Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 080184
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File Number: 080184 File Type: Ordinance Status: Second Reading
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: PATRIOT PASSPORT PROGRAM Introduced: 1/17/2008
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 2/5/2008 Agenda Item Number: 7D
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 29-124 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA APPLYING CHARTER COUNTY TRANSIT SYSTEM SURTAX PROCEEDS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PATRIOT PASSPORT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE FARE-FREE TRANSIT SERVICES TO HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERANS WHO ARE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY RESIDENTS AND WHOSE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME DOES NOT EXCEED THE STANDARD THRESHOLD APPLIED TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY FOR THE LOW-INCOME, SENIOR CITIZENS' ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 073542]
Indexes: NONE
Sponsors: Sen. Javier D. Souto, Prime Sponsor
  Bruno A. Barreiro, Co-Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
  Joe A. Martinez, Co-Sponsor
  Katy Sorenson, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, 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Board of County Commissioners 2/5/2008 7D Withdrawn
REPORT: First Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. It was moved by Commissioner Diaz that this proposed ordinance be adopted. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Souto. Commissioner Jordan expressed concern regarding this proposed ordinance proliferating additional costs to the People’s Transportation Plan (PTP) and the potential ramifications of those additional costs. She questioned whether an alternative funding source existed for the Patriot Passport program. Assistant County Manager Ysela Llort noted the suggested funding source was the funding source the Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDT) previously used for the Patriot Passport program. She noted MDT could use funds from its portion of the general fund. Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry regarding the County submitting appropriate financial reports for New Starts to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on schedule, Assistant County Manager Llort noted the FTA honored the County’s request for an extension to submit New Starts. She explained any FTA decision regarding the County’s New Starts submittal was based on the merits of the submittal. Commissioner Jordan clarified the County did not submit the financial reports on schedule, since the County requested an extension. She pointed out the extension did not allow the County time to make adjustments to its submittal. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s questions concerning who reviewed the County’s submittal before FTA saw it, Assistant County Manager Llort explained the submittal was a joint effort of consultants and County staff. Following further discussion among Committee members concerning the time extension and its impact on the County’s ability to compete for Federal funds, Ms. Betty Ferguson, former County Commissioner, noted all reports regarding the North Corridor were positive until the recent newspaper reports that FTA would downgrade the initial rating of the North Corridor to the extent the North Corridor probably would not qualify for $700 million of matching Federal funds. She questioned how one report could reverse all of the progress made on the North Corridor. She further questioned why the County required a time extension, and who audited the numbers in the report. Mr. Wilcox expressed concern regarding the Black Community perceiving the County Commission had double standards regarding them. He noted he found gross negligence in the County’s submittal for New Starts. He requested the County display the same determination for the North Corridor as it had shown for the Marlins Stadium and the Port Tunnel. Responding to Commissioner Rolle’s comments regarding alternative funding for the Patriot Passport program, Assistant County Manager Llort clarified the Patriot Passport program would have the same impact on the New Starts submittal if the funding source was MDT General Fund or PTP funds. She explained the Federal Government looked at the bottom line figure. Commissioner Rolle spoke in opposition to the County using any MDT funds for the Patriot Passport program. He emphasized the County should identify an alternative funding source for patriotic programs. He asked Assistant County Manager Llort to provide a status report on the North Corridor, including a detailed explanation as to why the FTA downgraded the North Corridor. Commissioner Rolle expressed concern that almost every FTA rating for the North Corridor project was medium to low, notwithstanding the County Administration’s assurance that the North Corridor project was okay during a Sunshine Meeting between Commissioners Jordan, Edmonson, and he at Miami-Dade College, as well as assurance from Ms. Yvette Taylor, FTA Regional Administrator for Region IV, United States Department of Transportation, that the North Corridor project was fine. Following comments by Commissioner Edmonson related to the New Starts submittal, Commissioner Jordan asked the County Manager to provide a study by February 19, 2008, on how the County should increase transit fares based on the consumer price index, the price of diesel fuel, and the need to recover fares. Commissioner Jordan asked the County Attorney to prepare an ordinance requiring that transit fares be adjusted consistent with the consumer price index or other economic indicators. She emphasized the MDT fare increases needed to be competitive. She requested the Orange Line/Transit Issues be added to Agenda Item 16B: Policy Matters for Discussion by the Board, for discussion on Thursday, February 7, 2008. Commissioner Jordan asked Assistant County Manager Llort to provide her a report reflecting any funding deficits in the Transit Agency and indicating whether those deficits were projected in the budget. She also asked Assistant County Manager Llort for a report on how the County submitted the North Corridor report to the FTA and whether the figures contained within that report were accurate. Chairman Barreiro noted the Orange Line/Transit Issues would be added to Agenda Item 16B for Thursday, February 7, 2008. Following Commissioner Souto pointing out this proposed ordinance needed nine affirmative votes to be adopted, Commissioner Sorenson expressed concern that the County would not appear serious about the North Corridor project by adopting this proposed ordinance with the PTP as the funding source. Responding to Commissioner Sorenson’s inquiry concerning the use of Convention Development Tax (CDT) funds for the Patriot Passport program, County Manager Burgess noted, pursuant to State Law, the only MDT project eligible for CDT funds would be a trolley to Miami Beach. County Manager Burgess apprised the Commission he would provide a report related to the FTA decision on the New Starts submittal. He pointed out the MDT FY 2007-08 budget contemplated the Patriot Passport program would not be funded by PTP funds, and planned to fund this program through non-PTP funds. Following further discussion regarding alternative funding sources for the Patriot Passport program and the County reevaluating the PTP Pro Forma and all MDT expenses, Commissioner Gimenez questioned the necessity of this proposed ordinance since County Manager Burgess indicated the MDT budget included funding for the Patriot Passport program. Discussion ensued between County Manager Burgess, Assistant County Manager Llort, Commissioner Gimenez, and Commissioner Souto regarding the necessity of this proposed ordinance. Commissioner Souto clarified the intent of this proposed ordinance was to make the Patriot Passport a permanent program. Pursuant to Commissioner Sorenson’s request, County Attorney Cuevas advised the County Manager had accurately explained the extent that CDT funds could be used for MDT projects. Commissioner Rolle asked Assistant County Manager Llort to provide him a report explaining when the North Corridor project was jeopardized. Commissioner Jordan asked Assistant County Manager Llort and the Miami-Dade Transit Agency Director to provide the County Commission on February 7, 2008, the County Administration’s plan and timeline for taking corrective action to reverse the FTA’s downgrade to the North Corridor as well as an update on the acquisition of properties for the North Corridor. Following Chairman Barreiro suggesting that this proposed ordinance be amended to remove the provision to use PTP funding and to direct the County Manager to identify funding for the Patriot Passport program, County Attorney Cuevas advised that this proposed ordinance was unnecessary if it was amended as suggested. It was moved by Commissioner Souto that the County Mayor be directed to permanently fund the Patriot Passport Program in future fiscal years. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Jordan, and upon being put to a vote, passed 9-0 (Commissioners Moss, Martinez, Diaz, and Heyman were absent). Chairman Barreiro noted this proposed ordinance was withdrawn.

County Attorney 1/17/2008 Assigned Bruce Libhaber

Transit Committee 1/16/2008 1F1 Amended Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendment(s) P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Bruce Libhaber read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. The public hearing was opened by Chairman Rolle; however, it was closed after no one appeared in response to Chairman Rolle’s call for persons wishing to be heard in connection with the foregoing proposed ordinance. Assistant County Attorney Libhaber noted that Commissioner Souto, as the original sponsor of this ordinance, had submitted a friendly amendment to the proposed ordinance. Assistant County Attorney Libhaber read into the record the friendly amendment to add the following language after the last sentence of Section 29-124(a) of the County Code: “Surtax proceeds may be applied to those Patriot Passport fare-free transit services provided since the commencement of the initial pilot program on June 18, 2004.” Assistant County Attorney Libhaber noted that a Patriot Passport pilot program had been active from June 18, 2004 to June 18, 2007, and was funded by Charter County Transit System Surtax proceeds. He further noted that the Patriot Passport program had continued from the expiration date of the pilot program to the current date. Mr. Libhaber clarified that this ordinance would fill the funding gap between June 18, 2007 and the present for the Patriot Passport program. Assistant County Attorney Libhaber also noted that the proposed ordinance would allow Surtax funds to be applied to reimburse Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) for the cost of the Patriot Passport program. Commissioner Sorenson noted her concerns that the Surtax funds had been budgeted to address needs other than reimbursing MDT for the cost of the Patriot Passport program. Ms. Mayra Bustamante, MDT Deputy Director of Administration, noted that MDT had received Surtax funds for FY 06-07 through June 2007. However, she added, MDT had not received Surtax funds for July through September 2007. Commissioner Sorenson asked whether Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) staff had determined that CITT had no need for the Surtax funds, and that, therefore, the Surtax funds could be budgeted to address other needs. Ms. Bustamante noted that MDT staff annually presented MDT’s budget requests to CITT, and that MDT invoiced CITT based on MDT’s budget. Ms. Bustamante also noted that the cost of the program for July through September was approximately $200,000. In response to Commissioner Sorenson’s inquiry as to whether one of her constituents’ Golden Passports could be adjusted to indicate that he was a veteran, Ms. Ruby Adams, MDT Assistant Director, Customer Service, noted that MDT would be placing a background on the Golden Passport photograph to indicate whether the individual was a veteran. Ms. Adams further noted that placement of the background would have no fiscal impact. Commissioner Rolle asked Assistant County Manager Alina Hudak to identify a funding source(s) for future projects other than the Charter County Transit System Surtax proceeds, as proposed in this ordinance. The Board proceeded to vote on this ordinance as amended.

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 29-124 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA APPLYING CHARTER COUNTY TRANSIT SYSTEM SURTAX PROCEEDS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PATRIOT PASSPORT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE FARE-FREE TRANSIT SERVICES TO HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERANS WHO ARE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY RESIDENTS AND WHOSE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME DOES NOT EXCEED THE STANDARD THRESHOLD APPLIED TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY FOR THE LOW-INCOME, SENIOR CITIZENS' ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION; 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. Section 29-124 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida is hereby amended as follows:1
Section 29-124. Special fund created; uses of surtax proceeds; and role of Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust.

* * *

Expenditure of surtax proceeds shall be subject to the following limitations:



(a) Surtax proceeds shall be applied to expand the Golden Passport Program to all persons regardless of income level who are over the age of 65 or are drawing Social Security benefits, >>and to establish the Patriot Passport Program to provide fare-free transit services to honorably discharged veterans who are Miami-Dade County residents and whose annual household income does not exceed the standard threshold applied to determine eligibility for the low-income senior citizens' additional homestead exemption,<< and to provide fare-free public transportation service on Metromover, including extensions. >>Surtax proceeds may be applied to those Patriot Passport fare-free transit services provided since the commencement of the initial pilot program on June 18, 2004.<<
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.
Section 5. This Ordinance may only be amended or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the Board. Any amendment or repeal of this Ordinance shall further require a minimum of six (6) weeks between first and second reading.
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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