Elected for a two-year term in 2012, Margate voters re-elected Margate city commission incumbent, Le Peerman, to serve another four years on the Margate dais. ______________
With a 35% voter turnout, Peerman took the election with 44.19% of ballots cast. First time challenger Anthony Caggiano ran a close second with 42.8% of the vote and Margate’s CERT Planning Chief, Eddie DeCristofaro, trailed with 12.97%. (Click for results)
After Peerman’s re-election in 2012 - along with city commission incumbents Frank Talerico and David McLean - we pondered whether Margate taxpayers would see “Something new or more of the same” in 2013 and beyond.
Since, McLean was suspended from office pending bribery charges and the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) under the guidance of elected officials was found misappropriating millions in tax dollars by the Broward Inspector General. These political shenanigans we refer to as “something new.”
What's “more of the same” in Margate is downtown. The city center is still vacant, blighted and desolate - and has been for years. There are no set plans to build anything. Here, elected officials have truly let residents down. To look at road-scum ridden benches along the street and pot-holed flooded parking lots in plazas is to accept lackadaisical leadership at its best.
Costing taxpayers millions, elected officials continue to ignore massive overtime and sick leave abuse in the Margate fire service. And without full fiscal discourse recklessly expanded the health insurance benefit for city employees earlier in the year.
The fiscal faux pas of the decade by commissioners is the oversight of the $35 million road bond approved by voters in 2006. Without first fixing antiquated water and wastewater systems beneath, the city repaved many of its roads. Now, eight years later, Margate is digging them up to make needed repairs. Hopes that new streets would last the life of the 30-year mega-debt gone forever.
But all is not lost. Margate introduced volleyball, pickleball and movies in the park. The City has an “App” and has upgraded Kaye Stevens Park. Lowering the millage rate sounded good in theory until voters approved the$800 million school bond Tuesday and the renewal of a special taxing district in perpetuity - decisions that will cancel-out Margate property tax reductions for years to come.
“Something new or more of the same” in 2015 and beyond?
We think more of the same. No optimism here. Whether Margate’s proverbial leadership glass is half empty or half full; it’s nowhere near the top. That said, we would love nothing more than to be proven wrong.
In the legendary words of Margate activist, Rich Popovic, "Most people don’t pay attention.”