To All Miami Springs Residents:
Miami Springs City Manager William Alonso and City Planner Chris Heid need to promptly resign. If not, the council needs to protect the taxpayers by terminating them. Let’s review. A few years ago Alonso and Heid, along with departed former city attorney Dan Espino concocted the great debacle known as the Gateway District. The previous council including Councilman Best and then Councilwoman Mitchell supported its creation. Residents roared their disapproval when they found out but it was too late. In their submissiveness to the owner of the Circle Theater property and eager developers licking their chops at such a compliant administration, they betrayed the residents of MS by allowing increased density (more apartments) and inadequate parking. To her credit, then Councilwoman Mitchell voted against allowing smaller apartments and decreased parking requirements but it was too late. The rest of the council had submitted to their overlords.
But the violations of trust didn’t stop there. Alonso, Heid, and Espino allowed people to be deceived when they failed to correct the erroneous belief that the development would provide shared parking for the public. Adding insult to injury they also permitted the developers to factor in public parking in their parking requirement calculations, further worsening our existing parking shortage crisis. Now we find out that they also pulled a huge financial scam on the residents and local businesses by neglecting/refusing to charge the appropriate parking fees to the developers. Fees that could amount to well over a million dollars! MS.com has posted comprehensive reports on all these issues that should be read by all.
Espino has already moved on as a partner with a major law firm that describes itself in part as “serving as the go-to law firm for real estate developers, property owners, and business owners.” Evidently, a resume that includes hatching a sleazy deal with developers at the expense of fellow residents has its rewards. But the Dubious Duo of Alonso and Heid remain. At the April 25th council meeting they were exposed for their egregious failure to impose appropriate fees for the public parking they had sacrificed to developers. Some of the council members were aghast and wanted answers about the failure to extract the million-dollar-plus fees. This was their shocking response as quoted in MS.com. Alonso stated; “That’s done. That’s done. It’s not like we set this fee now, they’re going to have to pay that fee. This is for future developments.” Heid stated; “Well, we didn’t. We talked about a parking impact fee. But since there was no fee established, it was not applicable to them. And William is right. That one is done. The permits are issued. We can’t go back to them now and say, ‘Well, you owe us a million dollars.’ In hindsight, we wish we would have established a fee and charged them something. But we didn’t.”
They were shameless in their subservience to the developers! Even as their gross negligence and suspicious dereliction of duty were being exposed they remained slavishly devoted to protecting the developer’s financial interest and depriving our community of a rightful million bucks or more!
According to a government salaries website, as of 2020 Alonso and Heid have combined yearly salaries of around a quarter-million dollars or more with added benefits. They are long-time employees which means that we taxpayers have paid them millions in wages and benefits over the years. Instead of abiding by an honorable sense of strict fiduciary responsibility and loyalty to the residents, they stabbed us in the back. And then twisted the knife. Incompetence? Negligence? Outright corruption? Whatever the causes we are dealing with the appalling and destructive fallout. They have violated our trust way too many times and must go. It’s time for this council to clean house. Mayor Mitchell and especially Councilman Best may still back the officials that inflicted this catastrophe on us because they were part of the process and failed to provide proper oversight. The rest of this council was not involved and they need to impose accountability now. We need new trustworthy and professional administrators who will truly represent and protect the interests of us residents instead of developers and politically connected property owners.
Did the City Lose Over a Million Dollars By Not Establishing a Fee?
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