Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Miami Gardens delays vote on hiring zoning firm

After a year in which Miami Gardens passed its first general-obligation bond, opened its new City Hall and brought in new leadership, the final City Council meeting of 2014 was brief and included discussion of the Jazz in the Gardens fest and hiring a new planning and zoning management firm.

The council deferred voting on hiring a firm after some division on which company would receive the bid. The item was initially discussed at the November council meeting. Staff recommended hiring Calvin, Giordano and Associates, but some council members said they preferred E.L. Waters and Co.

“I was really comfortable with Waters,” said Councilwoman Lisa Davis, who voted against deferring the item.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert and staff said part of the recommendation for Calvin, Giordano was based on the firm’s size and confidence that they have the staffing to handle multiple city projects.

“My opinion is that we need more depth in that department,” Gilbert said. “I like Calvin, Giordano for the continuity.”

The firm was approved to manage the construction of the city’s general-obligation bond projects in October. The council is expected to discuss the item at its January meeting.

The city also renewed its contract with ShotSpotter to handle gunshot detection for another year. The service will cost the city $180,000.

Residents also heard an update on the upcoming Jazz in the Gardens music festival from Assistant City Manager Vernita Nelson. She said there are performance slots for local artists and they have until Jan. 15 to submit music.

The two-day festival will take place the weekend of March 20 and will feature R. Kelly, Toni Braxton and Maxwell along with Brian Culbertson, Men of Soul and three other headlining acts.

Gilbert also announced that there will be a swearing-in ceremony in January at City Hall for the newest class of police officers in the Miami Gardens Police Department.

“The city manager and I talked, about a year and a half ago, about bringing in officers that don’t just live here but are from here,” Gilbert said. “We always want to keep that in mind.”