Plans for incorporating a city in Miami-Dade County near Doral and Sweetwater weren't met with open arms.
On Wednesday, the Fontainebleau Municipal Advisory Committee hosted a public hearing at Ruben Dario Middle School to discuss the proposed incorporation. More than 350 people attended.
The area under consideration, which could become the proposed city of Fontainebleau, would include the following boundaries: the unincorporated area bounded by the SR 836 Expressway on the north; Northwest 87th Avenue and following West Flagler Street until Southwest 92nd Avenue on the east; Southwest Eighth Street on the south from Southwest Eighth Street until Southwest 102nd Avenue; and Southwest 102nd Avenue to West Flagler Street until Northwest 107th Avenue on the west.
Edwardo Martin, who lives south of West Flagler Street, collected signatures prior to the public hearing from those who opposed the incorporation.
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“All the people I have spoken to tell me they are against incorporation because we know what has happened to our neighboring cities like Sweetwater, which is facing financial issues, and Doral, which has had its fair share of problems. We all know the taxes will increase and the value of our homes will decrease," he said after the public hearing.
The Municipal Advisory Committee was created in 2002. It was inactive until a few years ago, when new members came on board. The population for the proposed incorporation area would be 29,868 based on the 2010 census, said Jorge Fernandez, coordinator for the Miami-Dade County Municipal Services and Community Redevelopment.
Ramon Ramos volunteered to be a board member of the Fontainebleau Municipal Advisory Committee. He lives south of Flagler Street and has lived in the area since the 1980s. While he has opposed annexing other cities, he said being included in the new city would have its benefits.
“The area that would be incorporated brings in $3.3 million, and that’s not including the commercial properties that recently opened. That money goes to Miami-Dade County and we don’t determine how the money is utilized,” he said. “But based on the study, which was conducted by a private company paid for by the government, the new city’s budget would cover all of the services that the county offers,” he said.
According to a proposed Fontainebleau MAC Financial Analysis, a copy of which was provided to attendees, the proposed city would have a budget of $6.8 million, which would pay for police and other departments.
Carol Lee lives north of West Flagler Street. She's been a resident in that area for almost 40 years.
“It’s time and it’s been fun for the past 39 years,” she said. “There are too many things we need. We need more police here. We just had two attempted robberies in broad daylight at gunpoint in the last couple of weeks. It’s built a lot of insecurities.”
Last year, several new commercial properties, including the Fountaine Square at 10111 West Flagler St.. Additonally, there have been new projects between Southwest 91st and 93rd avenues on West Flagler Street, where a Wal-Mart and LA Fitness club stand.
Enia Santos lives north of West Flagler Street. She opposes the plans.
“We know our taxes will increase and there are people who live here who are retired and have a fixed income,” she said. “We have never had a problem before. This area has been well taken care of.”
Before a city can be incorporated, there is a process that could take about two years. The process would include an election for residents living in the impacted area.