Candidate for City Commission Seat 1, Anthony Caggiano, wants accountability in the Alzheimer’s Center fiasco and more respect for tax dollars. “Every dollar that the City spends should be looked at with a critical eye,” he writes in a letter to MargateNews.net. _____________
I understand the disappointment so many long term and recent Margate residents feel towards their City. Seeing “The City with a Plan” drifting aimlessly while surrounding cities prosper is a bitter pill to swallow. Margate was here before Coral Springs and Coconut Creek, and yet, instead of being a destination city for them to spend money, these cities are siphoning our money, our jobs and our vitality. Watching business after business opening up just outside Margate’s borders while Rt. 441 has shopping center after shopping center littered with vacancy signs, is galling. I see Margate as the “The city that people drive to and not through.”
Also, fiscal accountability for your hard earned tax dollars has left many underwhelmed and I’m being kind.
Not one person has been held accountable for the Alzheimer Center fiasco. Not a single one. Ever since this was found out, I have been asking questions and demanding answers about what happened to the disappearance of more than a half a million of OUR tax money. The last remaining City Commissioner who voted for this fleecing of the City still hasn’t publicly come clean about why he authorized this deal and why it apparently had zero oversight. Maybe he forgot about it, but I’m sure he won’t forget to cash his pension checks and use the lifetime health insurance coverage that he voted himself when he retires this November. Another current Commissioner intoned that, “This was in the past and we need to sweep it under the rug and move on.” I’m actually dumbstruck by that statement. Those words are easy to say when you have no respect and feel no obligation for your constituents’ money. This lack of respect for the taxpayer’s dollars sends the wrong signal. A signal that, as a City, we don’t care and there are no repercussions for a job poorly done. That is disgraceful. My detractors only offer up excuses. I get ridiculed for asking for some responsibility, but the simple truth is that NOT ONE person has been held even partially responsible for this economic disaster. THAT MUST CHANGE. I want answers and you should too.
As chairman of the MCRA (Margate Community Redevelopment Agency), this same, soon to be retired, Commissioner voted to spend over $300,000 of Community Redevelopment Agency dollars to buy the Alzheimer Center building. He hopes that one day the MCRA or the City (when the MCRA dissolves and its assets revert to the City) could sell it and recoup some of the lost money. Not a totally bad idea, until you realize that the MCRA, instead of renting the property to a business for some positive cash flow, is renting it to the City. This is being done so the City’s staff can spread out. Once again: MCRA money buys the property, City money pays rent, maintains, furnishes, and insures the property. Under this scenario the economic hemorrhaging of dollars will never stop. Margate CRA money is different from City money, in only how it is accumulated. I look at it as a pair of pants with two pockets where each pocket has a different funding source. Two pockets because the City Commissioners on the first and third Wednesday of the month wear their Commissioner’s hat and on the second Wednesday of the month wear their MCRA hat. If you take a $20 dollar bill out of your right pocket and stick it in your left, are you $20 richer because of it? Of course not! In this case the money is going from the right pocket (City) to left pocket (MCRA) and back again. Like a dog chasing its tail.
Speaking of dogs, the City wants to spend $400,000 on a dog park! And that’s not including maintenance and upkeep! That works out to around $7.25 for every man, woman, and child in Margate. I take a back seat to no one when it comes to my love of dogs. All the dogs I ever had were great dogs. Now imagine, if I knocked on your door and demanded $7.25 from each person living there so that my dog could have a place to go run around and that I would be coming back every year for a few bucks more. You would slam the door in my face, if I was lucky, but that’s exactly what the City wants to do. My dog Claudius passed away a few years ago, at the age of 15, and I never took him to a dog park. We did, however, leash him and take him to the park. Our residents can do the same and we can use that $400,000 on other higher priority items that will net us a better value.
Every taxpayer wants to feel that they’re getting some perceived value through their tax dollars. Is my money being put to good use? Can I see things getting better? Unfortunately, some Commissioners, past and present, seem to have forgotten that it is YOUR money and think of it as THEIR money. Every dollar that the City spends should be looked at with a critical eye, an eye directed at the future and “will this help us get to where we want to be?” We can’t change the past, but it is important that we learn from both Margate’s successes and failures to be able to set a course to a dynamic future. It will take a long time to turn things around. But what we CAN do overnight, is stop making mistakes. ___________
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By on 03/22/2016
The real question is, what does the commission have to fear if he's elected? They tried to make us think Ruzzano would be the city's downfall, remember? Nitpicking his every word. He learned the ropes and he's made a fine commissioner. The last thing I want to hear a candidate do is spout a blenderized list of campaign promises that are picked off an existing commissioner(s) agenda. I want a new perspective, like Mr. Caggiano, even if I don' always agree with it.
By Concerned Margate Resident on 03/21/2016
Mr. Caggiano, I commend you for trying to get to the bottom of the Alzheiner's mess. Keep talking like this and you'll receive my vote. Its a travesty that no one in authority in city hall wants to see a resolution. It almost makes one wonder if someone who still receives a paycheck from the city has something to hide and if exposed will face major jail time. Just saying. And shame on the unnamed commissioner who wants to move on from this topic. I think the name needs to be made public and a major target at reelection time. No way does this person deserve to be an elected official in this city. I also like your hitting on the topic of cashing pension checks. A few questions for you: This may not be possible, but if elected will you try to get pension dollars reduced for officials? A recently retired official receiving $9,000 a month is a joke, and previous elected officials who voted themselves these generous goodies need to have some of it taken away. Also, will you pledge not to take a salary, health insurance and pension if elected? Will you demand others take this pledge when you attend candidate forums? Those who don't want to take the pledge are guilty of looking out for themselves and not the city in my opinion, and will not receive my vote. Then, if you do get elected, perhaps others will see the guts you are exhibiting and may even shame them into foregoing these benefits. One day the commission may be populated by people who truly do have the best interests of the city at heart. Good luck in your campaign
By BOB FEDAK on 03/21/2016
Don't forget the Cypress pool fiasco loosing $200,000+ every year. Or the bus "service", lowering prices after loosing hundreds of thousands there is no logical defense of the irresponsibility on this Commission and years of liberals wasting millions!
By John b on 03/20/2016
Everyone loves spending other peoples money. First question from any spending should be who benefits and is it something a city should provide. I think fiscal accountability is what is being talked about here. A dog park is not a high priority item. But having the stewards of our tax dollars know that heads will roll over missing money might prevent future occurrences. But not with the typical corrupt Margate commissioners sweeping away.
By JK on 03/20/2016
All the cities that are ahead of Margate have Dog Parks. (Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Parkland, Pompano, even North Lauderdale and Tamarac) How many parks and paths do you see around Margate empty and not being used? At one time Margate had to take the $7 out of every resident's pocket to build those. The Senior center is only used by Seniors, again forcing those that are not seniors to foot the bill, when realistically the seniors are paying the least amount of taxes in their condos. Tennis Courts can only be used by tennis players but we build those. When there are more dog owners than tennis players in the city. We even accommodate to niche sports building them facilities such as parkour and pickleball. The option of leasing your dog park is not an option as there are posted signs that say "no dogs allowed". It's time for Margate to catch up with the times and provide amenities that new residents are looking for when choosing a community to invest in. Otherwise those residents and their tax dollars will move to other cities such as the ones that already taking business away from Margate.
By Leslie F on 03/19/2016
I went back and read the survey, a dog park doesn't crack the top of the list ever. A skateboard park has a pretty high demand, "Based on percentage of respondents, 23% indicated that skateboarding park was the most important facility to their household. Other most important facilities include: Walking and biking trails (22%), off-leash dog park (17%), and kayak and canoeing areas (16%)." Not even the kayak/canoeing dock that the commission and some candidates claim that are in high demand make much of a cut. Now I know some commissioners have dogs and like to boat, whereas I don't hear much about their skating, biking, or walking/jogging interests, could it be that they are mistaking personal interest with public interest?
By Kline on 03/19/2016
Some people are against the dog park, but the commission makes it sound like hell or high water we will get the dog park because there is so much demand. Question: In the resident poll that was conducted didn't a dog park score low on the residents "wants" list?
By jsb on 03/19/2016
Research about Dog parks. Do not think a dog park is a good idea. Mobbing, mounting, aggression, and pooping. Stop wasting our money.Dog parks are not safe for dogs. Dog park people frequently behave badly by not being responsible dog owners and by being inconsiderate and uncaring towards other people and their dogs.A couple of times a week, I take my 85 pound bull dog "Sluggo" to the dog park. All of the other dog owners have there little pooper scoopers and little bags. When Sluggo and I go to the park, we take a front end loader, dump truck and a 55 gallon drum of Pinesol.