June Commission Digest
July 8, 2018
Many important decisions were made in June by the commission, from green-lighting highway expansion westward to potentially forming a new city near Aventura. Read on for a breakdown of the major items that came before the commission in June.
Commissioner Jordan’s amendment to the living wage ordinance, which would have required a living wage for employees of businesses leasing county property (vetoed in May by the mayor) came up again at the June 5th commission meeting and a vote was taken to try to overturn the veto. The commission failed to overturn the veto with the 2/3rds majority needed as the commission voted only 7-5 in favor as they had the month prior. Commissioner Diaz (who voted no), expressed interest in a narrower amendment that would extend living wage provisions to some workers privately employed at the airport.
On June 5th the commission moved (7-1, Martinez voted no) to hold a special election on November 6th on whether to create a new municipality by Aventura. People who would become residents of this municipality will be able to decide whether they want to be incorporated or not through the special election.
The commission approved (10-0) an amendment on June 5th making it illegal for employers to retaliate against non-essential employees following evacuation orders. Last year during hurricane Irma the news reported that some workers were threatened with termination if they missed work, making evacuation a choice between safety and continued employment.
Competitive bidding was waived by the commission on June 5th (10-0) for airport concessions vendor Duty Free Americas. Miami Herald reporter Doug Hanks pointed out on twitter that the company has donated to the election campaigns of Mayor Gimenez and former District 5 Commissioner Bruno Barreiro.
$ 2,756,000 additional dollars were authorized by the commission on June 5th for the Department of Transportation and Public Works to purchase refrigerant gas to be used in cooling units on metro-rail cars and on buses. The increase was requested by the transportation department because the aging systems use more refrigerant gas. The vote was 10-1, with Commissioner Sosa casting the dissenting vote.
In news on the civil courthouse, the firm Perez & Perez received an increase of $ 2.9 million to complete work on updating the civil courthouse masterplan (9-1, Martinez was the lone no vote). Plus, following Commissioner Heyman’s lead, the commission decided to move forward with a hybrid solicitation process for the civil courthouse and rejected the prior public private partnership (referred to as P3) RFQ process. The vote was 8-2, with Commissioners Cava and Monestime voting no. For more details on the civil courthouse process and history, check out our April digest.
The commission approved (11-0) an agreement with the City of Miami to provide up to $ 15 million in city park and mobility impact fees for Underline expenses, the metro-line greenway project, on June 5th.
Following up earlier talks of building affordable housing on school property for teachers and other employees, on June 5th the commission unanimously passed a resolution asking Miami-Dade Public Schools to assess land that can be used to build workforce housing. Teacher reaction to the idea has been mixed. with some in favor and some, well, not so much.
On June 19th the commission unanimously urged support for Sen. Rubio and Rep. Wilson’s related bills reforming safety and security requirements in public housing developments. The Bills and the commission’s support stems from the multiple tragic shooting deaths of children in Liberty City this year.
On June 19th the commission passed a resolution urging reunification of families separated at the border.
On June 20th the commission gave assent to move forward with the controversial 836 Extension in a vote of 9-2, with Commissioners Suarez and Cava casting the two no votes. Transit critics not sold on the wisdom of moving forward with another massive highway project even created a parody site poking fun at the extension, while residents and community groups weighed in with hours of comment, both pro and con, before the commission.
A special meeting was held on June 26th by the commission to discuss and vote on which amendments proposed by the charter Task Force would advance to the ballot in November. See our article on the details of the outcome.