FYI Miami: March 19, 2020
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TOURIST TAXES INTACT: Florida Senators last week removed from a House tax package a proposal to allow local tourist-development tax dollars to be used for water quality improvements and restrict the use of tourist-development and convention-development money in Miami-Dade County. Sen. Anitere Flores, a Republican from Miami, noted that Miami-Dade needs tourist-development tax dollars as it had recently canceled two major music festivals and seen a drop in hotel stays due to the threat of coronavirus.
CIRCLING OLD CUTLER: A resolution to add four traffic circles at key intersections along Old Cutler Road in Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay cleared a Miami-Dade legislative committee last week, clearing the way for a final vote by county lawmakers. The intent of the project, according to a release from the office of Daniella Levine Cava, the sponsoring county commissioner, is to ease traffic flows and enhance safety along the two-lane street while not diminishing its historical features. “These long-awaited road improvements will bring much-needed solutions to the traffic congestion on Old Cutler Road,” she said a prepared statement. “Most importantly, we made progress to enhance the safety for our local residents – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, thanks to the collaboration we’ve developed between the county and our South Dade cities.”
DIAZ DUMPING DISCIPLINE: Lawbreakers who improperly dispose of waste will face stricter fines, as Miami-Dade lawmakers have OK’d an ordinance change sponsored by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz cracking down on illegal dumping. County law previously imposed fines of $250 for illegally dumping up to 100 pounds or 50 cubic feet of waste, $400 for illegal dumping more than 100 pounds and up to 50 cubic feet of waste, and $1,000 for unlawfully disposing of 500 or more pounds or more than 100 cubic feet of waste. The new restrictions, which received sweeping support Feb. 19, raise the fines to $250 for any illegal littering, regardless of weight or volume, $1,000 for illegally dumping more than 15 pounds and 27 cubic feet and $2,500 for illegally dumping 500 pounds and 100 cubic feet of waste or more.
ART MEASURE DEFERRED AGAIN: At last week’s Miami City Commission meeting, Art in Public Places legislation for private developments was deferred once again. The city has already approved a program that requires public developments to incorporate art or pay a fee to a grant fund. However, legislation for private developments has been at an impasse with some private developers in opposition, and at last week’s meeting was deferred with no discussion.