Traffic in Broward may soon improve.
That’s because voters on Tuesday gave the green light to a 30-year sales tax increase to finance countywide transportation projects, including road improvements and new bus routes.
“If it’s going to benefit us, I am willing to pay a little more,” said Alexis Tolbert, 34, who lives in Hallandale Beach and voted at Gulfstream Middle school in Hallandale Beach Tuesday. “I just hope the money goes toward doing what they say it’s going to do.”
With the referendum passing, the county’s sales tax rate will rise from 6 to 7 percent, producing $357 million in the first year.
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“Everyone recognizes it’s important to invest in the infrastructure,” Broward County Mayor Beam Furr, who had urged people to vote in favor of the tax, said Tuesday night. “We want to make sure we are building for the future and this is a way to prepare for that.”
About 60 percent of the voters said yes to the measure, with most of the precincts counted and some absentee ballots still being processed.
The transportation measure was only one of many local issues voters decided Tuesday in Broward, where more than 50 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the election.
Hallandale Beach’s previous mayor, Joy Cooper, was arrested on corruption charges and removed from office.
Many voters who live in the city said Tuesday that while they cared about the state and national races, the local races really motivated them to get to the polls, and they rejected a re-election bid by the city’s mayor, Keith London.
“I think his conduct has proven to be not civil and less than professional,” said Behnam Myers, 44, of London, who became mayor after Cooper was removed. The pediatric surgeon cast his vote Tuesday afternoon at Gulfstream Middle School, where London was campaigning.
Voters agreed with the sentiment, results show. Joy Adams, who was backed by the police and fire union, received about 62 percent of the votes, defeating London with all precincts counted, but without all absentee ballots being processed.
“The disrespect that happens on the dais is what got me involved,” Adams said as she campaigned Tuesday afternoon at Hallandale Beach’s Cultural Community Center.
She said as mayor she will address police and fire issues and immediately meet with all city departments.
Hallandale Beach voters also elected two new commissioners. Sabrina Javellana won seat 2, which was vacated by London when he was appointed mayor, according to the Sun Sentinel. Javellana, who received about 52 percent of the vote, defeated Rich Dally, who had been appointed to fill London’s seat until the election.
Mike Butler, a business manager who was appointed to office after former commissioner Anthony Sanders resigned, was elected to keep the seat. He received 63 percent of the votes over challenger Steven Michael Carlo.
Among the other Broward races determined Tuesday: Broward County Commission, three Hollywood commission seats and School Board races.
Ann Murray, who has been on the School Board for 10 years, defeated Jim Silvernale for the District 1 seat, which covers southeast Broward, including Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and Dania Beach. Silvernale was endorsed by the Teacher’s Union. Murray received about 57 percent of the vote.
For the County Commission, incumbent Mark Bogen easily claimed the District 2 seat over a write-in candidate by receiving 96 percent of the vote, with almost all precincts reporting. Democrat Lamar Fisher won the District 4 seat over Shari McCartney by receiving 57 percent of the vote, with almost all precincts reporting.
In Hollywood, voters decided to keep two incumbents in office. Traci Callari will remain the commissioner representing District 3 and Kevin Biederman will keep his District 5 seat. Caryl Shuham, who ran for the first time, will fill the District 1 seat, which was open after Debra Case did not seek re-election.