Review of Council actions taken at Jan. 14 meeting

Community Thursday, February 6, 2014


At the January 14 Miami Lakes regular Town Council meeting, lawmakers took the following actions:

• On second reading, councilmembers approved an ordinance to correct a situation where a zoning requirement to screen rooftop air conditioning equipment on townhouse properties inadvertently requires installation of a new roof or substantial roof alterations.

Also on second reading, lawmakers approved a measure that would allow the Town Council to review zoning appeals but only by a super majority vote instead of applicants taking their cases to court after their plans were rejected by the town’s zoning and planning board.

• Councilmembers on first reading approved an ordinance to impose a per-space fee for landowners and business owners to enhance on-street parking spaces in exchange for including additional parking spaces in its required parking zone in the Downtown area.

• Councilmembers awarded a contract in the amount of $35,000 to SFM Services for street sweeping services for about 29 miles of town controlled roads on a bi-weekly basis.

• Lawmakers approved a contract with Southern Strategy Group for state lobbying services in an amount not to exceed $50,000.

The award amount consists of SSG’s proposed amount of $42,000 per year, for a total of $126,000 for the initial three year term, plus $8,000 per year for additional services that may be required during the contract term.

•  The Town Council approved a lease agreement with The Graham Companies for the usage of hurricane debris storage at no cost to the Town. The parcel is located along Commerce Way between NW 146th St. and NW 148th St.

The Town previously had an agreement with the Graham Companies for debris storage on their property,  but townhouse apartments have been built on this parcel, so the Town is in need of a new storage area. The Graham parcel between N.W. 146 and 148 Streets is the next best option as it is approximately the same size as the prior parcel.

The Town will use the site for storing yard trash and uncontaminated vegetative debris. Since the site is located near water, there will be a 50 foot setback of all area bordering water.

The site and supporting documentation have been preliminarily approved by Miami Dade County’s Division of Environmental Resource Management (DERM).

• Councilmembers retroactively authorized the use of a contract contingency allowance account for the N.W. 154 Street Roadway and Drainage Improvements contract awarded to Acosta Tractors, Inc. The contingency amount was not to exceed $308,367.96.

The contingency accounted for two factors – the potential to encounter muck during the construction work and the inclusion of the design and construction of irrigation and landscaping, which was not included within the project’s original scope.

This will increase Acosta’s contract value from $1,027,893.20 to a maximum value of $1,333,261.16.

• Lawmakers approved a resolution to place a charter amendment on the November 4, 2014 ballot to determine if residents should decide in a referendum to increase the size of the town through annexation.

• Councilmembers adopted the townwide Beautification Master Plan with concepts for the gateways, Intersections, and roadway locations based on resident feedback surveys and professional recommendations from the Town’s architectural firm and staff.

• Lawmakers approved Councilmember Nelson Rodriguez’s proposal to rename N.W. 87 Avenue to Royal Lakes Boulevard to bring both the Royal Oaks, Royal Gardens and West Lakes neighborhood together now that the N.W. 87 Avenue expansion project is nearly completed.

Town staff will come back with a resolution for lawmakers’ approval which will be sent to Miami-Dade County, which has the authority to rename the road.

• The Town Council approved Councilmember Caesar Mestre’s request as part of the town's Beautification Plan to direct staff to negotiate and enter into an agreement with state officials for the maintenance of the median on N.W. 57 Avenue.

He said the state would provide the funds currently allocated for the town and maintain it.

Councilmembers also approved Mestre’s recommendation for town staff to investigate the previously discussed License Plate Recognition Software and its fiscal impact.

He said the system has become an effective public safety tool in neighboring municipalities, including help to locate any vehicles involved in crimes.

Mestre said the License Recognition Software system is not a red light camera.

• Councilmembers approved Vice Mayor Manny Cid’s request for town staff to study several alternatives for Miami Lakes to have its own zip code. By having its own zip code with the USPS, residents’ car insurance rates could be reduced.

On December 16, 2013 the Town of Miami Lakes received the official USPS letter denying an independent Zip Code for Miami Lakes. In the letter the USPS states: “It is the determination of this office that the accommodations extended by the Postal Service were reasonable and any other changes would not be operationally feasible and would also be cost prohibitive to the Postal Service.”

The Town of Miami Lakes has three different zip codes but they are part of the Hialeah Post Office.

But Cid said though it would not be operationally feasible for the USPS, perhaps the Town can assist with an optional plan, including Miami Lakes contracting with a private Delivery Service approved by the USPS, in which postage revenue would be split between USPS and the Town so the Town could set up and pay for its own mail distribution system.

Such an agreement would create an independent Miami Lakes zip code.