Monday, August 6, 2018

May 2018 "Incorporation?? Information Sheet for NE MAC Area"

Commissioner Sally Heyman representing the Northeast unincorporated municipal service area (among other places) on the Board of County Commissioners in Miami-Dade County handed out this information sheet at recent public meetings regarding incorporation of the Northeast UMSA.
I wanted to make this available for my neighbors and, as usual, make comments about whatever stood out to me in light of all the things I have read and written in the last few weeks.

The resolution actually requires the new city to contract with Miami-Dade County Police Department for a total of four years. Three regular contract years and at least one year of transition, as I wrote about in my review of the resolution exhibits.
I wouldn't find this technicality such a big deal if it weren't for the fact that MDCPD wants a lot more money for policing than they currently charge us. You can see this clearly in the Office of Management and Budget's "Estimated Impact on UMSA Budget."
I don't have this document by itself, but it pops up in a few different places, (including this budget review) and I have recently E-mailed someone in the OMB with a request for more information about these estimates.
As regards these numbers, I want to also point out, again, that the OMB estimated we spent $3.8M on policing in 2015-16, but the NEMAC decided the new city should spend $4.8M on policing for 2016-17. That's a 26% increase in one year! They based that amount on numbers given them by the county police department and as I shewed, that number also increases 8% the next year based on county police numbers. My neighbors need to consider this mandated expense.

These details are the same for Condominiums/Multi Family
Taxes serves as a great point of contention between those who oppose and advocate for incorporation. Some against incorporation argue taxes will go up, the people for incorporation tout the official line, that we could create "a new municipality without increasing the Ad Valorem Tax Rate."
None of the reports suggest the likelihood the new city could succeed without raising taxes, it only gets argued that it can succeed. Color me skeptical of the argument. Most other cities in the county have raised taxes. All but a handful really!
Given the weight of facts it seems likely a new city would raise taxes. I certainly understand why many object to the idea of higher taxes, but at the same time I also understand the argument for more revenue. Regardless of the needs a community decides on, I definitely think public officials have a tremendous responsibility to uphold the strictest standards for how they spend the money of their neighbors.

Estimated in the resolution at around $600,000 the first year
I definitely think neighbors should read this document if they haven't read the 71 page resolution as it does provide a basic and honest overview. I don't think addresses issues at the forefront of my mind, but I can't fault anyone for my personal preferences.

I do find misleading suggestions that a new city could succeed without raising taxes. The documentation provided to the public in regards to the incorporation vote resolution do not sufficiently justify the suggestion. More importantly, the members of the charter committee, or the city council, will determine the tax rate at their will, despite and regardless of promises made today. My neighbors should understand these things.

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