FYI Miami: September 3, 2020
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.
CONSTRUCTION SLIDE: The value of South Florida construction starts was down 76% in July from July 2019, with starts for the year to date down 35%, Dodge Data & Analytics reports, while construction employment for the year fell 2% to 139,900 jobs for Miami-Dade and Broward counties, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show. Total construction starts for the tri-county area were valued at $619 million for July and $5.27 billion for the year to date. In Miami-Dade alone, construction jobs were up 2.8% year over year to 55,300, though there was a 1,300-job decline from the county’s all-time high of 56,600 construction jobs in June.
KEEP COUNTING: With 40% of Miami-Dade households still in need of counting, county lawmakers Monday voiced disapproval of the US Census Bureau’s decision in early August to shorten the remaining response period by a month. County commissioners voted unanimously to oppose US Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham’s announcement that the bureau would end all counting Sept. 30 rather than Oct. 31, the date to which the bureau in April said counting would continue. “These last-minute changes to the constitutionally mandated county of every person living in the US threaten the accuracy of population data used to determine the distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade,” the item by Sally Heyman said, noting a joint statement from four former bureau directors that recommended counting continue through April 30, 2021. Census counts affect, among other things, governmental representation and distribution of hundreds of billions in federal funds for state and local services like education, Medicaid, CHIP and transportation infrastructure construction. The county’s Census response is roughly 5% below the national rate, according to the US Census Bureau.
HAZARD PAY OK: Up to $16 million in federal Cares Act funds given to Miami-Dade will go toward temporary hazardous duty pay supplements for all county and municipal first responders and sworn corrections officers. County lawmakers Aug. 24 OK’d a resolution by Vice Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa to create the hazard pay program whose funds will come from the $474 million county allotment from the state. The item, which received sweeping approval, came following presentations Mayor Carlos Giménez made July 27 and Aug. 4 on allocating funds toward a hazardous pay program in which first responders and corrections personnel “whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the Covid-19 public health emergency” will each receive a 1% pay bump. It also calls for the mayor to report by late September on the program’s progress and follow up every two months thereafter.