Broward News

New Southwest Ranches Admin Will Need to Tackle Deal for ICE Detention Facility

It always sucks to inherit a mess when you take office -- just ask Barack Obama. The new town administrator of Southwest Ranches, whoever he or she may be, won't be inheriting two wars and a failed economy (well, maybe the economy part) but will have to face a wave of growing unease with the planned presence of an 1,800-bed immigrant jail in the community's borders.

Southwest Ranches is made up mostly of large lots and rural, equestrian-styled properties. Former Town Administrator Charlie Lynn died in July, and now the town council is looking for a new administrator, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"We are a little different," Councilman Doug McKay told the paper. "We're an equestrian community with less than 10,000 people. People here want to be left alone. They don't want code enforcement at all. But it's a necessary evil."

Also a necessary evil, perhaps, is the $1 million up-front and 3 to 4 percent "town fee" that private prison builder Corrections Corporation of America agreed to pay Southwest Ranches for the right to build a prison there, in a resolution passed by the town council back in 2005.

The terms of that resolution are an interesting read:
2005 Southwest Ranches Resolution supporting Immigration Detention Center

In recent weeks, protests have mounted against the planned facility. CCA already owns the plot of land for the detention facility, but final terms will need to be ironed out now that ICE has selected Southwest Ranches' bid over competing municipalities.

But first, the council needs to face another issue: finally moving into a real city hall after 11 years. Currently, officials run the town out of a pair of trailers on SW 160th Avenue.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph