There was an upbeat atmosphere at the Monday, June 24 Miami Springs council meeting, as the heavy lifting of the new budget had not yet begun. It was the last meeting before the July recess and they would not meet again until the special meeting to set the tax rate for the new fiscal year.
Although the meeting was short and there was little business to conduct, Councilman Billy Bain’s pet project for a Wall of Fame at the Community Center did get off the ground. During Bain’s eight years as mayor and since his election to council this April, he has been pressing the need to honor those who have contributed over the years to the Miami Springs athletic programs.
Omar Luna, the head of recreation in Miami Springs, was at the meeting to present a plan for the Miami Springs Recreation Hall of Fame, which would begin in 2014. Nominations would be submitted to the Rec Board in early 2014 and the charter class would be honored with a ceremony later in the year.
The nominees could be former athletes who started their careers in Miami Springs and went on to state or national fame. Or longtime coaches, with at least five years here, who helped mold the young athletes of Miami Springs. Or just contributors whose efforts helped improve the overall athletic programs of Miami Springs.
The council would have final say on which of the nominees submitted to them by the Rec Board actually would get into the Wall of Fame. Luna’s plan did not specify the number of people to be honored the first year or thereafter, but Bain was right there to tweak the formula.
“This Hall of Fame should be exclusive and we need to limit the number to five going in the first year and then three per year thereafter,” Bain said. “We need to make sure it is an honor and not watered down. If there are not three good nominees in any year, we do not need to put that many in.”
The council and Luna were more than willing to go along with the changes Bain was proposing and it passed unanimously. Mayor Zavier Garcia even went so far as to call the Wall of Fame Bain’s “baby” and make him the council liaison to the project.
“We tend to lose the history of the city in the wash and this is one way of preventing that from happening. I thank the council for their support,” concluded Bain.
The delight in establishing a new Wall of Fame was short, as Finance Director William Alonso had some sobering news about the new budget that this council would be working to balance at workshops and regular meetings after the recess.
Alonso had met with the department heads and discussed their individual budgets. His preliminary estimates showed a $587,484 deficit at the current millage rate of 6.9950. He reported that it would take a tax increase to 7.6860 to balance the budget if the council did not find a way to make any reductions.
Of course, it will be up to the council to find a way to balance the budget without a tax increase of that magnitude. It will start at a special meeting on Thursday, July 25 at 6 p.m. when the tax rate ceiling will be set for fiscal year 2013-14, which begins Oct. 1.
The tax rate can only be reduced from there and two workshops were scheduled at the meeting on Monday to deal with the deficit. The first Budget Workshop Meeting will take place on Monday, Aug. 5 and the second on Monday, Aug. 19, both starting at 6 p.m.