North, South MACs to continue studies of cities in West Kendall

West Kendall

Since the close of 2015, two Municipal Advisory Committees (MAC) studying the potential of two new cities in West Kendall entered 2016 in two different time frames.

The “West End North MAC” is studying an estimated population of 129,000 north of Kendall Drive and south of SW Eighth Street, generally west of SW 137th Avenue. The seven citizen volunteers have spent the best part of two years since formation in 2014 to arrive at their first working figure of a municipality’s operational cost of $24.6 million.

Meanwhile, a “West End South MAC” embarking on the same task for a population of 128,874 between Kendall Drive and SW 152nd Streey, west of SW 137th Avenue, just began hearing the first presentations by county representatives, laying the groundwork for an understanding of how county and municipal services would operate in the area.

Such presentations took the better part of a year before the North MAC could begin projecting tax revenues to determine a preliminary city budget, a task that occupied most of its month-to-month meetings during 2015.

At a Feb. 17, session, the seven-member North committee began an intensive review of six major areas comprising a budget that includes a police force (costing an estimated $19.9 million) and five other key services making up a balance of $4.7 million.

As explained by Jorge M. Fernandez, Community Redevelopment and Municipal Services coordinator for both MACs, the North MAC now is reviewing each service in detail for potential revision of the initial cost estimates before proceeding to approve a final pro forma budget.

That document alone will be scrutinized by the county’s Office of Budget and Management and likely will be returned to the MAC with potential changes, a process that overall, from start to finish, will consume several additional meetings.

Once a budget is finalized, a companion “conceptual agreement” must be worded, delineating how the new city budget will fit into UMSA (Unincorporated Municipal Service Area) with a proposed division of tax revenues so that key county services (i.e., libraries, water and sewer, etc.) will continue to be provided to the municipality, once incorporated.

Two public hearings will be held before the MAC approves those documents to allow sufficient time between the first and second hearings for citizen input.

A second hearing follows before either document is finalized for submission to the county for a final review, prior to any action by Miami-Dade County Commissioners to approve balloting by voters within the boundaries to approve or disapprove incorporation.

By contrast, the learning process about the responsibilities assumed by a city just began for the West End South MAC that has heard several presentations by county department representatives.

A Feb. 16 session by the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department on revenues and services was postponed to Mar. 15, 6:30 p.m., when the South MAC resumes its schedule at the West Regional Library, 10201 Hammocks Blvd.

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