Dear Miami Beach Resident,
As I canvas the city and knock on doors, people share their concerns with me, and one of the biggest so far is the Miami Beach Building Department’s high permit prices and poor resident customer service.
The other day in North Beach, I knocked on a condominium apartment, eager to share my campaign card and explain my platform of clean and safe streets, clean swimmable water, and clean and transparent government.
Two brothers answered the door, one took the card, scanned it, and laughed.
He said, “Do you think that people care about this stuff? Do you think you can win a campaign with this?” (Um….yes, that’s the idea).
The man leaned toward me and raised his voice, “Why don’t you go to the building department and ask them why they charged me $1000 to change my patio door? It’s robbery!”
“Now that’s important,” he screamed.
I found out he was upset because his permit to change a $2000 door was $1000, and that’s too expensive!
Another resident in South Beach gestured at his newly tiled floor and unfinished kitchen, sighed, and said, “I have been to the building department three times about this work and I am fed up.”
He explained that as he sat in the building department, commercial contractors and permit expeditors got preference over him. One permit expeditor even brought cupcakes!
This resident can’t finish his kitchen because the building department is demanding electrical drawings—even though he didn’t do any electrical work. It seems like the building department doesn’t understand that hiring an electrical contractor to draw plans is expensive!
I commiserate with any resident who leaves the building department feeling angry and despondent.
My pledge as your commissioner is to ensure improved resident customer service, and reduce resident permit prices. Sitting on the dais, I balked as the commission raised prices (I voted no), but now I have proof that people can’t afford our policies, and hopefully my colleagues will vote to reduce prices.
I have been that resident waiting in line, and I get it.