The Miami Springs council held its first meeting in a month last Monday and later determined there would be just one more regular meeting in 2012. With very few residents in attendance, the council sped through a long agenda with little controversy and few final decisions.
One resident who was in attendance accused the council of playing favorites with the All Angels Movie Nights. Also, an outside consultant had some interesting observations on the state of the Miami Springs Golf Course.
Nery Owens, who attends virtually every council meeting and usually speaks in open forum, chose this night to wait until the agenda item on the funding of the All Angels Movie Nights came up for discussion.
Before Owens had her say, Mindy McNichols, an All Angels board member representing Mother Susan Keedy, requested funding for the Movie Night that had taken place last Friday and continuing on the third Friday of the month through March 2013.
“All Angels does not make any money on these Movie Nights,” said McNichols. “We just want to do this for the community and ask for your help with police support for last Friday and the next four months.”
Before the council could act, Owens had her say, “I have a problem with this; we should have a separation of church and state. My tax dollars to the tune of $3,000 a Movie Night — you have cut in every area, so what makes All Angels a sacred cow? Is it because Vice Mayor Jennifer Ator is a fine outstanding member of All Angels?”
Mayor Zavier Garcia made sure Owens knew the numbers she was quoting were wrong and that religion did not play a part of the event on the Circle, which is open to everyone.
“This is an item in the budget (under $3,000 for the five Movie Nights) and it is for the entire community,” said Garcia. “There is zero mention of any religion at Movie Night and there is much crossover of all religions.”
Councilman George Lob added, “We support activities that bring people to the downtown area and don’t look at this in any religious way.”
City Attorney Jan Seiden confirmed that this event had nothing to do with the separation of church and state; it was just a sponsorship. Ator abstained and Movie Nights were approved unanimously by a 4-0 vote.
John Foy, a representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA), spoke before council for the first time in four years. He specializes in golf course conditions and said it had been close to two years since his last review of the Miami Springs Golf Course.
His closing comment was, “Miami Springs has a really nice piece of property,” but before that he itemized the problems it is experiencing now and suggested some solutions for the future.
“Your golf course is still recovering from the new irrigation system — which you did not need this year with the 90 inches of rain — but it will pay off in the long run,” said Foy. “It has not been a good growing season and much fertilizing is needed to get ready for the season. You have cut back on expenses but must make resources available for growing more grass.