By: Sharon Aron Baron
The Woodlands Neighborhood Improvement District met to gather resident input at a special meeting held at the country club on May 19.
In order to move a $35,000 comprehensive study forward, Chairman Randy Scott first discussed the background of the WNID and its importance to the estimated 122 residents in attendance.
Unlike other cities with safe neighborhood districts, the City of Tamarac has not contributed funds, or have offered their personnel to do the study. The WNID requested LETF or Law enforcement Trust Funds, which the City of Tamarac has $318,929.00 for use in State and Federal dollars that come from the proceeds of seized contraband used in felonies. Using these funds for Safe Neighborhood Districts is one of the purposes of the money, however, the city rejected the request although it would be used for the very purpose that it’s earmarked for. Their reasoning was since crime has gone down, there was no need for it.
But for residents that live in Sections One and Two of the Woodlands, or someone who has been affected by crime, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Residents were given a chance at the microphone with a time limit of three minutes to share their opinions or ask questions. Former Broward County Commissioner and Section four resident Ilene Michelson sat on the dais and was able to answer questions as well, even presenting data on each section that has homes in arrears, amounting to an overall 11 percent of all residents.
Once the district is funded through a referendum, residents will be accessed for safety and beautification on their tax bills and the collection rate would increase to 100 percent. This could be a benefit for the whole community if everyone is paying their fair share. In Section four alone 35 percent of homeowners do not pay their dues.
“I think there are enough creative people to do this [study] without spending the money, said Section One resident Graham Smith. “The Woodlands has the potential to be a beautiful community.” He also mentioned how difficult it was in getting a consensus to block off Holly Drive to make it safer.
“The WNID has been on life support for three years and its time to pull the plug, “ said Section Eight resident Judy Margolis who mentioned the petition that residents signed three years ago to abolish the district.
Former Tamarac Commissioner and Section Two Resident Patte Atkins-Grad said that we should be using the City of Tamarac planner instead of hiring one.
Section One resident Doug Long said he has supported the WNID since its inception. “If we improve the neighborhood, we hope home values will go up.”
“I’ve never seen such a complacent group as these people in the Woodlands,” said Section Six Resident Ben Damian directing his attention to one homeowner. He believed that homeowners needed to spend a little money to achieve benefits. “For chrissakes people, do something!”
“I don’t see the issue,” said Section Two resident Stacy Jerome referring to the extra cost to each homeowner to finance the professional study. “Our assessment dues are low, pitifully low. What’s $40?”
Section One Resident Phyllis Kelley listed all her neighbors that were hit with home burglaries. “Just within the past two years the house to my left, the house across the street from me, and the house behind me, along with two other homes within the next street of me, have been burglarized. As a result of the burglaries, Kelley said that two of those families have left the community with one family fearing for their children’s lives. “Down the street from me, another five houses were burglarized between Sago Palm and the intersection of the Bayberry Lane entrance.”
Kelley also brought up her concern about cars cutting through the Woodlands through the many entrances to avoid traffic on Rock Island which makes it unsafe for walking.
“The most important thing is crime increasing and home values,” said Alan Sloane Wise, President of Section One. “ I want to do whatever it takes.”
Wise mentioned the people bringing up the petition that was started over three years ago during the inception of the WNID. The petition led to many residents complaining that they were given false information regarding the district, or were coerced into signing. Eventually, it was not recognized by the City of Tamarac.
It was suggested by Section Eight resident Jerry Buchsbaum to turn the WNID over the city to manage since he felt they hadn’t made any progress in three years. Chairman Randy Scott felt it was imperative to keep the WNID as it is. “As the WNID we can make the decisions, but if we turn it over [to the city] then we relinquish that control.”
At the end of the meeting, the majority of residents raised their hands in favor of moving forward in funding the required study. It will now go back to the WHOA and as well as Sections Three and Four at their next meetings.
- Sharon Aron Baron created the Woodlands Tamarac in 2010 for original News for the community. In 2011 she went on to create Tamarac Talk, in 2012, Coral Springs Talk and 2017, Parkland Talk.