Plan Used Art As Defense Against Graffiti



Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s Strategic Annexation in 2010

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea pic

Now the city manager of Dania Beach, Florida, Robert Baldwin has held this position in several Florida cities. During his tenure as city manager of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Robert Baldwin spearheaded an annexation initiative to boost revenue and lower taxes.

In 2010, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea annexed an oceanfront 1,800-resident condo complex called Sea Ranch Lakes. The annexation of the complex from unincorporated Broward County required the town to pay $112,000 to Pompano Beach in order to add the complex to the town’s sewage disposal plan. Despite a rise in sewage rates for residents, the annexation lowered taxes by expanding the town’s tax base by 58 percent, taking its total taxable value to $428 million.

Further, the initiative helped Lauderdale-By-The-Sea fund its $4.1 million budget that year, which was more than $818,000 higher than that of the previous year. Much of the extra revenue went toward fulfilling agreements with Sea Ranch Lakes, such as hiring two police officers for beach patrol, a part-time technician to repair parking meters, a part-time grant writer, and a part-time planner. However, the annexation allowed the town to increase its reserves from $300,000 to more than $1 million.

University of Florida Team Enjoys Success at MuniMod Civic Competition

University of Florida  pic
University of Florida

A municipal manager with more than 20 years of experience, Robert Baldwin serves as city manager of Dania Beach, Florida. In addition to bringing a wealth of experience to this city manager role, Robert Baldwin holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Florida (UF), which announced that a team of four UF students won second place in the MuniMod civic tech competition.

The first annual MuniMod civic tech competition brought together students from throughout Florida for a 24-hour hackathon in Orlando. Sponsored by Domi Station and the Florida League of Cities, the competition required that students devise solutions to challenges facing Florida cities.

The UF team created a mobile platform called IdenCity, which is designed to facilitate communication between city governments and citizens in an effort to foster civic engagement, which is lacking in the state of Florida. The team collaborated for months to build a prototype of IdenCity, gathering feedback from city officials and developing wireframes with an app called AppCooker.

After close deliberation, the competition’s judges awarded the $10,000 prize to the team of students from Florida State University to continue developing their idea. However, UF’s team made a strong impression on the judges, who made a last-minute decision to award the team a second-place prize of $5,000.

Renewal at Dania Beach, Florida

Dania Beach pic
Dania Beach

Dania Beach is the first and oldest city in Broward County, Florida. Over the years, it has begun to experience many of the challenges that cities all along Florida’s east coast have faced. Robert Baldwin, the city manager of Dania Beach, is responsible for the administration of the city. Under his leadership, many reforms and renovations are underway.

Dania Beach’s oceanfront is adjacent to an area state park. Therefore, rather than the commercialized ocean fronts of nearby towns, Dania Beach has the benefit of offering beach-goers a more natural environment. To capitalize on these benefits–and in part due to the work of Robert Baldwin and the Office of the City Manager–renovations have been progressing along the oceanfront.

Dania’s Ocean Park offers convenient parking, two restaurants, and a popular fishing pier that is open to the public. New chickee huts and bathrooms have been added to the park. In addition, the 120-slip Dania Beach Marina located across the street has undergone renovations and improvements. Slips within the marina are available for transient, monthly, and annual rental.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office Enlists the Help of Local Art Students

Robert Baldwin has spent the last five years as a city manager in Dania Beach, Florida. Robert Baldwin has additional experience as an assistant city manager in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale and as CAO in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. As Assistant City Manager of Fort Lauderdale, he also was in charge of controlling Spring Break.

In anticipation of the annual spring break crowd, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Ron Cochran got Robert Baldwin’s approval to take a somewhat unusual approach toward preventing excessive graffiti on a concrete wall running along Road A1A. Cochran urged more than 1,000 local art students to arrive at the wall with paint buckets and art supplies in tow and to go to work. The chief did not indicate a preference for color, only encouraging the artists to accomplish their work before the wall was tagged with spray paint. The wall extends from Granada Street to East Las Olas Boulevard, covering about 2,500 feet, likely providing the young artists with the largest canvas they had ever worked on. While Cochran’s motivations were purely professional, he joked that the nation’s next great artist might be discovered as part of the project.