Having acquired a building on Atlantic Boulevard in Margate as part of a deal with Margate to resolve an outstanding debt caused by poor financial oversight in the City, the Margate Community Redevelopment Agency is requesting roughly $17,000 in security enhancements to what used to be the Alzheimer’s Family Center. The request includes ballistic resistant glass and walls. ______________
After failing to recoup roughly $500,000 in tax dollars used to fund the Alzheimer's Family Center over the years, the City agreed to take the building from the Center as part of a settlement. In turn, the City would sell the building to its own Community Redevelopment Agency as part of making up for lost tax dollars. The deal was controversial as expressed by taxpayers in two separate complaints to the Broward Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and by Anthony Caggiano prior to his election to the city commission in November. In the end, the OIG found that Margate city officials “engaged in gross mismanagement” resulting in the Alzheimer's Center debt to the City.
Two years and a city commission seat later, Caggiano - who along with other elected officials sit on the Board of Directors of the CRA - says he still doesn’t like the deal. He wants the building and or property sold and put on the tax rolls or rented to a viable tenant for a fair lease. Prior to Caggiano’s election to office, the city commission agreed to move the CRA and the City’s Department of Economic Development out of City Hall and into the former Alzheimer’s building. To do so, the CRA/City would invest in costly renovations.
“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,” Caggiano wrote in a Letter to the Editor last year.
As far as he is concerned now, CRA staff can occupy one of the storefronts it owns in the Chevy Chase or Ace Hardware Plazas, he told MargateNews.net. He doesn’t want to see any more tax money used to upgrade the building.
Similar to recent security measures taken at Margate City Hall, which included bulletproof glass for the receptionist in the main lobby (above right), City Clerk (above left) and Human Resources Departments, the CRA wants the same for its employees at 6280 Atlantic Boulevard.
“Many governmental agencies are enhancing security at key locations in public buildings. This proposal is to install security measures in the reception area of the new building to be occupied by the CRA and the City Economic Development Department,” states the agenda item.
Some who work behind ballistic resistant glass and walls at City Hall have told MargateNews.net that the added security has made them feel safer. This in addition to active shooter training provided to City Hall staff.
When asked if he was aware of any physical threats to city government, the CRA or any of its officials or buildings, Caggiano said "not to my knowledge."
The CRA item comes before elected officials under the figurative gun, as the contract with the company that installed City Hall security enhancements expires in six business days, according to the agenda.
Presently, both the CRA and the Department of Economic Development have offices in a 'fortified' City Hall which also serves as home to the Margate Police Department.