Written by Miami Today on February 16, 2012
FYI Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition. Complete coverage, including The Insider and all information columns, is available in the e-edition. Sign up now.
ENTERTAINING ZOO: Following Commissioner Dennis Moss’s 2½-year push to create an entertainment district at Zoo Miami, the Miami-Dade County Commission has approved a two-stage solicitation on the property. Mayor Carlos Gimenez is to negotiate agreements with developers "whose proposals provide the greatest financial benefit to the county." While the fiscal impact is "difficult to quantify," county documents state that the development should have a positive impact due to construction expenditures, job creation, rent revenues, and sales and property tax collections. The project would be funded by private investments and State Enterprise Zone incentives, if qualified.
TOURISM TAXES: Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO and President William Talbert III reports that Miami-Dade’s tourist-related tax revenues rose by double-digits last year. For all of 2011, collections of the 2% food and beverage tax totaled $6.1 million, up 17.4% from 2010. Collections of the 3% convention development tax totaled $55.7 million, up 16.6%. And collections of the 2% tourist development tax totaled $18.7 million, up 13%. The taxes are collected from guests at hotels, motels or other rental units in Miami-Dade. The figures do not include collections in Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside.
JUNGLE FUNDS: The City of Miami cashed a check from Jungle Island for about $531,944, which covered interest on a Department of Housing and Urban Development loan and the cost of refinancing the loan that was used to construct the park, said Brian May, lobbyist for the park. The payment comes in the midst of Jungle Island trying to restructure its payment arrangements with the city, expand its lease to as close to 99 years as possible and lift some restrictions that limit development in the island. Any changes to the lease would have to go to the voters. Mr. May said the park has another $1.9 million payment due to the city in August.
ETHICAL LOBBYING: In a move that could cut down on county conflict, Miami-Dade’s Internal Management & Fiscal Responsibility Committee forwarded Tuesday to the full county commission an item that would require lobbyists to complete an ethics course within 60 days of registering with the county. If approved, lobbyists would have to submit a certificate of completion of an ethics course offered by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. Each course would cost $100. The committee passed a similar item for county employees. If approved, current employees would have 180 days to complete an ethics course, while new hires would have 60.
Complete coverage, including The Insider and all information columns, is available in the e-edition. Sign up at www.miamitodaynews.com