Safe Wrap also agreed to include a contract provision limiting its ability to ask for a reduction in its minimum annual payment to the county.
Lobbyists for the rival firms mounted intense efforts for months to sway commissioners on the contract. An army of suits milled outside the County Hall commission chambers during Tuesday’s meeting. Once the baggage-wrap discussion began, they packed the first two rows of the chambers to watch the proceedings.
TrueStar’s registered lobbyist was Pablo Acosta. Safe Wrap’s lobbying cadre included Roosevelt Bradley, Jose Castillo, Armando Gutierrez, Felix Lasarte, Sylvester Lukis and Jose Villalobos.
“It’s unfortunate that politics came into this process,” Acosta said after the vote. “This was a clean process, followed to a T, and we won. The airport will receive less revenue.”
He said TrueStar would weigh its options regarding future baggage-wrapping business in Miami.
In other business, commissioners signed off on a pair of elections reforms, including one intended to keep future presidential ballots short.
The board voted 6-5 to approve a proposal by Jordan to limit the number of county questions on presidential-election ballots to three, with a two-thirds vote of the commission required to add more questions.
There is currently no limit on how many charter amendments or nonbinding straw-ballot questions can be included on a Miami-Dade ballot. Commissioners placed 10 questions on November’s ballot, which, along with 11 state constitutional amendments, contributed to long voting lines at the polls.
“I want the citizens to really have the opportunity to understand the items that are there,” Jordan said.
Several of her colleagues said they had misgivings about any attempt to keep issues from making it onto the ballot.
“Really, it doesn’t help the democratic process,” said Souto, who made passing mentions of Hitler and Stalin. On the other hand, limiting the number of questions to be placed on the ballot “instills some discipline and helps us prioritize,” Zapata said.
Voting for the measure were Bell, Bovo, Jordan, Sosa, Suarez and Zapata. Voting against were Diaz, Edmonson, Monestime, Moss and Souto.
The board voted 11-0 for a second Jordan proposal that will require the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections, who is appointed by the mayor, to allow voters to pick up and return absentee ballots in person the Sunday and Monday before Election Day, if early voting is not offered on those days. Supervisor Penelope Townsley offered that convenience in November, though her department is not required to do so.