FYI Miami: September 12, 2013
AWAITING FEDERAL RULING: United Teachers of Dade is still awaiting federal approval in order to be able to sell the Stanley Axlrod UTD Towers at 1809 Brickell Ave., very close to Biscayne Bay. Any sale of the residential property is subject to approval from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development because the tower was financed through the agency’s mortgage. “We sent an application for approval and that will determine whether we can move on the sale or not,” said Fedrick Ingram, UTD president, even though the potential buyers remain undisclosed. Union spokesperson Donna Blakely said there is still no news regarding the federal ruling.
ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS CAPPED: A ban on community-based organizations using more than 25% of money they receive from Miami-Dade County to fund their administrative budgets won approval 11-0 from county commissioners last week after sponsor Esteban Bovo Jr. amended it at the request of county staff to provide that the commission itself could waive the requirements at any time it saw fit. The limit on spending for administrative purposes has been 15% in county contracts, but that didn’t apply to county grants for the community organizations before last week’s vote.
STORMWATER FEE HIKE?: Miami-Dade County might raise its stormwater fee – charged in unincorporated areas and the Village of El Portal – by nearly 19% starting in October 2014, Fitch Ratings reports in giving a stable rating to the county’s stormwater utility revenue bonds. The fee hasn’t been raised since October 2003, says Fitch, which they county pays to rate the bonds. Fitch affirmed the bonds’ AA- rating. The county’s stormwater and drainage system consists of 180 miles of canals, 1.6 million feet of pipe, 2.7 million feet of drains, more than 80,000 catch basins, 8,000 manholes and other assets.
PAY NOW, PAY LATER: Repayment of Miami-Dade stormwater bonds could be made more difficult if more areas incorporate as cities, Fitch Ratings says in rating current bonds, but the service says “the county does not expect additional incorporations in the near future.” In July, however, the county approved two areas in West Kendall to study incorporating as cities, and last week it did the same for two areas in South Dade. Fitch says state law would protect creditors if areas incorporate, forcing new cities to help pay off existing bonds for county liabilities.