Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 132079
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File Number: 132079 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 14-04 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: BALLOT LANGUAGE FOR BOND REFERENDUM Introduced: 10/22/2013
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 1/22/2014
Agenda Date: 1/22/2014 Agenda Item Number: 7C
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE CREATING SECTION 12-27 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY RELATING TO BALLOT LANGUAGE FOR GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND REFERENDUM AND PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
Indexes: BALLOT QUESTION
  BONDS
  REFERENDUM
Sponsors: Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., Prime Sponsor
  Lynda Bell, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Juan C. Zapata, 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 1/22/2014 7C Adopted P
REPORT: First Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. It was moved by Commissioner Bovo that the foregoing ordinance be adopted as presented. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Bell, followed by discussion. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s request for clarification as to how this language differed from what was currently in place, Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal explained that this language would provide direction in the Board’s consideration of a subsequent ballot question to include language that stated “…paid or secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property in the County, unless the Board, by 2/3 vote, decided to phrase it differently. He noted it was the Board’s discretion on how ballot questions were phrased, subject to the requirements of Florida Statutes Sections 101.161. Referring to previous Board-adopted critical bond issues, Commissioner Jordan expressed concern that the community would perceive this new language negatively and would vote against the issue. In response to Commissioner Moss’ question regarding the impact the additional wording in the proposed language would have on the 75-word limit, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal explained that the restriction would still need to be adhered to; however, a safety valve to rephrase the language was the 2/3 vote. He noted the 75-word limit was provided pursuant to State Statutes rather than the Home Rule Charter. Chairwoman Sosa explained that she co-sponsored this ordinance to address the community’s need for clear and comprehensive information on proposals, particularly when additional property taxes or other costs were being solicited from tax payers. Regarding Commissioner Barreiro’s question as to whether the exact same language reflected in the foregoing ordinance must be used on the ballot, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal noted he believed the ordinance would require, unless overridden by a 2/3 majority vote of members present, that the substantial language reflected be used. Commissioner Barreiro expressed concern that the additional verbiage could adversely impact the ability to remain within the 75-word limit. Responding to Chairwoman Sosa’s request for clarification, Mr. Rosenthal advised that the ballot question must state “…paid or secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property in the County…” adding that the Board could amend this language to provide additional formulations to the extent desired. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal responded to Commissioner Monestime’s inquiry regarding whether this ordinance was applicable to both GOB Referendums and revenue generating bonds. He stated that this ordinance only addressed the Constitutional requirement that an election be held to approve a General Obligation Bond that would be funded from ad valorem tax revenue. With respect to Commissioner Monestime’s inquiry as to whether revenue sources, other than property taxes, were ever used to fund GOB bonds, Mr. Rosenthal confirmed that the GOB was funded through property taxes; however, he noted this ordinance addressed the need to inform voters in a clear and unambiguous manner that this was what the ballot questions was requesting authorization to do. Discussion ensued among Board members and staff concerning the specific language that would appear on the ballot and the process for amending that language. Commissioner Edmonson expressed concern with adding language to a ballot question that was restricted to 75 words or less. Commissioner Bovo stated he would not accept Commissioner Jordan’s suggestion that the language be amended to read “…paid for by ad valorem revenue…” Commissioner Zapata spoke in support of the foregoing ordinance, stating that he felt this was a great idea that would provide clarity to the voters with respect to how projects were funded and what benefits and/or impacts would result. Commissioner Bell commended Commissioner Bovo for sponsoring this ordinance and noted the County Commission should take every opportunity available to provide constituents with more information on what they were voting for. Commissioner Bovo concurred with Chairwoman Sosa’s comment on receiving numerous inquiries seeking clarification on ballot questions. He noted this proposed ordinance was an attempt to better explain to residents revenue-related issues that were important to the community. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing ordinance as presented.

Economic Development & Port Miami Committee 12/12/2013 1F1 Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Chair Bell opened the public hearing, seeing no one come forward in connection with the foregoing ordinance, the public hearing was closed. Commissioner’s Zapata and Bell requested to be added as co-sponsors on the foregoing ordinance. Commissioner Jordan inquired whether the County had ever paid for any General Obligation Bonds (GOB) offerings from another source of revenue besides Ad-Valorem. Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt responded to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry noted that he was unaware of GOB being paid for from any other revenue source, however he would consult with staff to obtain further information regarding her inquiry. Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s further inquiry regarding intent of the foregoing proposed ordinance and how it was different from the current process, Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal explained that the foregoing ordinance required a 75 word ballot summary to include a statement that the GOB’s would be paid and secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property within the County. He noted when the Board sets the ballot question it had discretion regarding the language within State’s Statutes, this would be an exercise of that discretion to include that language to make clear to the voters that the proposed bonds will be secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property in the County. Commissioner Jordan pointed out that when the bond referendum items went to the voters generally that particular language is not included and she stated there was only one source of funding of GOB’s. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal pointed out that usually the language is on the ballot in different ways and this ordinance was the Board express preference to use particular language. He noted this preference could be waived by two-thirds vote of the County Commission at the time ballot questions are being set in the event they choose to use different language. Commissioner Jordan noted that she was in support of the foregoing proposed ordinance however, did not want to restrict the Board if there was another funding source other than ad valorem that could be used. She noted that she would like further clarification from the Finance department regarding whether there were other funding sources available. Chair Bell noted that she was in support of the foregoing proposed ordinance and noted this gave voters clarity on exactly what they were voting for. Hearing no further comments or questions the Committee proceeded to vote.

Board of County Commissioners 11/5/2013 Tentatively scheduled for a public hearing Economic Development & Port Miami Committee 12/12/2013

Board of County Commissioners 11/5/2013 4A Adopted on first reading 12/12/2013 P
REPORT: The foregoing proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading. On November 19, 2013 BCC meeting the foregoing proposed ordinance was set for public hearing before the Economic Development and Port Miami Committee on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 2:00 P.M.

County Attorney 10/22/2013 Referred Economic Development & Port Miami Committee 12/12/2013

County Attorney 10/22/2013 Assigned Oren Rosenthal 10/23/2013

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE CREATING SECTION 12-27 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY RELATING TO BALLOT LANGUAGE FOR GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND REFERENDUM AND PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
WHEREAS, from time to time, this Board finds it necessary and appropriate and in the best interest of the County and its citizens, to submit a bond referendum to the electors of Miami-Dade County to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds ("Bonds") payable from ad valorem taxes collected within the County; and
WHEREAS, the Board has broad discretion in the creation of the ballot summary (ballot question) which must not exceed seventy-five (75) words in length and must explain the chief purpose of the measure; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the electorate that such ballot questions inform the voters that the proposed bonds will be secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property in Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, this Board wishes to establish a policy that ballot summaries on bond referendum include language to make clear that any bonds so approved will be paid or secured by real estate taxes derived from the assessed value of property in Miami-Dade County,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA

Section 1. That Section 12-27 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is created as follows to read in its entirety:

Sec. 12-27.  General Obligation Bond Referendum Ballot Questions.

Subject to the requirements of Florida Statutes Sections 100.211 and 101.161 and unless expressly waived by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Board members present, all resolutions calling a special election to place a bond referendum before the voters must include a statement within the ballot summary which informs voters that such general obligation bonds if approved will be “paid or secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property in the County.” The required inclusion of such language in the general obligation bond referendum ballot summary is directory only and the failure to include such language shall not be used as a basis to invalidate the bond referendum or the ballot summary in any litigation.

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.



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