Thursday, October 01, 2009


I just received the following news about the City of Hallandale, where I live. The City Commission's special meeting held on September 24, 2009, for the purpose of passing the 2009/10 budget decided:

1) A motion presented by a commissioner to keep taxes equal to last year was defeated.

2) The motion to increase tax millage rate to 5.9 from last year's rate of 4.9818 (19.72% increase in the tax millage) prevailed (3-2 vote). That is the percentage applied on the appraised value of our homes to calculate property tax. This was the recommendation of the City Manager. More interesting facts:

3) The City of Hallandale has approximately 429 employees (full and part time).

4) 152 employees are paid $100,000 or more in total compensation.

5) 39 employees are paid $ 150,000 or more in total compensation.

6) 6 employees are paid $200,000 or more in total compensation.

7) The yard waste recycling program for single family homes will be eliminated. Hallandale City Manager recommends that residents just throw their landscaping and yard waste in their normal garbage bins. This is clearly a backwards step in the recently affirmed goal of recycling. No more making mulch off yard waste. The city will just throw more garbage in the landfill, no problem. By the way, if you want to know how much I pay in water and trash removal every month, it'll make you cry.

8) A new position was created: The Director of Public Utilities with a total compensation package of about $146,000. Exactly what we needed. The City already has a Department of Public Works, which was perfectly handling this kind of duties. But apparently in these hard times, we really need to split a department in two so we can add $146,000 to city budget!

I don't think that I should mention commissioners by name here. Or say who voted what. This is not the purpose of these comments.

But next time you pay your higher property taxes, even though the value of your home has sharply dropped, remember the reasons. The City of Hallandale has stuck us with the doctrine that thousands of new condominiums were built so that "we can increase our tax base".

Did we wrongly understand that it implied a potential reduction of our taxes?
However, our traffic problems are worse than ever. Our quality of life is degrading by the day. Everything is going down, except our taxes.

How many employees, you said? How much they make?

Come on, is Hallandale becoming the new Paris, the new New York?

I am a real estate professional at United Realty Group Inc.
You can visit my website: where you can search for Hallandale Beach Condos, Sunny Isles Condos

The more it changes...

The more it changes, the more it looks the same!

In America, and especially in Florida we have lately be very well trained into accepting our destiny in complete silence and infinite patience. Like the lamb on its way to the slaughterhouse. In few words, just suck it up.

Remember how we were promised by our governor, backed by our State Congress, that our insurance, our taxes will "drop like a rock" ? Remember?

Here you go:

Read the news, fresh from

Florida home insurance rates on rise again
The respite from rapidly rising insurance rates is ending for Florida homeowners.
State regulators approved an average 19 percent statewide increase for Federated National Insurance. The insurer, a subsidiary of 21st Century Holdings in Lauderdale Lakes, has 30,889 policies in Florida. Northern Capital Group was approved for a 10 percent hike on the policies it has taken out of Citizens Property Insurance, the state-run insurer. Both companies said the rate increases will cover higher reinsurance costs and make up some of the revenue they’ve lost due to higher wind mitigation credits they must provide.
Nearly half a dozen companies have applied for rate increases or are working on filings. United Property & Casualty has asked for a 12 percent average statewide increase. Southern Fidelity and its sister company, Capitol Preferred, have requested a 7.2 percent average statewide increase. In July, Citizens began to submit its filing for its first rate increase in three years. Its rates have been frozen since 2007. Citizens is limited to a 10 percent increase, due to a new law passed in May. But its initial staff analysis found that some areas of the state could be due rate decreases.
“Insurance Commissioner [Kevin] McCarty told the governor and Cabinet last week that insurance companies now need to shore up their claims-paying abilities through modest rate increases,” said Lisa Miller, former deputy commissioner and consultant to many Florida-based insurance companies

From - Oct. 1, 2009

I am a real estate professional at United Realty Group Inc.
You can visit my website: where you can search for Hallandale Beach Condos, Sunny Isles Condos

What a ripoff!

I read the following article in a report from

Read it carefully. It looks like insurance companies which only sell the Flood insurance coverage provided through FEMA, (a Federal Agency) are keeping almost HALF of the money collected.

Let's analyze this: Agents of private insurance companies, who also sell hurricane insurance, and homeowner insurance, offer the flood insurance coverage as an additional and almost universally requested coverage. These insurance companies are basically order-writers. This service costs the government's insurance company almost 50% of the money collected. It's like you as a salesperson at a bakery's counter would keep fifty cents on every dollar collected! Believe me, selling these Flood insurances to people who must buy the other type of home insurance does involve any marketing effort.

But that is something that we have grown accustomed to. Insurance companies just keep feeding on our stupidity, our acceptance of their and our government's corruption. Because how else can we qualify the conduct of FEMA which for so many years has been condoning this ripoff!

Does this ring a bell?

Here is the report I read:

Criticism mounting over flood premiums

Congress is expected to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for another 12 months even though the program continues to be in debt and accused of lacking adequate controls. The NFIP, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also has been criticized for shifting too much money to the insurance sector. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that FEMA does not have a system in place to track the profits earned by insurers in the program, nor a way to determine if those profits are appropriate. “There are certain things to be learned,” says Insurance Information Institute President Robert Hartwig. “If the price charged for the service rendered does not cover the cost, you will ultimately run a taxpayer-financed deficit.” NFIP earns about $2.3 billion in premiums per year, but insurers retain about $1 billion. Auditors discovered that FEMA does not examine insurers’ actual expenses when determining what share of the NFIP premiums they will receive. GAO also noted that the insurers involved in the program do not actively sell flood insurance, but merely offer the coverage only when policyholders ask for it. Auditors also note that FEMA has not done enough to prompt insurers to market flood coverage to a broader group of policyholders.

From - Oct. 1, 2009

I am a real estate professional at United Realty Group Inc.
You can visit my website: where you can search for Hallandale Beach Condos, Sunny Isles Condos