Going green is a noble cause but not without its challenges. Just ask Horace Feliu who actually created the first Green Task Force in the City of South Miami in2009 when he was serving as Mayor. The role of the Green Task Force is to provide the South Miami City Commission with suggestions on integrating Green and LEED certified designs in both residential and commercial buildings. Their goal, which is still in effect, is to promote initiatives that would reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
Going green is getting more and more into focus as of late. Residents of the City of Miami just this month voted to tax themselves in order to create a half a billion-dollar bond that was specifically about curbing the effects of climate change. In a city that is as resistant to taxes as it is susceptible to that very climate change, that vote underscores the importance of municipalities putting a concentrated and strategic focus on evolving into greener cities.
The City of South Miami, however, has overstepped normal governmental authority boundaries by mandating that homeowners install solar panels when building new homes or when making improvements or additions to existing homes. Homeowners alone would have to bear the cost of installation, maintenance and increases in their homeowner’s insurance. Homeowners would also be exposed to what many consider to be government sponsored predatory lenders as a way to fund the addition of the solar panels.
“The role of government in ‘going green’ should be in informing residents of the latest advancements in efficiency and design so they are aware of options that would reduce the carbon footprint,” said Horace Feliu, former mayor and current mayoral candidate of City of South Miami. “Government should not be mandating non-safety related initiatives to residents but rather providing incentives and waiving fees to promote change. Building affordable homes is a concern since this new mandate will increase costs and keep many potential homeowners out of the market.”
The mandating of solar panels has been a hot topic issue with many South Miami residents. For many older residents the expected 25 years to break even on the investment is simply not worth the cost, especially given that the systems only have an expected life span of 30 years. Older homes, which are slated for demolition and reconstruction, have also lost the value of replacement with the mandated solar array.
Feliu has thrown his hat into the Mayoral Ring once again for this and several other reasons that have him concerned as a long time resident of the city. While he believes that the city of South Miami must reduce its carbon footprint, he believes in enabling not dictating to citizens with ways to go green.
“After 3 very successful terms as the Mayor of City of South Miami I think there is a ton of work that I began that I am looking forward to continuing in the correct manner, such as the green imitative,” said Feliu. “This is something that will be important not just for me and my children but for my grandchildren and my great grandchildren if handled correctly and judiciously.”