The Miami Springs council got together for their second regular meeting of August this past Monday night, Aug. 26. Their task of finalizing the budget for fiscal 2013-14 was clearly the top priority, but two presentations made before getting to the regular agenda also will impact the community.
The popular Miami Springs Farmers Market will return in October at a new location on Curtiss Parkway and the brand new outdoor archery range at the country club will officially open with a unique ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday.
Sarah Vargas, who has volunteered countless hours in starting and continuing the Farmers Market, presented her plans for this year and the council gave her a unanimous go-ahead. The Farmers Market will move from the All Angels church grounds to the first block of Curtiss Parkway, just off the Circle.
The Miami Springs Farmers Market will be open Saturday mornings from Oct. 5 to March 29 and, according to Vargas, there is room for 30 vendors at the new location. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and local businesses are being encouraged to participate.
Vargas reiterated that there was no problem at All Angels and there were “many loyal customers” who came every week, but there were not enough “drive-by customers” to make it profitable for some vendors. She asked for no support from the city, other than minor electrical needs and regular on-duty police “check-ups.”
The Market will continue to host weekly special events such as cooking demonstrations, environmental education classes, and participation from local healthy lifestyle programs. It will have a “street market feel” as vendors will be lined up on both sides of the bike/walking path in the area.
The second presentation was made by Mark Bain, the brother of Councilman Billy Bain and the president of the Miami Springs/Virginia Gardens Optimist Archery Club. He was very proud to announce the opening of the first outdoor archery range at the Miami Springs Country Club, with targets from 10 yards out to 60 yards.
The local archery club has over 200 members and prior to this Friday’s grand opening the closest outdoor ranges were in Homestead and Fort Lauderdale. Bain invited everyone to come out on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. to see the range and meet the staff and sponsors.
The opening ceremony will be one to remember, as the local archers will cut the ribbon by shooting arrows through it. Bain also announced that Miami Springs would host the Florida State Archery Tournament for a second consecutive year, in February 2014.
The business of the budget then took over the meeting and it was clear once again that taxes are going up. The Miami Springs council set the tax ceiling for the new year at 7.8597 mils in late July and on Monday was trying to balance a budget at 7.6995 mils, up from the current rate of just under 7 mils.
The new budget, which starts Oct. 1, will not be finalized until after the two public hearings at the Sept. 9 and Sept. 23 regular council meetings. The council and staff have whittled the original budget down through a series of workshops to where there is a surplus to replenish reserves of almost $200,000, at the proposed rate.
The only decisions made on Monday night were to reduce the new “tree” budget by $17,000 and to include the requested $35,000 by Curtiss Mansion Inc. (CMI) in the budget. The former decision was unanimous, while the latter sparked some heated discussion.
The vote to keep the CMI-requested funds in the budget was 3-2, with Bain and Jaime Petralanda dissenting. Even the majority, however, made it clear this decision was not final and they were asking for more information from CMI before the next meeting.
In other news, the council:
• Rescinded the prior golf cart lease agreement with Club Car by a 4-1 vote (Petralanda dissenting) and approved a new one with Yamaha at $252,975 for 75 gasoline powered carts and one concierge passenger vehicle.
• Approved on second reading, by a 4-1 vote (Bain dissenting), an ordinance that increases all business taxes by 5 percent.
• Approved unanimously two resolutions setting up the in-house hearings related to red light cameras. Set the date of Oct. 17 for the first appeals hearing that includes a $250 fee (in addition to the $158 ticket) for anyone who appeals a red light ticket and loses at the hearing.