FYI Miami: December 1, 2016
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
NEW COMMISSION LEADER: County commissioners are to select their new chair and vice chair Dec. 6. Chairman Jean Monestime and Vice Chair Esteban Bovo Jr. have held these roles for two years. There has been no public discussion as to who the new leaders might be, but many of the commissioners currently sitting on the dais have already served as chairman, including newly-elected Joe Martinez, who was on the commission from 2000 to 2012 before giving up his seat representing the Kendall area to challenge Mayor Carlos Giménez. Mr. Martinez is filling the seat left vacated when former Commissioner Juan Zapata chose not to run again.
MORE ROOMS, LOWER RATES: Miami-Dade hotels in the first 10 months of this year sold 2% more rooms than last year at the same time but had average daily rates 2% below last year’s, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau reported, citing figures from Smith Travel Research. As the supply of rooms in the market rose 4.2% to 53,769, average daily occupancy fell 2.1% to 76.5% and revenue per available room fell 4.1% to $144.07 from $150.22 in the same period last year, though it was sixth highest in the nation this year for the period. The total of rooms sold during the period was 12,333,908 and the average daily room rate was $188.52, fifth highest in the nation.
UNIVERSITY’S 70TH BIRTHDAY: St. Thomas University alumni and guests will celebrate the university’s 70th anniversary starting with a noon mass and then a lunch reception on campus Dec. 10. The university was founded in 1946 in Havana by American Augustinian priests from Philadelphia. Fidel Castro ordered the university closed in 1961 but it reopened as Biscayne College in Miami-Dade and in 1984 became St. Thomas University. Details: (305) 628-6601.
HIALEAH BONDS OUTLOOK NEGATIVE: More than $83 million in outstanding bonds to be repaid by the City of Hialeah received negative rating outlooks and ‘A’ ratings from Fitch Ratings last week. Fitch cited the city’s “weak financial operations including relying on one-time sources and deferring obligations to fill budget gaps.” Fitch also noted as a negative the city’s “use of deficit financing to support operations.” Fitch noted “per capita personal income estimated at about half of the national level” and a poverty rate of 25.8%, “well above local, state and national levels.” A total of $46.145 million of the bonds that Fitch rated are to be repaid from franchise fee revenues from Florida Power & Light Co. for granting the electric franchise to the corporation. Hialeah pays Fitch to rate the securities for bond buyers.