The Miami Springs council’s first meeting in the new fiscal year took place on Monday night, Oct. 14 and there were many budget-related items that had to be dealt with. Newly appointed vice mayor Billy Bain lived up to the “vice” part as he opposed every one of the 30 items that set the new budget in motion. Each item passed by a 4-1 vote, just like the vote on the budget itself last month.
“You can call it my ‘one-man protest vote,’ ” Bain said during a brief recess. “And being that I was against the budget, I want to be consistent — I have my principles.”
The many 4-1 votes on the budget had no effect, as Councilmen Michael Windrem, George Lob and Jaime Petralanda, along with Mayor Zavier Garcia, were just as consistent as Bain. However, there was another 4-1 vote late in the meeting where Bain’s dissent could have an impact in the future.
The Miami Springs City Charter requires a Vote of Confidence for the city manager at the first meeting of the new fiscal year. It was expected that Ron Gorland would get praise for a job well done and a unanimous vote of confidence. That was the case, except for the vice mayor.
Petralanda held up a sign with “A1A” in large print and simply said, “Keep up the good work.” Windrem called Gorland a friend and a teacher. Lob said he enjoyed working with Gorland and that he had his confidence. Garcia said, “I appreciate your communication skills and having an open mind.”
But then Bain said: “I have addressed my problems with the city manager in private and will not put those things out here tonight. I will not be give him a vote of confidence at this time.”
Another 4-1 vote ensued; Bain then made it clear to his colleagues that the job of the city manager should be reviewed more than once a year. And that all it takes is one council member to ask for another vote of confidence — or non-confidence — at any time during the year.
The one thing the council was unanimous about at this meeting: Something has to be done about the deterioration of the pool and a decision to spend money on repairs to keep it open in the short term has to be made quickly.
The administration was recommending a course of action to immediately shore up the pool and deck area at a cost of $48,850. The city has more than $77,000 in a pool reserve fund from last year’s budget, so there would be no “new” money required.
This “shoring up” would allow the necessary time to consider a replacement facility, with cost, location and funding considerations. It would stay open under those conditions, but demolition or simply closing the pool were other options to consider.
With Bain leading the charge and making the motion, the council decided unanimously to table the issue and set a Special Meeting for Wednesday Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.
At that meeting, a decision will be made on shoring up or closing down the pool; and there will be extensive discussion on building a new pool facility and where it should be located.
In other news, the council:
• Heard a presentation from BMG Money Inc. on an employee loan program and approved unanimously offering it to all Miami Springs employees. It allows borrowing up to $5,000 and repayment to be made through payroll deductions, at no risk or cost to the city.
• Approved unanimously a Workshop Meeting on proposed changes to city ordinances to be set for January 2014.
• Rescheduled the Monday, Nov. 11 regular council meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 12 due to the Veterans Day holiday.