FYI Miami: September 13, 2018
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.
PUBLIC RECORDS STUDY: The office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez will study how to better streamline public records request fulfillment, as county commissioners last week directed Mr. Giménez to prepare a report to improve the process, as well as related efforts to increase transparency and responsiveness. Florida statutes state the public has a right to inspect or copy public records not labeled “exempt” or “confidential,” with costs associated with the use of personnel, supervisory and technological resources able to be passed on to the public records requester in accordance with public records law. “In fulfilling public records requests, the county tries to balance the goal of transparency with the administrative costs and time-consuming nature of fulfilling public records requests,” County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams wrote Sept. 5. The item, sponsored by Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, stipulates Mr. Giménez is to return to the commission with his findings within 90 days.
NO BIG BANGS: The Coral Gables City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to make “opposition to offshore drilling and exploration activities, including seismic air gun blasting” an active part of the city’s legislative agenda. This resolution moves against the Trump administration’s plan that could lead to expanded drilling off of the Florida coast and increased lobbying in Tallahassee from coalitions that support offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. The Gables’ resolution mentions that seismic air guns, one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean and a part of the move toward drilling in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, harm already endangered sea life. Coral Gables has over 40 miles of coastline and waterways. The resolution suggests pursuing renewable forms of energy for the city, such as solar and wind power. “I was very happy to put this on the agenda. We have to protect our environment,” said Commissioner Vince Lago.
PASSING THE CAP: After contributing $500,000 earlier in August, the industry group Florida Realtors has put another $4 million into an effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would extend a property-tax cap for commercial and other non-homestead properties. The group contributed the money Aug. 29 and 30 to a political committee known as Amendment 2 is for Everybody, according to the state Division of Elections website. The committee had nearly $4.42 million in cash on hand as of Aug. 31. The Legislature placed the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Voters in 2008 approved a constitutional change that placed a 10% cap on annual increases in assessed values of non-homestead properties. The limit will expire Jan. 1 unless voters extend it via this year’s proposed constitutional amendment.