Miami Springs City Council voted 5-0 on Dec. 13 to approve reallocating $ 1,653,924.65 of remaining American Rescue Plan Act funding to improve infrastructure at its dog park, grounds ball and its golf course.
“The city of Miami Springs has received a total of $ 6,970,380 as part of its ARPA funding allocation, half was paid in September 2021 and the other half will be received in September 2022,” said City Manager William Alonso. “The attached city projects show projects that can be partially or fully funded with the $ 1,653,924.”
Miami Springs’ updated list of “eligible” projects stands at $ 1,817,000, and results in a “shortfall” of $ 163,076, officials said. The project includes:
$ 300,000, four new racquetball courts in Stafford Park
$ 250,000, lighting of the pedestrian path in Stafford Park
$ 100,000, exercise stations in Stafford Park
$ 125,000, playground at Ragan Park
$ 200,000, fence at Peavey-Dove Park
$ 90,500, water fountain for dog park and picnic tables
$ 96,750, little league field
$ 45,000, ball field blinds
$ 70,349, pool blinds
$ 58,401, Westward Drive Tree Lights
$ 40,000, irrigation system at Curtiss Mansion
$ 15,000, noise signs at the seniors center
$ 14,146,000, additional police officer and police car
$ 280,280,000, first “debt service” payment for golf greens renovations
Stafford Park is expected to receive $ 650,000 in COVID-19 relief funding. It sits on 455,462 square feet of land across from a college and is owned by the Miami-Dade County School Board, according to the county assessor’s website.
The park was named after former Miami Springs police officer Charles B. Stafford, who was gunned down 30 years ago after pursuing an unsuccessful driver in Liberty City.
While there are no plans to get federal money in the event of a pandemic, the Miami Springs Historical Society Inc., which adjoins Stafford Park, recently staged a grand reopening of its museum after the city provided 52 $ 150 for renovations.
The 900-square-foot site, once a storage shed for lawn mowers and park supplies, had its last grand opening in 2013. The company sent a note last summer asking the city to cover half of it. of its current budget of $ 24,995, and cited expenses including $ 3,000 for newspaper ads.
“Years of fundraising, building permits and associated changes and the City of Miami Springs’ collaboration in this public-private endeavor has created a place where the community can see and celebrate its heritage,” Virginia Gardens Councilman Richard Block, a member of the company, said in an email to the Herald.
Earlier this month, Miami Springs city council approved a resolution authorizing a payment of $ 8,215 to settle a lawsuit that named the historical society as a party, according to an internal city memo.
The museum is located at 501 East Dr. and is open Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The entrance fee is $ 8.
For information, visit https://www.mshmuseum.org
$ 3.5 million for the renovation of an approved golf course
City council has allocated $ 280,000 in coronavirus recovery funds for a $ 3.5 million renovation of the Miami Springs golf course, which will require long-term funding.
“The renovation of the golf course is going to cost around $ 3.5 million,” Alonso said. “If we take a 15-year rating, at about 2.5% that’s an annual debt service of about $ 280,000.”
Miami Springs last approved a golf course renovation in 2009, a move that cost a lot of greenery but left taxpayers in a sand trap.
“We did a project about 12 years ago for $ 600,000 and it was done badly, totally badly, so it was taking that money and throwing it out the door,” said the golf course manager, Paul O’Dell, at the December 13 city council meeting. .
While it is not known what went wrong, the Miami Springs Golf Course did experience water hazards.
Last year, three wells located on the Miami Springs golf course were closed for nearly six months due to chemical contamination, according to the county.
In 2013, a Miami Herald report showed officials discovered an unregistered 1,120-gallon diesel tank buried in the Miami Springs wellfield at the same level as the water supply.
According to the city, the proposed golf course renovation plan would start with $ 280,000 in ARPA cash for a first-year debt service payment, which includes interest and principal. Miami Springs is expected to make fourteen annual debt service payments of $ 280,000 totaling $ 3,920,000.
It is still unclear just how much golf course renovations can move the city’s property tax needle. Miami Springs property taxes – which are among the highest in the county – have their current rate set at 7.2095 for every $ 1,000 of home assessed value.
Miami Springs takes third hit when annexation in 2022
At the last meeting of the year, on December 13, Miami Springs rulers reflected on their plans for 2022 to annex a strip of land along Northwestern 72nd Avenue.
The city has failed in its last two attempts, since 2009, to annex land west of the airport, which includes at least one large strip club, after protests at County Hall by owners of companies in the western area of the airport who have questioned the city’s intentions.
Founded in 1926 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss, Miami Springs has an uneven track record when it comes to expanding its borders. About 10 years ago, the city annexed land near Northwest 36th Street and created an adult entertainment district that allows sex shops, lap dances, bondage and humiliating activities, according to the order of the city.
Since establishing an adult-only neighborhood in what locals call the “Abraham Tract,” officials in the three-square-mile city north of Miami International Airport have called for more police to make up for an upsurge in criminality.
Miami Springs Adds Cop, Helps South Florida Task Force
COVID-19 recovery funds will provide Miami Springs with another officer and patrol car, at a cost of $ 146,000. The city estimates, however, that the cost of maintaining the agent will cost taxpayers $ 100,000 per year.
Last fall, Miami Springs Police submitted a budget request of $ 7,792,957, an increase of $ 252,333 from the previous year, according to the city’s proposed budget for 2021-2022.
“We have an officer assigned to a task force,” said Miami Springs Police Chief Armando Guzman, who earns $ 140,376 a year and joined the department in 2015 after working as a security guard in Miami. Dade College.
One of the department’s goals, according to an internal memo, is to tackle “the drug problem through interagency cooperation by assigning a police officer to the high intensity drug trafficking area of Florida. South / South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force ”.
Last September, Guzman said in a note to city council that Miami Springs Police have been working with the South Florida Financial Crimes Strike Force – since 2016 – which has led to “numerous resolved cases, arrests and confiscations of get [sic] drugs and substantial sums of money seized and placed in the Law Enforcement Trust Fund. ”
A public documents request by the Herald asking for more information is pending consideration by the city clerk’s office.
Miami Springs’ “expected” uses of previous ARPA funds, officials said, include $ 3,692,476 for stormwater and road improvements along East Dr., and $ 1,348,721 for a median project along East Dr. from South Royal Poinciana Boulevard.
“They [proposed projects] all seem reasonable and the details obviously for what we’re getting, ”Miami Springs Mayor Maria Mitchell said.
The December 13 meeting was lightly attended and no residents came out for or against how Miami Springs plans to spend its remaining ARPA funds.
At the time of this article’s publication, Miami Springs had yet to set a date for its next council meeting. For information, visit https://www.miamisprings-fl.gov/meetings
Theo Karantsalis can be contacted at [email protected]