FYI Miami: January 24, 2019
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MADE IN MIAMI: Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto hasn’t forgotten about the idea of creating a program to label products made in the county as “Made in Miami” or “Made in Miami-Dade,” and he raised the issue at a Jan. 16 Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee. “We have a thing pending here, with the county: ‘Made in Miami’ – the ‘Made in Miami’ seal,” he said. “I want to have that. You know, like the ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal… to make our area [and our manufacturers] stronger.” Mr. Souto reminded fellow commissioners of the longstanding concept, which Commissioner Joe Martinez started with an agricultural focus in 2009. A year later, commissioners broadened the idea and ordered a study on creating a “Made in Miami’ program. On Nov. 8, 2018, Mayor Carlos Giménez finally delivered one.
UMSA TRANSIT PROJECTS PULLED: Following back-to-back deferrals, Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto withdrew a proposed ordinance change that, if enacted, would have extended funds generated by the “half-penny” surtax toward transit projects in the county’s Unincorporated Municipal Service Area (UMSA). Currently, more than 20% of the half-penny funds used to finance countywide studies and transit solutions are used by incorporated municipalities for trolleys and similar circulators. No such portion is allotted to UMSA. Mr. Souto called it “discrimination,” and in September brought forth an item, which commissioners unanimously adopted, to change that arrangement. But when the item came up for a hearing in committee in November and December, Mr. Souto requested a deferral. He withdrew it altogether last week.
BANK DEAL ADVANCES: Shareholders of Coconut Grove-based Biscayne Bancshares Inc. last week approved acquisition of the company and its Biscayne Bank subsidiary by First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. of Raleigh, NC, expected to take effect during the second quarter. Biscayne branches after the merger are to initially operate as Biscayne Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank. Accounts later will be converted to First Citizens Bank’s systems and operations. The vote “represents an affirmation that this is an outstanding opportunity for our customers, our company and shareholders,” said Lorie Yarchin, CEO of Biscayne Bank. As of Sept. 30, Biscayne Bancshares reported $990 million in consolidated assets, $746 million in deposits and $834 million in loans. Biscayne Bank opened in 2005 as a state-chartered commercial bank. It has two offices in Coconut Grove, one in Doral and one in South Miami. First Citizens Bank operates 26 Florida branches, including a branch in Coral Gables.