Written by Miami Today on November 12, 2009
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CONTRACT CUTS: Miami-Dade County plans to ask its lobbyists during these tough fiscal times to "share in the cuts being made to other areas within the county budget," according to legislation Commissioner Rebeca Sosa sponsored. The commission agreed last week to request that the county’s state contract lobbyists, including subcontractors and those hired through work orders, take a 5% cut in their remaining contracts and in any renewals.
DADE ON BOARD: As proponents push for a dedicated state revenue stream for South Florida’s commuter rail system, Miami-Dade commissioners are also jumping aboard the Tri-Rail train. They voted last week to urge the legislature to approve a new $2 rental car surcharge or other set funding source. Federal leaders have said if the state doesn’t support its regional transit systems, Florida can forget about funding for high-speed rail. "I certainly hope that the state does something with this issue," Commission Chair Dennis Moss said. "It’s extremely important that Tri-Rail get funding if we’re going to be competitive at all in reference to high-speed rail…"
REDEVELOPMENT RESERVATIONS: Miami-Dade commissioners last week declared Watson Island and Bicentennial Park officially blighted, a step toward extending the City of Miami’s Omni Community Redevelopment Agency to include the areas. Some are protesting. "The community redevelopment areas [are] really taking a lot of money away in a time when we need it," Commissioner Joe Martinez said. The agencies make money by capping property values within their bounds and collecting the tax increment generated above the cap. Mr. Martinez has made the point several times recently, as has Carlos Gimenez, who sponsored a measure hoping to see unused money returned to the county during the downturn.
SET IN STONE: The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is giving Miamians the chance to have their names etched in the stone façades in the Ziff Opera House and the Knight Concert Hall. Re-opening the wall will "give founding donors an opportunity to make new gifts and increase their level on the donor wall," said Suzanna Valdez, the center’s vice president for advancement. The program will also "allow new donors to participate in the initiative" and have their name on the permanent structure. The campaign ends in June 2010. To qualify, gift levels range from $10,000 to $10 million.