By: Sharon Aron Baron
The cost of the new city hall as well as the city’s downgraded bond rating were some of the items mayoral candidate Walter “Skip” Campbell discussed while attending a “Meet and Greet” this week.
Hosted by his sister Kathleen Slater along with her husband Robert, former State Senator Campbell, who has lived in Coral Springs for 36 years, told residents that the city’s slogan used to be the “City of Excellence” and its bond rating was triple AAA. After former Mayor Roy Gold withdrew his nomination in June, he was approached by people who felt the city wasn’t moving in the right direction.
One of Campbell’s first concerns was the commission paying a company in Tennessee to create a slogan “Everything Under the Sun,” as well as the new entrance signs costing $1.3 million dollars. Those things perturbed him but weren’t enough get him engaged, unlike the $28 million dollar cost of the new city hall. Agreeing that a new city hall was needed, he said “We don’t build a Taj Mahal to build a city hall”
Campbell said that a former commission estimated the cost to retrofit the current city hall between $1.8 to $3 million dollars.
One of the things that I’ve developed a reputation for, is as a communicator, as a problem solver, and someone who has people of different opinions to come out and try to sit down and use common sense to come up with the best resolution.”
What upset Campbell was the city commission’s lack of concern back in June when the bond rating went down one level which will cost the city more to borrow money for the new city hall.
“When I read about Moody’s downgrade, it said that Coral Springs is getting into some problems with their financing, some problems with their debt, and we have to somehow fix that problem.”
He also wondered why the city wants to use general revenue bonds to finance the new city hall.
“I asked myself, why would they do that? The answer is quite simple: they don’t want the voters to vote on whether or not we’re going to build a Taj Mahal, or whether or not we can build a city hall we can afford.”
Recently endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Campbell says that although crime rates are decreasing in the city, one statistic bothers him and that’s the large spike in domestic violence cases. He believes the city has an obligation to address and publicize the problem and let the public know it will not accept domestic violence in the city.
While watching the commission meetings on TV, Campbell said he was surprised at the arrogance of the current commission to the residents. “I was shocked at the disrespect that they have for the citizens for Coral Springs. If you would see it, you would be ashamed,” he said.
Campbell, who is a board-certified civil trial lawyer and has a practice in Fort Lauderdale said that he isn’t doing this for a day job, “If I don’t get elected, it will not materially change my life at all. If I do get elected, I’m going to do a good job for you.”