Written by Miami Today on June 15, 2000
FYI Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
KEY TO DINNER KEY: Miami commissioners
by emergency ordinance hired Fernando Z. Gatell to survey properties
in the Dinner Key area. Two projects — the Grove Harbor Marina
& Caribbean Market Place and redevelopment of the Coconut Grove
Convention Center — are stalled until the city negotiates a
lease with the state for submerged lands that are outside the city’s
control. Officials said the survey, to cost up to $22,765, was needed
to complete those negotiations. Emergency action was used because
the city got just two bids.
LIMITS ON CITY LIMITS: Although
Miami commissioners last year created a jurisdictional boundaries
committee to look at expanding city limits by annexing unincorporated
areas, Commissioner Arthur Teele said last week he wants to cancel
a board he says faces a hopeless task. With a three millage point
difference between city and county property taxes, he said, the
city needs to first focus on lowering taxes and fees before it can
hope to attract new residents.
JUST FINE: The Florida Department
of Environmental Protection has let Miami off the hook for $21,000
in fines for dredging without a valid permit. In return, the city
has agreed to an in-kind penalty project, expediting $400,000 for
Wagner Creek dredging that City Manager Carlos Gimenez said the
city already has funded.
OVERTOWN CENTER: Businessman
Martin Margulies, who pledged about $2 million for a youth recreation
center in Overtown, has created a nonprofit, the Overtown Youth
Center, to build and operate a $2.7 million center in Gibson Park.
Miami commissioners last week approved a management agreement with
the entity, which must raise added money to operate the 17,000-square-foot
center to include educational and sports activities.
FIND IT YOURSELF: Miami
plans to install a computerized system that would make it easier
for citizens to research city resolutions and ordinances and retrieve
city agendas and other documents, said City Clerk Walter Foeman.
Commissioners last week agreed to seek competitive bids to purchase
Legistar, an information tracking system officials say would reduce
paperwork and staff time to generate agendas and documents.
Due to the mushrooming number of computers now working on the City
of Miami’s network, commissioners agreed last week to spend $26,500
on trouble-shooting equipment and software. Over the past year,
as the city upgraded computer systems, the number of computers in
use doubled while the number of computer sites grew from three to
40, officials say.
GRANT ALLOCATIONS: Consulting
firm DMG-Maximus was awarded a $27,500 City of Miami contract, renewable
for two more years, to develop a cost allocation plan. The firm
will identify hidden costs to the city as it administers federal
grant programs. The city will use the information to seek reimbursement
from the federal government.
CITY CARS: Miami’s Department
of Community Development will spend up to $437,597 to buy 27 Ford
Taurus cars from Gus Machado Ford. The cars, bought with grant funds
from the US Department of Housing, are used for on-site inspections
and other tasks related to managing federal grants.
GRANT FUNDING: Miami got $372,792
in state grants last week to fund programs for the developmentally
disabled. The city provides transportation and other services to
91 disabled adults. Miami also received $46,453 in county grants
to improve access for the disabled at city parks.
DEFICIT ALERT: Although Miami
officials project a $6.4 million budget surplus for 2000, the city
could face a $10 million deficit by 2005 if spending continues to
outpace revenues, said Bertha Henry, assistant city manager of finance
and administration. City revenues, she said, are growing at an average
2.3% per year while expenditures are growing at 3.1% due to skyrocketing
health insurance and pension costs. Pension costs, at more than
$13 million this year, may top $16 million next year.
LENNAR GROWS: Lennar Corp. has
become the nation’s largest home builder with the $1.2 billion acquisition
of Houston-based US Home, based on last year’s combined revenue
of $4.6 billion. Brian Bilzin, John Kuhn and Monalee Zarapkar of
Bilzin Sumberg et al. and David McCain, Lennar’s general counsel,
represented Lennar in the acquisition. Chicago-based Bank One was
lead lender. Lennar CEO Stuart Miller is profiled on page 4.
RENEWED HEALTH LEASE: Neighborhood
Health Partnership, an HMO, renewed its 70,984-square-foot lease
at Airport Corporate Center, 7600 Corporate Center Drive. In the
transaction, Bert Sanders of Julien J. Studley Inc. represented
the tenant while Randy J. Olen and Tony Puente of Insignia-ESG represented
CITIBANK LEASE: Citibank leased
5,962 square feet for 60 months at Esso InterAmerica Building, 396
Alhambra Circle. Codina’s Marshall Philpitt and Dean Miller represented
both landlord and tenant in the deal.
BOMA CLASSES: The local chapter
of Building Owners & Managers Association is sponsoring courses
leasing to the Real Property Administrator and Facilities Management
Administrator designations beginning June 16. Classes are held from
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays-Sundays at BellSouth, 600 NW 79th Ave. Details:
STILL RACHLIN: The accounting
and business consulting firm Rachlin Cohen & Holtz announced a merger
with another North Miami-based firm, Thaw Gopman & Associates, retaining
the name Rachlin Cohen & Holtz. Thaw Gopman, which has 20 members,
was founded in 1963.
ARGENTINE MISSION: The Florida
Foreign Trade Association and the Trade Section of the Consulate
of the Argentine Republic are sponsoring an incoming trade mission
delegation from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 20 & 21 in the McLamore Executive
Education Center at UM’s business school. Representatives will be
available for business appointments from Giorgio Beneti, Sidal,
Bergomi, Therabel Pharma, Liptech, Lomas, Tomografia de Hormigon
Armado and M.V. Vajillas. Call for appointments. Details: (305)
NEW TALLAHASSEE TEAM: Gov. Jeb
Bush named J. Antonio Villamil chairman of a newly formed 11-member
Council of Economic Advisors. Mr. Villamil is former director of
the Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development and his replacement,
Pamela Dana, will serve as an ex officio member. Also named to the
council from Miami are Anthony T. Bryan, senior research associate
at the University of Miami; Manuel Lasaga, president of Analysis
Inc. StratInfo; and Stephen O. Morrel, professor of economics &
finance at Barry University. The council is charged with studying
the impact of local, national and global economic forces in the
ASTHMA CENTER: The American
Lung Association of South Florida announced a $500,000 grant to
fund an Asthma Clinical Research Center at the University of Miami
School of Medicine for five years. The center, placed under the
direction of Dr. Adam Warner, becomes part of a network in the US
focused on identifying researchers as well as treating patients.
CITY HIRES: City Manager Carlos
Gimenez named William W. Bryson chief for the more than 600-member
City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue and John Jackson director
of public works. Chief Bryson, a 25-year department veteran, had
been deputy fire chief. Hired by the department in 1971 he become
lieutenant in ’81, a captain in ’84 and a district chief in ’90.
He is also a past president of the Miami Association of Firefighters.
Mr. Jackson had been the department’s acting director and was assistant
director for 11 years before that.