The only local Miami Springs issue coming up in the November 6th election is Annexation.
Here’s the question as it appears on the ballot:
Annexation of Unincorporated Business Area Contiguous to the City of Miami Springs
Shall the City of Miami Springs annex the unincorporated business area generally bounded by NW 36th Street on the south, NW 74th Street on the north, the service road parallel to the Palmetto Expressway on the west, and Ludlam Drive on the east, excluding the Florida East Coast Railway Terminal, recognizing that the area is subject to potential modifications and final approval by Miami-Dade County?
Below is a rough map of the area to be annexed. As noted above, the FEC railway terminal will not be part of Miami Springs. However, the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center will indeed be within Miami Springs city limits.
Voters should walk into the booth or vote from home knowing all the pros and cons to annexation. We’re going to attempt to share as many pros and cons, but undoubtedly there will be more pros and cons that can be added.
PROS TO ANNEXATION:
- The promise of Lower Taxes for residents.
By adding a large commercial base to the city, the city will dramatically increase the amount of revenue collected. There will be additional costs for public works, police, zoning, code enforcement, and administrative duties. However, it is expected that the increase in revenue will far outweigh the increased costs yielding a financial surplus that will help offset lower taxes to residents. To remind you, we pay among one of the highest tax rates in Miami-Dade County. This is the absolute biggest thing we can do to lower taxes for decades to come. Here’s what the City of Miami Springs has projected as a future millage rate: “The millage is projected to go from the current 7.35 to 4.94. The surplus to the city is projected at $4.7 million.” If enacted, that would be a 33% tax cut.
- The promise of Improved City Services
With a heftier budget, the city, in theory can do a lot of good things. Hire more police officers. Invest in beautification. Improve facilities, roadways, and other projects.
- Control of what’s Next Door
By making the area west of us part of Miami Springs, we, the people of Miami Springs, will be able to control what type of future development is allowed to our west. In other words, if it becomes part of Doral, Doral can do whatever they want and we won’t have any power to control the area. If we control the area as part of Miami Springs, we’ll control our own destiny.
CONS TO ANNEXATION:
- A Jail Within City Limits.
As explained by Miami Springs City Manager, William Alonso, “the TGK jail will be within the boundaries of the annexation area.” Of course, that doesn’t mean the city is operating or maintaining the jail. Alonso explained that the jail “has been and will continue to be owned and operated by the County not the City. The County will have total responsibility over the jail.”
- Negative Branding of Miami Springs 1
Miami Springs is often referred to as a secret. A hidden jewel. Even long time South Floridians have often not heard of Miami Springs. That may change drastically with annexation. As established above, the TGK jail will be within city limits if annexation moves forward. And there’s usually a Local TV Reporter broadcasting on location a few times per month reporting on someone who committed some type of newsworthy crime. There’s a good chance they will be referencing their location. Some may say, “LIVE from TGK” or “LIVE from West Dade” or what we don’t want to hear, “LIVE from Miami Springs.” To put it plainly, that’s bad P.R. for the Miami Springs brand.
- Negative Branding of Miami Springs 2
Miami Springs is known as the oasis. Mayberry. A quiet, residential golf course community. A family friendly neighborhood and a great place to raise children. The proposed area to be annexed includes many well respected commercial businesses. But it also includes some business that are not congruent with the family friendly image of Miami Springs. They include the Adult Strip Club, Booby Trap, and the adult swingers club, Miami Velvet. Now, these business have been there for years and they have not impacted the quality of life in the residential areas. The impact is only to the image and branding of Miami Springs.
- New block of voters in the future?
The proposed annexed area only has 10 residents in the area according to the City of Miami Springs. The City has stated that it “would agree to maintain the County zoning and Comprehensive Plan restrictions on the annexed property which is currently commercial/industrial. While the City would have land use and zoning control over the area, residential use is not compatible with the commercial/industrial character of the area.” The city also stated that “It has been the intent of every City Council, and remains the intent of the current City Council to keep this area commercial/industrial considering that the cost of providing municipal services is much less than the cost of providing services to residential areas – therefore, more tax surplus will be received by the City.” However, that’s no guarantee that a future Council could go in a different direction allowing for high density residential housing that would change the voting block in Miami Springs. This is not a likely scenario, nor a near-term threat, but something voters should be aware of.
Don’t let the size of cons scare you. Annexation and growing the City of Miami Springs, as stated above, is the one and only thing we can do to drastically lower taxes for residents without resorting to selling the golf course and/or building a bunch of apartment buildings.
Is it worth it to annex? That’s up to you. I wanted to share legitimate concerns residents have expressed so that you go into the voting both knowing the pros and the cons of annexation.