2014 State of Broward County is ‘strong and stable’
Broward Commissioners select new mayor and vice mayor
Broward County Board of County Commissioners (There is no current commissioner yet for District 2. Election day for that position is Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014.
From Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
BROWARD COUNTY, FL — Commissioners recently chose Vice Mayor/Commissioner Tim Ryan to serve as mayor and Commissioner Martin David Kiar to serve as vice mayor.
A lifelong resident of Broward County, Mayor Ryan was elected to the Broward County Commission, representing District 7, in November 2012. Before his election to the Broward County Commission, Ryan served for eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, from 1998 – 2006, before leaving office due to term limits.
“As we celebrate Broward’s Centennial, we remember that 100 years ago Broward County had 5,000 people. Today, we have 1.8 million people with unprecedented demands to meet transportation needs. We must have an inclusive dialogue that includes a one penny sales tax. We also have a responsibility to provide safe and decent housing and ensure that Broward County works for Broward’s working people,” said Mayor Ryan.
Commissioner Martin David Kiar was chosen by the Commission to serve as vice mayor through November 2015.
Vice Mayor Kiar was born in Pembroke Pines and is a lifelong resident of Broward County. In 2006, Kiar was elected to serve in the Florida House of Representatives. He was re-elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 and in 2010. In 2012, Kiar was elected to the Broward County Commission.
“I take this job very seriously,” said Vice Mayor Kiar. “This is a great honor and I will continue to support the policies of the Commission and the mayor,” said Kiar.
New Commissioner Beam Furr was also sworn in to represent the people of District 6. “We celebrate 100 years in Broward County, one hundred years go by in the blink of an eye. As we mature, we focus on our priorities and that’s what we’re doing, investing in ourselves so that our future will be bright,” said Commission Furr. “On your birthday, you make a really big wish. Let’s make a really big wish for Broward County! The people of District 6 have given me a big birthday list!”
Incumbent Commissioners Chip LaMarca and Barbara Sharief were also sworn in to office.
In the 2014 State of the County Address, outgoing Mayor Barbara Sharief declared the State of Broward County as “strong, stable, and securing a path for growth and sustainability in the future.” Commissioner Sharief set the theme for 2014 by launching the “Broward Means Business” Initiative.
“And that’s what we did. We got down to business, recognizing our local businesses, the back bone of our county. Through the Mayor’s ‘Broward Means Business’ initiative we nurtured, incubated, mentored and encouraged business growth and job creation with a variety of specialized seminars, programs, partnerships, loans and incentive opportunities. And we saw results,” said Sharief.
Sharief noted the numerous “firsts” that occurred in 2014 such as the completion of the South Runway at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, part of a $2.3 billion capital improvement project that includes the renovation and reconstruction of all terminals. The construction of the new $220 million Broward County Courthouse and completion of the Judicial Complex South Parking Garage. Sharief also acknowledged the opening of the $73-million, Florida East Coast Railway Intermodal Container Transfer Facility completed at Port Everglades in July. This year, Commissioners also gave the go ahead to move forward with plans for a new 750-room convention center hotel and 70,000 square-foot expansions.
The outgoing Mayor noted Broward’s low unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, the lowest in the tri-county region. ”Sound, prudent and well planned projects and capital spending have catapulted our county into new prosperity,” said Sharief.
The 2014 State of the County Address showcased Broward County’s accomplishments over the past year. A record breaking 14.1 million people visited Broward County this year with an economic impact of $11.4 billion. Hotel occupancy is up 3.9% from 2013 and the average daily hotel room rate is up 6 percent from the previous year.
Port Everglades reached two major milestones this past year… with more than one-million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, which is the industry’s standard measurement for containers) and more than 4-million passenger moves, including a record 3.8 million-plus multi-day passenger moves, during fiscal year 2014.
The Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport also reported a 5 percent increase in passenger numbers from last year, marking the first to break the two million passenger mark in August. For the ninth consecutive month, there has been double digit growth in international passengers coming to our great County. In fact, FLL is the fastest growing large hub airport in terms of international traffic, up 24.3 percent from January to August of this year.
Public Safety also took center stage in 2014 as Commissioners brought to fruition the regional 9-1-1 emergency system consolidation, reducing the number of misdirected 911 calls from mobile phones thereby increasing the efficiency and speed of answering and responding to a 911 caller. “The County Commission approved funding for this project in 2013 and brought it to completion in October of this year…a major undertaking and achievement,” said Sharief.
The Mayor noted that Broward County is the first County in the Country to become a certified 4-Star Community, recognized for national excellence in economic, environmental and community sustainability.
“All of this accomplishment, as Broward County turns 100 years old,” said Sharief. “I am fortunate to end this year with Broward County’s biggest party ever, as we celebrate the Broward 100 Centennial….our 100th birthday with the theme ‘The Art of Community!”
The Broward County Charter stipulates that Commissioners, elected from single member districts, vote annually in November for the position of Mayor and Vice Mayor.