Miami Lakes

Letters: Defending, criticizing Miami Lakes council

Re former Miami Lakes mayor Michael Pizzi’s letter criticizing the Town Council (Council returns to tax-and-spend ways, Soapbox, Sept. 14): The state of Miami Lakes has never been stronger. Miami Lakes remains one of the best places to live, work and play in Miami-Dade County.

Here are some little-known but important facts related to our budget that I would like to share with you:

▪ For the fourth year in a row, Miami Lakes will have the fourth-lowest property-tax rate in all of Miami Dade County: $2.3518 per $1,000 in taxable home value. Clearly, not much has changed!

▪ This is the lowest tax rate in the history of Miami Lakes.

▪ While property values have slightly increased, property-tax revenue is expected to increase by less than $100,000 from the previous year. Next year, service levels will either increase or remain consistent with prior years, but they will not degrade!

▪ The rolled back rate of $2.2258 would have generated $324,445 less revenue than the adopted rate. This means park restorations, beautification initiatives, sidewalk cleanings and programs for our seniors and youth would have been impacted or outright eliminated.

▪ The proposed budget shows a net increase in the police budget of approximately $665,000 from 2013-14 projections. This was an unanticipated increase due to decisions made at the county level and outside our control.

▪ The waste franchise fee, proposed to partially make up over $400,000 lost in electrical franchise fee revenue, did not have unanimous support. Contrary to the disinformation efforts, there remains an opportunity to voice your opinion.

▪ Miami Lakes currently has 36 full-time employees. For the third year in a row, the town expects to deliver higher levels of service with no increase in the number of full-time positions.

▪ We remain one of the most fiscally conservative and business-friendly municipalities in the entire state.

Crime is low, civility reigns, service levels are up, and tax rates remain unchanged. Our second budget hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23, at 6 p.m. Come hear for yourself about the great things happening. We are truly “Growing Beautifully.”

Tony Lama, Town Councilman, Miami Lakes

Outraged over Lakes’ spending on legal fees

My family and I have lived in Miami Lakes for over 20 years. I have sometimes disagreed with the Town Council, but always respected its right to make policy decisions. But, I am shocked at the waste of our tax money by the current Town Council on needlessly getting involved in Mayor Pizzi’s attempt to finish the term of office that 70 percent of the voters elected him to.

Dozens of residents, including myself, went to a council meeting to ask the council not to use our tax money on a political agenda. But, it gets much worse. The Town Council spent time and money to file a brief with the Florida Supreme Court that nobody read. The Florida Supreme Court struck the brief filed at taxpayer expense by the council. It is not being considered after all this time and money.

This means that the current Town Council has the distinction of being the first to hold emergency meetings and hiring multiple law firms at taxpayer expense, all to accomplish absolutely nothing because the brief was not filed on time and the court is not even going to read or consider it. They just wasted time and money on accomplishing nothing, in a year when the town is looking for money to fill budget gaps. Is this the leadership we now have in Miami Lakes? They raise our fees to spend money on a waste of time?

Rose Nunez, Miami Lakes

Lakes waste fee is a tax in disguise

I am a longtime Miami Lakes resident and I live in a condominium. The waste franchise fee passed by the Town Council is a tax increase that will be passed on to my family, the community and all of the small businesses in Miami Lakes.

This is because the current Town Council does not have the courage and fiscal discipline to cut wasteful spending. They just voted to spend up to $50,000 to lawyers to file a brief to keep our mayor out of office, and the state Supreme Court tossed it out without reading it.

That is the legacy of this Miami Lakes Council. They raise fees on poor residents so they can throw our money away on negligence.

Cecilia Cuartas, Miami Lakes

How to sound off

To submit your letter, e-mail Letters must address a specific LOCAL issue, and must be signed with a name, city or neighborhood, as well as a telephone number for verification purposes. Letters more than 350 words will not be accepted, and writers are limited to one letter every four weeks. Letters will run as space allows, and may be edited for length, style and clarity. The deadline for letters is noon Wednesday.