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Crosswalks At Carver and Ponce Middle
Brought up during the Mayor’s Comments, the Commission discussed the need of crosswalks at key locations near George Washington Carver Elementary and Middle School, as well as Ponce Middle School. The Commission directed staff to explore how to address this issue and find a resolution to ensure the safety of students and residents crossing the streets.
Mayor’s Strategic Plan
The Commission voted unanimously to move forward working with Mayor’s Strategic Plan. The plan has been developed over the past month by Mayor Vince Lago, with collaboration of residents and members of the Commission, prioritizing: transparency, accountability, outreach, quality of life improvements, business, culture, environmental stewardship, appreciation for history, safety and health, and customer service. The Commission will be taking up the strategic plan. Click here to read the plan.
350 Greco Avenue Sale
The controversial sale of the surface parking lot at 350 Greco Avenue to a company partially owned by former Vice Mayor Frank C. Quesada, hit a major roadblock. Mayor Vince Lago stood up for residents and said he would vote against the sale as it stood, pushing for the project to go to an ITB (Invitation to Bid).
Staff voiced their concerns that if this deal was not approved by the Commission by June 30th, the deal contract would be voided. The Commission instructed staff to speak with the buyer asking them to hold their offer while the City performed an expedited 30-day ITB and bring it back up at the end of the Commission meeting.
The proposal is to hold a 30-day ITB and if no other buyers present themselves, the City would then proceed with this buyer. The ITB would include a price floor of $3,525,000 and all the conditions the current JRFQ Holdings has agreed to.
When the item came back up, staff stated that they had spoken with the buyer’s attorneys, who said the June 30th deadline was a hard deadline and they would not grant the City an extension. The Commission instructed the manager to speak with the buyers he has been negotiating with, not the attorneys, and left the option for a special meeting prior to the June 30th deadline, to take any necessary votes, if the need presented itself.
Under-grounding of Utilities
The City will begin the process of holding community workshops to discuss the potential under-grounding of utilities in the City. The process as discussed would take at least 10 years and come at a cost of over $250 million.
The Commission has asked staff to engage in conversations with Miami-Dade County to discuss the county’s interest in the potential annexation of High Pines and Ponce Davis. The measure had the support from residents when it was last discussed by Miami-Dade County, but the County pulled the issue before it went to a vote of the Board of County Commissioners.
A measure to encourage more resident participation, has finally been passed by the Commission. The Commission voted to hold one meeting a month at 4:00PM with public comments scheduled for 5:00PM and issues of great importance, such as zoning changes, to begin at 6:00PM. The measure, previously proposed by Mayor Lago and now by Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, would begin with the next Commission meeting. The change would only apply to one of the two monthly meetings, keeping the other meeting at 9:00AM.
Lawsuit Against The Governor
The City Commission voted to approve the City Attorney continue the legal appeal against the Governor, over the state’s decision regarding local firearms bans. The City Attorney was authorized to spend $3,000 to continue the appeal, but must come to the Commission for any additional funds needed. The City has already spent over $124,000 on this lawsuit, while other municipalities who hired joint counsel only spent about $5,000 each. The City Attorney claims the City had to hire its own counsel as they themselves had been threatened. However, at the meeting she said the appeal could possibly be handled by joint counsel.
Mayor Lago was seeking a civility pledge for members of the Commission and City staff. The matter has been deferred, due to concerns from Vice Mayor Mena and Commissioner Jorge L. Fors, Jr. regarding the potential Human Resources implications the measure could bring. Fors was ready to vote for the measure, but wanted HR to review implications of the amendment proposed by Anderson at the meeting, to include all complaints on employee files in perpetuity.