Written by Miami Today on May 23, 2013
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HEALTHY SAVINGS: Miami-Dade County will go to the market this year soliciting quotes on health insurance for its employees, Jennifer Moon, director of the county’s Office of Management and Budget, told Commissioner Dennis Moss when he asked about the insurance at a Finance Committee last week. But the county, which self-insures for health coverage, might not be buying. She told Mr. Moss the saving has been $50 million annually by insuring internally.
BOND DEBT COSTS RISE: Taxes to pay debt service on Miami-Dade bonds will rise this year, Jennifer Moon, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told the county’s Finance Committee, and the county will add general obligation bond spending, rising from about $200 million a year each of the past two years to $250 million. Some of the added spending, she told Commissioner Sally Heyman, will be for projects that also increase operating budget costs, including a new Northeast Library. In recent years, Ms. Moon said, the county had shied away from capital projects that also cost the county money to operate.
TAX TAKES: The flow of property tax money to county hall this year is to become clearer by June 1, when new Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera is to release his preliminary appraisals figures as required by state law. Municipalities will also use the information in budget preparations.
BIG DEBT, BIG ECONOMY: Miami-Dade owes $27.1 billion in debt payments due through 2049, Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez told the county’s finance committee last week, based on bond borrowing of $13.8 billion. But those figures alone can be misleading, he said, because about $7 billion of the debt – more than half – was issued to improve Miami International Airport, and airlines rather than taxpayers pay those debts through landing fees that can be raised to pay bondholders. By way of perspective, he said the State of Florida’s bond borrowing stands at $43 billion, and if Miami-Dade were a nation its gross domestic product would rank 60th largest of the 195 nations.
GAS GAUGE: Miami gasoline prices remained flat last week and at $3.52 average per gallon on Sunday were 11.9 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy.com. While Miami gasoline prices fell an average of 2.5 cents per gallon in the past month, the company said, averages nationally rose 16.6 cents per gallon.