Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 140307
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File Number: 140307 File Type: Resolution Status: Failed
Version: 0 Reference: Control: County Commission
File Name: CONSTITUTIONAL PROPERTY APPRAISER Introduced: 2/6/2014
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 5/6/2014 Agenda Item Number: 11A5
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION CALLING A COUNTYWIDE SPECIAL ELECTION IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH A GENERAL ELECTION ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THE QUESTION OF WHETHER TO AMEND THE CHARTER TO PROVIDE THAT THE OFFICE OF THE PROPERTY APPRAISER BE CHANGED FROM AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED AND EXISTING UNDER THE HOME RULE CHARTER AND COUNTY CODE TO AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO AND UNDER THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, INDEPENDENT FROM COUNTY GOVERNMENT EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED IN THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION AND STATE LAWS
Indexes: PROPERTY APPRAISER
Sponsors: Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., Prime Sponsor
  Lynda Bell, 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 5/6/2014 11A5 Motion to adopt as amended failed
REPORT: Commissioner Bovo announced he would like to have an amendment read into the record. Chairwoman Sosa provided an overview of a sunshine meeting held between herself and Commissioner Bovo on this proposal in response to her concerns, and she explained her concerns and the subject matter discussed at the sunshine meeting. She advised that, at the time the sunshine meeting was held, she was unaware Town Hall meetings had already been held about this proposal. Chairwoman Sosa asked the County Attorney’s Office to prepare a resolution under her sponsorship prohibiting the County administration from setting up Town Hall meetings or spending funds on any proposals relating to proposed ballot questions of any type whether binding or non-binding or relating to a straw vote prior to such proposal being considered by the Board of County Commissioners for approval. In response to Chairwoman Sosa’s inquiry, County Attorney Robert Cuevas clarified the Town Hall meetings were held pursuant to the provisions of an existing ordinance requiring those meeting be held prior to the proposal being considered by the Board, and her request to prepare legislation prohibiting those meetings from happening constituted an amendment. Chairwoman Sosa commented holding Town Hall meetings prior to the Board being able to consider an issue was a waste of funds. Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal explained that the proposed amendment would amend the wording in the ballot and in the actual Charter amendment itself as follows: 1. to insert on handwritten page 4, second line, the word “elected” before the word “office;” 2. to add at the end of the ballot question, the words “and shall be elected on a non-partisan basis by majority vote;” 3. to insert on handwritten page 8, line 8 of paragraph D, the words “except that the Property Appraisal shall be elected on a non-partisan basis by a majority of the qualified electors voting at an election held at the time of the state primary election within Miami-Dade County, with a runoff election if needed at the time of the state general election rather than the method set forth in the Florida Constitution State law; and 4. to add at the end of the next sentence the words “as set forth herein.” Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal explained that, if the resolution passed as amended, the Property Appraiser’s Office would be established as a non-partisan office instead of a partisan office. Commissioner Barreiro advised he was unsupportive of the proposed resolution inasmuch as the main intent of separating the Property Appraiser’s Office was to create independence in the property appraising process; and other than that, the Property Appraiser’s Office should remain as part of the County’s processes and family for purposes of economies of scale, insurance, and other routine procurement negotiations. He noted keeping the office as part of the County would also maintain transparency. In response to Commissioner Moss’ inquiry regarding the issue of recall, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that constitutional officers were not subject to recall under the Constitution; but these officials were subject to suspension by the governor for various causes listed in the Constitution or subject to removal based to a disqualification from office and/or certain conditions happening. Pursuant to Commissioner Moss’ inquiry, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal reiterated a constitutional officer could not be made subject to recall; but the Board could maintain the Property Appraiser’s current status of a Charter officer to make him subject to recall under the County’s Charter. He noted that a constitutional office could be reformulated in any manner determined by the Board and approved by the electors of Miami-Dade County once it was abolished as long as the powers of responsibilities were accounted for. Commissioner Moss expressed his discontent with the issue of eliminating the public’s ability to recall the Property Appraiser if his position was changed to a constitutional officer. Commissioner Diaz advised he believed that the Property Appraiser should have much more independence. He also advised that he had met with the county attorneys earlier today to identify a solution to include a recall provision if the Property Appraiser’s office was approved as a constitutional officer, but Commissioner Bovo’s goals of independence could be accomplished through the enactment of ordinances and Charter amendments. Commissioner Diaz noted he supported Commissioner Bovo’s intent to provide independence to the Property Appraiser in the structuring of his office, hiring process, and budgetary controls; but he was unsupportive of creating an entity only accountable to the governor of this state because his office would still be funded with Miami-Dade County’s property taxes. He agreed with the issue that the voters should be allowed to make the decision, but the ballot question should have clear and precise language. He offered Commissioner Bovo his assistance to make the Property Appraiser’s office more independent. Pursuant to Commissioner Diaz’ inquiry, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal affirmed that the Property Appraiser could be provided with additional independence by ordinances or Charter amendments at the discretion of the Board. Commissioner Diaz noted the suggestion made by the County Attorney’s Office was a better alternative; therefore, he was unable to vote favorably on the proposed resolution to create an entity of this magnitude at this time. Commissioner Edmonson advised she was in support of the proposed resolution, but she would like to include a recall provision. Discussion ensued between Commissioner Edmonson and Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal regarding which County officers, constitutional officers, and elected officers could be recalled in terms of elected officers. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal noted the office of Clerk of the Board was the only remaining constitutional officer in Miami-Dade County, and his office was not subject to recall. He advised that the elected Charter office of Property Appraiser was currently subject to recall. Chairwoman Sosa clarified the Clerk’s budget did not impact the County’s budget, but the Property Appraiser’s Office was funded by the County. Following County Attorney Cuevas’ clarification relating to the Clerk’s budget requiring Board approval, Chairwoman Sosa stated the Clerk’s budget was not funded with funds from the General Fund account even though it required Board approval. Commissioner Edmonson commented that the Property Appraiser should be an independent office to enable him to control his office’s operations like other elected officials. In response to Commissioner Edmonson’s inquiry, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised the Board could not create his office as a constitutional officer subject to recall; but the Board could create his office as a charter officer subject to recall and provide by charter as much independence as the Board wished him to exercise. Vice Chair Bell commented this was an anomaly due to the office of Clerk of Courts, and she advised that the resolution should ask the voters whether they wished to allow the Property Appraiser to be an independent office. She noted the County had many proprietary departments not supported by the General Fund account; and she expressed her support for the proposed resolution. Commissioner Monestime advised he supported the proposed resolution because the voters chose to have an elected office. Pursuant to Commissioner Monestime’s question, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal read into the record the ballot question previously placed before the voters under the title Home Rule Charter Amendment changing the Property Appraiser’s position from an appointed position to an elected office. Following a discussion between Commissioner Monestime and Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal as to the effect of the proposed ballot question, Commissioner Monestime commented he felt the Property Appraiser’s office should be made fully independent; and he would follow the wishes of the sponsor of the proposed resolution. Chairwoman Sosa explained that, if the proposed ballot question was approved by the voters, it would provide the Property Appraiser with independence; but it would place him under the jurisdiction of the Governor even though the County’s taxpayers would continue to fund his office’s operating costs. She noted that, at the current time, the Property Appraiser could be recalled and had procurement authority; and at the present, the Property Appraiser’s office lacked the hiring/firing powers and the ability to negotiate with labor unions. Chairwoman Sosa advised that she would like to provide the Property Appraiser with the powers to hire/fire his employees and to negotiate with labor unions. She explained the Property Appraiser’s budget approval procedure, noting it first required the approval of the state legislation followed by the approval of the Board of County Commissioners. She stated that, if the Property Appraiser’s office was change to a constitutional office, it would eliminate the public’s ability to recall him. She expressed her interest to include a term limit provision; consequently, she was unsupportive of Commissioner Bovo’s proposal. She also stated that, if the motion to adopt failed, she would like to co-sponsor with Commissioner Bovo an ordinance that would provide independence to the Property Appraiser’s office to negotiate with labor union. She noted the voters had approved a Property Appraiser’s office that could be recalled and not a constitutional office. Pursuant to Chairwoman Sosa’s inquiry, Ms. Inson Kim, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Office of the Mayor, affirmed the Chair’s statement that the advertising costs were the only costs incurred by the County when the Town Hall meetings were held. Commissioner Diaz commented on the issue of previous discussions sustained by the members of the Board relating to the Citizens’ Bill of Rights, conflicts of interest, Code of Ethics, and Cone of Silence, which were important; and those issues would be inapplicable to the Property Appraiser’s office. He advised that he would also like to join Commissioner Bovo and Chairwoman Sosa to develop a proposal that would take into consideration all important issues previously discussed; therefore, he would not support the foregoing proposed resolution. Commissioner Barreiro commented on the issue of labor unions and the happenings of the last fiscal cycle; and he clarified that the Board wished to provide the powers of negotiating with labor unions and how to manage the office on a conservative basis, which was to downsize and reduce salaries. He asked a hypothetical question regarding whether a liberal candidate was elected into the office under the scenario that the Board wished to establish providing independence; then, financial decisions such as salary increases would force the Board to have to increase the millage rate and increase taxes. He advised that he was unsure whether the members of the Board wished to make that office 100% independence and placing him under the jurisdiction of the state and have the Board lose the ability to control anything. Commissioner Moss commented on the importance of the recall aspect and how important it was to the voters. He stated that the issues of independence and recall needed to be incorporated. He advised that he did not oppose making the Property Appraiser independent as long as the recall provision was included, and he believed term limits should also be included. Pursuant to Commissioner Bovo’s inquiries, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal responded the last ballot question regarding the Property Appraiser’s office was drafted by the County Attorney’s Office under the sponsorship of former Commissioner Seijas. Discussion ensued between Commissioner Bovo and Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal on the historical background of how the last ballot question relating to the Property Appraiser’s office was placed on the ballot. Commissioner Bovo explained the intent the foregoing proposed resolution, how it would benefit the Property Appraiser’s office, and how it would create independence. He stated that he believed the term recall was not applicable to the Property Appraiser’s office because he performed a non-political function and how the proposed resolution would benefit that office. He stated it was not democrat, liberal, or conservative; and the Property Appraiser only established property values governed by standards. He noted the reason the voters wished to establish an elected position was to prevent property values from increasing and being subject to budgetary needs. Chairwoman Sosa thanked the Mayor for his memorandum dated May 2, 2014, proving an overall summary of the town meetings held throughout the County and the attendance record. Commissioner Bovo stated his office distributed a memorandum that answered questions relating to the recall issue. He objected to the comments made by Ms. Kim that the public meetings did not have a cost associated to them. Ms. Kim clarified that there was no overtime paid to County employees who had worked at the town meetings because these employees were on job basis. Pursuant to Commissioner Monestime’s question, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised the proposed ballot question language could be amended to include the recall language; but a different Charter ballot question could also be created to include the recall language and provide greater independence to that office without creating a constitutional officer. Commissioner Monestime commented he did not believe the sponsor was interested in coming back before the Board with a different proposal, but he believed the Property Appraiser’s should have greater independence. He expressed his disagreement with the sponsor’s opinion that the office was non-political in nature, and he also believed that this office was a very political office. Chairwoman Sosa explained the ballot question as presented today would automatically create a constitutional officer, noting a constitutional officer could not be recalled. She recommended that another ballot question be created to make the change through a Charter amendment, which would include a recall provision, to create an independent office. Pursuant to Commissioner Monestime’s question, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal responded the proposed ballot question required very substantive changes to change its intent. He advised another ballot question could be created to include the recall and term limits provisions. There being no further comments or objections, the Board proceeded to take a vote on the foregoing proposed resolution as amended, which failed.

Board of County Commissioners 4/8/2014 11A5 Deferred 5/6/2014 P

Office of the Chairperson 4/7/2014 Deferrals
REPORT: The Prime Sponsor requested deferral of this item to the May 6, 2014 BCC meeting.

Economic Development & Port Miami Committee 3/13/2014 2A Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Monica Maldonado read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Chair Bell noted this was not a public hearing, however due to the new rules she would allow anyone to come forward to speak on the foregoing resolution at this time. Commissioner Bovo urged Committee members to support the foregoing proposed resolution. Commissioner Diaz expressed concern and inquired about the intent of the foregoing proposed resolution. Commissioner Jordan inquired whether Committee members would support moving this resolution forward without a recommendation. She pointed out there had been much confusion regarding the role of the Property Appraiser, and this resolution clarified that. Commissioner Jordan expressed her concern about subsequent resolutions regarding the Sheriff and the Elections Supervisor positions, noting that Miami-Dade County was a diverse community and election of certain positions would not yield an accurate representation of the community. In an effort to keep the diversity some positions needed to be appointed by Administration or the Mayor. Chair Bell concurred with Commissioner Jordan’s comments and noted she was in support of the foregoing proposed resolution. Hearing no further comments or questions, the Committee proceeded to vote.

County Attorney 2/6/2014 Referred Economic Development & Port Miami Committee

County Attorney 2/6/2014 Assigned Oren Rosenthal 2/7/2014

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 4, 2014, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THE QUESTION OF WHETHER TO AMEND THE CHARTER TO PROVIDE THAT THE OFFICE OF THE PROPERTY APPRAISER BE CHANGED FROM AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED AND EXISTING UNDER THE HOME RULE CHARTER AND COUNTY CODE TO AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO AND UNDER THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, INDEPENDENT FROM COUNTY GOVERNMENT EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED IN THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION AND STATE LAWS

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 4, 2014 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 4, 2014, 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 ON INDEPENDENT PROPERTY APPRAISER

SHALL THE CHARTER BE AMENDED, COMMENCING JANUARY 1, 2017, TO PROVIDE THAT THE OFFICE OF THE PROPERTY APPRAISER BE CHANGED FROM AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED AND EXISTING UNDER THE HOME RULE CHARTER AND COUNTY CODE TO AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO AND UNDER THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, INDEPENDENT FROM COUNTY GOVERNMENT EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED IN THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION AND STATE LAWS?

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 51

ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURE
___________________________________________________


SECTION 5.04. ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF TAXES.

[[A. Commencing with the general election to be held in November 2008 and every four years thereafter, the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser shall be elected on a nonpartisan basis, by a majority of the qualified electors voting at a county-wide election held within Miami-Dade County, Florida.]]

[[B]]>>A<<. Beginning with the tax year 1961, the county tax rolls prepared by the county shall be the only legal tax rolls in this county for the assessment and collection of county and municipal taxes. Thereafter no municipality shall have an assessor or prepare an ad valorem tax roll. Each municipality shall continue to have the right to adopt its own budget, fix its own millage, and levy its own taxes. Each municipality shall certify its levies to the County not later than 30 days after the county tax rolls have been finally approved by the Board. Any municipality may obtain a copy of this tax roll upon payment of the cost of preparing such a copy, and copies of the tax rolls shall be available for public inspection at reasonable times. Maps showing the assessed valuation of each parcel of property may be prepared and made available for sale to the public at a reasonable price.

[[C]]>>B<<. All county and municipal taxes for the tax year beginning January 1, 1961, and all subsequent tax years, shall be collected by the county on one bill prepared and sent out by the county. The amounts of county and municipal taxes shall be shown as separate items, and maybe paid separately.

[[D]]>>C<<. Delinquent municipal taxes shall be collected in the same manner as delinquent county taxes.

[[E]]>>D<<. All the tax revenues collected for any municipality shall be returned monthly by the county to the municipality.

* * *


ARTICLE 8

INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL


* * *


SECTION 8.02. RECALL.

Any member of the Board of County Commissioners[[,]] >>or<< the Mayor[[, or the Property Appraiser]] may be removed from office by the electors of the county, district, or municipality by which he was chosen. The procedure on a recall petition shall be identical with that for an initiatory or referendary petition, except that:

* * *


ARTICLE 9

GENERAL PROVISIONS
___________________________________________________



SECTION 9.01. ABOLITION OF CERTAIN OFFICES AND TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS.

A. On May 1, 1958, the following offices are hereby abolished and the powers and functions of such offices are hereby transferred to the Mayor, who shall assume all the duties and functions of these offices required under the Constitution and general laws of this state: County Tax Collector, County Surveyor, County Purchasing Agent, and County Supervisor of Registration. The Mayor may delegate to a suitable person or persons the powers and functions of such offices.

B. In the event that other elective officers are abolished by the Board, the Board shall provide that any person duly elected to such office shall if he so desires remain in the same or similar position and receive the same salary for the remainder of the term for which he was elected, and shall provide for the continuation of all duties and functions of these offices required under the Constitution and general laws.

C. On November 9, 1966, the Office of Sheriff is hereby abolished and the powers and functions of such office are hereby transferred to the Mayor, who shall assume all the duties and functions of this office required under the Constitution and general laws of this state. The Mayor may delegate to a suitable person or persons the powers and functions of such office.

>>D. Commencing January 1, 2017, the charter office of Property Appraiser formerly created under this Charter is hereby abolished and the functions and duties of the charter office of Property Appraiser are transferred to the property appraiser as a county officer under Article VIII, Section 1(d) of the Florida Constitution and such office is hereby reestablished under Article VIII, Section 1(d) of the Constitution of the State of Florida. After such time, the Property Appraiser shall not be governed by the County Code but shall instead be governed by the Constitution and law of the State of Florida. The Property Appraiser serving the term commencing January 1, 2017 shall be elected in 2016 in accordance with state law.<<

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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