Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Opa-locka commissioners still grappling with city’s budget gap

Opa-locka has yet to reach a consensus on how to fix the city’s financial budget gap. While concerned residents wait to see how the manager will balance its finances, two commissioners are cutting their own pay and other monthly allocations.

The main item

Commissioners rejected a first reading ordinance to amend the city’s land development regulation code to permit the building of gas pump stations for businesses in its industrial district.

City Manager Kelvin Baker sponsored the item on Wednesday night after the planning council initially voted it down at an earlier meeting.

Speaking in support of the ordinance change, Gregory Gay, director of community development, said that the gas station allowance is already permitted in another similar zoning classification. He added that the present zoning code is being updated and there’s language to suggest this zone will be merged with the classification that already allows the pump stations.

“If we’re going to change our whole process and it would include it, I can support it, but I don’t want to start setting particular specifics of examples,” Commissioner Joseph Kelley said. “If our updated plan is going to allow for it, that may be a different consideration.”

Other business

▪ Ordinance on Alcoholic Beverages: Commissioners reviewed another first reading ordinance to amend the distance requirement between where alcoholic beverages are sold and parks and religious institutions. Commissioner Luis Santiago voiced his desire to change additional regulations for one of the city’s clubs, which he said sells alcohol until late morning hours. Baker suggested adding the additional changes to the amendment after it passed, but Santiago said he wouldn’t vote in favor of the amendment without the changes. Baker deferred the first reading of the ordinance without a vote.

▪ Pay cut: Commissioners Terence Pinder and Joseph Kelley sponsored six different resolutions to decrease their pay, monthly money allowances and travel and special event funds by 10 percent. “I believe you lead by example,” Kelley said. “If employees are going to take the cut, everyone needs to share the pain.” The commission unanimously approved the resolutions to reduce the two elected officials’ city stipends.

▪ Citywide Towing: The commission approved signing contracts with four separate towing companies — Downtown Towing, Nu-Way Towing, Sunshine Towing and Dolphin Towing & Recovery — for three years of citywide rotational towing services. After a long discussion, which did not result in any changes to the resolution, it passed 3 to 1. Kelley voted against the item, citing the resolution lacked language that would address issues if the companies did not comply with their contracts.

They said it

“I can’t seem to get nothing done. Let me do what I’m trained to do and I think you’ll see some good results at the end.” — City Manager Kelvin Baker in response to commissioners’ inquiries about fixing the city’s approximately $900,000 budget deficit.

You said it

I’m tired of seeing the city of Opa-locka in the papers under negative headlines. It’s embarrassing to every citizen in this city.” — Opa-locka resident Alvin Burke about city finances.

The next meeting

▪ When: July 8 at 7 p.m.

▪ Where: Sherbondy Village Auditorium, 215 Perviz Ave., Opa-locka