Loading...
September 21, 2009 Special MeetingSPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 12009 CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPTEMBER 21, 2009 (A) CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL The City Council for the City of Miami Gardens, Florida, met in Special Session on Monday, September 21, 2009, beginning at 6:15 p.m., in the City Council Chambers, 1515 NW 167" Street, Bldg. 5, Suite 200, Miami Gardens, Florida. The following members of the City Council were present: Mayor Shirley Gibson, Vice Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III, and Council members Aaron Campbell Jr., Barbara Watson, Andre Williams, Melvin L. Bratton and Sharon Pritchett. Also in attendance were: City Manager Dr. Danny O. Crew, City Attorney Sonja K. Dickens and City Clerk Ronetta Taylor. (B) INVOCATION Councilman Williams delivered the invocation. (C) PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Pledge of Allegiance recited in unison. (D) RESOLUTION(S)/PUBLIC HEARING Mayor Gibson stated, "This is the second of two public hearings for the adoption of the millage rate and the budget for the City of Miami Gardens for Fiscal Year 2009/2010. RESOLUTION N0.2009-167-1112 D-1) A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA, ADOPTING A FINAL MILEAGE RATE AT A PUBLIC HEARING, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR COMMENCING OCTOBER 1, 2009, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2010; ESTABLISHING THE ROLLBACK RATE; PROVIDING FOR DIRECTIONS TO THE CITY CLERK; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (SPONSORED BY THE CITY MANAGER) After the City Clerk read the title of the above referenced resolution into the record, Mayor Gibson stated, "The proposed millage rated for the City for Fiscal Year 2009/2010 is 5.3734, which is the same amount as the rollback rate." Manager Crew announced the millage rate for Fiscal Year 2009/2010 is 5.3734, which is the same as the rollback established under state law. This means that the City will bring in the same amount of money that it brought in last year. This is considered by the State to be a no-increase in the budget. The millage rate will increase from 5.1402 to 5.3734 however, due to the decline in property values the City will bring the same amount of money as it did last year. SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 12009 Mayor Gibson opened the floor for this public hearing. Betty Ferguson, 1625 NW 188th Terrace, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council to recommend that the Council include in the budget independent aides for each Council member. She said the Council needs independent eyes to keep watch on taxpayers `dollars. She said she would like to see more out of the box thinking about how to keep taxpayers' dollars circulating within the City of Miami Gardens. She said residents want to hear how this is happening. She emphasized the importance of keeping the vision of why this City was incorporated in the first place, clear for all to follow. She reiterated the Council needed independent aides who report only to them. At the conclusion of this discussion, the motion to adopt the millage rate passed and carried by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Pritchett cast the dissenting vote. There being no other interested parties to speak on this item, the public hearing was closed. Motion offered by Vice Mayor Gilbert, seconded by Councilman Campbell to adopt the final millage rate. Councilwoman Pritchett asked everyone to remember that the rollback is truly an increase in taxes. There being no further discussion on this item, a motion was offered by Vice Mayor Gilbert, seconded by Councilwoman Watson to defer this item until the conclusion of discussion on Item E-1. This motion passed and carried by a 7-0 voice vote. After the millage rate resolution was recalled, the motion to adopt the final millage rate passed and carried by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Pritchett cast the dissenting vote. Motion offered by Vice Mayor Gilbert, seconded by Councilwoman Watson to recall the Budget Ordinance. This motion passed and carried by a 7-0 voice vote. (E) ORDINANCE(S) FOR SECOND READING/PUBLIC HEARING: ORDINANCE N0.2009-21-193 E-1) AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA, APPROVING AND ADOPTING THE CITY'S BUDGET FOR THE 2009-2010 FISCAL YEAR; PROVIDING FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS; AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO TAKE CERTAIN ACTIONS; PROVIDING FOR CARRYOVER OF FUNDS; PROVIDING A SURCHARGE FOR PERMITS; PROVIDING FOR INTERFUND TRANSFERS; PROVIDING FOR AUTOMATIC AMENDMENT; PROVIDING FOR ADOPTION OF REPRESENTATIONS; REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES IN CONFLICT; PROVIDING A SEVERABILITY Special City Council Minutes -Sept. 21, 2009 2 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 12009 CLAUSE; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (SPONSORED BY THE CITY MANAGER) Manager Crew said in a year when everyone around us seems to be not only having problems he is pleased to say that the City of Miami Gardens finances are in excellent condition. The City is not having any layoffs or any of the other problems other cities are experiencing. Some significant services are being added to next year's budget, more particularly the new Miami Gardens Community Center. It is fortunate that the property assessment did not go down as much as most. The average Miami-Dade County decline was nine and a half percent. The City of Miami Gardens declined six and a half percent. Manager Crew said the other problem the City has had was crime. He stated that he was please to say that in the first year of operation of the City's Police Department, crime has dropped by twenty percent. In the first six to seven month of this year crime is down by fifteen percent. He said the City has one of the most experienced police departments in Miami-Dade County. No police officers were hired with less than six years of experience. Manager Crew said the Federal Stimulus is another aspect of the outgoing 2009 Fiscal Year and the incoming 2010 Fiscal year. Miami Gardens has been fortunate to receive over 15 Million dollars in Stimulus money (housing, energy, police). The City received notification that it would be receiving nine (9) additional police officers. Those officers would be utilized to increase the City's community policing efforts. The stimulus will cover the officers for the next three years. The City had to pay for the additional equipment. Manager Crew stated that the state's revenue received by the City was cut to aver 1.5 Million Dollars. Manager Crew said the City's Fund Balance is 8 Million Dollars. He said the one negative part of the budget this year is the Development Services Fund. That is the fund that pays for the Building and Planning and Zoning Department. That fund is supposed to be paid for by developers and individuals who pull permits. Theoretically, one hundred percent of the operation is suppose to be paid for. However, it is not doing that. In the last three years that fund has lost money, and the general fund has had to support it. Those funds will eventually be paid by to the General Fund by the Development Services Fund when the economy picks up again. During this past year a reorganization of that department was done resulting with the elimination of three positions. Manager Crew shared that approximately three weeks ago he received a call from representatives the Mercedes of Miami dealership, which has had its development project on hold for the last six months. The dealership has gotten the word to move forward with the project. In addition, Calder Race Course has broken ground on a new 100,000 square foot Casino. The City will also receive one and a half percent of the revenue from the casino when it opens. It is anticipated the casino will open sometime in January 2010. He shared the Coconut Cay Development by D.R. Horton is the only development by this developer in the state of Florida that is still operating because they are still selling homes in Miami Gardens. Manager Crew said the projects funded this fiscal year would be mostly centered around the Special City Council Minutes -Sept. 21, 2009 3 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 i 2009 various parks' projects, with the community center being the major one. Most are all funded by non- city funds. Since the inception of the City, over 67 Million Dollars has been received in grants. Manager Crew praised his staff and stated in his many years of public service these individuals are the best he has every worked with. Staff is always coming up with innovative ways of doing this, and the City of Miami Gardens is lucky to have them. Mayor Gibson opened the floor for this public hearing. Billie Isley, 1740 NW 19rd Street, Miami Gardens, Florida, appeared before the City Council and requested that $20,000 be set aside to conduct a Needs Assessment Survey for Senior Citizens. After there were no other interested parties to speak at this public hearing, the public hearing closed. Motion offered by Councilwoman Watson, seconded by Vice Mayor Gilbert to adopt this ordinance. Manager Crew shared for the first time ever there is $100,000 (Council's Discretionary Fund) set aside in this budget for Council to use for items that are not budgeted but come up during the year. For example, if Council wants to do a needs survey as Mr. Isley suggested the funds will be available for that purpose. He recommended that within the new few months Council needs to establish a criteria/rules for the use of these funds. Councilman Campbell asked what would be the impact on city services if the budget was reduced by one mill. Manager Crew in response to Councilman Campbell's question said one mill would close the city down. Employees in every department including the police department would be laid off. Councilman Bratton made reference to the Regular City Council agenda, more particularly Item J-7 and asked what is the correlation between that item and this budget. Manager Crew said there is no cost to the City. Item J-7 refers to CDBG funding. Councilwoman Pritchett made referenced to the Needs Assessment Survey for seniors as mentioned by Mr. Isley. She said by working with the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs, the City could be in a position to receive funding from the State of Florida not only for the Elderly Affairs Committee but to meet the needs of the senior citizen population in Miami Gardens. Manager Crew said funds from the Council's Discretionary Fund could be used for that purpose. All it would take is a vote from of the Council. He said he would bring back an item on the agenda initiating the survey. He further made reference to the property the city recently purchased as a senior citizens building, and suggested that perhaps funding could be realized for staffing as well as renovations of the facility. He said staff would actually solicit the various programs that might be Special City Council Minutes -Sept. 21, 2009 4 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 12009 available and then bring back a ready go to item for the Council's consideration. Councilwoman Pritchett, for the record directed the City Manager to do just that. Councilwoman Watson thanked Councilwoman Pritchett for her direction to the City Manager. She further asked the City Manager how much would it take for each Council member to have an independent aide. She opined that the Council members did need an individual that would report directly to them and be accountable only to them. Attorney Dickens interjected and stated first the Charter would need to be changed because the Council can not hire employees. All employees except those of the City Clerk and City Attorney report to the City Manager. Manager Crew said it would cost between $250,000 - $400,000 depending on qualifications and education. In addition, space would be a factor. Councilman Campbell opined in these tough economic times, it is not prudent for the Council to be talking about bringing on additional staff. He said he was in favor of having independent staff and conveyed agreement with comments made by Mrs. Ferguson. Vice Mayor Gilbert made reference to the Council's Discretionary Fund and stated this is a fund that would benefit the residents of the City of Miami Gardens. He made reference to comments made by the City Attorney with regard to the Council being prohibited from hiring staff. He said the Charter prohibits the Council from giving directions to those individuals supervised by the City Manager. He said that his understanding of the Charter is that if the Council hired staffthrough the Clerk's office, the Council could in fact supervise that staff. He said that discussion took place previously on this dais that if the Council made the decision to do that, and if there was money to do it, and as present this seems to be an inopportune time to do that, the Council could in fact hire someone through the Clerk's Office or the Attorney's Office. Attorney Dickens said Vice Mayor Gilbert is correct, the Charter specifically states that the City Manager cannot supervise any of the staff from either the Clerk's or Attorney's Offices. Councilman Williams said he had several concerns, the first of which is the decline is taxable value. He opined that he did not expect that the economy can overcome the decline in taxable value in the near future. He said the City Manager is doing a great job and is operating on a very lean budget. He said however he likes to operate on the conservative side and although he appreciates what the City Manager has done he is of the opinion there is more fat to be cut from the budget. Councilwoman Pritchett made reference to the recommendations made by the City of Miami Gardens Charter Revision Commission, more specifically Section 2.2 and stated "There shall be a City Council (the "Council") vested with all legislative powers of the City, includin tg he right to hire staff persons to assist the City Council in its legislative affairs. The Council shall consist of the Mayor, and six Council members ("Council members"). References in this Charter to the Council and/or Council members shall include the Mayor, unless the context dictates otherwise." Special City Council Minutes -Sept. 21, 2009 5 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 12009 Councilwoman Pritchett said even though this recommendation has not be discussed by the Council, every Council member sitting on this dais reads their agenda packet. She said each Council person spends hours going over the Agenda Packet. There is talk about how staff does such a wonderful job. This Council also does a wonderful job because each item that is on the agenda for consideration is checked prior to the meeting. She commented just think what that aide would be able to help the Council with. She conveyed understanding that there are some challenges and issues with the budget. She said she also understood the seriousness of considering having an independent aide, not to discourage the City Manager because this is not why she is saying this. She stated that she agreed with comments made by Ms. Ferguson and Councilman Campbell. She opined it is important, it is time, and has matured as a city. She conveyed hope that the Council would consider authorizing the City Manager to find the money to get aides to help the Council, as they go into the community, sharing with the residents information, the independent aides have been asked to get. Councilwoman Pritchett said in light of the fact that the Charter has established a Legislative department, which is the Council and is independent thereby requiring a separate departmental budget from the Manager's departmental budget she offered a motion to move enough money from the Manager's budget to the legislative budget to including benefits for each council person to hire and independent aide. Vice Mayor Gilbert shared with Councilwoman Pritchett said the money can be transferred to the Legislative Account, however the staff would have to be supervised by someone other than the City Council; therefore, if funds are transferred to the legislative account, who would supervise staff. He conveyed belief that the current system provides for a legislative account, but the individuals hired under that account are supervised by the City Manager. This will not address the Charter issue. Councilwoman Pritchett recounted that Vice Mayor Gilbert provided the solution at a previous meeting and that is to have the employees work under the City Clerk. Vice Mayor Gilbert opined the motion should then be to move that amount to the Office of the City Clerk rather than the Legislative Account. Councilman Williams said he was uncomfortable with this because this would require a lot more due diligence than what is being discussed on the dais. He said he would not vote favorable on something he did not fully understand and would appreciate. Councilwoman Pritchett thanked Councilman Williams for his comments and conveyed her understanding of his concerns. She stated that she was just trying to get clarity. Attorney Dickens suggested that the City Manager bring back some estimates on what it would cost would be based on certain salary ranges. She stated that budget amendments can be done throughout the year. Manager Crew said this is absolutely the wrong time for this. He said he was trying to make sure no employees were laid off. He said if the Council is unsatisfied with his service and advise, Special City Council Minutes - Sept. 21, 2009 6 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 ~ 2009 then the Council needs to get a city manager they can trust. He said an extra position was put in the budget for the Council, bringing total staffing for the council to three. He said in addition spacing is a factor. There is no more space to add additional staffing. Vice Mayor Gilbert opined that the City Manager did not take Councilwoman Pritchett's conversation as it was intended. He opined as a practical matter the City Manager or his staff does as requested by the Council. He said it is the evolution of service and the maturity of the City that the Council is talking about. It is that type of staffing or professional staff independent of the City Manager's staff. Manager Crew said he did not take the conservation the way the Council thought he did. Councilwoman Pritchett asked the City Manager to not take her comments the wrong way. She said this is not an issue. She said as a matter of fact, if space was an issue, the person she would hire could have her office. She said Vice Mayor Gilbert was correct, as we are evolving this is not a personal attack on the City Manager of any of his staff. She opined consideration should be given to moving this Council to the next level. She apologized if she offended the City Manager. Mayor Gibson agreed with the conversation on the dais. She said this city will be seven years old, soon. She conveyed there were expectations from everyone that this City would grow and mature, and with due diligence the Council would be very careful during that growth and maturity. She said in looking at this economy and the next year where there might be other difficulties, in terms of property revenues. She conveyed agreement with comments made by Councilwoman Pritchett about the Council members doing their due diligence because they do not have the staff to do it for them. She shared that she consults with other people from around the city and around the state, with regard some issues of concern. Councilman Williams said he would like to proceed with voting on the budget presented at this time. Councilwoman Watson asked for clarification as to whether there was a motion on the floor made by Councilwoman Pritchett. For clarification purposes Councilwoman Pritchett directed the City Manager to bring back information with regard to the cost for providing the Council members with additional staffing (Legislative Aides). She further directed the City Manger to bring back a budget worksheet to assist the Council with the budget process. At the conclusion of this discuss, a motion was offered by Vice Mayor Gilbert, seconded by Councilwoman Watson to defer the adoption of the budget ordinance until after adoption of the millage rate. This motion passed and carried by a 7-0 voice vote. Motion offered by Councilwoman Watson, seconded by Councilman Bratton to recall the millage rate item. This motion passed and carried by a 7-0 voice Vote. Special City Council Minutes -Sept. 21, 2009 7 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPT. 21 ~ 2009 After the adoption of the millage rate resolution and a motion offered and approved to recall the budget ordinance. The motion to adopt the final budget passed and carried by a 5-2 vote. Councilman Bratton: Councilman Campbell: Vice Mayor Gilbert: Councilwoman Pritchett: Councilwoman Watson: Councilman Williams: Mayor Gibson: Yes Yes Yes • Yes No Yes No (F) ADJOURNMENT. There being no further business to come before this Body, and upon a motion being duly made this meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m. Attest: ---~.. Ronetta Taylor, M ,City Clerk Special City Council Minutes -Sept. 21, 2009 8