Biscayne Park commissioners on Tuesday voted down a resolution that could have moved annexation efforts forward.
Following an annexation workshop held on Sept. 21, Commissioner Roxanna Ross presented the commission with a resolution that would have had municipal planners collect data and prepare necessary reports so that a formal application could be submitted to Miami-Dade County.
“We’ve been in discussion about this for 15 months,” said Ross. “This is an investment in the future of the village. If we’re going to create a sustainable city, we need to diversify our tax base.”
The 46-acre area now being considered is bordered on the west by the Florid East Coast Railway, on the north by Northeast 121st Street, on the east by Biscayne Boulevard, and on the south roughly by Northeast 119th Street.
“This brings us closer to U.S. 1, and it includes two gated communities,” said Ross.
The proposed area is valued at approximately $60 million and also includes several retail stores, including a Pollo Tropical, a MetroPCS, and a CVS Pharmacy, along with several industrial parcels.
“I don’t want to see our services get cut. Most cities have commercial properties. We don’t,” said Vice Mayor Bob Anderson.
Ross and Anderson voted in favor of the resolution while commissioners Bryan Cooper, Barbara Watts and Mayor Noah Jacobs voted against it.
Watts said she would have voted for the resolution if the two gated communities, Alta Mira and Baywinds Apartments, were excluded so the annexation area would include only the commercial property. Jacobs argued that the annexation process was too “open-ended” financially.
“We argue over spending $100 in the office. Who knows how many thousands of dollars this could cost us. It could be $10,000, it could be more,” said Jacobs who added that he wanted to exhaust all other free resources first.
As a result, Ross added verbiage in the resolution that would cap the spending. Jacobs still voted against it.
Annexing businesses could help the village solve its financial problems. But attempting to annex too many residents could be risky: Any annexation area with more than 250 residents gets to vote, and they might not want to join the municipality with the highest tax rate in Miami-Dade County.
In other news, the village has narrowed its list of candidates for the village manager position down to eight. Each commissioner will now conduct his or her own interviews and present top three choices to the clerk’s office by Oct. 17. Panel interviews for the commission and the community will be held at the next commission meeting on Nov. 6; and the new manager will be announced at a special commission meeting on Nov. 14.
Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. at the Ed Burke Recreation Center, 11400 NE Ninth Ct.