Coral Springs Commissioner Tom Powers who is seeking to ascend to the Mayor’s post in the November 4th election has recently been on the defensive about the proposed new City Hall project as well as other issues.
Coral Springs was long considered one of the state’s leading cities. Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s it was considered perhaps the best run large city in the state. The city won numerous good government awards, including some national ones. However, since about 2006, Coral Springs has fallen into decline as property values have not kept up with similar municipalities in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Fewer new businesses are starting in the city, and quality of living has declined. The city’s bond rating has been lowered. Coral Springs, once the envy of so many around the state has developed the reputation of a place in decline. During this period the City Commission has grown more conservative and less effective.
Powers’ has claimed his opponent for Mayor is Senator Skip Campbell, the 2006 Democratic nominee for Attorney General and a State Senator representing most of the city from 1996 to 2006 is dealing in misinformation regarding an expensive new city hall project. This is a project tat appears to be fast tracked in order to benefit major campaign contributors to current commission. The opponents state that commission trying to build a $28 million city hall without putting the matter in front of the voters. This is plainly true and not any sort of misinformation.
School safety is not a priority of this commission as they refused to allocate $350K to put an School Resource Officer (SRO) in the six Coral Springs elementary schools that don’t have one but allocated $1.2 million to build a signs saying “Welcome to Coral Springs”. Children’s safety should a top priority but this commission has ignored it. When you see the amount of money put into the new signage in Coral Springs (A city that ironically took seriously its lack of signage in the past as a way of maintaining a certain aesthetic that was appealing to residents of the city which at the time included myself) that lines up almost identically to what SROs would cost in the six elementary schools that do not have one, it is a shocking indictment of this current commission.
Powers has stated that Senator Campbell is engaging in deceit when he states that he did not vote to give commissioners a 64% pay raise yet he was one of the 3 commissioners that voted to put this on the ballot. But the commissioners did not feel the need to put the new City Hall project in front of the voters. On the contrary, knowing that citizens of Coral Springs were unlikely to approve a $28 million boondoggle they have opted to try and prevent voters from having their say.
While Coral Springs certainly needs a new City Hall, this project is nothing but a fat giveaway to contributors. Senator Campbell is on record as supporting at the very least a retrofit to the existing City Hall complex but the expense of the project, the arrogance at which commission has conducted its business and ultimately the lowered bond rating for the city prompted Campbell to run.
Coral Springs city races will be among the hot button items to monitor election night.