Written by Miami Today on October 22, 2009
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MINING FOR MONEY: Miami-Dade is looking to enter the mining business. Commissioners voted at an Airport and Seaport Committee meeting last week to allow Miami-Dade Aviation to negotiate an agreement with Collier Resources Co. and any others who hold mineral rights to land at Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport, which the county owns and operates. Collier Resources owns about 70% of the mineral rights there. An agreement would clear the county for petroleum and mineral exploration and production. The county is looking to generate revenue from exploring and producing oil and gas. Projections show Miami-Dade could earn up to $7 million annually over 20 years, plus up to $5 million over the next decade through related endeavors. The full commission is to consider the legislation Nov. 3, and will also have final approval of any agreements that result.
PAY CUTS, STRIKE TWO: Cutting pay for Miami-Dade employees who aren’t covered by unions ahead of settling union contracts seems to be out of the question for county commissioners. They shot down Tuesday a second attempt by Carlos Gimenez to scale back pay at the high end of the spectrum. He proposed cutting 15.5% for non-union employees getting more than $250,000, 10.5% for those making $150,000 to $250,000, and 8% for those making $100,000 to $150,000. Commissioners killed the proposal with no discussion, customary for initial votes. Last time he tried 15%, 10% and 7.5% cuts, but that measure saw the same fate.
BOUNDARIES BOUNDARY: It looks like municipal lines as they’re drawn today should stay put for a while. Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday gave initial approval to a measure that would halt municipal boundary changes until the economy recovers and the commission evaluates the impact on unincorporated areas. Annexations can diminish the county’s ability to provide services, says the legislation, sponsored by Barbara Jordan and co-sponsored by Natacha Seijas. The county serves — and collects taxes from — unincorporated areas. When cities grow to encompass those, it means a smaller service area for the county, and also less revenue coming in. The county’s Budget, Planning and Sustainability Committee is to consider the measure Dec. 8.
COLLABORATION: A regional fare card for the Tri-Rail system and Miami-Dade Transit services is in motion after the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Board, which runs Tri-Rail, last week voted to create one. Next, the county must vote to get on board. Miami-Dade just introduced an EasyCard for transit services here.