Published On: Mon, Mar 13th, 2017

Susan Haynie Questionnaire

Susan Haynie

Below is a questionnaire sent by the Tribune staff to sent to Susan Haynie and her answers.

  1. Name: Susan Haynie
  2. Personal: 61 years old, 45-year resident of Boca Raton, Florida Native, Married to Neil Haynie, 5 adult children and live in Camino Gardens
  3. Education: Graduate of Lynn University, Liberal Arts; Traffic Engineering Certification, Georgia Institute of Technology; Transportation Studies Certification, Northwestern University.
  4. Profession: Transportation Analyst, City of Boca Raton 1974-1984; Florida Certified General Contractor, 1983- Present; Florida Licensed Community Association Manager, 2001- Present
  5. Political Background: Boca Raton City Council Member 2000-2006; Boca Raton Deputy Mayor 2009-2014; Boca Raton Mayor 2014- Present; Florida League of Cities, President; National League of Cities Presidential Task Force; National League of Cities Transportation Committee; Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council Governing Board, Chair; Southeast Florida Transportation Council, Chair; Palm Beach MPO, Chair; Ocean Coastal Task Force; Palm Beach County League of Cities, Past President; Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Gubernatorial Appointee.
  6. Public service experience, community and civic involvement: Boca Raton Zoning Board of Adjustment; Boca Raton Planning and Zoning Board; Boca Raton Neighborhood Improvement Study Commission; Federation of Boca Raton Homeowners Association; Boca Raton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT); Boca Helping Hands, Board of Directors; Boca Raton Elks; Downtown Boca Raton Rotary Club; Women’s Executive Club; Camino Gardens Association.
  7. Why is City Government important? Municipal government is the closest level of government to the people with the most impact on their daily lives. As our City grows, our City government must improve with it. I have worked hard to make certain that we maintain world-class municipal services using technology to make City Hall accessible and transparent. A customer-service culture must be mandated.
  8. As Mayor, state your top three priorities for the City. My top three priorities for the City are: maintain fiscal sustainability, maintain a safe and secure community and improve quality of life by investing in parks and open space and mobility infrastructure.
  9. How would you go about implementing these three priorities? My plan for implementing these priorities is as follows:
    • Maintain fiscal sustainability – Boca Raton has the highest assessed value of any city in Palm Beach County at $21 billion and the lowest millage rate of 3.43. By comparison West Palm Beach has an assessed value of $11 billion and a millage rate of 8.34. Boca Raton has a planned fund balance of $48 million which, includes $10.6 million emergency preparedness reserve, and we have a triple A rating with all agencies. Our commitment to economic development has resulted in creating and retaining over 8,400 jobs by leveraging $4.6 million of investment into $12.4 million in incentives partnering with the State and County. My plan is to continue to invest in job creation by funding our Economic Incentive Program and continue to work collaboratively with FAU, the Research Park and Tech Runway to provide holistic services to support small business development and growth in our City. We must continue to manage our growth and invest in our world-class municipal services and infrastructure to maintain our property values and support our educational institutions including our A-rated K-12 schools.
    • Maintain a Safe and Secure Community- My plan for implementing this priority is to continue to support our first responders through increased staffing and state-of-the-art equipment. The FY 2016/17 budget included 14 new Police officers and 16 new Firefighters. We are currently investing in the latest technology for our communication system to maintain the some of the lowest response times in the region. The City is partnering with many commercial property owners to develop an integrated City-wide video surveillance sharing to keep our residents and visitors safe and secure. Providing a safe and secure community is the most important service we can provide our residents.
    • Improve quality of life by investing in parks and open space and mobility infrastructure – Boca Raton is well-know for our extensive recreation facilities. We partner with the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District to provide our residents with 46 parks with a total of 1,649 acres of recreation, open space and trails which had 4,228,541 recreation users last year. The City Council’s policy agenda priorities for this year includes investing in Hillsboro El Rio Park, Lake Wyman Park, Red Reef Park and DeHoernle Park. The Comprehensive Waterfront Master Plan is currently underway to inventory and evaluate all of our waterfront publically owned lands in a effort to make them more accessible to the public for recreation/ecotourism. The CRA is currently updating the Open Space Policy to provide open space that is more meaningful to the public realm. The City Council has worked cooperatively with the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District  to jointly move forward with beach renourishment, Phase II of deHoernle Park which includes ball fields, field house and restrooms for the Mizner Bark, dog park and to support them in their acquisition of Ocean Breeze Golf Course. Investing in our infrastructure to maintain mobility is paramount to our quality of life. In my role as Chair of the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization I have brought $110 million dollars of vital transportation improvements to Boca Raton from 2011 to 2016 with an additional $82 million dollars programmed for 2017-2021. I have initiated several strategic transportation improvements coming forward to address congestion that I will elaborate on in question #11. Our traffic challenges are related to our job growth. Boca Raton has become an employment center. Our Tri-Rail station is the busiest station on the entire system. In the am peak hour thousands of people arrive to work. On our roadways, the traffic flow is from the unincorporated Boca Raton to the west and from Broward County to the south in the am and back to those areas in the pm. This is what led the City Council to move forward with Planned Mobility Districts.  In these areas, limited residential and retail have been incorporated adjacent to employment centers to remove and reduce trips on the roadway network. Boca Raton is the only large City in Palm Beach County that operates and maintains our traffic signal system. We have a traffic control center that has professional staff watching and changing signal timing real time to move traffic. Boca Raton has invested in adaptive traffic signals, the smartest and most advanced technology, and works with FAU to identify solutions in a collaborative manner. The 30,000 students and staff at the University has had a major impact on our congestion. There are solutions and my partnerships have enabled my success in bringing resources and benefits to our community.
  1. What is your vision for the City? My vision for Boca Raton is a financially sound city, that provides outstanding municipal services, has strong partnerships with the community, has a vibrant business community which includes world-class healthcare, quality educational institutions, excellent recreation amenities and housing types attractive to our diverse residents, that is safe and secure and has ease of mobility.
  2. What are your plans for ongoing traffic in the city? As I stated in a previous question, I have secured $110,045,028 in funding for transportation improvements in Boca Raton from FY11-16 with the Spanish River/FAU Interchange being the most significant transportation investment in the City’s history. The new interchange will allow FAU’s traffic to exit I-95 and directly enter the campus on Spanish River Boulevard. The traffic congestion city-wide will be significantly relieved when this opens this Summer. Glades Road, Palmetto Park Road, N.W. 12th Avenue and Yamato Road will all benefit from this new improvement. Also, I-95 through Boca Raton is adding lanes so that there will be a 5 through lanes plus auxiliary lanes. Much of the north/south traffic on Military, Poweline/Jog and Dixie will return to I-95 upon the completion of the improvements lessening the traffic congestion on those roadways. $4.4 million is being spent City-wide on traffic control devices providing state-of-the-art technology to move traffic. Over $82 million in funding has been programmed from FY 17-21 which includes the widening of  Dixie Highway from Yamato to Delray, trolleys for Downtown, multiple shared-use paths/trails and intersection improvements. I have initiated three new projects, which are in the planning stage, to improve Downtown mobility include creating a by-pass for Palmetto Park Road on N.E./N.W. 2nd Street from Mizner Boulevard to N.W 4th Avenue; implementing a “Complete Streets” project by making Federal Highway northbound and Dixie Highway southbound through the Downtown only. This will double the capacity and allow for wide tree-lined sidewalks and buffered bike lanes. And to address the congestion at Camino Real/Camino Gardens Boulevard/S.W. 2nd Street, a large traffic circle has been designed to keep traffic flowing through that challenging intersection. The City is investing to optimize the performance of our existing infrastructure using real-time active traffic management. The Planned Mobility Districts will remove and reduce trips by placing limited residential and retail in close proximity to employment centers and transit hubs.
  3. What are your thoughts on Midtown? The City designated the Midtown area as a PMD (Planned Mobility District) as is The Park at Broken Sound adding limited residential and retail near employment centers and transit hubs and providing better connectivity throughout the district. Midtown is attempting to take this further by proposing a TOD (Transit Oriented Development) which has higher density. I do not support the proposed Midtown plan as presented. There are many, many questions that must be answered: How many units? Where will they be located? What types of units? What are solutions for the traffic congestion on Military Trail currently? Where will the Tri-Rail station actually be located? Will there be a circulator? Who will pay for this? Why should we allow more density? What is the benefit to our community? Why should the City allow the adjacent neighborhoods to be adversely impacted? The proposal went to Planning and Zoning so that a Public Hearing could be held and the residents could be heard. A Town Hall meeting was hosted by the developer where many residents expressed their concerns. I have spoken to many of the neighbors and volunteered to host a series of meetings with the residents and City Planning staff to discuss these issues.
  4. What are your thoughts on compensation for elected officials? I supported putting Mayor/Council compensation increases on the ballot so that residents could be heard. Boca Raton is a wonderful vibrant community that has many events that we are invited to and our attendance is valued and greatly appreciated. Boca Raton’s elected officials are very busy. I average 6 events/meetings each day. Many of us serve on other boards. I visit businesses, schools, places of worship FAU, Lynn University and PBSC. I meet with residents, students, stakeholders and dignitaries. I meet with our elected-officials partners at the Federal, State and County levels as well as our School Board, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District and Boca Raton Airport Authority. We cut a lot of ribbons for new businesses in our community, walks benefitting our not-for-profits and the City hosts three signature events – Boca Raton Bowl, Allianz Championship and Festival of the Arts. The best part of being a servant-leader is celebrating that which makes Boca Raton so special. The increased compensation allows more people to serve.
  5. What do you think is best for the City: single member districts or at-large? I do not support single member districts. We are one united and diverse community and our elected officials represent and serve all.
  6. What are your views on annexation? I do not support further annexation at this time. We are adding additional residents through infill redevelopment and there is no need to annex any further. There is no value in being the largest city in Palm Beach County. We pride ourselves on having world-class municipal services that could be diminished with a greater population.
  7. What are your thoughts on developments in the Downtown? The Downtown plan that allows for 100’ buildings and millions of square feet of building area was approved over 20 years ago by the voters. During the real estate recession, nothing was built for over 6 years. Then there were 6 projects at once which was overwhelming. The Downtown has become very vibrant and successful. With that success comes traffic and parking issues. The City has been studying the traffic issues and I previously outlined projects that are ongoing and on the horizon. One of the Council’s priorities is both short-term and long-term parking solutions. We have inventoried the available public parking. I have asked that we inventory the private parking as well and identify those spaces that are currently underutilized and work collaboratively before we spend millions on garages. The Bank of America parking garage has hundreds of spaces that are unused after 5pm when the peak parking demand is. This is a common sense and timely solution to partner with the private sector in this manner.
  8. Is there anything the City Council is doing wrong? If so, what would you do to fix it? I don’t believe we are doing anything wrong, but I do believe we could do a better job of hearing from and connecting with our residents. It was a Council priority to create a Communications Office and we did. This past year, Chrissy Gibson has done a wonderful job providing and pushing out information on all platforms. The City just launched a new more resident-friendly website. We must continue to utilize technology to connect with our community. Our City staff has changed their culture to a more customer service culture. We are here to serve the residents and that must be communicated in our words and actions.

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