Sweetwater voters greenlighted the sale of public land near the Dolphin Mall on Tuesday in order to help the tiny west Miami-Dade city dig itself out of a financial crisis.
The measure, which passed by a 54-to-46 margin, allows the city to sell 2.15 acres on Northwest 17th Street to Hollywood-based REMS Group for $2.842 million. The city purchased the property four years ago for $950,000 with plans to build a new police station.
Instead, city commissioners decided to flip the land for a profit last year as the city’s finances crumbled and Mayor Orlando Lopez unsuccessfully petitioned the state to declare Sweetwater in a state of “financial emergency.” Sale proceeds will be used to pay down a $1.6 million Regions Bank line of credit, and some $650,000 in bond proceeds used to purchase the property in the first place.
The city’s problems aren’t over with the sale of land, though. Commissioners recently set a property tax cap for next year at a rate about 50 percent higher in order to help pay the city’s bills and staffing expenses.
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