Council considers $2.5M loan for Optimist Park

Thursday, September 6, 2018 0 Comments

Council considers $2.5M loan for Optimist Park


Miami Lakes is once again flirting with the idea of borrowing money to complete the master plan for Miami Lakes Optimist Park, which has been delayed for 15 years, as the town’s pay-as-you-go plan is not working. 

Keeping the same rate for property taxes at 2.3353 mills, Miami Lakes released its estimated $25 million budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which earmarks $2 million for the park, leaving the town $2.5 million short to finish the much-needed improvements.  

The $4.5 million price tag calls for building new basketball and tennis courts, an airnasium, walking and bike trails and replacing the park’s lighting system.

Parks improvements impact fees ($835,000), a portion of the town’s property tax revenues ($7.1 million), cell phone tower revenues ($30,000) and capitalization of electrical savings ($60,000) will fund the park’s improvements for next year.

But Miami Lakes needs $2.5 million to try to win back residents whose kids play in parks and recreation facilities in Doral, Weston and Pembroke Pines since the town’s oldest park is not up to par.

During a recent budget workshop, council members got an overview of the proposed spending plan, which calls for a mail-in ballot election to allow residents to decide if the town should take out a short term loan.

Council members will make the decision on rather to send out the mail-in ballots during the town’s two budget hearings this month.

Last year, Miami Lakes was planning to borrow money for the park but residents quickly shoot down the idea before town officials could even ask them to do so.

In the town’s pay-as-you-go plan for capital improvement projects, Miami Lakes Optimist Park, which was built in 1969, had to share $15.7 million with other parks and recreation facilities for the past 15 years. 

According to Town Manager Alex Rey, Royal Oaks Park and the Roberto Alonso Community Center got $7.2 million; $2.4 million for Miami Lakes Optimist Park; $1.8 million for Miami Lakes Park West; $1.5 million for Miami Lakes Park East and the town’s youth center; and $1.5 million for mini parks enhancements.

Miami Lakes has decided to keep the existing rate for property taxes, which is expected to generate about $7.1 million in ad valorem revenues, and additional revenues are budgeted for the General Fund operating expenses of $17.7 million.

The budget amount also includes a projection of revenues estimated at $4.8 million from building permits for the new Senior Village and Assisted Living Facility; Lennar townhouses; Bob Graham/Elevate/Crescent; and N.W. 57-59 Avenues development and $2.5 million in carryover funds from 2017-2018.

The police budget increased five percent, as the town budgeted $8.7 million for public safety services, which is 49 percent of the spending plan for next year.

For other capital improvement projects, Miami Lakes is projected to spend $3.8 million for stormwater drainage improvements including $1.9 million for the Third Phase of roads in West Lake (N.W. 148 Terrace/N.W. 148 Street/N.W. 149 Terrace; $1 million for Phase One of the Royal Oaks roadway and drainage project; and $837,000 for the second portion of the town’s canal bank stabilization.

For transportation capital improvements, the town allocated $5 million for projects that include $2.3 million for N.W. 59 Avenue extension and boat storage yard; $1.1 million for Miami Lakes Business Park East (N.W. 60 Avenue); $685,000 for a safe routes to school project; and $441,747 for a project to widen the Palmetto Expressway and Ludlam Road.

For public safety impact fees, Miami Lakes budgeted $430,597 for the town’s license plate recognition software, and a mobile speed radar.

The license plate recognition software could help police track down vehicles that are suspected in a crime. 

Miami Lakes has an $800,000 budget surplus, and each year, reserves 10 percent of the budget for emergency expenditures including hurricane clears-up and recovery efforts.

Miami Lakes held its first of two scheduled budget hearings on Tuesday, September 4. The second and final budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 18 at 6 p.m. at Miami Lakes Town Hall, 6601 Main Street.

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