After surviving a vote on whether or not he would remain in his new position as Opa-locka city manager, Steve Shiver announced the city would be having a conference call with the Florida Inspector General’s office on Nov. 5.
The meeting is the result of an Oct. 22 letter Shiver penned asking Tallahassee to review the city’s financial crisis. “The City remains challenged in paying its bills timely and, every two weeks is challenged just to meet staff payroll needs,” Shiver wrote.
The mayor and commission responded to the letter. Many admitted they had not yet had an opportunity to discuss the content of the letter with Shiver.
“Because of the letter that the manager has sent to the governor’s office, he has triggered the inspector general to have a conference call with us,” Mayor Myra Taylor said. “We’re not trying to stop you from doing what you have to do, but did you all read the content of that letter? Before you send stuff out, at least let somebody look at it before.”
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At the Wednesday meeting, Opa-locka commissioners also discussed the city’s red light cameras program, developing a fundraising club to support youth athletics and whether or not they should limit the number of items each commissioner can bring up during the city’s meetings.
The main item
City officials — mainly Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes and Commissioner Luis Santiago — want to stop the city’s red light camera program, saying it “has not worked as anticipated.”
“Ever since this red light camera has been in Opa-locka, we haven’t made any profit,” Holmes said. “We’ve been losing money from day one.”
While the majority on the dais agreed with him, tension rose after the city manager explained the possible $1 million financial hardship taxpayers would endure if the city agreed to move forward with the termination.
“We would have to, in our current budget, reduce expenditures somewhere by $230,000 and at the same time prepare for a potential exposure of $828,000,” Shiver said. “We would be exposed to that total amount through the end of the period of our contract, which is through 2018.”
And if the commission votes to discontinue the services, Opa-locka would be looking at litigation, City Attorney Vincent Brown added.
“We don’t have a million dollars to potentially throw away,” Commissioner Terence Pinder said. “I can’t support this if it’s going to cost the taxpayers a million dollars.”
The city agreed to defer the item for 30 days to allow the city manager to negotiate the termination, so the city could “bow out gracefully.”
The city renewed its contract with American Traffic Solutions, the Kansas-based corporation that owns the program, in 2013 for five years.
▪ Optimist Club: The city agreed to study the feasibility of developing an Optimist Club with a clubhouse to benefit youth in the city. The item was amended to include allowing the club to meet in Sherbondy Village until a permanent location was finalized.
▪ Limiting number of action items: Commissioners discussed a first reading ordinance to limit the number of action items to four per meeting. The item was deferred.
▪ USEPA Brownfield Grant: The city unanimously approved awarding a $400,000 grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to Terracon Consulting, Inc. to assess, clean up and plan effort for redevelopment in Brownfield areas.
▪ Land development/Zoning Guide: Opa-locka OK’d its 2015 proposed land development regulation, zoning code ordinance and zoning map. The updated regulation revised land use inconsistencies.
The next meeting
▪ When: 7 p.m. Nov. 12
▪ Where: 215 Perviz Ave., Opa-locka