Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

City Council makes progress with municipal complex project

Miami Gardens moved a step closer to clearing up the financial issues involving the municipal complex project Wednesday, with City Council members voting to approve an agreement with their developer and approving more borrowing to pay for additional costs.

Council members voted to allow the city manager to finalize an agreement with Skanska USA, the complex project’s developer, to work out about $4million in remaining change orders on the frequently delayed project.

The City Hall portion of the complex was completed and opened earlier this year, but wrapping up the third phase of the project — which includes the new police headquarters — has been delayed until July 2015, with final completion scheduled for September 2015.

The city staff said earlier this year that the project was about $7million over budget, pending additional discussions with Skanska about the change orders.

In addition to that agreement, the council also voted Wednesday to authorize the city to take out a bank loan to offset some of the cost overruns. That amount is not expected to be more than $8 million, according to the staff.

A liquidation agreement would replace the joint prosecution agreement the city reached with the developer in June to explore issues with the work of URS, the project’s architect of record.

The council deferred an item to select a firm to handle the city’s planning and zoning services. The city’s budget called for the removal of two staff positions in the planning department, which totaled about $172,000 in salary. The staff recommended Calvin, Giordano and Associates to handle the work.

The council recently voted to hire the same firm to manage the construction of its general obligation bond projects. City Manager Cameron Benson said that staff did not mention there being a potential conflict of interest if the firm handles both services.

In other City Council business Wednesday:

▪ The council approved, on second reading, an amendment to the city charter to prohibit mobile car washes from operating within 1,000 feet of a stationary car wash business with a secured business address.

▪ Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro’s reelection to the council was formally approved. He defeated former council member Andre Williams in a runoff election for Seat6.

▪ Council members voted to accept federal grant money totaling $1,375,000 to help fund the salaries of 11 police officers over a three-year period. The graduation ceremony for the city’s new class of police officers is scheduled for Dec. 10 at Broward College’s Bailey Hall in Davie.

Because of that ceremony, the council voted to move its December meeting to Dec.11. The meeting will begin at the regular time, 7 p.m., at City Hall, 18605 NW 27th Ave.