Miami Gardens / Opa-locka


Opa-locka moving forward with annexation plans

Opa-locka is still moving forward with its plan to expand its city limits by annexing two areas to the south and west of the city.

The city applied last August to annex the two mainly-industrial areas, designated as annexation areas A and B. If eventually approved, the city’s boundaries would grow from 4.5 square miles to about 5.9 square miles.

The mayor, city manager, commissioners and some city staff appeared at a Miami-Dade County Commission meeting last month for a discussion of annexation and areas of the county that are planning to incorporate. City Manager Kelvin Baker said, at the March 12 commission meeting, that the city is waiting for a date to meet with the county’s annexation board.

Area A is less than an acre. It’s a triangular area south of Northwest 135th Street, west to Northwest 47th Avenue and extending south to the Gratigny Parkway.

Area B would be about 1.3 square miles, extending in a rectangular shape, from Northwest 127th Street to Northwest 107th Street, and from 37th Avenue to 27th Avenue. Annexing the area would also add Miami-Dade College’s north campus to the city of Opa-locka.

The city says the annexation areas are entirely non-residential.

The city has struggled with finding revenue sources as the mayor and City Commission want to avoid a budget deficit as the fiscal year goes on. The city had a study prepared and identified potential tax revenue and acquiring industrial and commercial property as the main reasons for annexing the two areas.

Based on the city’s current tax rate, the two areas would add about $2.7 million in property tax revenue.

If the plan is approved, the city would have to add about four more police officers, which, according to salary estimates from the 2012-13 fiscal year, would cost about $257,000.

The city would also lose some revenue from utilities surcharges. The city charges a 25 percent fee to businesses in the unincorporated surrounding areas that use the city’s sewer and water treatment services, according to city documents.

Mayor Myra Taylor described the plan for annexation as the largest part of the city’s plans outside of redeveloping Magnolia North and the old City Hall property.

“We will enlarge our territory, that’s what we’re looking to do,” Taylor said in an interview.

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