Miami Gardens / Opa-locka

Miami Gardens

Miami Gardens residents approve bonds, which will mean tax increase

After town hall meetings and public input, Miami Gardens voters agreed last week to support a $60 million general obligation bond issue for special projects.

Residents voted on the bond in a special mail-out ballot election, and it passed Monday with about 62 percent of the voters voting in favor of the referendum.

Roughly 13 percent of the city’s 67,000 registered voters returned the ballots.

“Today, our residents have spoken,” said Mayor Oliver Gilbert in a statement. “They’ve said that providing a safer community for our youth and improving the quality of life for our seniors is a priority.”

The $60 million is intended to be used to purchase new police equipment, renovate the city’s 18 parks, and build a new senior center and other facilities.

City leaders have provided scant details on how the bond money will be spent, but have promised to involve the community as the effort moves forward.

City Manager Cameron Benson said that certain projects will be prioritized including some that were a part of the city’s capital improvement plan, like work at Rolling Oaks Park and utilizing the space purchased from the Archdiocese of Miami at Northwest 183rd Street and Northwest 12th Avenue.

“We plan on going into the community to get suggestions on the facilities,” Benson said. “We’ll be looking to prioritize based on the input.”

He added that the council will begin to make its appointments for the proposed oversight committee in May, that will assist in tracking the projects and their costs and his staff will present ordinances for the City Council next month related to the next steps for the bond.

A portion of the money has to be spent in the first three or four years, and Benson said officials are waiting to find out how much money will initially be made available to the city.

The bond will cost the average household in Miami Gardens about $46.28 per year, and will be paid out over the course of 25 years. The cost is based on the city’s average taxable home value of about $34,000 after the homestead exemption.

The city has to give the Property Appraiser’s office the millage rate for the debt service by Aug. 4. The initial city estimate is a tax increase of about $1.36 per $1,000 in taxable home value.

“With the approval of this bond, the City of Miami Gardens continues on the path of growing the imagination and aspirations of our youth for generations to come,” Gilbert said in a statement.

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