||Mr. Milton Vickers, Executive Director, Metro-Miami Action Plan (MMAP), presented the status of MMAP activities to the Committee. He distributed a report entitled, “Metro-Miami Action Plan Trust’s Retrospective and Future” to the Committee members. Mr. Vickers noted MMAP was gaining momentum and strengthening its programs by tying MMAP’s initiatives through legislative initiatives to support MMAP’s continuation and growth. He noted staff was working to identify ways to provide additional resources to MMAP’s programmatic initiatives to ensure that MMAP continued to deliver its core mission of housing, economic development, education, criminal justice and health care. He noted changes were occurring in the County; therefore, staff must continue looking for innovative solutions coupled with sufficient funding levels to ensure that MMAP could adequately focus on the well being of this community. Mr. Vickers indicated this organization’s scarce resources increased the difficulty of adjusting to the shift in the County’s economic and social climate. He noted that skyrocketing home prices and unscrupulous lending practices threatened the impact of affordable housing initiatives and the decreasing purchase power of both low and middle-income residents. Mr. Vickers pointed out the social-economic classes such as the black middle was nearing extinction while the poor working class was expanding. Therefore, black-owned businesses were unable to flourish equal to their counterparts in the County, and the County was slowly losing talented young people and professionals to other cities. Mr. Vickers provided an overview of MMAP’s accomplishments. He informed the Committee that members of the audience were present in support of MMAP.
Chairwoman Edmonson acknowledged the following persons who appeared before the Committee in support of MMAP:
Mr. Roderick Kemp, 3275 N.W. 79 Street, One United Bank, spoke in support of funding for MMAP.
Reverend Dr. R. Joaquin Willis, 6001 N.W. 8 Avenue, Open Door, appeared on behalf of C.B.G. Miami Dade and Vicinity, spoke in support of MMAP performance.
Mr. Dario Moreno, 822 Venetia Avenue, Director, the Metropolitan Center, Florida International University, spoke regarding the study of the existing disparity between the black community and other County residents.
Mr. Philip Bacon, 150 S.E. 2 Avenue, representing the Overtown Civic Partnership, urged the Committee to continue to support MMAP.
Mr. Dale Bryan, 201 N.W. 7 Street, representing the Overtown Civic Partnership, stressed the need for MMAP to continue.
Mr. Irby McKnight, 1600 N.W. 3 Avenue, urged the Committee to continue to support MMAP.
Mr. Don Patterson, 245 N.W. 8 Street, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), BAME Development Corporation, urged the Committee to support MMAP.
Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry regarding the current recommendation for MMAP and its structural changes, Mr. Vickers noted the County Manager’s recommended to reduce MMAP staff from 30 to 4, and to merge MMAP into the newly proposed Office of Community Advocacy. He informed the Committee that MMAP staff would continue to provide staff support to the MMAP Trust Board; and the MMAP housing funds, the criminal justice funds, the economic development funds and the current dedicated source of funding would be reallocated to another County department.
Commissioner Jordan discussed the creation of MMAP and its mission to target the black community. She questioned under what authority MMAP was created.
Following Commissioner Jordan’s comments, Mr. Vickers stated the MMAP Agency reported directly to the County Manager as a result of its creation in 1982. Subsequently, the County Commission created the MMAP Trust; therefore, placing the MMAP Trust Board under the County Commission. He pointed out MMAP staff were County employees, and the Executive Director was selected by the Board, then referred to the County Manager and ratified by the County Commission.
Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry how the County Manager derived his recommendation pertaining to MMAP’s proposed new structure, Ms. Cynthia Curry, Senior Advisor to the County Manager, provided the Committee with a brief overview of the County Manager’s budget recommendation for MMAP structural changes.
Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry regarding the authority, Assistant County Attorney Shannon Summerset provided an overview of the section of the Miami-Dade County Code regarding the MMAP Trust and the dedicated source of funding for MMAP’s programmatic activities.
Further discussion ensued between Commissioner Jordan and Ms. Curry regarding the structure, the mission, and the authority to change MMAP and the County Manager’s budget recommendation.
Commissioner Sorenson noted that the County Manager has to make budget recommendation for the County overall. She noted the potential budget cuts and the impact of those budget cuts. She concluded it was incumbent upon the County Commission to carefully review all programs during this year’s budget process.
Chairwoman Edmonson questioned Mr. Vickers regarding the potential changes recommended by the County Manager.
Responding to Chairwoman Edmonson’s inquiry, Mr. Vickers stated the Manager’s recommendation would impact the delivery of services provided by MMAP to a particular group in this community.
Chairwoman Edmonson stated that she agreed with Mr. Vickers and some of the speakers comments regarding the black community in the County. She noted, from her personal experience, many people were moving out of the County because of the bleak future for black professionals, housing, education and a sense of not feeling welcomed in this community.
Responding to Chairwoman Edmonson’s comments regarding the TECO plant project, Ms. Wendi Norris, Director, General Services Administration (GSA), noted GSA staff was currently reviewing a copy of a study provided by Mr. Vickers, and upon completion of that review, staff would present an analysis regarding the TECO project to the Committee.
Chairwoman Edmonson asked the General Services Administration Director to prepare a report to address and to determine the following: (1) the full capacity of both the TECO Chiller Plant and the Central Support facility, (2) the revenue generated by both plants at full capacity, (3) the administrative costs associated with bringing the plants to full capacity, and (4) the amount of remaining funding available for community initiatives. She also asked the Director to work closely with the Overtown Civic Partnership and other affected organizations to include their input.
Chairwoman Edmonson stated she would not support the County dissolving or merging the Metro-Miami Action Plan (MMAP) Agency during the County’s budget process. She noted the County Commission should address this issue and decide if the MMAP Agency should be dissolved. She indicated she viewed the recommendation by the Manager as a policy matter and not administrative as far as authority for the creation of MMAP.