FYI Miami: December 19, 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.
COURTHOUSE GETS OK: A project decades overdue to replace Miami-Dade’s crumbling civil and probate courthouse on Flagler Street, county lawmakers on Tuesday finally green-lit an $852.2 million contract with development team Plenary Justice LLC for construction and long-term management of its replacement. The unanimous vote was preceded by a procession of law figures, including Bertila Soto, chief judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida; Linda Singer Stein, administrative judge at Florida County Court; and County Clerk Harvey Ruvin. “It’s under budget, ahead of schedule, and we have negotiated everything down to who’s going to pay for the toilet paper,” Judge Soto said shortly before nearly all in attendance in County Hall stood for the first of several short rounds of applause. Commissioner Sally Heyman, the project’s prime advocate on the dais, took part in the vote despite being obviously under the weather. “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world – I just wish we could have voted by phone,” she said. “To all who seek justice and come there, you will have a building exceptionally accessible for all.”
FUNDS FOR VIRGINIA KEY TRAIL: Miami will be receiving $200,000 from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection as part of the federal Recreational Trails Program for the Marine Stadium Basin Trail. The city will provide matching funds of more than $300,000. Commissioner Ken Russell said it could be a great program, directing management to ensure the trail’s design ties into the Miami Marine Stadium, the Rusty Pelican restaurant and the marina.
REDEFINING WORKFORCE: The City of Miami’s definition for workforce housing might very well be changing. Legislation by Commissioner Manolo Reyes approved on first reading would redefine workforce housing in the zoning code as no more than 100% of the county’s average median income. Commissioners Ken Russell and Keon Hardemon voted against the proposed change, arguing that the city needs a separate term to help those who might be making above average median income but could still benefit from more affordable housing rates.
TEACHER PAY BOOST: With Gov. Ron DeSantis pushing to set a $47,500 minimum salary for public-school teachers, Senate Education Chairman Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah has filed a bill aimed at increasing teacher pay that does not specifically address a minimum teacher salary. It says a “teacher salary enhancement allocation” would be included in the 2020-2021 state budget and that school districts would use money from that allocation to increase teacher salaries.