Congratulations to the Village of Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley. At today’s Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Meeting, the Board voted in favor of the Town of Medley and the Village of Virginia Gardens respective applications for annexation.
The Town of Medley proposal was approved by a vote of 8 to 3. You can view the boundary changes coming to the Town of Medley below:
Virginia Gardens Annexation Moves Forward
Commissioner Rebeca Sosa moved to approve the motion for the Village of Virginia Gardens. The County Commission voted in favor of the V.G. application by a vote of 8 to 4. The Village of Virginia Gardens now becomes significantly larger with a drastically larger tax base.You can view the area annexed by the Village of Virginia Gardens in the map below.
Miami Springs Annexation Fails
The vote to approve an ordinance that would change the boundaries of the City of Miami Springs allowing the City to annex the area just west of our town failed by a vote of 5 in favor and 7 against. It was a crushing defeat to a 20 year effort to grow the City of Miami Springs and to be able to control future development to our west. The vote was even more disheartening considering the success our sister cities had in securing votes from the County Commissioners.
So after twenty years, two citywide votes approving annexation, tens of thousands of dollars paid in man hours to the City Administration, thousands more spent on lobbyists and attorneys…what do we have to show for it? A 5 to 7 vote from Miami-Dade County rejecting our annexation application.
What does this mean?
For one, don’t expect your Miami Springs tax bill to get any significant reductions any time soon. While the City of Miami Springs was projecting a major reduction in the millage rate, that won’t happen without annexation.
Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley will be able to significantly lower their millage rates citywide. In fact, the Village of Virginia Gardens will now have a stronger commercial tax base than the City of Miami Springs. Great job Spencer!
Problem Still Exists
Ironically, this whole situation happened after the Miami-Dade County Commission wanted to eliminate unincorporated donut holes and “enclaves.” Now, the area to our west was always unincorporated and saw tremendous growth. However, once the City of Doral was incorporated, it created an unincorporated donut hole to our west.
That’s where a four city agreement was made to spit up the “enclave” between Doral, VG, Medley, and Miami Springs. Well, every municipality got what they asked for EXCEPT for the City of Miami Springs.
What did Miami Springs do Wrong?
In simple terms, it failed to convince two additional members of the Miami-Dade Commission to vote our way. And why did commissioners that voted in favor of VG and Medley not vote in favor of Miami Springs?
In part, it was because the only businesses that showed up to complain at today’s County Commission Meeting were businesses in the area that Miami Springs was proposing to annex.
Furthermore, having the highest tax rate compared to our sister cities made Miami Springs the biggest pill to swallow for both the property owners and the Miami-Dade Commission. Sure, the millage rate was going to come down from our current rate, but not as much as what VG and Medley were able to do.
I’ll add the following. Our City representatives failed to explain to the Miami-Dade Commission that this annexation is not about growing Miami Springs, but about following the will of the Commission who wanted to eliminate these unincorporated enclaves. Not once did I see any of our leaders highlight that the whole reason the four cities were annexing was to comply with goals set forth by the County 20 years ago. Not once did I see the City Administration argue that it was the incorporation of Doral that created the enclave and this was an effort to solve the issue and remove the unincorporated donut hole.
Mayor Maria Mitchell did her part and spoke at today’s meeting as she has done in the past. However, it was only Mayor Maria Mitchell speaking on behalf of the City of Miami Springs. While present at the meeting, there was no public presentation by our City Manager nor our City Attorney at the meeting. Maybe they should have spoken up today to counter some of the anti-annexation speakers.
At the end of the day, the Village of Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley succeeded in getting their annexation approved. And their residents will benefit from the lower millage rate annexation will provide. Meanwhile, the City of Miami Springs failed to secure the votes needed to move annexation forward. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow the tax base and provide long term tax relief.
Again, congratulations to Spencer Deno, the Mayor of the Village of Virginia Gardens and the entire Village for the annexation approval. We also want to congratulate Medley Mayor Martell on his City’s success in securing annexation.
The approved annexation applications still go through a second reading, but at this point it just seems like a formality.
Now,seeing that VG and Medley have secured their annexations, they may want to move forward and attempt to annex the area we failed to annex. And they’ll be able to promise a lower tax rate than Miami Springs.
Only time will tell, but it sure did feel like a whole lotta effort and money went down the drain with today’s vote.
What do you think about the failed annexation vote? Should someone be held responsible for the failure to secure annexation? And if so, who? Let us know in the comments section or via social media.