FYI Miami: March 27, 2014
DON’T BLAME GAS PRICES: When consumers blame rising gasoline prices for a rising cost of living, they’re missing reality – at least in Miami. While consumer prices rose 1.6% in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area in the 12 months that ended Feb. 28, gasoline prices here actually fell 8.1% over the year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released the surprising contrast last week. In the first two months of this year alone, the prices consumers pay in this area rose 1.2% overall, with food prices rising 1.3% and grocery prices alone rising 2.2%. Prices of electricity and natural gas both rose 4.1% in the period, the federal agency reported.
TIED UP: The Miami-Dade Economic Development & Port Miami Committee deferred an item that could change the way the county deals with tie votes. The proposed ordinance would allow reconsideration of tie votes through a motion “made by any commissioner who voted in the original vote and must be concurred in by a majority of those present at the meeting.” According to county code, motions to reconsider tie votes are “not in order.” “I kind of like it the way it is,” Commissioner Barbara Jordan said in the committee meeting. “I like the confusion it causes when we tie vote.… I think that it makes it interesting.” The committee voted 5-0 on March 13 to defer the item. The full commission voted 13-0 for the proposed ordinance on first reading Feb. 4. Jean Monestime is the ordinance’s prime sponsor and Sally Heyman co-sponsored.
TELEMEDICINE CONNECTS: A Florida House panel Monday approved a bill aimed at increasing the use of telemedicine, with supporters saying it would help lower health-care costs and provide broader access to care. Rep. Jose Felix Diaz of Miami was one of three dissenters in the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee’s 10-3 approval. Telemedicine involves physicians providing care remotely through telecommunications and Internet technology. The House and Senate are considering bills to set guidelines and standards for telemedicine.
WHERE THEY LIVE: Following a request from commissioners, Miami-Dade County has compiled information on where its roughly 25,000 full-time employees and 5,000 part-time employees live, said Suzy Trutie, a county spokesperson. They live mostly in Miami-Dade, followed by Broward and Palm Beach. Fewer than 1% live outside of those counties. As of the end of 2013, 85.8% of county employees lived in Miami-Dade, 12.7% in Broward and 0.6% in Palm Beach, the report says. Those numbers have shifted a bit since 2007, when 88.7% lived in Miami-Dade, 9.6% in Broward and 0.6% in Palm Beach.