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North Miami council to vote on election date change

A potential change to the city’s election date, the appointment of museum board members and discussion of a project manager’s contract will all be discussed at North Miami’s City Council meeting Tuesday.

The city will have the first reading on an ordinance that would move North Miami’s election from May 2015 to November 2016 to coincide with the statewide election. The change would affect all subsequent elections.

At the last council meeting, residents and elected officials were divided on the idea. Some thought keeping the election in May allowed voters to deal with a smaller, more specific ballot while others raised the point that moving the election would be an effective cost-cutting move.

Currently, the city spends about $180,000 to host its standalone election in odd-numbered years.

Other residents have criticized the potential change and think it should be brought to voters as a referendum. Some raised concerns that moving the election will keep the current council in place for another 18 months without an election.

The council is permitted to change the election date according to Florida Statute 101.75, which says that a municipal election date can be changed by a majority vote of city officials if it coincides with a county or statewide election and nothing in the local charter prevents the change.

City leaders will also discuss their appointments to the Museum of Contemporary Art board of trustees. The council voted to approve a “transitional” board of trustees last November before finalizing its settlement agreement with the former board.

There will also be a discussion on former Mayor Joe Celestin’s service agreement with the city for his role as project manager on the Biscayne Landing project. Celestin was first awarded the job in 2011 and his contract was extended for another year in November 2013.

The council approved a one-year extension on Celestin’s contract at that meeting but haven’t discussed it since.

Other items on the agenda include:

▪ A resolution to designate a fountain at the corner of Northeast 132nd Street, Ninth Avenue and West Dixie Highway, as a historic landmark. City staff, in evaluating the area, found that the fountain dates back to 1925 — predating North Miami’s incorporation a year later.

▪ Multiple items sponsored by Police Chief Leonard Burgess including mutual aid agreements with Miami Gardens, Miami Beach and Miami Shores to assist in law enforcement services. The police department is also requesting council approval to spend $40,000 from the law enforcement trust fund for community policing and crime prevention events and projects.

If you go

The City Council meeting will take place 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125th St.