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Vote ‘NO’ on New Municipalities Miami Charter Amendment (Election: Nov. 2012)

Posted by FactReal on November 3, 2012

If Miami-Dade voters approve the charter amendment for the creation of new municipalities on the November ballot, it will make it easier to create cities out of unincorporated Miami-Dade which would lead to double-taxation (county taxes and city taxes), a new layer of politicians and bureaucrats trying to control your life, new costs (pensions, salaries, benefits for the politicians and labor unions), duplication of services, etc. Currently, residents in unincorporated Miami-Dade pay the lowest property tax rate and have to deal only with county officials.

The commissioners legislation (pages 9 -11) behind this proposed charter amendment states that groups pushing for the creation of new cities will have less requirements and more time to collect signatures to force residents in unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County to become a new city. If the voters approve this charter amendment, the pro-city groups will have 6 months to obtain signatures from only 20% of the electors in the proposed incorporation area. The current ordinance calls for 90 days to obtain 25% of the electors’ signatures.

The incorporation charter amendment, which would add a new section to the Charter (the county constitution), appears as follows on the November 2012 ballot:

Charter Amendment Pertaining to Changes in Municipal Boundaries and Creation of New Municipalities

Shall the Charter be amended to:

  • Require the County Commission to consider the benefits of any proposed annexation of commercial areas, when approving or authorizing an annexation
  • Establish alternative procedure for creation of new municipalities in unincorporated areas of the County by petition which provides conditions for creation of new municipalities and a single election to approve the creation of a new municipality and approve its Charter, instead of two elections for these purposes?

A Miami-Dade resident explains why incorporation is bad idea. Catherine Christofis explained the negative consequences of incorporation in her opinion article titled ‘Charter proposal not fair to unincorporated areas.’ Here are some excerpts from her article:

Unincoporated Miami-Dade — UMSA, in government shorthand — has the lowest property tax rate compared to almost all cities. UMSA residents also pay less in car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, cell phones, land lines, FPL bills, etc., because they don’t have fees/surcharges added to their bills.

UMSA’s business owners don’t have to deal with obtaining two occupational licenses (local business tax).

The UMSA business owner just gets one from the county, thus not having to pass on higher costs to the residents in the area. UMSA’s homeowners don’t have to go to two building departments to get plans approved; they just have to go to the county. But a city’s residents/business owners first have to get the county to sign off (per a 2008 law) and then get the final permits from the city’s building department. Twice the work, time and money.

Almost all the residents of Miami-Dade County use the resources of the county — police, fire, Water & Sewer, Solid Waste and the public library system. So what advantage does incorporation bring to residents? Self-determination. That means you get a new group of politicians determining what things are appropriate for you and your property. […]

Then your politicians will also determine what salaries they want to get paid. The mayor, council members, clerks, code enforcement, unions, city attorneys and more personnel will be needed for that City of Gold (for them). They will start with a token amount and then gradually vote themselves generous pensions, expense accounts, travel accounts, etc. Don’t forget the lobbyists — they will be on the payroll, too.

UMSA does not have to deal with much of that stuff. No duplication of services. The county answers to UMSA and vice-versa. […]

The proposal by the Charter Task Force is not good for cities, either. Residents of cities have on various occasions said No to annexing other areas, but their city councils have not always listened.

After reading the ballot language on this incorporation issue and the other ballot items, voters will have to decide. But without the background information, it is impossible to make an informed choice. After intense study, my own decision on incorporation is definitely a big No!

For her full article, go to h ttp://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/16/v-print/2894790/charter-proposal-not-fair-to-unincorporated.html.
Or click here if the Miami Herald deleted the online version.


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