Tag Archives: Broward
By Andrea Freygang; photo by Debra Todd
As a long-time Floridian who grew up in Broward County, Chip LaMarca is passionate about helping guide the direction of where he lives. Formerly a city commissioner in Lighthouse Point, LaMarca now oversees a large swath of coastal Broward County, including a large section of Pompano Beach, as a Broward County commissioner.
LaMarca has been in Broward since his childhood, when he moved to Fort Lauderdale with his single mother from Winchester, Massachusetts. After attending Broward College and Boston University, LaMarca settled in Lighthouse Point. Chip is active as a past president and current board member of the Exchange Club of Pompano Beach as well as Hugs for Kids and the Broward Children’s Center, also in Pompano Beach.
Chip married the former Eileen Dorrego in 1995, and the couple has been living in Lighthouse Point since their marriage. Five years ago, in 2006, Chip opened LaMarca Construction after 20 years of experience in the construction industry, and is now focused on his role as a commissioner helping to lead Broward County into a better economic position. As a city commissioner, he was always focused on a fiscally conservative, responsible government. Using Chip’s knowledge and expertise in construction, the Lighthouse Point commission was able to complete numerous critical infrastructure improvements preceding its 50 Year Anniversary, all while holding the line on taxes and controlling government spending. These days, LaMarca is putting that same focus on budgets and public safety at the county level. Pompano Today recently sat down with LaMarca to ask what is it exactly that he does on the commission and what his focus is on the commission.
PT: What is your role with Broward County as a commissioner?
CL: I am one of nine elected commissioners. Each district is about 200,000 people per district and mine runs from Deerfield to Dania Beach, and is most of the coastal district. That being said, some of the issues specific to my district are beach renourishment and issues that have to do with our coastline and safety and security of our beaches as well as the business side of things. One thing I laid out as a priority for me is public safety and law enforcement. I am on the fire rescue and EMS council. One deals with fire rescue – response/dispatch is a huge issue. The county is trying to consolidate while the EMS council deal more with EMS facilities and trauma centers and making sure EMS has the resources it needs to keep people safe when they are called out there.
PT: What things are you working on that specifically might impact Pompano?
CL: We are really trying to implement a jobs plan in the county that will provide some incentives and ways to highlight Broward County to help bring new business to Pompano. We are working with the chambers to help make that transition and are still working out the details but expect some sort of moratorium on taxes for new businesses.
PT: What other things can we expect of the Broward commission this year?
CL: I am really focused on keeping an eye on spending……such as the courthouse issue I was very involved with. Why do we need $610,000 separated for an integrated art portion? I try to be a fiscal watchdog, but the budget conversation is a lot more reasonable this year than last. The county commission has really started an effort to bring spending in check, and we’re in a lot better condition than some of the cities. We are without a doubt going to be seeing a county and city level continued focus on consolidation or try to come up with other ways to address future unfunded pension liability. We will be looking at anything that can be regionalized that doesn’t take away from the level of service but spreads the costs across multiple agencies.
PT: How can residents contact your office?
CL: We just opened a district office in Lighthouse Point City Hall so residents can have access without having to come to Fort Lauderdale. We have hours from 10 am to 1 pm on Wednesdays. I try to be as accessible as possible to residents and always try to meet with the end user or company—we don’t meet with the lobbyists in my office. I can also be reached at 954-357-7004 or email@example.com.
PT: Anything else you would like to add?
CL: Yes. There have been efforts in the county to limit access to setting up voter registration outside of normal election time at libraries. I may be the only Republican on a commission of nine, but I led on the issue with ACLU on electioneering. I don’t think the county should stifle anyone’s ability or availability to electioneer. I don’t support…(regulating) free speech or registering people to vote. It’s dangerous and one of the areas that I don’t think people are going to be able to categorize me. But issues that come to the Broward commission are more ideological than partisan—there is very little that is partisan. I am here to represent everyone in the district and I am totally enjoying it. I look forward to going to work every day.
After several years of being closed two days a week, Broward County park officials recently announced that all parks will be open seven days a week, with no closures except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Deerfield Island Park will continue to be open Saturdays and Sundays only. If you are looking for your local Broward County Park, here are a few in Pompano Beach and the surrounding area.
Regional Parks, Neighborhood Parks, Nature Centers, and Natural Areas:
• Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub, 3299 N.E. Third Ave., Pompano Beach; 954-357-8700
• Deerfield Island Park, 1720 Deerfield Island Park, Deerfield Beach; 954-357-5100 (open
Saturdays and Sundays only)
• Fern Forest Nature Center, 201 Lyons Road S., Coconut Creek; 954-357-5198
• Helene Klein Pineland Preserve, 4701 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Coconut Creek; 954-357-8700
• Highlands Scrub Natural Area, 4050 N. Dixie Hwy., Pompano Beach; 954-357-8700
• Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area, 5591 N.W. 74th Place, Coconut Creek; 954-357-8700
• Military Trail Natural Area, 4600 N.W. Ninth Ave./N. Military Trail, Deerfield Beach;
• Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach; 954-357-5100
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in County programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.