Written by Miami Today on January 21, 2010
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PARROT PROPERTY PARDON: Jungle Island is in line for a tax break from Miami-Dade. Because the Watson Island theme park is in what’s designated an economically depressed "enterprise zone," it’s eligible for an exemption of "100 percent of the assessed value of all improvements to real property and/or 100 percent of the assessed value of all improvements to tangible personal property," documents say. Should commissioners grant it, the county would lose — and Jungle Island would save — $396,800. The total covers five years beginning in fiscal 2007. The theme park applied in 2004, but it wasn’t processed sooner "because property taxes were not current," a county memo says. They are now. To get the break, Jungle Island would pay a $50 application fee and 10% of the first year’s exemption. Commissioners are to vote today (1/21).
HORSING AROUND: After the state rejected Miami-Dade’s bid for a quarter-horse racing permit — pre-cursor to the license needed to install slot machines at Miami International Airport — commissioners are to publicly discuss the issue today (1/21). The question is whether to appeal and keep pursuing racing and slots. With state clearance, races would be held off site only because they’re required in order to secure slots. Las Vegas-style machines would go in the airport to generate non-aeronautical revenue because the Aviation Department faces skyrocketing future expenses.
MONITORING MUSEUMS: The Miami art and science museums, both planning new downtown facilities, may need to start readying their books. Miami-Dade commissioners are to vote today (1/21) whether to require from each a report on construction status, the amount of county bond money disbursed to each, the amount of bond money under contract with each, the projected timeframe for contracting remaining bond dollars, the "due diligence performed" to verify each museum can fund the balance of construction costs and future operating costs, and county verification of the ratio of cash on hand vs. pledges to fund completion. Museum officials have said they’d happily comply.
PRECISION BUILDING: Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of the US Southern Command, chose a post-holiday reception for diplomats and dignitaries to announce the ribbon-cutting for SouthCom’s new 630,000-square-foot, $237 million headquarters on 55 acres right beside the old Doral headquarters for the 1,200-person joint command. With military planning and precision, on Jan. 9 he announced a Dec. 17 opening for the long-awaited headquarters for one of 10 US unified combat commands.
CORRECTION: An outside company the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s Office hired is to help the office inspect all properties at least once every five years as required by state law and not to inspect only foreclosed properties as reported last week.