FYI Miami: June 12, 2014
Written by Miami Today on June 11, 2014
FLAGLER ON TRACK: The Flagler Streetscape is still on track as Miami city officials await the final funding piece. Miami-Dade commissioners have yet to decide on their share. The plan calls for up to $13 million to modernize the street and sidewalks to spur economic development. City commissioners in March approved the spending and special tax assessment, and formalized the assessment roll after a hearing last month. City officials had hoped to have all the financing by May 27 but seem to have more “wiggle room” than anticipated, said Javier Betancourt, Downtown Development Authority deputy director. The one-time assessment on property along Flagler will raise $1 million. That revenue would be combined with $6 million from city and $6 million from county. “We’re just waiting now for the county’s share. Mayor [Carlos] Gimenez is recommending a county match of up to $6 million, but it still needs to go before the county commission for approval,” said Mr. Betancourt. “We believe that will happen in July.” The rebuilt street and wider sidewalks would encourage cafes and other uses. A railroad motif is to showcase rail pioneer Henry Flagler’s impact on the city.
MORE DIGGING: The Miami-Dade Commission Auditor’s office could be tasked with background research of applicants seeking nominations and appointments to county trusts or boards. The Finance Committee gave preliminary approval to the resolution Tuesday and the full commission is to get final say July 1. Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa sponsored the item. The auditor’s office is to provide its findings before the full commission votes on a nomination or appointment. If approved, the task would add about 216 searches to the office’s workload, staff said. The resolution, however, doesn’t outline what’s included in the background research and whether that constitutes a background check. In late May, the commission also charged the commission auditor with background checks of selection-committee members who review competitive contract applications. The office is to make sure there isn’t financial or familial relationship between selection-committee members and bidders. The auditor’s office isn’t under the purview of the mayor and reports directly to the commission.
A SPLASH: Andrew Hertz, president and general manager of the Miami Seaquarium, will serve as chairman of the Visit Florida board of directors for the upcoming 2014-2015 year. Visit Florida is the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, a not-for-profit corporation created by the Legislature in 1996. In 2013, 94.7 million visitors entered the state.