Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 121686
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File Number: 121686 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-655-12 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: CHARTER AMENDMENT - RECREATION OF MUNICIPALITIES Introduced: 8/24/2012
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 8/23/2012
Agenda Date: 8/23/2012 Agenda Item Number: 10A3ALTERNATE1
Notes: THIS IS FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED. ALSO SEE 121486. Title: RESOLUTION CALLING A COUNTYWIDE SPECIAL ELECTION IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH A GENERAL ELECTION ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2012, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THE QUESTION OF WHETHER TO AMEND HOME RULE CHARTER PROVISIONS PERTAINING TO CHANGES IN MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES AND CREATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES (SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 121486)
Indexes: CHARTER AMENDMENT
Sponsors: Lynda Bell, Prime 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

County Attorney 8/24/2012 Assigned Craig H. Coller

Board of County Commissioners 8/23/2012 10A3 ALTERNATE No. 1 AMENDED Adopted as amended P
REPORT: Commissioner Heyman proffered a friendly amendment to Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 2, and said that she would like to merge it with Alternate No. 1. She noted she agreed that the Clerk of the Courts was a neutral office; therefore, he should be removed and replaced by the Supervisor of Elections to canvass the signatures. Chairman Martinez asked the Clerk whether Commissioner Heyman was referring to the same task that his office performed when petitions were certified during a recall process. Mr. Harvey Ruvin, Clerk of the Courts, explained that the Clerk was the only office in Miami-Dade County that certified recall petitions because the Supervisor of Elections was appointed by the Mayor. Chairman Martinez pointed out that the reason the Task Force identified the Clerk of the Courts to canvass the signatures was because of the conflict of interest with the Supervisor of Elections who was an appointed officer. Mr. Ruvin pointed out that no conflict existed when it came to municipal petitions for incorporation. He said that the Charter Review members identified the Clerk’s office automatically because the recall was so recent, and they believed he did all of the canvassing. However, in the case of municipalities, Mr. Ruvin noted, the canvassing should be carried out by the Supervisor of Elections. Commissioner Heyman asked that Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 2 be withdrawn, because it would be included as an amendment to Alternate No. 1. Chairman Martinez announced that Agenda Item Alternate No. 2 was withdrawn. County Attorney Cuevas advised that Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 already contained the language to which Commissioner Heyman referred. Commissioner Diaz asked that Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 3 be withdrawn. Chairman Martinez announced that the Commission would consider Agenda Items 10A3 and 10A3 Alternate No. 1. Commissioner Bell said she was proposing Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 because it would satisfy many of the concerns that were raised regarding Agenda Item 10A3. She asked the County Attorneys to clarify the difference between the original Agenda Item 10A3 and Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1. Assistant County Attorney Cynthia Johnson-Stacks explained that in the original item, the Commission had no authority to disapprove of incorporations, except in two limited cases – when the boundaries of the area are not contiguous or when an unincorporated enclave would be created by the incorporation of the municipality. However, Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 restored the Commission’s discretion and authority to approve or deny incorporations. In addition, Assistant County Attorney Johnson-Stacks noted the original item provided for two different elections but Alternate No. 1 combined both elections for one vote. Another comparison was that the original item had no expressed provision regarding who was responsible for drafting the incorporation charter, while Alternate No. 1 provided that the Incorporation Committee was to draft the charter and hold a public hearing. Another distinction was that the original item did not allow pre-agreed conditions, whereas Alternate No. 1 allowed the incorporated municipalities to contract with the County for police services, etc... Another difference between the two items was that the original item called for 10 percent of the residents to sign to initiate the petition process; however, Alternate No. 1 required 20 percent of the residents to sign to initiate the petition process. Finally, the original item requires a 2/3 vote of Commission members to approve an annexation, whereas Alternate No. 1 requires a simple majority to approve an annexation. Commissioner Bell noted she wanted to assuage some of the concerns of municipalities that are currently undergoing annexation, and said that this would not negatively impact those cities. She thanked the members of the Charter Review Task Force for their commitment to this undertaking, and selfless efforts to recommend reforms intended to benefit the community. She pointed out that not every Commission member agreed with all of the recommendations; therefore, she had proposed two amendments in an effort to reach a compromise. She summarized the main elements of Agenda Item Alternate No. 1, noting it required 20 percent of the residents to sign to initiate a petition process, instead of 10 or 25 percent; the establishment of an Incorporation Committee; and at least one public hearing with adequate notice. It was moved by Commissioner Bell that the Commission approve Agenda Item 10A3, Alternate No. 1, as presented. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Heyman, followed by discussion. County Attorney Cuevas noted Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 had a scrivener’s error. Commissioner Sosa said she believed that this proposed item could lead to future problems, noting this Charter amendment could negatively affect the financial and operational stability of the public works/waste and police/fire services. She asked if this meant that the County would have one regional department for all these services. She stressed that the public should have the right to vote on whether they wanted to incorporate. She noted it was necessary to discuss a number of issues, including the small municipal governments that survive on property taxes only; annexation versus incorporation; and the impact to Miami Springs, Medley and those municipalities already in the incorporation process. She said she believed that the Charter Review Task Force membership lacked balance, because it was comprised of members who only had experience in municipalities. She asked who would be responsible for providing the public with the necessary information to make an informed decision. Chairman Martinez relinquished the Chair to Vice Chairwoman Edmonson. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson noted she supported Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1, because it gave the Commission members the authority to approve or deny incorporations. However, she was concerned that this petition process would not require a notary, which could lead to petition fraud. County Attorney Cuevas confirmed that this petition process did not require a notary. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson reiterated that this could potentially lead to petition fraud. She said that she would support Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 provided the petition process requires a notary. Commissioner Monestime indicated that he supported Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1; however, he inquired why other types of petitions only required four percent of residents’ signatures, while this petition process required 20 percent. He said that he agreed with the ten percent proposed by the Charter Review Task Force, just to start the process and put the issue to the voters. He noted he agreed with rescinding the moratorium because people should have the right to vote to incorporate. Commissioner Monestime said that he represented North Dade, which was unincorporated, but he lived in the city of North Miami, and he wished the rest of North Dade was similar to North Miami. He pointed out that, although taxes were higher, the quality of life in a municipality was better; whereas services were decreasing in the unincorporated areas. He suggested lowering the percentage required for the petition process to ten percent. Commissioner Bell pointed out that her item reduced the requirement to initiate the petition process from 25 to 20 percent. Commissioner Bovo commended Commissioner Bell on her item and asked if only one public hearing was foreseen in this entire process. Commissioner Bell clarified that her item required at least one public hearing, although there could be more than one. Commissioner Bovo said that he would be more comfortable if the item provided for more than one public hearing, or specified the number of public hearings to be held. He noted some residents could overlook or not be able to attend a meeting if only one was scheduled. He suggested that at least three meetings be held to allow members of the community to provide as much input as necessary. He said that ultimately, the residents of Miami-Dade County would have to decide whether they wanted their government to govern regionally. Commissioner Bovo observed that perhaps the conditions that prompted a moratorium a few years ago, no longer existed. He said that he was in favor of requiring ten percent of the residents to sign to initiate the petition process, but believed 20 percent was fair. He asked that the item provide for at least three public hearings, and offered this as an amendment. Commissioner Bell noted she accepted the amendment. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson asked if her colleagues wished to have a working lunch or to recess. Chairman Martinez resumed the Chair, and recommended a working lunch, to which the other Commission members agreed, unanimously. Commissioner Heyman said that she supported Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 with the two amendments proffered. She said she believed the original item proposed be the Task Force was irresponsibly crafted. However, she noted, the alternate item restores the Commission’s authority to approve or deny incorporations, and this would ensure that the Commission would consider the impact of every proposed incorporation on the County as a whole. She stressed the importance of transparency, and of providing information to the residents on the actual cost of incorporating. She referred to the old adage which said that it was always possible to find ten percent of anybody against a person or a cause; therefore, she supported requiring 20 percent of the residents to sign to initiate the petition process. Chairman Martinez relinquished the Chair to Vice Chairwoman Edmonson. Commissioner Souto said he supported Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No.1, in general. He asked the County Attorney if the original item was approved by 2/3 of the members of the Charter Review Task Force. County Attorney Cuevas confirmed that Agenda Item 10A3 was approved by 2/3 of the Task Force members. Commissioner Souto asked whether this meant that this item was supposed to be placed on the ballot. County Attorney Cuevas clarified that the resolution creating the Task Force provided that it was the Commission’s intent to place any item adopted with a 2/3 vote on the ballot. Commissioner Souto pointed out that if the Commission members now wished to modify this agreement, they were being disloyal. In addition, Commissioner Souto noted usually a small percentage of the electorate voted in Miami-Dade County’s elections, and yet the alternate item was requiring 20 percent of the residents to sign to initiate the petition process. He said that the Commission should make it as easy as possible for the people to vote. He reminded his fellow Commission members that the Bill of Rights urged convenient access for voting, and yet this County had made it difficult for people to vote. Commissioner Diaz pointed out that the Commission had been dealing with this topic for a long time. He referred to a report that was written on the deliberations of an Annexation Subcommittee, which lasted two years, and were informed by public input. Yet, he noted, only one member of the Charter Review Task Force referred to this report. He said that much of the findings of the report had been incorporated into the County Code over the years, and promised to provide copies of the report to his fellow Commission members. Commissioner Diaz said that at this time when the County was emerging from a financial crisis, the Commission needed the flexibility to adjust. He asked the Assistant County Attorney to provide a brief overview of the difference between the proposal and what was currently in the Code. Assistant County Attorney Johnson-Stacks stressed that one significant change was that the Commission would have to vote. She explained that under the current legislation, the Commission had the discretion to approve, deny or proceed with consideration of an incorporation. She said the current process provided that the petition had 90 days to circulate, whereas the Alternate item provided that the petition had six months to circulate. Commissioner Diaz asked whether the tax base would increase if an area was annexed. Assistant County Attorney Johnson-Stacks said that this would be a point for the Commission members’ consideration as they decided whether to approve a particular annexation. Commissioner Diaz referred to the report of the Annexation Subcommittee and explained that this body took into account all of these issues in its deliberations. He pointed out that the difference between what was currently in the Code and Commissioner Bell’s proposal was that it required 20 percent of the residents to sign to initiate the petition process, and the Commission members to verify whether the tax base would be increased if an area was annexed. Assistant County Attorney Johnson-Stacks indicated that Commissioner Bell’s proposal specifically required that the Commission members consider this issue, among whatever other issues they deemed relevant and appropriate. Commissioner Diaz noted Medley was in his district. He said that the annexation process for Medley, Doral, Miami Springs, and Virginia Gardens had been held up due to the economic situation. He noted the representative of one of these cities spoke during the public hearing and indicated that the residents were not part of the discussion; yet the game was being changed on them after they had gone through this process for several years. He said that under Commissioner Bell’s proposal their application may be rejected because they may benefit economically from the annexation. County Attorney Cuevas advised that Commissioner Bell’s proposal simply provided that in making the decision the Commission members would have to consider this point; it did not say that an item would have to necessarily be rejected on that basis. Commissioner Diaz said he would be more comfortable to remove this requirement if this was the only difference between Commissioner Bell’s proposal and what was currently in the Code. County Attorney Cuevas advised that Agenda Item 10A3 required a 2/3 vote of Commission members to approve an annexation, whereas Alternate No. 1 required a simple majority to approve an annexation. Pursuant to Commissioner Souto’s question, the County Attorney clarified that currently in the Code a simple majority vote was required to approve an annexation; Agenda Item 10A3 increased this to a 2/3 vote; and Commissioner Bell’s item provided that annexations could be approved by a simple majority. Chairman Martinez resumed the Chair. Commissioner Diaz said that he supported Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1, but he asked if Commissioner Bell would be willing to remove the requirement that Commission members verify whether the tax base would be increased if an area was annexed. He suggested that this language be replaced with the requirement that Commission members exercise all due diligence required for an annexation. Commissioner Bell said this was only one of many considerations to ensure that the Commission members took into account the economic impact of the annexation. She stressed that it did not negate the annexation. Commissioner Diaz asked whether the Commission members considered the economic benefit of an annexation under the current process. County Attorney Cuevas confirmed that under the Code the Commission members considered all of those factors currently; he clarified that this item would include this consideration in the Charter, but would not pre-ordain the outcome. Commissioner Suarez said that placing the Task Force’s 16 proposals on the ballot would be a disaster. He noted he concurred with Commissioner Monestime that the Commission members should include a threshold in the Charter that was lower than 20 percent. Commissioner Suarez said he would support Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 with the proffered amendments. Commissioner Jordan said she would like to follow up on Commissioner Bovo’s proffered amendment, noting she agreed with requiring three public hearings. In addition, she said she would require that they rotate within the boundaries to ensure true outreach. She also expressed concern that this petition process would not require a notary, which could lead to a different level of accuracy and credibility. She said that she would not want this process to be challenged due to questions regarding the legitimacy of signatures. Commissioner Jordan pointed out that when 25 percent of the residents were required to sign to initiate the petition process, it was unrealistic to expect that this number of signatures could be gathered in 90 days. She said that Commissioner Bell’s item reduced the required percentage of signatures to 20 percent and extended the time allowed to gather the signatures to 6 months. She explained that during incorporations communities were not informed of the additional costs involved if they wanted to form their own police department. She said that she had introduced legislation to ensure that communities received all relevant information to enable them to make informed decisions regarding incorporations. Commissioner Moss asked how the proposed process would affect boundary changes, noting this was one of the reasons he was in favor of the Commission’s involvement in the process. Assistant County Attorney Craig Coller noted by restoring the Commission’s authority to approve or deny incorporations, Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 gave the Commission members the ability to resolve boundary disputes involving competing proposals. Commissioner Moss pointed out that this was why he wanted to be involved in the incorporation process, particularly in his district. He said that he supported requiring three public hearings, but he was concerned about the removal of the notary requirement. He asked the County Attorneys how the signatures would be validated if this requirement was removed. Assistant County Attorney Johnson-Stacks explained that the Supervisor of Elections would compare the signatures that are in the Elections Department’s records. Commissioner Moss pointed out that no one would be accountable with regard to who gathered the signatures. Assistant County Attorney Johnson-Stacks reiterated that Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 had no provision for a notary. Commissioner Moss pointed out that the Commission members had made decisions in the past under threats and intimidation. He said that he could not support sending the Task Force recommendations directly to the voters, as it appears some of this body’s members were defending particular interests. He suggested that the Commission members take a step back and look at what was in the best interest of the entire community and not a special interest group. Chairman Martinez inquired whether this proposed item exempted the municipalities currently in the pipeline. Assistant County Attorney Coller indicated that the original item prepared by the Task Force provided that annexations could be approved with a 2/3 vote, whereas Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 removed this requirement. Therefore, if the Alternate item passed, annexations would require a majority vote for approval, as is currently. Chairman Martinez repeated his question, and Assistant County Attorney Coller advised that the approval of the Alternate item would not impact the municipalities currently in the pipeline. He explained that if the Task Force recommendations were adopted, the municipalities currently in the pipeline would be affected because annexations would require a 2/3 vote by the County Commission members for approval. However, if the Alternate item passed, the municipalities currently in the pipeline would not be affected because annexations would only require a simple majority vote for approval. Chairman Martinez expressed concern that this petition process would not require a notary, and asked Commissioner Bell to explain why she chose to exclude that requirement. Commissioner Bell said that she believed the process was fair since the percentage of signatures required to initiate the petition process was reduced and the amount of time allotted to gather the signatures was increased. However, she noted, if the Commission members preferred to have the signatures certified by a notary, she would gladly accept any amendment proffered on this issue. Chairman Martinez noted the Commission members decided that any proposed changes to the UDB had to be approved by a 2/3 vote. He pointed out that annexation and incorporation were just as important to the community as the UDB since 1.3 million people in unincorporated Miami-Dade risked losing their tax base. He noted it was just as important to require a 2/3 vote for approval of incorporations and annexations. Pursuant to County Attorney Cuevas’ question, Commissioner Bell said that in order to satisfy the concerns of her fellow Commission members, she would be willing to amend her item to include the same notary provision that was currently in the petition process. Chairman Martinez reiterated that he believed it was important to require a 2/3 vote for approval of incorporations and annexations because they had an impact on all the residents in the County. Commissioner Sosa said that she agreed with the simple majority vote, the three public hearings, and restoring the notary requirement. However, she wanted to be sure that the applications that were currently in the pipeline would be exempt from the new process. She said that she requested from the Administration the list of applications that were currently in the pipeline, and would like to read them for the record: the Municipal Advisory Committees (MAC) from North East, North Central, Fontainebleau, Fisher Island, and Biscayne Gardens; applications in process for annexations from Medley, Virginia Gardens, Miami Springs, Doral, North Miami, North Miami Beach, and Sweetwater; applications in the process of being received from El Portal, and West Miami. She said that if this list was annexed to Commissioner Bell’s item, she would be able to support it. County Attorney Cuevas said that his office could provide language indicating that the applications currently in the pipeline would continue to be governed by the guidelines currently in existence. Chairman Martinez inquired whether this language would be included in the ballot. County Attorney Cuevas indicated that the question in the ballot could specify that this proposal would only apply to processes initiated subsequent to a certain date. Commissioner Bell noted all that was needed was to add the word "new". She said that when this item was being crafted they made sure that the language in Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 would not negatively impact the applications currently in the pipeline. Commissioner Sosa stressed that she wanted to ensure that none of the applications on the list that she read would be negatively impacted by the item. County Attorney Cuevas inquired whether the sponsor would agree to an amendment to the item that would expressly provide that the applications currently in the pipeline would continue to be governed by the guidelines currently in existence. He asked Commissioner Sosa whether the list which she read contained only annexations. Commissioner Sosa indicated that the list contained applications for incorporation, annexation, and applications in the process of being received. Chairman Martinez noted recently some municipalities were in the process of annexation, but they withdrew their applications. He inquired whether they would be considered to be new applications or in the pipeline. County Attorney Cuevas clarified that Chairman Martinez was concerned about what would happen if the application was put on hold for some time; would the application be considered as a new one once the process was resumed. He acknowledged that this was a potential issue that the Commission would have to resolve. Ms. Jennifer Moon, Director, Office of Management and Budget Department, indicated that each of the four cities in the annexation process chose to defer; therefore, they were still in the process. County Attorney Cuevas read the list submitted by Commissioner Sosa and asked whether she wanted to add Florida City. Commissioner Sosa confirmed that Florida City should be added to the list. Commissioner Souto asked County Attorney Cuevas whether the Code provided that for any annexations to occur the commissioner of that area had to concur. County Attorney Cuevas indicated that the Code contained a provision which stated that a commissioner could initiate an annexation. Commissioner Souto asked what would happen if a person tried to initiate an annexation, and the commissioner of that area did not concur with this proposal. County Attorney Cuevas said that the Code currently did not address this issue. He explained that Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 provided that if a petition was filed, and met the requirements, it would have to come to the Commission for its consideration. Therefore, if Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 passes, then it would preclude the ordinance which Commissioner Souto was espousing. Commissioner Souto said that he was referring to annexations. He noted, if a city tried to annex a portion of an unincorporated municipal service area(s) (UMSA), which was in his district, he should have the ability to prevent that annexation from taking place. County Attorney Cuevas said that he misunderstood; he noted he believed that Commissioner Souto was referring to incorporations. He said that his office could draft such an ordinance, as it relates to annexations. Commissioner Souto asked the County Attorney to draft this ordinance. County Attorney Cuevas inquired whether Commissioner Bell wished to include that expressed language in her item. Commissioner Bell asked County Attorney Cuevas to write the language for her consideration. She said that she was in agreement with the amendments previously proffered, but was unsure about the amendment put forth by Commissioner Souto. Commissioner Souto noted the City of Sweetwater wanted to annex a portion of his district. He stressed that he was elected to represent his district and would not accept this attempt under any circumstances. He said that he had been placed on the Commission to protect and defend the people that he represented. He noted this was why he wanted to introduce this ordinance, and if Commissioner Bell’s item was facilitating the City of Sweetwater’s undertaking, it was wrong. Chairman Martinez relinquished the Chair to Vice Chairwoman Edmonson. County Attorney Cuevas clarified that, while Agenda Item 10A3 Alternate No. 1 provides an additional process for incorporation, the current process that was in the Code was still in place. Therefore, any existing applications could pursue incorporation under the current process. Commissioner Diaz noted he represented the City of Sweetwater as it was located in his district. He said that out of respect, every commissioner should be informed of any annexation that involved his/her district, and he believed that a resolution to this effect had been adopted in the past. He stated that if an issue involving the City of Sweetwater arose, his office should be informed immediately. County Attorney Cuevas indicated that he had been informed by Commissioner Souto of this issue and at his request had been to his district to look at the property in question. However, no action had been taken and no opinion had been rendered, he stated. Commissioner Bell expressed appreciation for the amendments put forth by her fellow commissioners. She noted if it gave the Commission members a level of comfort to provide that any proposed annexation must be approved by a 2/3 vote, then she would accept that amendment. She also noted she would accept the amendments relating to the notary provision and the three geographically rotating public hearings. Chairman Martinez resumed the Chair. County Attorney Cuevas advised the Commission members of two technical amendments: a scrivener’s error on handwritten page 8 should be corrected by reinstating the words “and only the Board” on 6.05 (A); and the words “for certain” on handwritten page 4 in the second bullet point of the ballot question should be deleted. In response to County Attorney Cuevas’ question, Commissioner Bell confirmed that the three hearings could be held at different locations, as opposed to rotating. Commissioner Diaz asked to be allowed to make a point of order. He mentioned that the residents of four cities in his district had expressed interest in annexation, and asked whether these cities – Sweetwater, Doral, Hialeah and Hialeah Gardens – were included in the list presented by Commissioner Sosa. County Attorney Cuevas read the list. He reiterated that the item which the Commission members were voting on did not change the annexation process, except that it required the Commission members to verify whether the tax base would be increased if an area was annexed. It was moved by Commissioner Bell that the foregoing proposed resolution be adopted as amended as follows: 1. To reinstate the words “and only the Board” on handwritten page 8, Section 6.05 (A); 2. To delete the words “for certain” on handwritten page 4 in the second bullet point of the ballot question; 3. To require the Incorporation Committee to hold three public hearings at different locations within the subject area; and 4. To reinstate the notary requirement for this petition process. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Diaz, and upon being put to a vote, passed by a vote of 11-1; (Chairman Martinez voted “No”; Commissioner Souto was absent). Chairman Martinez noted he voted “no” because the amendment requiring that any proposed annexation must be approved by a 2/3 vote, was not accepted. He said he did not agree that any change to the UDB must be approved by a 2/3 vote, while proposed annexations only required a simple majority vote.

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION CALLING A COUNTYWIDE SPECIAL ELECTION IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH A GENERAL ELECTION ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2012, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMIDADE COUNTY THE QUESTION OF WHETHER TO AMEND HOME RULE CHARTER PROVISIONS PERTAINING TO CHANGES IN MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES AND CREATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES

BODY
WHEREAS, The Board of County Commissioners pursuant to Section 9.07 of the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter desires to place the attached Charter amendment before the electors of Miami-Dade County on the November 6, 2012 General Election ballot,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that:
Section 1. A countywide special election is hereby called and shall be held in Miami-Dade County, Florida in conjunction with a General Election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified electors of Miami-Dade County the proposal for amendment to the Home Rule Charter in the form attached hereto and made a part hereof.
Section 2. Notice of such election shall be published in accordance with Section 100.342, Florida Statutes.
Section 3. The result of such election shall be determined by a majority of the qualified electors of Miami-Dade County voting upon the proposal. The polls at such election shall be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on the day of such election. All qualified electors of Miami-Dade County, Florida shall be entitled to vote at said election. The County registration books shall remain open at the Office of the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections until twenty-nine (29) days prior to the date of such election, at which time the registration books will close in accordance with the provisions of general election laws. The question shall appear on the ballot in substantially the following form:
CHARTER AMENDMENT PERTAINING TO
CHANGES IN MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES AND
CREATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES


SHALL THE CHARTER BE AMENDED TO:

• REQUIRE THE COUNTY COMMISSION TO CONSIDER THE BENEFITS OF ANY PROPOSED ANNEXATION OF COMMERCIAL AREAS, WHEN APPROVING OR AUTHORIZING AN ANNEXATION

• ESTABLISH ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE FOR CREATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS OF THE COUNTY BY PETITION WHICH PROVIDES CONDITIONS FOR CREATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES AND A SINGLE ELECTION TO APPROVE THE CREATION OF A NEW MUNICIPALITY AND APPROVE ITS CHARTER, INSTEAD OF TWO ELECTIONS FOR THESE PURPOSES?


YES

NO

Section 4. The form of the ballot shall be in accordance with the requirements of general election laws.
Section 5. Early voting shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of general election laws.
Section 6. Absentee paper ballots may be used by qualified electors of Miami-Dade County for voting on this question. The form of such absentee ballot shall be in accordance with the requirements prescribed by general election laws.
Section 7. A sample ballot showing the manner in which the question or proposal aforesaid will appear at this election shall be published and provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of general election laws.
Section 8. This special election on the proposal aforesaid shall be held and conducted in accordance with applicable provisions of the general laws relating to elections and the provisions of the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter. The County Mayor or his or her designee, the Finance Director, and the Clerk of the County Commission are hereby authorized and directed to take all appropriate actions necessary to carry into effect and accomplish the provisions of this resolution. This election shall be a nonpartisan election. Election officials in connection with this election shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of general election laws.
Section 9. This election shall be canvassed by the County Canvassing Board, in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.07 of the Home Rule Charter.

OTHER
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOME RULE CHARTER

ARTICLE – 61

MUNICIPALITIES
___________________________________________________

SECTION 6.01. CONTINUANCE OF MUNICIPALITIES.

The municipalities in the county shall remain in existence so long as their electors desire. No municipality in the county shall be abolished without approval of a majority of its electors voting in an election called for that purpose. Notwithstanding any provision of the Charter, the Board of County Commissioners shall have the authority to abolish a municipality by ordinance where such municipality has twenty or fewer electors at the time of adoption of the ordinance abolishing the municipality. The right of self determination in local affairs is reserved and reserved to the municipalities except as otherwise provided in this Charter.

SECTION 6.02. MUNICIPAL POWERS.

Each municipality shall have the authority to exercise all powers relating to its local affairs not inconsistent with this Charter. Each municipality may provide for higher standards of zoning, service, and regulation than those provided by the Board of County Commissioners in order that its individual character and standards may be preserved for its citizens.

SECTION 6.03. MUNICIPAL CHARTERS.

A. Except as provided in Section 5.04, any municipality in the county may adopt, amend, or revoke a charter for its own government or abolish its existence in the following manner. Its governing body shall, within 120 days after adopting a resolution or after the certification of a petition of ten percent of the qualified electors of the municipality, draft or have drafted by a method determined by municipal ordinance a proposed charter amendment, revocation, or abolition which shall be submitted to the electors of the municipalities. Unless an election occurs not less than 60 nor more than 120 days after the draft is submitted, the proposal shall be submitted at a special election within that time. The governing body shall make copies of the proposal available to the electors not less than 30 days before the election. Alternative proposals may be submitted. Each proposal approved by a majority of the electors voting on such proposal shall become effective at the time fixed in the proposal.

B. All municipal charters, amendments thereto, and repeals thereof shall be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.



SECTION 6.04. CHANGES IN MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES.

A. The planning director shall study municipal boundaries with a view to recommending their orderly adjustment, improvement, and establishment. Proposed boundary changes may be initiated by the Planning Advisory Board, the Board of County Commissioners, the governing body of a municipality, or by a petition of any
person or group concerned.

B. The Board of County Commissioners, after obtaining the approval of the municipal governing bodies concerned, after hearing the recommendations of the Planning Advisory Board, and after a public hearing, may by ordinance effect boundary changes, >>with an affirmative vote of the members of the Board of County Commissioners. In making such decision, the Board shall consider whether commercial areas are included in the boundaries of the proposed area to be annexed for the mere benefit of increasing the tax base of the annexing municipality. Changes that<< [[unless the change]] involve[[s]] the annexation or separation of an area of which more than 250 residents are electors [[, in which case]] >>shall also require<< an affirmative vote of a majority of those electors voting [[shall also be required]]. Upon any such boundary change any conflicting boundaries set forth in the charter of such municipality shall be considered amended.

C. No municipal boundary shall be altered except as provided by this Section.

SECTION 6.05. CREATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES.


(A) The Board of County Commissioners and only the Board may authorize the creation of new municipalities in the unincorporated areas of the county after hearing the recommendations of the Planning Advisory Board, after a public hearing, and after an affirmative vote of a majority of the electors voting and residing within the proposed boundaries. The Board of County Commissioners shall appoint a charter commission, consisting of five electors residing within the proposed boundaries, who shall propose a charter to be submitted to the electors in the manner provided in Section 5.03. The new municipality shall have all the powers and rights granted to or not withheld from municipalities by this Charter and the Constitution and general laws of the State of Florida. Notwithstanding any provision of this Charter to the contrary, with regard to any municipality created after September 1, 2000, the pre-agreed conditions between the County and the prospective municipality which are included in the municipal charter can only be changed if approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Board of County Commissioners then in office, prior to a vote of qualified municipal electors.

>>(B) A new municipality may also be created by petition of electors residing in the area to be incorporated in accordance with the following process:


1. An incorporation committee composed of a minimum of five (5) electors from the proposed area of incorporation will initiate the process by filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court an initiatory petition on a form prescribed by the Clerk for such purpose. The form shall identify the names and addresses of the Incorporation Committee members and describe the proposed incorporation area. The form of the petition shall prominently state that a budgetary analysis and a copy of the proposed charter will be distributed to the electors within the area and made available, as required by this section. Within seven (7) days of receipt of the form, the Clerk will determine if the form is acceptable and if it is acceptable shall approve the form of petition and provide the Incorporation Committee the total number of the electors within the proposed incorporation area and the number of required signatures which shall be equal to twenty percent (20%) of the electors in the proposed incorporation area and shall notify the Board of County Commissioners. If the Clerk determines that the form of petition does not comply with the requirements of this Charter or inaccurately describes proposed boundaries, the Clerk may disapprove the form of petition and provide notification to the Incorporation Committee and the Board of County Commissioners of the disapproval. The Clerk shall advise the Incorporation Committee as to the reasons for disapproval and the Incorporation Committee may submit a new petition at any time. If the Clerk approves the form of the petition, the Incorporation Committee, within ninety (90) days of such approval, shall submit to the Board of County Commissioners a proposed municipal charter, which, at a minimum, shall set forth the form of government and governing body of the newly incorporated area as well as provide for the conditions for incorporation as set forth in Section 6.05(B)(7) below. During such ninety (90) day period, the incorporation committee shall hold at least three public hearings on the proposed municipal charter, in three different locations in the area proposed to be incorporated, notice of which shall be mailed to all electors within the area proposed for incorporation.


2. (a) No later than ninety (90) days from the date of approval of the above form by the Clerk, the Board of County Commissioners shall review the appropriateness of the petition for incorporation and proposed municipal charter and recommend any changes to the boundaries of the proposed municipality and proposed municipal charter to the Incorporation Committee at a public hearing.



(b) At such public hearing, the Board of County Commissioners shall approve the proposed incorporation petition, as presented in the petition or as revised by the Incorporation Committee, or reject the incorporation petition as presented or as revised by the Incorporation Committee.

(c) The County Commission’s failure to review the incorporation petition within the time required by this paragraph is subject to mandamus by a court of competent jurisdiction.

3. The Incorporation Committee will have six (6) months from the date by which the Board was required to have reviewed the incorporation petition to obtain signatures equal to twenty percent (20%) of the electors in the proposed incorporation area, with signatures on a petition provided by the Clerk. The petition shall require the name, address and signature of the elector and such signatures shall be notarized.


4. The signed petitions will be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections, who shall have thirty (30) days to canvass the signatures contained therein.

5. Upon certification of the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition, the Supervisor of Elections shall present the petition to the Board of County Commissioners at their next regularly scheduled meeting. After conducting a public hearing at such meeting, the Board of County Commissioners shall decide whether or not to call an election to authorize the creation of a city and approve a municipal charter for the proposed municipality. If the Board decides to call an election to authorize the creation of the municipality and approve the municipal charter, such election shall occur no sooner than ninety (90) and no greater than one hundred twenty (120) days from the date the Supervisor of Elections certifies the signatures. The election shall be held, whenever practicable, in conjunction with another election scheduled to occur within the prescribed time period. The election shall be decided by an affirmative vote of a majority of electors voting in the proposed incorporation area.

6. During the sixty (60) days following the certification of the petition, the Board shall complete a budgetary analysis in cooperation with the Incorporation Committee of and on the proposed incorporation area and schedule at least one public hearing prior to the incorporation election. The budgetary analysis, including a response by the incorporation committee if submitted, shall be provided to the resident electors of the proposed municipality by mail and shall be made available at locations within the proposed municipality. The proposed municipal charter shall be made available at locations within the proposed municipality and made available electronically. Such budgetary analysis shall at a minimum estimate all of the identifiable revenues generated by the proposed incorporation area prior to incorporation, and present the operating expenses of comparable small, medium and large municipalities providing typical municipal services.

7. The new municipality shall have all the powers and rights granted to or not withheld from municipalities by the County Home Rule Charter and the Constitution and general laws of the State of Florida; provided, however, any proposed municipality whose boundaries include any area outside the urban development boundary, as may be described in the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan, shall abide by the permitted uses as set forth in such plan. It is further provided, as a condition of incorporation, that the new municipality shall provide in its charter: to remain a part of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue District, to remain a part of the Miami-Dade Library System, to contract with Miami-Dade County for local patrol police services for a minimum of three years, for Miami-Dade County to retain authority for residential garbage and refuse collection and disposal within the proposed new municipality, and for the payment, assumption, or other satisfaction for that portion of the County’s preexisting debts and obligations or other refundings secured by revenues or taxes collected within the proposed municipality’s area and that neither the new municipality nor its electors shall take any action that would adversely affect the County’s bond or other debt obligations that are secured by taxes or revenues from the area constituting the new municipality.



1Words 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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