At its meeting on Tuesday, the North Miami City Council decided to re-bid a sanitary sewer lining project after council members expressed concerns, heard from developers about a potential sports facility and got an update on the search for a new permanent city attorney.
The main item
It was a night of constant discussion on the dais in North Miami as the City Council reconsidered some items and talked about potential projects.
The council failed to approve two contracts for a sanitary sewer lining project by declining to make a motion on either item. The items became contentious after council members Philippe Bien-Aime and Alix Desulme questioned the bid process and the amount that was originally advertised.
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The entire project is expected to cost $8 million, but the council was presented with contracts priced at $1 million each for two companies to handle parts of the project. The council directed City Manager Aleem Ghany to re-bid the project for $2 million and indicate that it is only the first phase of the work.
“Let the companies apply again and anybody who gets it gets it,” Bien-Aime said.
Ghany said he chose to split the contract up and move the project along in order to meet a deadline for about $1.7 million in Miami-Dade County general obligation bond funding.
The city will apply for an extension with the county to potentially keep access to the bond money.
▪ City attorney search: The city manager announced that more than 60 people have applied for the vacant city attorney position along with four law firms. Those applications have been given to the city’s recently appointed selection committee and they will create a short list of candidates.
Deputy City Attorney Roland Galdos has served on an interim basis since former attorney Regine Monestime’s contract was terminated in June.
▪ Sports facility: The City Council heard a presentation from a group looking to build an indoor sports facility in the Cagni Park-North area next to Arch Creek Elementary and North Miami Middle, north of Northeast 135th Street between Northeast Ninth and Seventh avenues.
The Miami Sportscenter group said the center would take up about five acres and contain two basketball courts, two tennis courts, two ice rinks, a pool, surf machine, splash zone and a turf field. The group is asking North Miami to use about five acres of land on a 99-year lease and for a gift of $5 million. Miami Sportscenter said they will pay the $5 million back over five years and then pay an additional $5 million.
The entire project would cost about $20 million and there are no active bids for an indoor sports facility at the site.
▪ City manager spending: An ordinance setting a cap on the city manager’s spending received final approval at Tuesday’s meeting with a 4-1 vote. Mayor Smith Joseph voted against the item.
The law reduces the amount the city manager can spend without City Council approval from $100,000 to $25,000. It also limits the city attorney’s spending at $25,000 when there was previously no restriction.
Additionally, the purchasing director’s title will change to purchasing manager and the ordinance reduces the spending they can approve without a council vote to $5,000.
The next meeting
▪ When: 7 p.m. Sept. 21.
▪ Where: North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125th St., North Miami.
City staff also announced some changes to the dates of upcoming city meetings and budget hearings.
The city’s first budget hearing will take place at 5:01 p.m. Sept. 21 before the council meeting. The second budget hearing will be moved from Sept. 24 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30. Both meetings will still take place at North Miami City Hall.