After scoring back to back votes in favor of annexation, the Village of Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley were both stunned by the veto from Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. That means VG and Medley will need to resume their attempts at annexation as it is effectively dead right now.
Cava posted a VETO MESSAGE she explains that she wants mitigation fees. Here’s the VETO MESSAGE from the Mayor:
Let me first be clear that I support the right of communities for self-determination. At the same time, it’s critical that as we plan for the future of Miami-Dade, we put in place policies that are equitable for all residents and that will ensure thriving communities now and in the long term.
Over time, the cumulative effect of many annexations will result in a negative fiscal impact on the Unincorporated Municipal Service Area (UMSA), home to over 1.2 million of Miami-Dade’s total 2.7 million residents. This impact to the budget will ultimately require the County to adjust vital public safety services – which the UMSA budget largely goes to support – or to increase the millage rate for taxpayers of UMSA. Annexations of primarily industrial and commercial areas mean that less well-off areas remaining within UMSA will require more County services and funding to compensate for revenue loss.
This is precisely why the Board adopted policies to safeguard the unincorporated area – including mitigation, a key tool to ensure that annexations in one area don’t create an undue burden on taxpayers elsewhere or negatively impact services. For some of these annexation areas, the current Code requires mitigation be paid, and the Code allows the Board to require mitigation for annexation areas that generate revenues equal to or less than the cost of services provided to the area by the County. My administration strongly recommended that should the Board desire to approve these annexations, the ordinances be amended to include mitigation for seven years – consistent with the Board’s policies and as other cities seeking annexation have done in the past. The cities seeking annexation will significantly increase their tax base, funds that can support paying their fair share. But failing to include mitigation will create a precedent for future areas seeking to annex that will continue to contribute to the erosion of UMSA resources and could impact our essential County services.
Without mitigation – essential to ensure that the creation of new cities doesn’t lead to negative impacts or higher taxes for residents elsewhere – I cannot support these annexation proposals and must veto in order to protect all our taxpayers. Further details prepared by staff outlining important analyses on impacts and annexation policies are attached. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board to develop plans and policies that will guide our community into the future and that equitably serve all our residents.
Of course, a lot has changed since the Mayor vetoed the VG and Medley annexation during Thanksgiving Week. There’s a new Miami-Dade County Commission. Rebeca Sosa is no longer our Commissioner. Kevin Marino Cabrera is now our representative in the County. And while he hasn’t shared an official position on annexation, he was clear that he felt the property owners in the annexation area should have a voice.
Incoming Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Juan Carlos “JC” Bermudez, was quoted by The Miami Herald saying, “I have great respect for the mayor, but she and I see differently on this.”
Does Miami Springs have an Opportunity?
Seeing as the mitigation fees are holding VG and Medley back, will Miami Springs submit a new annexation application that includes mitigation fees? We’re almost certain to see it submitted by Medley and VG after they came oh so close to securing annexation.
Annexation started nearly 20 years ago. (I still had hair and no children.) Hopefully, annexation will be resolved before I have grandchildren. We’ll keep you posted on how the municipalities and the new County Commission react to the County Mayor’s veto.
VIRGINIA GARDENS ANNEXATION MAP:
TOWN OF MEDLEY ANNEXATION MAP: