Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Opa-locka stops talking budget deficit, focuses on cleaning up city

Opa-locka commissioners have nearly all stopped talking about the city's financial trouble, except to say how much the city is actually in debt. No one seems to know the right answer. Estimates stretch from $700,000 to $2 million. City officials, however, say the deficit is just under $1 million.

The city commission met 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The main item

Commissioners voted down on first reading an ordinance to amend the city charter on the distance between alcoholic beverages and schools, religious institutions and churches. Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes was absent. The vote was split. Commissioners Joseph Kelley and Luis B. Santiago did not support the item due to the administration’s lack of consideration to add regulations for the city’s nightclubs, as discussed at the last commission meeting.

“I feel very disappointed that they did not do what I asked them to do, not only for me but for the people that support this city all the time,” Santiago said. He said he felt disrespected to see the ordinance as is and could not continue to discuss the item without the requested amendments.

Before the meeting ended, Commissioner Terence Pinder called for his colleagues to reconsider their votes. Santiago refused to support his request, but Kelley did. His sudden change of mind allowed the commission to defer the item until next meeting.

Other business

▪ Schedule of fees: Commissioners voted unanimously to update the citywide fee schedule for permits, community development and public works, among other items. Kelley added a motion requesting the administration to hold a town hall meeting to discuss the changes with the city’s business community. The resolution passed unanimously.

▪ Rates for solid waste collection: To counter the city’s negative solid waste fund balance, commissioners approved on second reading an ordinance to increase the city’s solid waste collection rate by 6 percent, from $530 to $562. “This is a mechanism to pay and ensure that financials are stabilized,” City Manager Kelvin Baker said. According to city records, the solid waste fund is down $680,00 as of last September. After a discussion, the commission amended the second-reading ordinance to be able to review the rates on a biennial basis. The amendment and ordinance passed without dissent.

▪ Garbage and trash ordinance: Opa-locka approved on second reading an ordinance to amend garbage and trash code, adding stricter rules for illegal dumping. Residents will also now have access to drop off their trash three days a week instead of two. The commission approved the ordinance unanimously.

They said it

“I would like to see real numbers and real problems we have in the budget,” – Commissioner Luis B. Santiago, during the city manager’s report.

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. July 22

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