With few issues hanging in the balance, the Miami Springs council decided Monday night that there would be just one regular meeting the rest of the year, so the Nov. 24 and Dec. 22 meetings were canceled. The only remaining Miami Springs council meeting of 2014 will take place on Monday, Dec. 8, although the council members did agree they would be available if a Special Meeting is called.
By the time that December meeting takes place, Miami Springs will have a new police chief, either an interim chief from the ranks or one of the four final candidates for the job —Thomas Cannon, Armando Guzman, Rafael Hernandez or Van Toth.
Police Chief Pete Baan, who had his family at the meeting and was honored for his 40 years of service in Miami Springs, officially leaves office at the end of the year. However, his retirement luncheon put together by the city will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 3 and his final day on the job will be Friday, Dec. 5.
The council also put a time frame on getting things right in the building department and how long Carlos Santana’s contract at the Miami Springs Country Club would be extended.
City Manager Ron Gorland was given six months to get things straightened out in the building department, although he had asked for a year. This came after seven construction-related people from the community spoke on the agenda item, all in favor of keeping the status qua and not privatizing the building department.
Despite vocal support for Skip Reed and the other part-timers of that department, the council spoke of the many complaints they had gotten about poor customer service and that outsourcing the services would remain an option.
No vote was taken but the time given to Gorland to hire a full-time manager (code enforcement officer and do-everything building official Tex Ziadie is retiring at the end of February 2015) and to address the customer service issues in the building department was reduced to six months. Gorland responded with a confident, “I’ll take it,” and the council moved on to Santana’s contract with the city.
The Food & Beverage/Catering contract Santana has with the city was scheduled to expire on Jan. 9, 2016 and it did not coincide with the payoff of the golf course debt, set for October 2017. Staff was recommending and Santana had agreed to extend his contract, with a little “tweaking,” to that date.
After the 20-year golf course bonds are paid, the city can make a profit from in-house services or by a simple rental agreement at the country club. With Santana already booking weddings and parties into 2016 and the city close to the bond retirement, the extension made sense for both parties.
“When the time comes, I’ll be ready to submit my proposal or I will just go away,” Santana said at the meeting Monday. “If it is a good business decision for me to continue, I will submit a bid.”
Golf Course Director Paul O’Dell was asked his opinion and he stated, “I think it is prudent to extend Carlos’ contract until an RFP (Request for Proposal) can go out. It’s not that far out anyway.”
The motion was made to extend Carlos Santana’s contract for services at the Miami Springs Country Club until October 2017 and the vote was unanimous, although final approval of the “tweaked” contract will come at a later meeting.
In other news, the council:
• Presented the Officer of the Month Award for October 2014 to Robert Evans for his apprehension and investigation of a serial car burglar in the Northwest 36th Street area. His efforts resulted in several items of stolen property being recovered.
• Presented the Yard of the Month Award for November 2014 to Mario L. Sanchez at 960 N. Royal Poinciana Blvd.
• Approved an expenditure of $1,500 to Jumpin Jack Flash Productions for the Saturday, Dec. 13 Classic Car Show on the Circle in Miami Springs.
• Approved a resolution by a 4-1 vote (Bain dissenting) approving a 2.3 percent increase in the residential and commercial rates for collection of garbage, trash and recycling materials. This will result in $53,000 in additional revenues to the city, to offset the increase in rates by Miami-Dade County.
• Agreed to adopt the plan submitted by Public Works Director Tom Nash for the churches and organizations signage wall on Curtiss Parkway, adjacent to the pump house on the corner of Eldron Drive.
• Denied a request to “sunset” the Recreation Commission Board.