BROWARD COUNTY, FL - Broward County Commissioners today choose Commissioner Barbara Sharief to serve as Mayor. Commissioner Tim Ryan was selected to serve as Vice Mayor.
"Broward County means business," said Mayor Sharief in her acceptance speech. "It's more than just a theme for this year. It's a way of defining Broward County and what we are about, which is outcomes and results!" Sharief was born in South Florida, raised in Broward County and is a long time resident of District 8. Mayor Sharief was successful at creating and managing a variety of companies and has a strong success record for making non-profitable businesses profitable. In 2001, Barbara visualized and created what is now known as South Florida Pediatric Homecare Inc. "SFPH".
"Broward has long been an advocate for the business community. This year I will challenge our organization to expand this focus, building on successes such as business mentoring programs, loan program and technical assistance," said Mayor Sharief.
Vice Mayor Ryan thanked his colleagues for selecting him to serve as Vice Mayor. "With the significant responsibilities and challenges that we have before us and unlimited opportunities, I look forward to working with this Board as Vice Mayor over the coming year," said Ryan. A lifelong resident of Broward County, Tim Ryan was elected to the Broward County Commission, representing District 7, in November 2012. Vice Mayor Ryan served for eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, from 1998 – 2006, before leaving office due to term limits.
In the 2013 State of the County Address, outgoing Mayor Kristin Jacobs declared that the state of Broward County is "strong." Commissioner Jacobs set the theme for 2013 by naming it the "Year of the Neighbor," a year to focus on building relationships with our sister counties, government agencies, Broward cities and the state and federal governments. "We continue to reach new heights as existing services transition through tough times to inspired efforts to improve the quality of life in Broward County. It has been through the dedication and hard word of our employees that Broward residents are enjoying a strong steady recovery," said Jacobs.
Jacobs noted Broward's low unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, the lowest in the region. "Low unemployment rates are coupled with extensive services provided by city and county government. This shows economic growth can flourish side by side with comprehensive public services," said Mayor Jacobs.
The 2013 State of the County Address showcased Broward County's accomplishments over the past year including successes in transportation, the environment, at Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Transit ridership is up two percent from the year before as Broward welcomed the addition of twenty-one new 40-foot hybrid buses to its fleet.
Broward County introduced the "Complete Streets" initiatives to ensure that streets are accessible to all modes of mobility, including pedestrian, bicycles, mass transit and automobiles.
Broward will also eventually take over operations for the "Wave" modern street car that will travel through downtown Fort Lauderdale. "I believe this will bring a transportation revolution that will bring people out of their cars and progressively change the commuter system that we have now," said Jacobs.
Environmental issues took the spotlight this year as Broward became the first county in the state to add a climate change element and climate related land use policies as part of the County's comprehensive plan.
The Fifth Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit took place in Broward County this year and received noticeable news coverage locally and nationwide as three members of the U.S. House of Representatives participated in the event.
Broward County also launched the "Go Solar" and "PACE" programs which will help residents save money as they make home improvements designed to improve the environment.
A record breaking 13 million people visited Broward County this year as the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau launched the award winning "Hello Sunny Campaign" across the U.S.
At Port Everglades, success was celebrated as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its draft report on deepening and widening the Port to allow the passage of new giant cargo ships. Congressional authorization is expected that will allow Broward County to fund planning and design projects that will deepen the Port and bring more opportunities for continued economic development.
"Under the mindset of the 'Year of the Neighbor' we have made great strides. We have achieved great things, but we know our work is not complete. The state of Broward County is strong, but we are committed to growing stronger. We have done that in the past year and I know we will continue to do so in the future," said Jacobs.
The Broward County Charter stipulates that Commissioners, elected from single member districts, vote annually in November for the position of Mayor and Vice-Mayor.