More public input sought by MAC3 study committee


Troubled by sparse attendance at its first two meetings, Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC3) members exploring incorporation of a portion of West Kendall urged Miami-Dade County Commission District 11 residents to voice their concerns and opinions at monthly sessions.

The MAC3 boundary area under study runs from Kendall Drive south to SW 152nd Street west of 137th Avenue to Krome (177th) Avenue.

During 2001-02, a former MAC analyzing a much larger West Kendall incorporation area disbanded for lack of public interest.

“Most people have little idea of the extent of services that the county provides,” observed MAC3 chair Origa “Ory” Dawes following an Apr. 21 presentation of Miami-Dade library services by Jack Varela, public affairs officer for the county system. He was assisted by Wil Fowler, operations administrator.

In southwest Kendall, the county library system covers a 12.6 square miles with a population of 78,379 that includes 26,755 housing units. Services varying from downloading hit music (42,602 hits during 2013-14) to tracing genealogical information about greatgrandparents.

Also appearing was West Division Fire- Rescue Chief Ray Barreto who capsulated West Kendall services, noting 13,000-plus calls (7,693 for lifesaving emergencies) in 2014.

Next on the MAC3 summer agenda are presentations by Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces; Public Works and Waste Management; Regulatory and Economic Resources (planning, zoning, building) and the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM). All are scheduled to detail services at the MAC3’s third meeting on May 19, 6:30 p.m., at West Kendall Regional Library, 10201 Hammocks Blvd. in the Hammocks Shopping Center.

Other sessions will examine how policing as well as water and sewer services are maintained within newly incorporated areas, as well as their impact on current tax bills. With few exceptions, both library and fire-rescue services continue under county management in newly incorporated municipalities.

The question of extending the current MAC3 boundaries east of SW 137th Avenue into other unincorporated areas will be addressed at a July session. Other meetings will continue through 2015 to study finances for a proposed municipality.

“The two items that concern me are how to attract more people to our meetings, and having sufficient information about how incorporation will affect taxes in the area we study,” said Patricia “Shannen” Davis, urging more notice of the MAC3 sessions by posting meeting notices in area libraries and advance advertising, adding, “Let’s get the word out so people can learn more about their community.”

Ideas for weekend sessions, when people have time off, were discarded after Gigi Bolt, staff member of Office of Budget and Management explained logistical difficulties to have key county supervisors appear on weekends and locating county facilities open for meetings.

Bolt noted that Jorge Fernandez of the county’s Budget staff will attend future sessions to explain financial relationships involving ongoing services by county departments, as well as responsibilities undertaken by incorporation, including distributions of funds collected within unincorporated Miami-Dade.

In addition to Dawes and Davis, other members attending included Humberto Ortega and Harry Hoffman.

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