Written by Miami Today on May 20, 2010
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WATSON WAIT: Though Miami commissioners in March approved general business terms for an extension on the long-planned luxury project slated for Watson Island, a vote on final agreements continues to be delayed. A planned May 13 vote has been pushed to June 24 to allow negotiations between the city and would-be developer Flagstone Property Group to continue. The terms last on the table would essentially allow more than 18 years of wiggle room to build the planned marina, hotel and retail project, with deadlines and payments throughout.
WORKFORCE IN THE WORKS: The City of Miami plans to create its own employment agency under South Florida Workforce, the state-chartered program that covers the region. The city is applying for $3 million "to establish our own workforce agency completely funded by money from South Florida Workforce," Mayor Tomás Regalado told commissioners last week. The plan, he said, is for the city to manage at least two offices — fully funded by grants — "whose mission would be to prioritize finding jobs for Miami residents."
CONCERNS: Some commissioners had concerns in light of media criticism of the regional workforce program, which has reportedly spent money with little impact. "I have this negative view, candidly, straight from the Miami Herald, of South Florida Workforce," Commission Chair Marc Sarnoff said, adding also that the agency committed to provide workers for city parks but didn’t, leaving the city to spend an unplanned $1.2 million to cover costs. Mayor Regalado said Miami having its own program would add oversight and that the plan is to get the grant money upfront. "We will not start any operation until we have secured the funding."
BRANCH OUT: Commission Vice Chair Frank Carollo, a past chair of South Florida Workforce, agreed with Mr. Sarnoff and suggested the city break off into an independent workforce agency, something that would need a state OK. "With this structure that we’re thinking… we will still be under of South Florida Workforce, and there are other ways around it," he said, asking that the city begin lobbying for permission to break away and receive funding directly. Mr. Sarnoff agreed. "They’re going to fight us on creating our own board," Mr. Regalado said. But "we can try."