FYI: February 5, 2015
CONSTRUCTION ORDERS SKYROCKET: Contracts for future construction in Miami-Dade and Broward counties rose 52% last year, a report released last week by Dodge Data & Analytics showed. Total contract values for the year were $10 billion, up from $6.6 billion in 2013. Residential contracts in the area last year were up 62%, from $4.1 billion to $6.6 billion, while nonresidential contracts rose 35%, from $2.5 billion to $3.4 billion. The gains accelerated in December, Dodge reported, when residential contracts for future work rose 91% from $337 million to $643 million and nonresidential construction contracts for the future rose almost fivefold, from $135 million to $658 million.
PARKING MAKES LOTS: Rate-making flexibility that allows Miami’s Department of Off-Street Parking to increase its rates an average of 3% a year without city commission approval helped earn the department’s $68.7 million in outstanding bonds from 1998 and 2009 an “A” rating affirmation and a stable outlook from Fitch Ratings bond rating agency last week. Fitch noted that parking revenues rose 3.7% in the past fiscal year to $28.7 million and that the department “holds a monopolistic position over essential on-street parking spaces in the Miami central business district, which account for about 50% of operating revenues.” Revenues rose 3.7% in the fiscal year while operating expenses rose 4.2%, primarily due to higher maintenance costs, Fitch said. Revenue per space in the fiscal year rose from $1,154 to $1,308, “driven by a 20.2% increase in parking lots revenue per space.” The department owns or manages nearly 36,000 parking spaces.
VISUALIZING POSSIBILITIES: The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind has received a grant from the Able Foundation to run the High School High Tech program at the Lighthouse. High school students who are blind, visually impaired or have other learning disabilities will attend sessions Saturdays during the school year, daily during spring break and perhaps in summer during which they will be exposed to talks by experts in areas like radio production, social media for fun and profit, gardening to grow their own food and other people’s, recycling everything, radio journalism and music for people. The students will gain experience in figuring out what areas they might like to work in through career and skills assessment tests and discussion, doing job interviews, shadowing jobs, attending short internships, and longer ones in the summer. The starting group is 30 students, ages 14-22.