It's been nearly a year since the city's landmark water tower overlooking Interstate 95 was adorned with $86,000 digital clock and temperature displays — and they still don't work.
The city has withheld final payment of $77,000 and is prepared to give the manufacturer one last chance to fix the problem, but at least one commissioner thinks it's time to give up on any hopes of the LED features ever working.
"It was very well intentioned and I know that everyone wanted it to work, but I just don't see it happening," Commissioner Heidi O'Sheehan said at a recent meeting. "In my humble opinion, it's time to give up on that hope and dream and just take the thing off and be done with it."
In a May 11 lighting ceremony, the city debuted the 180-foot tower's new paint job — loggerhead turtles and schools of fish depicted in aqua blues and greens — and digital time and temperature screens.
But ever since, the screens have either displayed incorrect information or — more often than not — stood blank and black.
City Attorney Jeff Sheffel said he will draft a letter on Monday to the clock's manufacturer, Transtech.
"I believe that we are going to allow them one final chance to repair the clock," he said Friday.
After commissioners review the letter, it should go in the mail by mid-week, Sheffel said.
The nearly $680,000 price tag for the 54-year-old tower's refurbishment has been a constant sore spot for city critics.
Keith Sutton, a seven-year Hollywood resident, said it's absurd that the clock still doesn't work and is "systemic of the problems in Hollywood."
"The water tower clock has been a complete fiasco for the city of Hollywood and an embarrassment," Sutton said. "I'm sure that money could have been used for something else more productive and more beneficial."
The tower's completed renovation coincided with the discovery that the city's budget was running a $10.6 million deficit (which increased to a $38 million budget gap by summer's end), leading to salary cuts, layoffs, drastic pension reductions and an 11 percent tax increase.
The tower's restoration, funded by water/sewer rate hikes, originally was slated to cost $590,000 to cover cleaning, scraping and painting. The city is required to resurface the inside and outside of the tower every 10 years.
The city's Community Redevelopment Agency paid about $750 for the painting.
The $86,000 screens were belatedly added to make the landmark more distinct and to promote Hollywood as a beach destination.
The malfunctions have been blamed on a faulty electronic chip and power outages. Transtech could not be reached for comment Friday.
On the upside, the tower was selected as Tank of the Year — by Tnemec paint company — from among 150 submissions. It was featured on the January page of the company's 2012 calendar.
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