Voters in five Miami-Dade cities on Tuesday approved plans for a hotel at Jungle Island, turned down a big raise for Miami Beach commissioners, told the city of Hialeah they don’t want to raise their taxes to pay for more cops, OK’d a change that will let term-limited commissioners in Aventura run for mayor, and approved a change to South Miami’s city charter that gives the Shops at Sunset Place a second shot at a makeover.
▪ Miami: Voters said yes to plans to build a 300-room hotel at Jungle Island. The proposal needed voter approval to waive competitive bidding in order to extend Jungle Island’s lease of city-owned land on Watson Island to 2099 and allow for a hotel.
The vote authorizes the City Commission to negoiate a lease with ESJ Capital Partners, which bought the park last year, then proposed building the hotel and adding several eco-themed attractions.
▪ Miami Beach: The mayor and city commissioners won’t get a raise. Voters defeated a measure that would have given the city’s elected officials their first raise in more than 50 years, boosting commissioners’ annual salaries from $6,000 to $45,381 and the mayor from $10,000 to $75,636.
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Miami Beach voters approved a second measure to change the composition of the city’s Board of Adjustment, a seven-member land use board that evaluates requests for exceptions to city rules relating to construction projects and alcohol sales.
▪ Hialeah: Residents overwhelmingly rejected a nonbinding measure asking if they were willing to raise property taxes to pay for more police officers — including some that would be stationed at schools — and other law enforcement costs. The city wanted to raise the tax rate, now $6.30 per $1,000 of assessed property value, by 75 cents to $7.05.
▪ South Miami: Voters approved an amendment to the city charter that allows certain development regulations to be changed with yes votes from four of five commissioners. The current requirement is a unanimous vote. The main beneficiary is the owners of the Shops at Sunset Place, whose proposed makeover of the mall was voted down this spring by a lone no vote.
▪ Aventura: Residents of Aventura voted to allow a commissioner who has already served two terms to run for mayor. The city charter previously limited an elected member of the city government to two four-year terms, regardless of position.