Parkland to add fourth police zone to prep for Wedge growth

With Parkland’s population expected to touch the 40,000 mark once the Wedge area is built out, officials want the city to have a fourth police zone without further delay.

At a strategic planning workshop facilitated by Quiet Excellence, a Coral Springs-based firm, officials unanimously approved spending $7.2 million throughout five years to enhance public safety. The idea of a fourth zone first came up nearly a decade ago.

“We have the Wedge [and] we are talking about a significant area,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz said.”We have added three officers in two years [but] we will need more officers. There needs to be a long range plan. We have talked about adding a fourth zone for a long time now.”

“The fight was for a fourth zone when I became a commissioner,” Mayor Michael Udine, who was first elected in 2003, said. “It is 2012 and it is still three zones. The numbers are not showing an increase in crime, but we need the fourth zone.”

“With new construction comes additional crime,” Vice Mayor Mark Weissman said. “The city has public safety impact fees and that will cover some of the costs.”

Apart from adding the fourth zone and increasing the number of police officers, the city is also looking to add staff in the next five years to improve turn around times. Ever since the onset of the recession, the city has decreased its staff strength.

The plan is to spend $3.6 million adding staff. With new development happening in the Wedge area, the city expects developers to bear a significant portion of the costs.

“Every developer who comes to the city complains about how slow we are,” Moskowitz said. “If they expect a faster response, they need to bear some of the costs.”

“We will have money coming in from developers and grants,” Udine said. “This is not a $3.6 million hit on our budget; it will in fact be a positive. You will soon start to see more permitting come through. We won’t need to use taxpayer dollars.”

Staff proposed spending $1.4 million to create a marketing plan for the city but officials decided it wouldn’t be money well spent.

“Who are we marketing to, new residents, existing ones or businesses?” Udine asked. “The one thing we have going for us is that people love to be in Parkland. I don’t think we need to spend money on that.”

“All the developers are going to spend a ton of money on marketing anyway,” Moskowitz said. “They will do the job for us.”

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/parkland/fl-cspf-staff-0531-20120606,0,5967139.story?track=rss

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