Medley wants to annex several square miles of property in different pockets in unincorporated Miami-Dade that would also extend its boundaries.
Doral seeks to annex property at the south and west sides of the city. Doral had previously been interested in annexing the Dolphin Mall, but Sweetwater has since beaten Doral to the punch, annexing the shopping center in 2010.
“The municipalities involved want to add to their tax bases,” said Tom David, president of the Airport West Business Association. “This is all about extracting tax revenue from voiceless property owners.”
David showed up at the 2010 county hall meeting with more than 150 business owners who wore “no annexation” T-shirts and took turns speaking at the public forum. No one — other than city officials — spoke on behalf of the cities.
“One would think, especially given the last go-around, that the municipal officials would reach out to the property owners before they start the annexation process, but so far they have not done so,” David wrote in an e-mail to the Gazette.
In 2010, David’s main objections were that annexation by some of the cities would mean a huge tax increase for the property owners. Also, many of the properties did not want to be caught up in a municipal regulatory environment without having any representation.
None of these property owners, David added, are voters in these cities.
David thinks that one alternative would be to adapt a special taxing district so it could act as the area’s municipal government. Property owners would have representation on a management board, rather than having the area managed by officials elected by voters.
The district could then contract for municipal services from the county or the adjacent municipalities. David added that the idea could be beneficial to the county police department.
“If this idea does not work, then the property owners should be — must be — consulted as to which municipality they prefer,” wrote David. “Fundamental fairness dictates that their preference should be determined in some rational way and honored by the county.”