Miami Gardens / Opa-locka

Miami Gardens

Miami Gardens hires financial advisor for planned borrowing

With less than two weeks remaining for voters to decide on Miami Gardens’ proposed $60 million general obligation bond issue, the City Council approved hiring a financial advisor to assist the city with issuing the bonds if the referendum passes.

City commissioners agreed Wednesday to “piggyback” on another contract that was approved by Riviera Beach last year to hire Public Financial Management for financial advisory services. The city has to put out a preliminary official statement before agencies can rate the city’s bond.

The city’s finance department indicated that on July 1, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may enact a change that requires a financial advisor to approve the city’s official statement, known as a prospectus.

“The timing is very tight,” said Finance Director Patricia Varney.

The city also has to give the Miami-Dade property appraiser’s office the property-tax rate for the bond’s debt service by Aug. 4.

The advisor would be paid through the proceeds from the bonds.

Bonds are IOUs that cities sell to investors. Bonds that require a tax increase to repay, like those proposed by Miami Gardens, must be approved in a referendum.

Miami Gardens residents are now voting by mail, and the ballots will by counted April 21.

Also Wednesday, the City Council approved a service plan for the city’s proposed circulator bus service and allowed the city manager to prepare a bid and partnership with Miami-Dade County. The city expects to have an agreement with the county approved in about three months.

The plan would make the buses free throughout the city and reduce costs by not requiring the purchase of fare boxes or e-card readers.

Buses would run every hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There are two proposed east-west routes that would originate at key sites, including St. Thomas and Florida Memorial universities, Sun Life Stadium and the Calder Casino.

The council also took up a resolution to name the section of Northwest Second Avenue between Northwest 183rd Street and County Line Road after Nelson Mandela. The resolution failed when council members David Williams Jr. and Lillie Odom voted against it.

City rules state that renaming a street requires a unanimous vote. Williams also opposed renaming the section of the road after President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in 2012 because of the multiple names already affixed to the street.

“If I voted against it then, I’m voting against in now. It would look hypocritical for me to change,” Williams said. “You have a street that already has three names — now you’re going to put a fourth name. That makes no sense to me.”

Northwest Second Avenue is also referred to as State Road 7 and U.S. 441.

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