Message from Michael: Important Miami Beach Commission Information

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On July 25th we wrapped up a major meeting as the Miami Beach Commission prepares for an August recess. Amongst the big items decided were finalizing the city budget and millage rate for the upcoming year; voting on a proposed convention center hotel lease and whether to send to the voters; voting on a General Obligation bond and sending it to the voters, and a ban on plastics and plastic straws in Miami Beach


This meeting was a challenging one. I am proud that we were able to keep the millage rate flat while still delivering, and in some cases, enhancing city services. I am steadfast in watching how we spend city monies this coming year so that we are prepared for next year when we expect the budget to be even tighter.


I voted with my colleagues to place the Miami Beach Convention Center hotel lease on the ballot this November. While I remain concerned about the size of the hotel and its impact on traffic, I firmly believe that this project is much better in both design and traffic plan than the proposed hotel lease we rejected in 2016. The design will be perfected at the Design Review Board but the reduced height and use of two twin towers are much more attractive. It also has a better traffic plan to allow entrance through both Dade Boulevard and 17th Street. Ultimately, it is you the voters who must decide. Let’s remain vigilant in ensuring that the design process produces something we can be proud of as we are watching and waiting with our votes.


I could not support the proposed General Obligation Bond and was one of two votes against placing this item before you on the November ballot. While I recognize the need for and support many of the proposed projects to be funded, this was a rushed process that in my opinion did not allow for adequate public input to make me feel comfortable that this was ready to go before the voters and I attempted to have this pushed back to a 2019 ballot. The item passed 5 – 2 and will also come before the voters in the November election. I encourage you to learn more about how this proposed tax could benefit you with regard to public safety, parks and infrastructure improvements. There are many worthwhile projects included therein.


Finally, I was pleased to co-sponsor with the Mayor an ordinance banning plastic straws in city facilities including sidewalk cafes, parks, marinas, piers and, of course, the beach itself. The policy will be rolled out in three phases starting with three months of education, followed by three months or written warnings and finally full enforcement to commence in February 2019. Plastic straws are slender and often get through our storm drains polluting our oceans. This ordinance was a long time coming and came six years after our first ordinance which prohibited businesses from providing them to beachgoers. I see this as another step towards a complete plastic ban.


Also, even though we will be in recess for August, I will still be working diligently for you and will be a guest speaker at the August 6th Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association meeting and at the August 20th Miami Beach Democratic Club. I hope you can join me! See details below.


Until next month I remain very truly yours,


Neighborhood / Community Affairs Committee Update 


The Neighborhood / Community Affairs Committee met on July 18, 2018. Hot topics included discussions about implementing a system of identification for returning residents in the event of a hurricane, crime in Miami Beach, and the improvement of sand sifting and beach maintenance. 


Since Hurricane Irma, the Committee has discussed possible solutions and systems that can minimize the time residents wait to return to the island to assess their homes and businesses. A sticker system was discussed in which a sticker, preferably color-coded in regards to location, would be granted to residents to place on their cars in the event of another evacuation. We all agreed that if this is the safest and most efficient solution, we should move forward but deferred to allow the Administration to review and report back. Crime in Miami Beach was discussed as we explored conducting a study to analyze the contributing factors of criminal activity such as noise and traffic, particularly in the entertainment district. The improvement of beach maintenance was discussed at my request due to the recent, noticeable, proliferation of seaweed on our beaches. 


The Committee supports the prioritization of this issue and is seeking support from Miami-Dade to fund this project. We will be discussing these issues and more at the upcoming meeting on September 26, 2018. 


Land Use/Development Committee 


The next meeting will be held on July 31, 2018, at 9 am at the Commission Chambers at Miami Beach City Hall. Two big topics should fill up most of the meeting: 1) Discussion on the North Beach Town Center Zoning, including a discussion on adding height and micro units; and 2) a discussion on the proposed height increase and other development changes for the property on Alton Road/West Avenue between 5th – 7th Streets.


As always, we welcome your participation and input. 



Elections are coming up on August 28th Besides the many important positions we will be voting for in the primary election, including Governor, US Representative, Senator, State Representative and Judges, there will be two ballot questions in the City of Miami Beach I wanted to inform you:


1.)  There will be a question to change the composition of the Board of Adjustment which is the Zoning Board in Miami Beach.  I sponsored this question as the current categories prove difficult to fill and we often carry a vacancy on this board.  A yes vote will allow the Commission some flexibility to ensure we can get the positions filled with qualified candidates.  As such, I urge to vote “Yes”. 


2.)  Although all expenses and salaries have gone up incredibly since 1966, one thing remains the same and that is the commissioner and mayor salaries.  You will be asked to consider raising the salary for the first time in 52 years by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which shows that the $6,000 salary for commissioners in 1966 would be $45,381 if the CPI were applied and that the $10,000 salary for mayor in 1966 would be $75,636 if the CPI were applied.  I believe a vote of “Yes” is important so that ALL people can consider running for office and be more fairly compensated for a job which is virtually full time, all the time, and urge you to consider same.


To read the complete ballot questions, please click here

Condo LAW Corner

Tenants Have Right To Use Common Property


                                                                        BY JOSEPH ADAMS 

Q: Our condominium recreational facilities have been very popular this summer. We have received many complaints from owners that they have not been able to enjoy the pool due to the number of guests and renters using the pool. Is it possible for the board to adopt a rule that prohibits renters from using the pool, or at least set aside “owner only” time? (A.B. via e-mail)

To read the complete article click here>


Shot On Site





“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”


— Abraham Lincoln

4 Miami-Dade Becker Attorneys are Board Certified in Condo & Planned Development Law 

Michael Góngora

Miami Beach Commissioner

(305) 673-7106

Office of Mayor & Commission | 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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