Quick Bites

by SDM

Joe Garcia Paid $50,000 to Disgraced Staffer

In case you missed it, South Dade Congressman Joe Garcia is reported to have “paid his former adviser $25,000 for consulting work months after he was fired amid an election-fraud scandal,” according to the Miami Herald. The story goes on to state that the money was requested in invoices conveniently dated between January 1 and March 31, 2013.

These consulting fees were to be paid on top of a “campaign win bonus” of $25,000 paid just a few months ago, according to the Herald.

So, let us get this straight: Garcia wins his election last November in the year 2012. In the summer of 2013, his campaign manager gets accused of an absentee ballot scandal that may implicate the good Congressman. Then in the fall of 2013, the generous Mr. Garcia turns around and pays his accused-staffer some $50,000. Hmmm…

SDM Wonders: Does anyone still believe this town doesn’t deserve its reputation for dirty politics?

Palmetto Bay’s Attorney Selection Mess

SDM spent some unproductive hours watching the October 16 special village council meeting where the sole topic of discussion was to review the recommendations of the village attorney selection committee.

For the record, the committee ranked former Village Attorney Eve Boutsis number 1 and the firm Gray Robinson as number 2. (The third ranked proposer didn’t bother to show up at the meeting.) Despite the rankings, the council terminated Boutsis and hired Gray Robinson on a temporary basis while the village goes out to bid again.


SDM Says: The correct procedure, if you don’t get a sufficient number of responsive bids, is to throw the results out and re-bid. Terminating the village attorney and bringing in temporary counsel seems to SDM to be the worst of all worlds. Now, the village has to bring a new lawyer up to speed and hope that we don’t have to do the entire thing once again after the next bid comes in.  This council looks like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

FPL Offers Palmetto Bay A Rare Opportunity

Former Mayor Eugene Flinn reports in his newsletter and blog that FPL intends to convert its property into residential use. Flinn argues persuasively that the village ought to engage FPL for a park and fire station, which SDM thinks makes sense, though more could be done.

For instance, we have been told that our village budget is heading towards financial disaster soon thanks to the overspending of the village council and manager. As a tonic for their self-imposed deficit disease, the village wants to redevelop the Franjo Triangle to bring in more tax revenue – a plan SDM supports, but doubts will fix the problem.

Given our budget reality and the size and location of the FPL site, let’s toss another log on the fire. The FPL site is 25-30 acres, which means the village could allow about 40-50 homes to be built there. If the homes sell for $800,000 a piece, the village could see an increase of our property tax roll of around $40 million. Not taking into consideration exemptions, the village coffers could expect new property tax revenue amounting to about $98,000 per year.

But what if the village were to permit a six or seven story high rise with 200 condominiums? High end condos could average over a million dollars a piece with a bay view like this location offers. With a new $200 million development, the village could be looking at $500,000 a year in new revenue! (Given the fact that condos tend to have fewer parking spaces per unit, one might expect the car traffic to be similar single-family residential. That would make the village’s traffic consultant Joan Lindsay very happy. :) )

SDM Wonders: Are the Village People willing to be bold and take a positive step toward financial solvency? Or, will the negative nabobs at CCOCI keep us on a track toward higher taxes and fewer services?

Rubber. Meet road.

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