Written by Miami Today on September 10, 2009
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PERMIT PARDON: With the economy still dragging, and the construction industry still one of the victims worst off, Miami-Dade County plans to give builders a break. Commissioners in January agreed builders whose permits were set to expire June 1, 2009, or before could seek temporary stop-work orders to allow sites remain dormant — but secured — without the worry of having a permit revoked, so long as the builder could demonstrate "economic hardship." The idea now is to expand that to include permits that expire on or before Dec. 31 so long as construction work has been suspended because of economic issues. The new version of the law would also allow stop-work orders to be extended past the original six-month expiration so long as the new end date is on or before June 30, 2010. The county’s Government Operations Committee OK’d the proposal with no discussion Tuesday. The full commission is to consider it Oct. 6.
MOUNT SINAI UPTICK: Bonds that a Miami Beach authority issued on behalf of Mount Sinai Medical Center in 1998, 2001 and 2004 got an outlook uptick from Fitch Ratings on Friday, rising from negative to stable while remaining rated at BB+ — top grade for speculative as opposed to investment-grade bonds. The firm cited improve operating results that showed operating loss through June 30 of $5.4 million, compared to an $8.4 million loss in 2008’s first half. The 955-bed facility had an operating loss of $15.7 million for all of 2008 on total operating revenue of $487 million, Fitch says. As a positive sign, Fitch notes additional doctors in key service lines, a new chief of cardiac surgery in December followed by a new cardiology head in January.
CHARITABLE BOOST HELPS: Also bolstering Mount Sinai’s position, Fitch says, is strong community support. The Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation’s pledge revenues doubled year over year to $10.5 million, with an added $8.7 million raised through June this year.
REALTY CAVEAT: Mount Sinai has been trying to sell its neighboring Miami Heart Institute on Miami Beach since 2007 but has been stymied by the commercial realty downturn, Fitch Ratings notes. Miami Heart Institute, Fitch says, "carries $108 million in debt and sizable yearly carrying costs," a material factor in Mount Sinai’s financial standing.
NEW TOP DONOR: Kim Bentley, director of corporate philanthropy at JM Family Enterprises, succeeds Ann Henderson of Rodel Foundation as board chair of the Donors Forum of South Florida, a non-profit, tri-county group that helps its 115 member funders maximize their giving’s impact.