Town Council may be faced with early selection of new manager

Thursday, September 14, 2017 0 Comments

Miami Lakes is planning to decide which path to take in selecting its next town manager sooner than originally planned after Alex Rey was picked as one of the finalists for the same position for the City of Aventura.  

Aventura is expected to pick its new city manager in October and if Rey, who’s the front-runner, is the man, Miami Lakes would have about two to three months to replace him either on a temporary basis or for the long term.

Initially, Rey offered his resignation earlier this year, which is effective in March 2019, and Miami Lakes created a selection process that included the possibilities of using a search firm and selection committee.

Now the Town may have to speed up its timetable to prepare for life without Rey should he be chosen to lead the northeast Miami-Dade city.

Miami Lakes will discuss their plan in October during a workshop following Aventura’s decision.
Assistant Town Manager Andrea Agha and Miami Lakes’ Chief of Operations Tony Lopez are some of the rumored names to replace Rey. 

“It’s the most important decision for the seven of us,” said Mayor Manny Cid. “Residents trust us to make that decision to move this town forward.”

Councilmember Luis Collazo, who initially proposed to start the selection process early after Rey announced his 2019 resignation, said the town is in a good position to get the ball rolling sooner.

“I’ve always supported starting the process early,” he said. “I’m in favor of starting the process now.” 
In other Town Council news:

• After hearing heartfelt stories of parents’ whose kids died from cancer or are bravely fighting the deadly disease, Miami Lakes declared September Childhood Cancer Month to help raise awareness and give parents and their children support during the most difficult times of their lives.

• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance which requires developers’ plans for zoning and building to be discussed during public meetings before they appear at council and zoning meetings for approval.

The projects include those that are equal to, or greater than, 50 residential units and/or 50,000 square feet of commercial area. The developers’ will pay for the information sessions.
Lawmakers also approved an ordinance on second reading to send residents mailers and notices to increase public awareness and encourage public participation in the development process.
• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance which bans cannabis dispensaries, medical marijuana treatment facilities and independent testing labs in Miami Lakes.

Last year, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana and the Florida Legislation subsequently impose laws to regulate the industry, including awarding licenses to a limited number of nurseries to open up treatment facilities throughout Florida.

• Lawmakers approved an ordinance on second reading to establish an employee bonus program for Town employees based on performance and awarded as a one time payment. The town’s ordinance is consistent with a new state law for bonuses for government employees.     

• Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance to facilitate the complete buildout of the town’s sidewalk network by requiring certain developments to construct new sidewalks, repair existing sidewalks or pay into a mitigation program to offset the town’s cost of performing the work.

• Lawmakers gave their initial approval for an ordinance that seeks to mitigate the impact of construction sites to preserve adjacent property values and quality of life by requiring a site management plan, temporary fencing, and create property standards that apply to construction sites.

• Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance which, if it becomes law, would require public hearings before council members for vertically mixed-use zoning projects within the Town Center (TC) zoning district that include a request for height exemptions.
The Town Council approved the creation of the TC District in September 2015. The TC district, permits a maximum height of five stories, however it encourages the creation of mixed-use spaces by creating an incentive to allow for two additional stories subject to an administrative site plan review. 

The remaining zoning districts which permit such heights in excess of five stories already require a hearing before the Town Council if they exceed five acres or 50,000 square feet of floor area; which is likely to be the case on most buildings of over five  stories in height.  

In 2017, the Council directed the Town Manager to review the Land Development Code and return with provisions that would ensure development proposals pursuing the mixed-use development exemption to exceed five stories are subject to the Council’s consideration and final approval authority. The idea is to increase awareness of such projects by requiring them to be subject to a public hearing where the community can be heard by the Council.

• Council members approved a resolution to amend the town’s current budget to adjust certain line items to pay for legal services ($215,000); tree trimming ($40,000); the Miami Lakes Optimist Clubhouse ($120,000); and the new dog park ($38,000)

• Lawmakers approved a resolution to finalize the transfer of Miami-Dade’s Special Taxing Districts to Miami Lakes, which voters approved last year.

The Town now manages the Security Guards Districts in Loch Lomond, Royal Oaks East and  Section One in Royal Oaks; and Lake Maintenance District for Lake Hilda and Lake Patricia.
The Town estimated $1.6 million to manage the Special Taxing Districts for the next fiscal year, which would be paid by the residents living in those communities.

The town may have to cover any deficits left over from the Special Taxing Districts. Last year, the county acknowledged some mismanagement while operating the districts which possibility resulted in deficits. 

• Lawmakers approved Councilmember Ceasar Mestre’s proposal to direct Town staff to conduct a study concerning License Plate Recognition Software to help law enforcement track down criminals and keep kids safe.

Mestre, a lawyer and former police officer, said he broached the idea two years ago for the new technology system, similar to red light cameras, but it was too expensive for the Town at the time.
Now, he wants to revisit the issue which would install cameras at the town’s entrances and exits to help police officers identify cars that may be wanted for a crime or placed on the Amber Alert. 
Mestre also requested the information the Town collects should not be part of any public records requests unless for law enforcement conducting an investigation. 

• With the 2018 Florida Legislative Session starting earlier in January, Miami Lakes released its wish list for town-wide priorities for 2018-2019.

The Town is lobbying state lawmakers for $2 million for the Main Street East redevelopment and N.W. 59 Avenue connectivity project; $500,000 for the West Lakes Drainage; and $500,000 Royal Oaks Drainage.

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