Musicals and numbers defined Coral Gables’ City Commission meeting Tuesday morning.
Finance director, Diana Gomez, brought the numbers with her report on the city’s quarterly report for the period ending Dec. 31.
Property tax collections, which make up more than 45 percent of the city’s budget, totaled nearly $30 million. The figure represents a dip of $1.4 million compared with last year due to a reduction in the millage rate, Gomez said, but the larger reason is one of timing. “The property tax appraiser is slower in giving some remittances to us, the largest distribution was in January,” she said.
“In the budget to actual for each department, we are on track with the previous year’s collections,” Gomez said, citing $51 million in total revenue.
Total expenditures of $31 million represented 22 percent of the budget, rather than the expected 25 percent for the first quarter, “which is good,” Gomez said.
“We want to spend what we need, but we are managing our expenditures and keeping them low to what is necessary to deliver quality services,” said City Manager Pat Salerno.
Before those numbers, a musical number by Broadway actress Doreen Montalvo surprised the commissioners and those in attendance. Montalvo performed Pacienca y fe from In the Heights, which won the 2008 Tony for Best Musical and earned a Pulitzer Prize for Drama nomination in 2009. Montalvo, who made her Broadway debut as Crazy Cuca and understudied the leading role of Abuela Claudia, will perform as Abuela in Actors’ Playhouse’s production of In the Heights, which opens March 8.
The Act 1 showcase song reflects her character’s childhood journey from Cuba to New York in 1943, as she recalls her mother’s uttering of “patience and faith” along the route.
The visit was a promotional stunt for the show and city-owned Miracle Theatre, which is undergoing a near quarter-million renovation to bring its marquee and box office back to its original 1940s grandeur. Barbara Stein, the executive producing director, and David Arisco, artistic director, presented the city with a plaque in appreciation of the theater’s 25th anniversary.
In other business, Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, who is running for mayor against incumbent Jim Cason, asked staff to govern the way political signs are used in the city.
“I don’t want to see signs removed from property but there are a great deal of signs in the public right of way and multiple signs from the same candidate in houses. This is against code and not the way you start a political career,” he said, without mentioning the offending candidate or candidates.
In addition to the mayor’s seat, two commission seats are open and have drawn eight candidates so far. The deadline for qualifying is Friday.
The city also honored Patricia Arocha for her 25 years of service as an employee of the Public Works Department.
Salerno also said the city refinanced two debts issued in 2004 for a savings of $3.4 million.
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