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Miami Lakes council bans fees for parks, community classes

 

parafshar@gmail.com

In some cities, you can’t park in public without having to pay a fee. Not in Miami Lakes.

Parks are free, too. Ditto on yoga classes and several other town services.

And because of a resolution passed Tuesday by the town council, that might never change.

The council voted unanimously to pass the Miami Lakes Citizens Protection Act, an item sponsored by Mayor Michael Pizzi that prohibits the town from imposing parking fees or charging for community classes that are currently free.

The resolution also prevents the town from increasing fees that already exist.

“We’re placing a moratorium,” Pizzi said during the meeting.

The council voted on the item after a roughly hour-long discussion during which several residents and nonresidents expressed their support for it.

“Over my dead body will anybody attempt to kick you out of that class — it’s not gonna happen,” Pizzi said to a speaker who said she couldn’t afford to attend classes if there was a fee.

Pizzi’s declaration was met by applause from the council chambers, which was filled to capacity and had some attendees standing because of a lack of chairs.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Pizzi said.

The passing of the resolution effectively killed an item for discussion by Councilman Nelson Hernandez that suggested the town look into charging non-Miami Lakes residents a fee for parking in public areas, including parks.

Hernandez’s idea was that all profits derived from this program would be used to lower the tax rate as part of a broader plan to eventually eliminate property taxes.

"My item had to do with parking and charging nonresidents for parking in Miami Lakes," said Hernandez, who arrived at the meeting moments before the vote and was not given the opportunity to speak. "It explicitly stated in my item that residents would park for free in Miami Lakes."

Hernandez said he was frustrated that his item was not discussed and is considering bringing it back up for discussion.

“I’ll bring it back because it has nothing to do with charging Miami Lakes residents fees,” Hernandez said. “What I really want is to hear from my colleagues and figure out how we can improve my item. I am not saying it’s perfect; I just want to discuss it.”

But the mayor said he didn’t think that will happen.

“We will no longer be considering any items by Hernandez involving increasing fees or imposing fees,” Pizzi said.

In other business

The council will hold a meeting at 6 p.m., June 27, to discuss annexation. The meeting will take place at town hall, located at 16500 NW 87th Ave.

The Miami Lakes annexation report is currently available on the town website: http://miamilakes-fl.gov.

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