate has jumped 30% over that time. My plan for the city includes decreasing the millage rate by 15% from the proposed rate, including the debt service rate. This would save homeowners and residents of Coral Springs $5.5 million every year (adjusted for property values).
        A homeowner whose house is appraised at $200,000, at the proposed rate, would pay $955 in property taxes to the city.
        Under my plan, the same house would pay $811 in property taxes.
        The proposed ad valorem tax revenue for FY2015 is a 26% increase from 2008.

        • Barb

          Ok, so I will throw this out there for you then. What would you want the city to do with the new city hall at this point? Do you think you could work within a very divided commission, which it might be depending on the election results?

          • Andy Holz

            While I agree that a new city hall is necessary, attempting to make it the heart of this downtown renovation is folly. The people of Coral Springs, according to the survey outed by the current commission, want a new city hall. Let’s make a building that is a city hall. Not a municipal complex that requires the commission to become business managers, deciding which businesses deserve to stake their claim in this new business space. By decreasing the millage rate first, and then giving the people of Coral Springs the option of approving a new city hall, the people actually have a true say in the matter.

          • Andy Holz

            To answer your second question, I think that most of those campaigning for office have the best interests of Coral Springs in mind. Differing opinions will go a long way in promoting the interests of CS citizens.

          • Barb

            I appreciate you answering the questions. I made up my mind after the last debate and it was very clear you would be the best choice as a few others have said on this site. I think it would be great if some of your idea’s could happen although did not agree with tax breaks for teachers, cops etc., and I have a kid who is a teacher and a son-in-law who is a firefighter. I wish you luck and hope those who are elected are the ones who do have the best interest of the town in their hearts.

  • jhkilroy

    Let any and ALL cost over runs come from the city employees pension and health plans.

  • Joy Carter

    My Apology for this delayed response – This Campaigning creates L O N G and full Days….

    To answer Barb – Commissioner Powers states, and I quote: “Don’t have to raise taxes we already figured that into the budget”. In other words they have already raised our taxes in the budget to cover the building. In fact they raised 5 of our taxes again this year (4 if you are a single family owner and 5 for multi-family). Please refer to the 2015 published business plan. It includes a 5.2% tax increase, and water, fire, garbage and a debt service fee increase. When a debt service fee is raised it means our taxes were raised to cover our debts.

    For Truth Seeker – Regarding your comment about not putting forth my plan. In the 4 debates that I participated in this month (please do watch at least one – http://www.coralsprings.org/cityclerk/election/?CFID=18712404&CFTOKEN=9b0983628010838f-B62B1EEB-FB82-DB33-E3CF0B07A2E1CA61
    and in multiple publications, I have stated that we need a city hall, just not the current one proposed at our Tax Payers expense (WITHOUT OUR VOTE). This city hall building that houses roughly 250 city employees/office workers, should cost no more than $10-$15 million. Less than half of the burden that is current supported. My plan would be the following:

    1. Locate this state-of-the-art office building in the Municipal Corridor on Coral Springs Drive where all our other gov’t. services are located. Land that is already off the tax rolls was cleared for this over 10 years ago. The infrastructure and fiber optic cables are already there, but will be an added expense to add this building at the proposed location. With my plan, our citizens and business owners would then have all services located in one place when city hall is located in the current municipal corridor on Coral Springs Dr.

    2. Sell this proposed parcel, (one of the most valuable pieces of commercial property in the city) to these private developers who are raving about this “new downtown”. I am in the real estate business. This parcel is worth a minimum of $10 million, in my opinion.

    3. Use the money from the sale of this parcel to build a new state-of-the-art, green, office building (similar to the beautifully efficient building that Wellington built). That means we won’t have to borrow any money at all. With the $6.9 million surplus that Commissioner Powers states in his ad, that the city saved last year, there is more than enough money to have no bond or to pay interests, fees and costs on borrowing $28 million.

    4. By selling this parcel to the private developers this valuable piece of commercial property goes back on the tax rolls generating business tax revenue for the city. This means we can either keep, or possible lower, our residential taxes and therefore raise our property values.

    That is my plan that I have stood behind all along. To both of you, I thank you for your passion to make Coral Springs great, because together, I truly believe we can.

  • Joy Carter

    Sorry Truth Seeker – You are going to have to wait for a response. A little busy for the next few days. Some of your comments are laughable and clearly identifiable. Sit Tight – You will get a response.

  • Complicated

    Looks like they don’t want to argue with the truth and facts. All I hear is “I don’t want to do what the other group wants”. They have no true plan or data. It’s all just a political game. There have been numerous public meetings and budget workshops. They have been silent until now. Where do they get the 10-15 million figure? So I guess we say “let’s build what we can for that amount”. And what happens when the city out grows the building immediately? That’s been the problem all along. The city workers are all over the place in different buildings. The city is looking at a 50 year timeline for this building. That means it has to have room to last for the next 50 years. So the whole Tag Mahal comment is getting old. They are insinuating that the current commission just wants to build a building that they won’t even be in office for when its completed. And what services do we cut to lower taxes? If the city did lower taxes that much, it would definately mean a reduction in services somewhere. So let’s hear the plan to deal with that.

    • The Truth Seeker

      Right. The biggest problem is saying the city hall building will cost 28M where plainly it is budgeted for 15.75, same ballpark as Wellington which they brought up as an example of an inexpensive one. All of the other expenses, short of the PO would be needed anyway regardless of whether this is a ‘downtown’ project or not. They just hope we are too stupid to be able to read and understand facts. But Skip is bordering on insane if he thinks we should spend $1.8 to 3M to RETROFIT the existing building – and he’s the only one that thinks so. At least the other candidates agree a new one is needed, the problem is their fuzzy math in not admitting the real costs,

      • Ira

        On an average day, how many people visit City Hall? Seriously, what kind of traffic does the building have to accommodate?

        $3 million sounds like plenty to get the job done.

  • Ira

    Don’t let the door kick you in the ass on the way out, Tom.