Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 071196
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File Number: 071196 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 07-107 Control: County Commission
File Name: MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE DISTRICT Introduced: 4/19/2007
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 7/24/2007
Agenda Date: 7/24/2007 Agenda Item Number: 7A
Notes: requires 6-wk p.h. and 4-wk muni notification Title: ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 18, ARTICLE II, SECTIONS 18-25 AND 18-30 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, RELATING TO THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE DISTRICT; ELIMINATING MUNICIPAL OPTION TO OPT OUT OF DISTRICT; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 071138]
Indexes: FIRE RESCUE SERVICES
Sponsors: Dennis C. Moss, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Joe A. Martinez, Co-Sponsor
  Dorrin D. Rolle, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Sen. Javier D. Souto, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
  Katy Sorenson, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 7/24/2007 7A Adopted P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Commissioner Moss commended the Fire Fighters present. He noted the intent of this proposed ordinance was to stop fragmentation of the fire rescue services provided to the community. He suggested the County meet with municipalities to discuss a communication system to provide better service to the community. Commissioner Heyman pointed out that some municipalities thought this proposed ordinance undermined their authority. She noted the County was obligated to reach out to the community by providing fire rescue services; that the County Fire Rescue Department provided services that could not be duplicated. She spoke in support of ensuring that all County residents had the confidence of a seamless and top-quality fire rescue system. Commissioners Edmonson, Jordan, and Sorenson asked that they be listed as co-sponsors. Following comments by Commissioner Sosa in support of this proposed ordinance and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Commissioner Seijas pointed out that the Village of Pinecrest passed a resolution on July 10, 2007, to oppose the proposed elimination of a municipality’s option to opt out of the County Fire and Rescue Service District. She noted that municipalities did not realize the consequences of starting their own fire and rescue department. Commissioner Seijas expressed concern regarding the attitudes and actions of municipalities regarding incorporation and County services. She noted, for the record, that State Representative Juan-Carlos Planas committed to her that he would fight to protect the County’s Home Rule status at the State of Florida Legislature. Commissioner Sorenson noted the municipalities were concerned over the philosophical issue of Home Rule versus Regional Jurisdiction. She stated that the County Commission needed to ensure that all County citizens had the highest quality, the most consolidation, and the most seamless system possible for life safety issues. She spoke in support of more consolidated services in the future. In response to Commissioner Sorenson’s inquiry regarding the status of municipalities that exercised their option to opt out, in response to this proposal, Assistant County Attorney William Candela advised those municipalities would have to have exercised their option by April 2007, and that a municipal election was required, too. Following further comments by Commissioner Sorenson noting the County needed an alliance that would ensure that fire stations were used efficiently, Commissioner Diaz pointed out the existing financial situation made the cost of administration and specialized units a factor that would leave municipalities lacking in service. Commissioner Jordan asked the County Attorney’s Office to prepare legislation under her sponsorship eliminating the municipal option to opt out of Miami-Dade County Police Service District. She noted, for the record, that she supported the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Miami-Dade Police Department. She explained she thought the best service the County could provide was to ensure that other entities throughout the County received the full benefit of the County’s experience, expertise, and training. Commissioner Gimenez noted he did not want fire and rescue service in the County to become fragmented the way Broward County was fragmented; and that this proposed ordinance was necessary to prevent that fragmentation. He pointed out that this proposal provided an opportunity for joint communications, automatic aid, joint training with specialized units and hazardous materials (HAZMAT), joint EMS protocols, and instant command training to occur; and that these opportunities would decrease costs and increase services. Commissioner Moss pointed out Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was identified in the February 2007, issue of “Fire Chief” magazine as one of three metro departments considered as the pinnacle of fire service. He asked Chairman Barreiro to allow him to appoint a subcommittee, including Commissioner Gimenez, to discuss providing better communication and cooperation between the County and the five other fire districts. Commissioner Moss emphasized that this proposed ordinance intended to provide second-to-none fire service to the County, and not to disrespect municipalities. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Commission proceeded to vote.

Health and Public Safety Committee 7/19/2007 2A Forwarded to the BCC by the BCC Chairperson with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Christian read the forgoing proposed ordinance into the record. Prior to opening the public hearing, Commissioner Moss asked that any elected officials in the audience who wished to speak on this issue come forward. Councilman Isaac Salver, Town of Bay Harbor Islands, and former President, Miami-Dade County League of Cities, appeared before the Committee and expressed his support of the Miami-Dade County Firefighters. He referenced the new property tax reform legislation mandating that most municipalities roll back millage rates to the FY2006 level, and reduce that amount by an additional nine percent (9%). He requested on behalf of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities, that no changes be made in the contract between the cities and the County. He also asked that this amendment be tabled until such time that the cities directly affected by this legislation would be able to discuss it with the County, the Firefighters, and any other interested parties. Vice Mayor Gail Serota, Village of Pinecrest, 12645 Pinecrest Parkway, appeared and noted the foregoing proposed ordinance would unilaterally take away municipalities’ right to “opt-out” of the County’s Fire Rescue Service District. Commenting that although she was not aware of any dissatisfaction with the Fire Rescue service, it was expensive for the residents, and the Village Council needed time to consider these costs along with all other fees paid by its residents. Vice Mayor Serota expressed concern that this Committee’s request to have this ordinance heard by the County Commission on Tuesday (7/24) by virtue of a waiver of Committee Rules and Procedures, would take away from the residents of Pinecrest the right to determine for themselves who would provide their fire rescue service and at what cost. She asked that the Committee defer this ordinance until the municipalities and their residents could conduct a more thorough analysis of this issue. There being no other elected official wishing to appear, Chairman Moss opened the public hearing. Seeing the large number of individuals registered to speak in support of this item, he asked that a select few come forward and speak, indicating that everyone in support would be asked to stand in recognition following those speakers. The following individuals appeared in support: Mr. Stan Hills, President, Miami-Dade Association of Firefighters, appeared and stated the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (MDFR) was recognized as a premier system worldwide, and referenced the Broward County fire system as an example of what could happen if fire departments within the County were broken up. He asked Ms. Michelle Steel to provide additional information regarding this matter. Ms. Michelle Steel, Safety Captain, MDFR, and Cutler Bay resident, appeared and explained that she was responsible for ensuring the safety of firefighters, as well as responding to fire rescue events that required three or more units. She noted her position provided the opportunity to work alongside other fire departments and observe many challenges that occurred. She indicated that consolidating services between the West Hialeah Fire Department and MDFR would have improved efforts to move a concrete mixer off of a seventeen-year-old boy. An unidentified speaker appeared and stated he was a former Broward County Fire Rescue firefighter working at the Pembroke Pines Station, which he noted was a fragmented system. Commenting that fire rescue should be a regional system with no boundaries, he pointed out that when seconds counted, the closest unit should respond to the call. He further suggested that all departments should be under one radio system to facilitate communication. Mr. Wilfredo Fleites, 7811 SW 29th Street, Firehouse 47, Westchester, appeared and pointed out the importance of regionalization and unified radio systems within the fire rescue system. Ms. Maria Chin, Captain, MDFR, appeared and provided a brief overview of the benefits of regionalization of the fire rescue system from the recruitment standpoint. Chairman Moss clarified that today’s discussion concerned “opting out” rather than consolidating resources. Ms. Bridget Keating, MDFR Firefighter, appeared and noted adoption of this ordinance would provide many benefits, including the creation of one common public radio system, elimination of fragmented fire and emergency medical service systems, and provision of the highest quality of services the citizens of Miami-Dade County deserved. There being no other persons to appear, Chairman Moss closed the public hearing. Commissioners Heyman, Diaz, Gimenez, Sosa, and Seijas spoke in support of the foregoing ordinance and concurred that saving lives was the major concern in creating a unified system. Chairman Moss pointed out this was about eliminating fragmentation of fire departments in this community, especially with the tax reform and other issues. There being no further questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote. Chairman Moss asked staff to prepare the appropriate memorandum requesting that the County Commission Chairman Bruno A. Barreiro waive the Committee's rules and allow the foregoing proposed resolution to be heard at the July 24, 2007 County Commission meeting.

Budget and Finance Committee 7/11/2007 2J Forwarded to the BCC by the BCC Chairperson with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Benitez read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. The public hearing was opened, and the following individuals appeared before the Committee to provide information: 1. Mr. Stan Hills, 8000 NW 21 Street, 2. Mr. Richard Cooper, Executive Director, Miami-Dade County League of Cities, 3. Mr. Carl Schmidtfelt, 4. Ms. Gail Serota, Vice-Mayor, Village of Pinecrest. There being no other persons to appear before the committee, the public hearing was closed. It was moved by Commissioner Gimenez that this proposed ordinance be forwarded with a favorable recommendation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Sosa. Chairman Martinez and Commissioners Souto and Diaz asked that they be listed as co-sponsors. Assistant County Attorney William Candela noted that Commissioner Moss asked that this proposed ordinance be prepared with the elimination of the opt out provision. Responding to Ms. Serota’s inquiry regarding why this proposal was being made, Commissioner Gimenez explained that it was a response to overtures made by certain fire departments to Cities that would hurt the County’s Fire District. He noted the County needed stabilization to provide cooperation between the six (6) fire departments countywide; and that stabilization would lead to savings and standardization of services. In response to Commissioner Sorenson’s question regarding when the municipalities were notified, Assistant County Attorney Candela advised that the municipalities were provided sufficient advance notice. Chairman Martinez pointed out this proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading on April 24, 2007. Commissioner Sorenson noted, for the record, that she supported consolidating Emergency Operations. Responding to Commissioner Sorenson’s request to clarify his concerns, Mr. Cooper noted the Miami-Dade County League of Cities did not have concerns regarding failure of notification. Following further discussion regarding how this proposed ordinance would provide better service countywide, Chairman Martinez pointed out that municipal incorporations that took away from the fire department would force the County to downsize its regional force. He questioned how budget cuts would impact the fire department’s specialized services. Mr. Herminio Lorenzo, Fire Chief, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, noted that the overall service of the Fire Department to the community would suffer by cutting specialized services. He pointed out that the Fire Department’s regional structure allowed it to adequately respond to a fire at Miami International Airport earlier that day (7/11). He noted that his experience with fragmented fire service in a community smaller than this County was a nightmare. He said national publications had Miami-Dade Fire Rescue at the pinnacle of fire service. Commissioner Sorenson asked Mr. Lorenzo to meet with the Mayor and Council members from the Village of Pinecrest as well as representatives from the League of Cities and any other concerned municipality to address any questions/concerns regarding this proposed ordinance. Commissioner Gimenez asked Chief Lorenzo to pursue cooperative agreements with the municipal fire departments to dissolve the service boundaries and allow any fire department to respond to any fire. He noted that the County Commission would have to analyze the Fire Department’s funding. Commissioner Sosa asked Assistant County Manager Ian Yorty to provide an analysis of how the Fire Rescue Department could be funded from the County’s General Fund so that this department would not be dependent on revenues generated from property taxes. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote. Chairman Martinez noted he would prepare a memorandum requesting that Chairman Barreiro waive the Board's Rules and Procedures to allow this proposed ordinance to be considered at the July 24, 2007, County Commission Meeting.

County Attorney 6/20/2007 Assigned Health and Public Safety Committee 7/19/2007

County Attorney 6/20/2007 Assigned Budget and Finance Committee 7/11/2007

Health and Public Safety Committee 6/14/2007 2A Carried over Due to Lack of a Quorum 7/19/2007

Budget and Finance Committee 6/12/2007 2G Carried over Due to Lack of a Quorum 7/11/2007

Board of County Commissioners 5/4/2007 Municipalities notified of public hearing Health and Public Safety Committee 6/14/2007 4/24/2007

Board of County Commissioners 5/4/2007 Municipalities notified of public hearing Budget and Finance Committee 6/12/2007 4/24/2007

Board of County Commissioners 4/24/2007 4I SUBSTITUTE Adopted on first reading 6/12/2007 P
REPORT: The foregoing proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading and scheduled for a public hearing before the Budget and Finance Committee on June 12, 2007, at 2:00 p.m., and the Health and Public Safety Committee on June 14, 2007, at 2:00 p.m.

Board of County Commissioners 4/23/2007 Requires Municipal Notification Health and Public Safety Committee 6/14/2007

Board of County Commissioners 4/23/2007 Requires Municipal Notification Budget and Finance Committee 6/12/2007

County Attorney 4/23/2007 Referred Health and Public Safety Committee 6/14/2007

County Manager 4/23/2007 Additions 4/24/2007

County Attorney 4/23/2007 Requires Municipal Notification

County Attorney 4/23/2007 Referred Budget and Finance Committee 6/12/2007

County Attorney 4/23/2007 Assigned William X. Candela 4/23/2007

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 18, ARTICLE II, SECTIONS 18-25 AND 1830 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, RELATING TO THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE DISTRICT; ELIMINATING MUNICIPAL OPTION TO OPT OUT OF DISTRICT; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Chapter 18, Article II of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:1
Chapter 18

IMPROVEMENT AND SPECIAL-PURPOSE DISTRICTS

* * *

ARTICLE II.

MIAMI-DADE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE DISTRICT

Sec. 18-24. Creation and Continuance of District.
The special district known and designated as the Metro Dade Fire and Rescue Service District (hereinafter referred to as "the District") created and established in Dade County, Florida by Ordinance No. 80-86 shall continue in existence, as modified by the remainder of this article. The District shall be known henceforth as the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Service District.

Sec. 18-25. Boundaries.
The initial boundaries of the District shall be the geographic boundaries of Miami-Dade County, excluding any municipality which opted out of the Metro-Dade Fire and Rescue Service District created by Ordinance No. 80-86 prior to the date this article was adopted. [[The District boundaries may change from time to time based upon the exercise of the municipal option provided in Section 18-30.]]
Sec. 18-26. Service Provided.
The service provided by the District shall include a uniform level of fire and rescue service throughout the District and to those governmental entities which may from time to time contract with the District. The District shall begin the provision of such service within its boundaries on the date this article becomes effective, and shall from that date forth be ready, willing and able to provide a uniform level of fire and rescue service on a countywide basis to all properties and residents within the County.
Sec. 18-27. Revocation of Transfer of Property in Trust.
The trust created by Ordinance No. 96-28 is dissolved. The County, as the successor in interest, shall have sole possession of all real property, equipment, facilities and resources previously transferred to the District in trust.
Sec. 18-28. Governing Body.
The Board of County Commissioners shall be the governing body of the District.
Sec. 18-29. District Budget and Ad Valorem Tax.
The annual budget for the District shall be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in such manner as may be provided by law. The County shall levy an annual ad valorem tax not to exceed three (3) mills upon all taxable property within the District. The tax shall be assessed, levied and collected, in the manner provided by law.
Sec. 18-29.1. Municipal Option to Join District.
Any municipality may join the District through the enactment of an ordinance passed by a majority of its governing body and a resolution passed by a majority of the Board of County Commissioners. If any municipality chooses to join the District, the boundaries of the District shall be automatically adjusted accordingly; provided, however, that property within any municipality exercising such option shall continue to be subject to any outstanding indebtedness or obligations of the municipality until such indebtedness or obligations are no longer outstanding with respect to such property.
[[Sec. 18-30. Municipal Option to Provide Alternative Service.
(a) With the exception of those municipalities created with the condition that they remain a part of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue District in perpetuity, any municipality which is a member of the District as of the effective date of this article, may provide an alternative means of delivering fire and rescue services within the municipality, provided the alternate means is approved by a majority of that municipality's citizens voting on that issue. Municipal action under this provision shall remove the municipality from the District as provided in subsection (c) below.
(b) Any municipality which exercises the option provided in subsection (a) may subsequently determine to join the District through the enactment of an ordinance adopted by a two-thirds vote of its governing body.
(c) Any election, ordinance or resolution enacted pursuant to subsection (a) or (b), subsequent to September 26, 1994, shall not be applicable to the District until the next succeeding fiscal year and only if a certified copy thereof is submitted to the District at least six (6) months prior to the beginning of said fiscal year.
(d) If any municipality chooses to exercise the options provided under (a) or (b) of this subsection, the boundaries of the District shall be automatically adjusted accordingly; provided, however, that property within any municipality exercising such option shall continue to be subject to any outstanding indebtedness or obligations of the District until such indebtedness or obligations are no longer outstanding with respect to such property.]]

Sec. 18-31. Municipalities Contracting with District for Additional Services.
Any municipality may contract with the District for the delivery of additional fire and rescue services. Any services provided by the District in accordance with any such contract shall be in addition to the fire and rescue services provided under Section 18-26.
Sec. 18-32. Existing Indebtedness.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any indebtedness incurred by the District or by the County on the District's behalf prior to the enactment of this article shall continue to be an obligation of the property within the District at the time the indebtedness was incurred; provided, however, that such obligation shall cease when the indebtedness is no longer outstanding or adequate provisions are made for its repayment.
Sec. 18-33. Other Chapter Provisions not Applicable.
Notwithstanding any other provision of Chapter 18, the District shall be governed solely by this Article II and Chapter 2, Article XXI of the Code.
Sec. 18-34. General Provisions of the District.
It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners to set forth in this chapter the functions and responsibilities of the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Service District created by Ordinance No. 80-86. The District described herein shall continue to be subject to modification or abolishment in whole or in part by duly enacted ordinance of the Commission.
Secs. 18-35--18-40. Reserved.
Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may
be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
1 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.



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