Written by Miami Today on May 6, 2010
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SEA CHANGE: Miami and Miami River industry players are chugging toward a compromise over city river policy after years of contention. Past city leaders long pushed for what they called more development flexibility. Others viewed it as a bid for riverfront residences over marine industry operations. Mayor Tomás Regalado has pressed to reverse course, but in late March river players said the administration’s proposed compromise wasn’t compromise enough. Now, under the mayor’s mediation, the city and industry are "getting close" to a solution, said Andrew Dickman, the attorney representing the industry. Agreed Mayor Regalado, "I think we are almost there."
BUDGET BUSTERS: Miami’s budget advisory committee of outside experts has been meeting weekly to talk city finances. "Primarily, what we’ve been doing to date is gathering information," said James Cassel, president of financial advisory firm J. Cassel & Co. But "I don’t think it will last that long. I think it’s a matter of weeks" before moving on from the homework phase to brainstorming. The city is facing a budget gap as large as $87 million next year. "I think you’re going to see… [in] not a much longer period of time recommendations with specificity for things that are going to need to be done," Mr. Cassel said. "I think the intent is to start giving ideas sooner rather than later."
STILL STRONG: It’s unclear whether Miami-Dade commissioners will ask voters to reverse the strong mayor system they approved in 2007. Lawmakers in mid-April discussed adding a ballot question in August that would offer the option of returning executive authority to the commission, or potentially propose a new form of government. They talked again Tuesday evening but reached no conclusion, with several commissioners absent by the end of two days of meetings. Chair Dennis Moss left the door open for proposals another day "when we got 13 [commissioners] here, when everybody’s kind of fresh and we can rehash the issue." Barbara Jordan promised one.
MANAGER MOOT?: Commissioner Carlos Gimenez said when that time comes he’d like to see a draft of a charter question "about the elimination of the position of county manager." Some have questioned the need for an administrative manager when the strong mayor now has the power to do the job. "We’re paying two salaries to do the same thing," he said last month.