At its meeting Tuesday, the Coral Gables City Commission adopted an additional senior homestead exemption, took additional action on a neighborhood development and discussed the next steps for ride-for-hire apps and potential annexation.
The main item
Coral Gables joined other cities in adopting an additional homestead exemption for elderly, low-income homeowners.
This “local option” exemption is provided through state Amendment 11 which goes beyond the exemption provided by Miami-Dade County for seniors.
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Residents qualify if they are 65 or older, have an annual gross income of less than $28,448, have a home with an assessed value below $250,000 and have owned their home for more than 25 years.
Commissioner Vince Lago sponsored the item after reporting to staff that a resident inquired about the exemption and the city realized hadn’t adopted the amendment. Staff said there are about 30 residents that qualify for the exemption and the adoption will affect the 2016 tax year and the 2016-17 city budget.
Fifteen other municipalities and Miami-Dade County have adopted the exemption since Amendment 11 went into effect in 2013.
“This is an opportunity for this commission and this city to really give thanks to those elderly individuals who kind of raised a lot of us,” Lago said. “This could substantially help them.”
Sherman’s Oak: City leaders agreed to further settle the development of homes near Sherman’s Oak in the North Gables by purchasing two lots containing various trees.
The purchase will cost the city about $900,000 with $800,000 being paid in cash and the rest being used for impact and permit fee credits. The city hopes to develop the lots, at Lisbon Street between Santa Cruz and San Benito Avenues, as open space or a park.
“We’re on record as wanting to have more parks especially in the North Gables,” Mayor Jim Cason said.
The purchase is an addition to an agreement reached last November between the developer, Palmcorp, and the city. The developer agreed to change their initial plan to build a 2,300 square-foot home on the same lot as the tree to instead build a smaller 1,900 square-foot home and then two 2,400 square-foot homes on the adjoining lots.
Apps and annexation: Coral Gables will delay taking further action on ride-for-hire apps like Uber, Lyft for at least three months. The city passed a resolution at the Oct. 27 commission meeting urging Miami-Dade County regulation of the services and considered what right they had to not assist the county with enforcement in Coral Gables. Uber and Lyft drivers currently operate illegally and are subject to citations.
The county attorney’s office asked the city to delay taking any further action and the commission plans to discuss the item again in February.
The city commission also voted to study potential annexation of the unincorporated Little Gables, High Pines and Ponce-Davis areas for potential impact on various city departments including the fire, police, public works and planning departments.
City attorney power: Commissioners approved an ordinance that will give City Attorney Craig Leen subpoena power in certain instances.
Some of those instances include expediting the city receiving public records, enforcing the forfeiture ordinance, prosecuting municipal code violations and other city laws.
The attorney is expected to only utilize the subpoena power at the commission or city manager’s request, but the ordinance also gives Leen the ability to do so at his discretion.
THE NEXT MEETING
When: 9 a.m. Dec. 8.
Where: Coral Gables City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables.