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Fort Lauderdale was incorporated as a city in 1911 and designated as the county seat of Broward County, Florida in 1915, when the County was formed. The City of Fort Lauderdale has a population of 172,389 (2013), which has increased 13.1% since 2000, making it the eighth largest city in the State of Florida and the largest city in Broward County. Fort Lauderdale is a principal city of the South Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) comprised of Florida’s three most populous counties (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach). The South Florida MSA has a population of nearly six million (5,929,819 in 2014).

Fort Lauderdale is named after three forts built by the U.S. army during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). The first Fort Lauderdale was built under the command of Major William Lauderdale (1782-1838) at the fork of the New River. The second Fort Lauderdale was built at Tarpon Bend on the New River between the current day Colee Hammock and Rio Vista neighborhoods and the third Fort Lauderdale was built near the current site of the Bahia Mar Marina. Development of the City of Fort Lauderdale did not begin until about 50 years after the three forts were abandoned at the end of the conflict. The area was essentially unpopulated until Frank Stranahan arrived in the 1893 to operate a ferry across the New River and the East Coast Railway completed a route through Fort Lauderdale in 1896. During World War II, Fort Lauderdale became a major U.S. Navy air station and a Coast Guard base was also established at Port Everglades. After the war ended, service members returned to the area leading to a population explosion. The population of Fort Lauderdale increased 230% between 1950 and 1960!

Fort Lauderdale lies on the Atlantic coast 23 miles (37 Km) north of Miami and sits at an altitude of only 9 feet (2.75 m). The City is 38.6 square miles with 34.7 square miles of land and 3.8 square miles of water (about 10%). There are a165 miles of waterways within the city limits.

Fort Lauderdale has a tropical rainforest climate. Average monthly temperatures are always above 65°F (18.3 °C) and average monthly precipitation is about 2.4 inches. The combination of these high temperatures and abundant rainfall leads to the designation of a tropical rainforest climate. The summer wet season is from May through October with average high temperatures of 86-90 °F (30-32 °C) and lows of 71-76 °F (22-24 °C). The highest temperature ever recorded in Fort Lauderdale was 100 °F (38 °C) on June 22, 2009. The winter dry season is from November through April with average high temperatures of 75-82 °F (24-28 °C) and lows of 59-67 °F (15-19 °C).

As of 2010, people of African ancestry accounted for 31% of Fort Lauderdale’s population, people of Hispanic or Latino ancestry accounted for 13.7 of the city’s population, those of Asian ancestry accounted for 1.5% and non-Hispanic whites accounted for 52.5% of the population. 21.3% of the city’s residents are foreign-born. 75.6% of the city’s population speak only English at home while 24.4% speak other first language at home. For every 100 females there are 118 males in Fort Lauderdale, whereas nationally there are 97 males for every 100 females. The medial age for city residents is 42.2. The median household income was $49,818 in 2010.

Fort Lauderdale’s economy is significantly reliant upon tourism. The Greater Fort Lauderdale area hosted 12 million visitors in 2012, including 2.8 million international visitors. The area has 561 hotels with nearly 35,000 guest rooms. The area also has over 4,000 restaurants, 12 shopping malls, 16 museums, 132 nightclubs and 100 marinas housing 45,000 resident yachts. The boating industry employs over 109,000 people. Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is the world’s second busiest cruise port. Major companies based in the area include AutoNation, Citrix Systems, DHL Express, Spirit Airlines and National Beverage Corporation.

Fort Lauderdale has a Commission-Manage form of government. Policy is set by a city commission, which is comprised of five elected members including the Mayor and four district commission members. Administrative functions are performed by the city manager. The mayor and city commissioners serve three-year terms. East Point Towers is currently represented by Commissioner Dean Trantalis, who was elected on March 12, 2013. Commissioner Trantalis defeated former Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom by a vote of 1,543 to 1,525 – a difference of only 18 votes! You could say that Commissioner Trantalis won the election in the East Point Tower precinct, which he carried by a vote of 92 to 42 – a margin of 50 votes. Commissioner Trantalis is an attorney and has been a long-time leader in the Fort Lauderdale gay community. Commissioner Trantalis can be reached by phone at 954-828-5923 or by e-mail at dtrantalis@fortlauderdale.gov. For more information on city government visit www.fortlauderdale.gov.