North Miami Beach council members voted unanimously Tuesday to catapult the city into the “modern age” by authorizing nearly $2 million for a “ long overdue” overhaul of the city’s comprehensive software system.
Tyler Technologies, a company based in Maine, now supplies software to the cities of Hallandale Beach, Miramar, Miami Lakes, and Miami Shores. Patrick Rosiak, North Miami Beach’s information technologies manager, said the services will have a three-year window to be phased in and will be financed with an already approved five-year loan from Bank of America.
“We’re talking about replacing our current software, which ranges from our financial management, utility-billing system to our land management, which is building and zoning, code enforcement and business licensing to parks and recreation,” said Rosiak.
“All those services are going to be greatly enhanced by acquisition of our software services.”
The council also approved the expenditure of nearly $1.6 million for the police department from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund Fund. LETF fund proceeds come from assets collected from crime investigations and are used to offset the cost of expenses designated by state and federal statues. The city’s general fund is not affected.
The largest item in the request was $650,000 for officer’s overtime expenses during long-term investigations. Additional funds of $550,000 were allotted for 6 police salaries and other related expenses. The employees include three crime prevention officers, a domestic violence / prevention Coordinator, a Haitian liaison and a police training coordinator.
Technology items, budgeted for $250,000, will include the purchase of Automatic Vehicle Location GPS equipment. The AVL devices are designed to enable GPS data collection from officer’s vehicles and equipment to streamline communication and enhance officer safety.
“We can actually attach the device, in the form of a computer chip, to the officer’s gun, the officer’s radio and if someone unfortunately gets the officer’s firearm, we can track that down,” said Deputy Chief William Hernandez.
Police training programs, furniture for training rooms and offices, along with rental vehicles for gang/task force were budgeted for $124,000. State and local LETF funds for special events such as the city’s Domestic Violence Walk, a Community Safety Day and a Citizen Crime Watch Award Dinner came to $21,000.
Council member Beth Spiegel was the sole vote against the request. Councilman Anthony DeFillipo was absent.
Finally, the council addressed an issue of a long time eyesore in the community. For years, code and building violations have accumulated on the 27-unit condominium at 3755 NE 167th St. The dilapidated building has been the subject of repeated complaints by neighbors of squatters.
The buyer of the unit No. 1, resulting from the foreclosure of a mortgage lien on the property, offered more than 10 percent of the market value of the property in exchange for a release of the lien for code violations.
Councilwoman Phyllis Smith said she was advised by an outside attorney to vote against the resolution because the “city is not in the business of making lien money in reference to violations.”
“For us to say to one owner, give us $3,500 and we’re going to remove your cloud, it’s not the purpose of a code violation lien. We have to make sure that the building is safe,” said Smith.
However, Smith joined the rest of the council in voting unanimously to authorize the city manager to settle the lien release after City Attorney Jose Smith assured her the agreement will not stop the city from ensuring the building is made safe.
“The city is very ready, willing and able to take the condo association to the Unsafe Structures Board and seek demolition of the building because it is unsafe. Now if there is an attorney out there that told you to vote no, then that attorney does not understand foreclosure law and I will tell you as city attorney, that if you do not accept this proposal, you end up with zero and an unsafe structure, on top of it,” said attorney Smith.
Also on Tuesday, City Manager Ana Garcia urged residents to attend three important zoning and planning meetings. The meetings will take up strategic plans for the city.
The planning and zoning meetings will be at the following locations:
• Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m. at the McDonald Center, 17051 NE 19th Ave.
• Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m. at the Eden Isles Clubhouse, 16975 NE 35th Ave.
• Oct. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Highland Village Community Center, 13551 NE 21st Ave.
For questions, call the Planning and Zoning Division at 305-948-2966.
The next City Council meeting will be 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 at City Hall, 17011 NE 19th Ave.