Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Cash-strapped Opa-locka defers spending $175,000 on football and computer equipment

James Dobson and Maj. Sharon Gallimore were recognized during the meeting on Wednesday as Opa-locka’s new interim chief of police and assistant chief.
James Dobson and Maj. Sharon Gallimore were recognized during the meeting on Wednesday as Opa-locka’s new interim chief of police and assistant chief. For the Miami Herald

Declaring they want to be fiscally responsible, the Opa-locka city commission on Wednesday deferred five agenda items including spending $25,000 for football and cheerleading equipment and $150,000 to upgrade city computers and its telecommunication system.

Commissioner Luis Santiago — who sponsored those two agenda items — said it would be best to postpone any extra spending until the city finds a way to manage its budget deficit.

The best thing for the city, Santiago said, is “creating revenue and new ways to get money into the city, not by abusing residents and the businesses.”

Commissioners also deferred a proposal that would allow city officials to reexamine all new hires made in the last two months.

The main item

Opa-locka is getting some support from Tallahassee, according to Interim City Manager David Chiverton.

The city commission unanimously voted in favor of a plan to accept $40 million from the state’s environmental protection department to support infrastructure repair.

“It encompasses roadway, drainage, drinking water, sewers and rainwater,” Chiverton said.

Commissioner Terence Pinder, who sponsored the item, said Opa-locka’s infrastructure is old, broken and expensive. He said the city’s pipes, for example, have leakage issues and are costing the city up to $2 million a year.

The money — allocated by the governor’s office through a revolving loan fund — will be paid back to the state through a payment plan over the course of 10 years or more.

Other business

▪ Overtime cutbacks: The city is imposing a freeze on overtime pay in order to control spending. Employees will need to approve any overtime in advance through the city manager’s office.

▪ New police leadership: James Dobson and Maj. Sharon Gallimore were recognized during the meeting on Wednesday as Opa-locka’s new interim police chief and assistant chief. Dobson was previously the city’s assistant chief.

They said it

“We have to run the city like a business, we have to be vigilant in our futuristic goals and opportunities, and I have full confidence in [Chiverton] and the city council. I’m looking at the next year, 2017, to be an upward spiral for the city.” — Commissioner Terence Pinder on Opa-locka’s debt and recovery plan.

The next meeting

▪ When: March 9

▪ Where: 215 Perviz Ave., Opa-locka

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