Heyman has been helpful to the incorporation attempt.
“I’ve asked my office to provide them with all the information they need,” she said.
The new city’s budget would likely be between $9 million and $10 million. Northeast Dade has emerged from the recession a little healthier than it was seven years ago, Feldman said, as property values stabilized, population increased by 1,500, and its contribution to the unincorporated Miami-Dade property tax known as UMSA has increased to $1.3 million a year.
That means Northeast Dade is considered a donor community because it pays more in taxes than it receives in services, Feldman said.
“That’s money that would come back to our area,” Feldman said.
Not everyone in the neighborhood is gung ho about the incorporation movement. Longtime Sky Lake resident Elicia Rook said it’s just a bunch of homeowner association members looking for power and money.
“You mean those people are back again?’’ she asked. “They just want to make a city so their pensions are on our backs. We have great police and garbage pickup. What else do we need?’’
Bari Schanerman, a business consultant who has spent a decade fighting for neighborhood independence, toured rundown parks near her home last week and said many residents simply cross the tracks to the east and use Aventura’s facilities. The parks there are bigger, brighter, have more trees and walking trails. Police are visible. She also said she’s impressed with the growth of Miami Gardens to the west.
“I guess I’ve watched all the cities around us improve,” Schanerman said. The unincorporated area “looks tired, it looks rundown. I don’t know if it would be so obvious except for the cities around us.”
Just before the 2007 moratorium on incorporation, Aventura was asked to look into annexing Northeast Dade.
“It was not financially feasible,” said Aventura City Manager Eric Soroca.
Had the neighborhood been annexed, almost $2 million in yearly utility taxes and franchise fees it now pays to the county would have remained with the county. If Northeast Dade becomes Highland Oaks, it gets to keep that money.
“It’s a shame the moratorium stopped everything,” Schanerman said. “I think it’s time to let the people decide.’’