Broward News

Hollywood's Water Tower, Much Like Its Budget Office, Can't Get Its Numbers Straight

Two construction workers fall into the cavernous metal tank, suffering serious injuries. Five Tongan workers are among the people tasked with a $600,000 restoration and painting project. When the city announces a surprise $10 million budget shortage that it failed to report, people complain about an expensive new clock and thermometer on the water tower that cost extra money.

Turns out that the two time-and-temperature displays on the tower came from utility ratepayer fees, not the general fund. But at a time when Hollywood is asking its public-sector workers to settle for less pay in the face of severe shortfalls, the water receptacle isn't exactly the shining, tourist-attracting salve some people might have hoped.

Now the Miami Herald rushes to the scene with a tale of two temperatures:

The digital display shows two different temperatures on each of its sides, visible to traffic on I-95 in different directions. One side is in the sun; the other's in the shade.

"We're discussing a way to make them link to the same sensor, not that either is wrong or broken, but people get confused," city spokeswoman Raelin Storey told the paper.

Meanwhile, residents are cranky. "It's still not working," said William Sutton, a resident. "The temperature clock was a waste of money."

The article also mentions that the clock is subject to outages and that city officials are mulling a way to hook up both displays to the same temperature sensor. The clock is still under warranty, so taxpayers shouldn't have to pony up for any fixes.

"[The faulty clock] reflects the malfunctioning of the city of Hollywood," Sutton told the Herald.

Mayor Peter Bober publicly shamed finance director Cynthia Forrester in May. Then her boss, City Manager Cameron Benson, resigned in light of the budget problems and a federal investigation into his alleged sweet-dealing with a waste contractor. Everybody's cooking up different numbers. Even the sun! Burrrrn!

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