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Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic

0024Diane Veltri Bendekovic was elected Mayor of the City of Plantation in March 2011. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with “Team Plantation” – her term for the collective group of City employees, elected officials, volunteers, businesses and residents – to sustain and maintain the City of Plantation.

Diane began her public service in 2001. As a City Council member, she seized every opportunity to promote the City of Plantation and to stay in touch with the residents through her presence at numerous homeowners’ association meetings, a practice that continues today.

As a 34-year educator with the Broward County Public School System, Mayor Bendekovic is keenly aware of the importance local schools play in our community and the connections they create between students and their parents.  Her dedication to the youth of Plantation is exemplified through her support of the Plantation Athletic League (PAL). Whenever possible, she attends I-Zones meetings, and her efforts have been instrumental in securing several magnet programs in both South Plantation and Plantation I-Zones.

Mayor Bendekovic strives to maintain quality residential services, and world class recreational facilities and programs for the Plantation community, while remaining fiscally responsible. Her relationship with the business community and the Greater Plantation Chamber of Commerce supports and promotes the development of an economically prosperous City.  One recent example:  the Junior Orange Bowl Classic International Tennis Tournament was moved to Plantation’s Veltri Tennis Center after over 60 years in Miami, and brings over $3 million in economic impact to local businesses, restaurants, hotels and retail establishments.

As Mayor, she has implemented numerous budget reductions during the past 3½ years in order to cut millions from the annual budget, including wage freezes and furloughs, eliminating the federal lobbyist, privatization, bond refinance, renegotiating the solid wastes franchise agreement, implementing a franchise agreement with Sun Bergeron for recycling services, finalizing negotiations with the FOP and exploring private partnerships to achieve even greater efficiencies in internal operations. She has reorganized, restructured or consolidated several departments by eliminating positions, removing redundancies and creating efficiencies in order to enhance productivity and improve customer service.  Reorganizations have taken place over the last several years in Administration, Finance, Utilities, Planning & Zoning, City Clerk and Design & Construction departments.

Additionally, under her leadership, the City realized new sources of revenue – some ongoing, and some one-time revenues – that helped offset expenditures.  They include increased charges for services performed by the City, a stormwater assessment, public safety impact fees and employee contributions for healthcare benefits.  During her tenure, the City’s property values increased three consecutive years, by 14.8% cumulatively.  However, due to increased cost of doing business, and increased health care premiums and pension costs, Mayor Bendekovic recommended, and City Council approved, millage increases totaling 1.2358 mils.  It was a difficult decision, but one that had to be made in order to maintain the City’s long term sustainability.

Together, expenditure reductions and revenue increases combined to decrease the budget deficit by over $12 million. After the books closed on the 2014 budget and several one-time revenue sources were taken into account, the City was able to fund capital and bolster the City’s unassigned reserves, or “rainy day” funds.

Diane Veltri Bendekovic grew up in Plantation, and she and her husband, Tom Bendekovic, Jr., a retired Captain of the Plantation Police Department, raised their family here.  They have two sons, Richard and Ron, and are blessed with five grandchildren: Joseph, Andrea Sofia, Colette, and twin grandsons, Kevin and Richard.

Mrs. Bendekovic’s strong ties and a commitment to present-day Plantation and its traditions stem from her history growing up as part of one of Planation’s Pioneer families, as a parent raising her own children here, as an educator to many of Plantations’ students, as a Councilwoman, and now as Mayor.  Her vision of Plantation is one that sustains and maintains Plantation’s hometown lifestyle, and will continue to move Plantation forward, but always with an eye to its past.

 

 

 

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