FYI Miami: May 9, 2019
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.
HOTELS LEAD NATION: Miami-Dade average daily hotel room rates and revenue per available room were highest in the nation’s 25 major hotel markets in March, even though they were well below the rates in March 2018, according to figures from STR reported by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The average daily room rate was $255.61 in Miami-Dade in March, down 4.2% from $264.74 in March 2018. The revenue per available room was $220.74, down 5.4% from $233.44 in March 2018. Occupancy of hotels in the county was 86.4% in March, fourth in the nation though down from 87.5% in March 2018.
CONSTRUCTION SLOWS: The value of new construction dipped in South Florida in March from March 2018 levels, as the year as a whole lagged 40% in construction start values in the region. Total starts in March were valued at just over $1 billion, down 11% from $1.12 billion in March 2018, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The area – Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties – saw $2.3 billion in starts in the first three months of this year, versus $3.86 billion in the first three months of 2018. The value of nonresidential starts in 2019 is down 46%, while residential starts are down 34%.
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS: City employees may soon find reporting illegal activities of other city workers or independent contractors easier, as Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday accepted on first reading a proposed ordinance that would require cities to adopt laws ensuring greater whistleblower protections, including confidentiality and protection from retaliation. Commissioner Sally Heyman’s item would add municipal-specific laws to county code that would, according to its language, force all 34 municipalities to “adopt employee protection ordinances consistent with the state Whistleblower’s Act” and the county’s minimum standards. Cities would also have to cooperate with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, which would have jurisdiction to “audit, investigate, monitor, oversee, inspect and review the processes and procedures in place,” as well as to conduct a “probable cause hearing” and recommend appropriate actions to municipal administrations. The item goes to committee for a public hearing.
PLASTIC STRAWS BAN: Gov. Ron DeSantis noted while he was in Miami on Tuesday that he may have an announcement later this week on a bill that would prohibit local governments from enforcing regulations on plastic straws over the next five years. Currently, 10 cities across the state, including Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, have rules governing the use of plastic straws, which have drawn environmental concerns.