Loading...
09.14.2011 special SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 A) CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL: The City Council for the City of Miami Gardens, Florida, met in special session, Wednesday, September 14, 2011, beginning at 5:10 p.m., in the City Council Chambers, 1515 NW 167th Street, Building 5, Suite 200, Miami Gardens, Florida. The following members of the City Council were present: Mayor Shirley Gibson, Vice Mayor Aaron Campbell Jr., and Council members Lisa C. Davis, Felicia Robinson and Oliver G. Gilbert III. Councilman Andre Williams arrived at 5:12 p.m. Councilman David Williams Jr., arrived at 5:14 p.m. Also in attendance were: City Manager Dr. Danny 0. Crew, City Attorney Sonja K. Dickens and City Clerk Ronetta Taylor. B) INVOCATION: Invocation delivered by Vice Mayor Campbell. C) PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Recited in unison. D) RESOLUTION(S)/PUBLIC HEARING Mayor Gibson announced, "This is the first of two public hearings for the adoption of the millage rate and budget for the city of Miami Gardens for fiscal year 2011-2012." RESOLUTION NO. 2011-134-1527 D-1) A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA, ADOPTING A PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE AT A PUBLIC HEARING, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR COMMENCING OCTOBER 1, 2011, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2012; ESTABLISHING THE ROLLBACK RATE; SETTING A DATE AND TIME FOR A FINAL PUBLIC HEARING TO ADOPT THE FINAL MILLAGE RATE; PROVIDING FOR DIRECTIONS TO THE CITY CLERK; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (SPONSORED BY THE CITY MANAGER) Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 1 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 After the title of this resolution was read into the record by the City Clerk, Mayor Gibson stated, "The proposed millage rate for the city for fiscal year 2011-2012 is 6.5616, which represents an 11% increase over the roll-back rate." Manager Crew recounted as discussed in July when the budget was presented to Council, this is a balanced budget at the rollback rate. However circumstances have arisen that concerns him, as well as to the Council. One of which is the overall city finances and the decrease in cash reserve. This is attributed to the overall shortfall in revenues. He said he was concern because Hurricane Wilma cost the city 8 million dollars. The city's current reserve fund is only 1.8 million dollars. Even more critical in the short term is what happens in our community in terms of policing. When we found we would be losing almost five (5) million dollars out of the reserve this current fiscal year, we instituted a number of changes and freezes in positions, employee cuts, elimination in a lot of positions, elimination of the matching program for retirement. All in an effort to try to mitigate that five million dollar lost for this current fiscal year. To accomplish this, six police officer positions, one captain and CSA position were frozen. As a result the current officers are being over utilized. In next year's budget there are additional cuts and furloughs for police officers, as well as the rest of the employees. Manager Crew recommended that 1.5 million dollars of the proposed millage increase be used to increase the cash reserve. The additional money, which is approximately $600,000.00 will be used to fill the six vacant police officer positions. Furthermore, the one vacant captain position would be converted into one police officer and one CSA position. This would bring the total new hires to Seven police officers and two CSA's. Mayor Gibson opened the floor for the public hearing. Natasha Alexander, 924 NW 204th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council in support of the rollback rate. She stated that she was speaking as a resident and for the employees of the City of Miami Gardens. She said the rollback rate would bring the same amount of dollars as last year, and it is not a tax increase but a continuation of the same level of service received last year. In regard to the furlough days, on behalf of the employees she stated that they would like to keep more bodies at work. The calls have not stopped coming in. She said the employees work really hard to provide 110% everyday. With the furlough days, city services will decline and residents will not understand that. The Council has made it clear that hiring city residents is a priority. She said she is aware concerns have been raised about some of the benefits management receives, but if you want the city to excel you have to hire the best. One of the things that have attracted accomplished professionals to Miami Gardens is when they see the most accomplished people in the most important positions. Tom Ruiz, Public Works Director is the chairperson of the national recognized public Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 2 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 works association. Our own Deputy City Manager Renee Crichton was acknowledged and honored by the Legacy Magazine as one of South Florida's 25 most influential and prominent black women in business in 2011. This speaks volumes about the quality of our management team. Claudette Joseph, 1270 NW 196th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council in support of the rollback rate. She shared that she is an employee of the public works department. She recounted how residents have been commenting about the city's great work in addressing quality of life issues such as the cleanliness of the City, beautiful landscaping, great programs for lower and middle class residents, great programs for children as well as elderly programs. People that are savvy about government know that these programs are not being implemented in other cities. In fact they are being cut back. She shared that she was a resident in this city long before it was incorporated. During that time she saw how dirty the streets were, how long it took Miami-Dade County police to respond to an emergency. She further shared that she never visited any of the parks until Miami Gardens became a city. She said it is to the residents' benefit to ensure that Miami Gardens continue to flourish. Paulette Weems, 2250 NW 174th Terrace, Miami Gardens, Florida appeared before the City Council in support of the rollback rate. She shared that she is an employee of the City however she was speaking as a citizen who along with every other resident who would have their services, safety and quality of life impacted depending upon the outcome of these budget cuts. The impact of the forced furlough days in conjunction with other types of leave taken by employees (e.g. training days, sick days and vacation days) is already causing a shortage in personnel thereby creating a reduction in services, calls for service response time, and an increase in overtime. It is not enough, nor is it acceptable to live from paycheck to paycheck. Reserves are needed to ensure the residents of this community receive the services they have come to expect and rightfully deserve. Not only to be there for the day to day functions but also in case of an emergency such as hurricanes and natural disasters. More importantly it is crucial that Miami Gardens generate enough revenue to live up to the reputation it has diligently stood for and rightfully earned; which is to be a city that is a head of its time, not one having to play catch up to everyone else. Robert Spano, a police officer with the Miami Gardens Police Department, 1020 NW 163rd Drive, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council in support of the rollback rate. He stated that he is an employee of the City and a former resident of the City of Miami Gardens. He said he was speaking on behalf of his platoon. He thanked the Council for doing an excellent job in running the City. He said he was sure they received more complaints than praise. He shared that everyone in this room has something in common and that is a belief. Everybody believes in right and wrong. People had a belief and vision in starting this Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 3 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 city, and did exactly that. The rest of us believed in the elected officials' dream when they decided to take jobs in the City. Therefore, these employees are now asking the elected officials to believe in them. He shared that he has worked for several police departments and this by far is the best job he has ever had. He shared that he moved here by himself but did not feel alone because of his work family. The police department wants to provide the best possible service that it can. The officers are doing a lot more with less. Some are a little burned out but it does not matter, the officers are going to give 110% no matter what. He encouraged the council to provide the police department with the tools to continue providing the best service possible. Amy Coleman, 2841 NW 212th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council as a representative of the North County Citizens Association. She shared that her organization supports the millage rate increase to the max rate. (6.5616). As homeowners her organization's members appreciate the service they receives. However they want the best service. She said the homeowners in her organizations are willing to pay the additional $23.43, annually. This increase will increase the city's cash reserve as well as provide better services, save jobs and most of all will continue to have the best police department. She further thanked Chief Boyd and all of the Miami Gardens police department employees for keeping the community safe. Anita Hopson, 1262 NW 204th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council and shared she is a tax payer, resident and employee of the City. She said she is a police officer for the City of Miami Gardens. She has between 150-250 homes that she checks on every day. The problem that she has is when she took a furlough day she was not on the street. The criminals know it and they know who she is. She further shared that she pulls over between 150-200 cars a month. When she stops someone in front of your house she may have just deterred a criminal from entering your house. She said that she is a resident and pays $7,100 annually in taxes. She further stated that she chose to live in Miami Gardens. She purchased her home here, and she chose to work here after her city went bankrupt because of the same problem. She shared that she has been a police officer for 24 years and will continue to be one. She believes in her residents and they believe in her. She stated that she is ready to have a tax increase. Beverly Bush, 3125 NW 205th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council and shared that she has been a resident for over four decades. She commended the Council for doing an outstanding job. She shared her view that the police department is doing an outstanding job. She has seen more police presence since the incorporation of the city. She conveyed support of the rollback rate. Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 4 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 Trey Schneider, 1262 NW 204th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council in support of the rollback rate recommended by the City Manager. He shared that he is a proud resident of the City of Miami Gardens. The residents voted to have the police department here. He further shared that many of the police officers are good friends of his. He said when officers take furlough days, manpower is being taken away. Emma Pringle, 3441 NW 213th Terrace, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council in support of the millage increase. She shared that she was ever so pleased to see people cleaning up our streets after the hurricane came through. She shared that she has been a residents for over forty years and this was the first time the streets have been cleaned up after a hurricane. She further shared that she has witnessed increased police presence in her neighborhood. She further expressed appreciation for the beautification efforts being made within the City, as well. Sharon Frazier Stephens, 145 NE 193 d Street, Miami, Florida, appeared before the City Council and shared she is not a resident but she has relatives that live here. She said if you raise the millage rate, give the people the services they deserve. She opined you have to keep the city functional. She further encouraged residents to get involved by volunteering. She thanked the Council and encouraged them to keep up the good work. Linda Mobley, 3261 NW 213th Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council in support of the millage rate increase. She shared that she has been a resident of this community for over forty years and has seen a change, which she has always wanted. She shared that people are saying their taxes are going up however residents of Miami Gardens are paying the lowest millage rate in Miami-Dade County, and have better services. She expressed appreciation of the services being provided by the city. She further conveyed appreciation to the Mayor and Council members for their contributions. She shared that prior to this area being incorporated property taxes continued to increase however no services were being provided. When Miami Gardens incorporated everyone thought the City was creating new rules. However these were Miami-Dade County's rules just never enforced. She said she was here as a concerned citizens and wanted her grandchildren to grow up here and enjoy this city the same way she is doing. She shared that she is the caregiver for her elderly father however she made a sacrifice to be here tonight so that her voice could be heard. She further conveyed appreciation for the police department. There being no other interested parties to speak on this item, the public hearing was closed. Motion offered by Councilman David Williams Jr., seconded by Councilwoman Robinson to adopt this item. Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 5 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 141, 2011 Vice Mayor Campbell noted that representatives from the Miami Herald and Miami Times newspapers were not present to hear the positive comments being made by employees and residents in support of this proposed millage increase. He said if there had been one or two people against this increase those comments would appear in the newspapers. He further shared that if an article is printed the headlines will most likely say "Miami Gardens approved a tax millage increase", if this item is approved. He opined the article is going to leave out what the citizens have said here tonight. Mayor Gibson commented on the police department and shared as you know crime can go up and crime can go down. Often times, we have no control over what an individual decides to do. What we do have is a police department that is committed to providing the highest level of public safety to all of our residents and our businesses. Since the police department's inception in 2007 crime has been decreased by forty (40%) percent. However, we have not completed our job and still have a long way to go in making this city as safe as all of us would like it to be. During this difficult budget time we realize that our staff has been doing an amazing job. This has been acknowledged by many of the speakers tonight. This budget, which the City Manager is proposing does have furlough days in it. Furlough days are days you do not get paid for. Mayor Gibson stated the Council needs to provide leadership and give directions to the City Manager. She conveyed support of the proposed millage rate. She acknowledged that individuals are facing difficult times. However it is those difficult times that show what we are made of as men and women. It is how you stand in those difficult times that say who you are. When everything is fine, you have no discomfort. It is easy to do what you want to do. We want to continue to clean up our streets. We want to make sure our neighborhoods continue to have what they need. We have reduced our liability in the sense of salaries and benefits to our employees. In the last few years we have reduced our workforce by twenty-five (25%) percent, city-wide. We do not have a large workforce in the City of Miami Gardens. We have eliminated COLA, merit pay, city's portion of deferred compensation, and implemented furloughs. A maximum cap has been implemented on how much leave can be accrued, as well. A cap on tuition reimbursement has been implemented. Furthermore, the state of Florida mandated there be a three (3%) percent contribution by all government employees in the State of Florida Retirement System. All of these items together equates to a 16-18 percent reduction in benefits to our employee over the last year. Mayor Gibson further shared that a low cash reserve adversely affects the city's credit rating, just like an individual credit rating. This affects the city's ability to borrow bond moneys. She encouraged the Council to support the proposed millage rate. Special City Council Minutes- September 14, 2011 Page 6 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 Motion offered by Councilman Gilbert, seconded by Councilwoman Davis to defer the adoption of the proposed millage until after discussion on the budget. This motion passed and carried by a unanimous voice vote. After the millage rate resolution was recalled, the motion to adopt the proposed millage rate passed and carried by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Lisa Davis: Yes Vice Mayor Aaron Campbell Jr.: Yes Councilman Oliver G. Gilbert: Yes Councilwoman Felicia Robinson: Yes Councilman Andre Williams: No Councilman David Williams Jr.: Yes Mayor Shirley Gibson: Yes E) ORDINANCE(S) FOR FIRST READING/PUBLIC HEARING: E-1) AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA, APPROVING AND ADOPTING THE CITY'S BUDGET FOR THE 2011-2012 FISCAL YEAR; PROVIDING FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS; AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO TAKE CERTAIN ACTIONS; PROVIDING FOR CARRYOVER OF FUNDS; PROVIDING A SURCHARGE AND FEE INCREASE FOR PERMITS; PROVIDING FOR INTERFUND TRANSFERS; PROVIDING FOR AUTOMATIC AMENDMENT; PROVIDING FOR ADOPTION OF REPRESENTATIONS; REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES IN CONFLICT; PROVIDING A SEVERABILITY CLAUSE; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Manager Crew indicated he did not have anything additional to add other than what was presented during the millage increase presentation. Mayor Gibson opened the floor for this public hearing. After there were no interested parties to speak on this item, this public hearing closed. Motion offered by Councilman David Williams Jr., seconded by Councilwoman Davis to adopt this proposed budget, on first reading. Motion offered by Councilman Gilbert, seconded by Councilwoman Davis to defer this item until after the approval of the millage rate resolution. This motion was adopted by a unanimous vote. Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 7 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 14, 2011 After the adoption of the previous motion another motion was offered by Councilman Gilbert, seconded by Councilwoman Davis to recall the millage rate resolution. This motion passed by a unanimous vote. Once the proposed millage rate resolution was adopted, a motion was offered by Vice Mayor Campbell, seconded by Councilman Gilbert to recall the budget ordinance. This motion passed and carried by a unanimous vote. There being no further discussion on the budget ordinance, the motion to adopt on first reading passed and carried by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Lisa Davis.: Yes Councilman Oliver G. Gilbert: Yes Councilwoman Felicia Robinson: Yes Councilman Andre Williams: No Councilman David Williams Jr.: Yes Vice Mayor Aaron Campbell Jr.: Yes Mayor Shirley Gibson: Yes After this vote was taken Mayor Gibson announced, "The next public hearing will be held on September 28, 2011 at 5:01 p.m. in City Council Chambers. At that time, we will consider the final millage rate and budget for fiscal year 2011-2012." Mayor Gibson stated, as we sit here as elected officials and we vote yea or nay on the budget; a person has a right to take the position of voting yea or nay. Those of us who take the risk and take the bold step to do it, we all get to use those funds in the delivery of services to this city, when you vote no. This Council cannot say, you did not vote in favor this budget so there are things you cannot do. She said she wanted to audience to understand, a council member can vote no here and still get to use all those things that the other Council members took the leadership to vote for. There being no further business to come before this Body, and upon a motion being duly made this meeting adjourned at 6:05 p.m. Attest: S ey Gibson, Mayor Ron tta Taylor, MMC, ity Clerk Special City Council Minutes - September 14, 2011 Page 8