A five-member Homestead City Council met briefly Tuesday February 11 to consider routine City business.
Meeting first as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board, Council approved a professional service contract with Business Flare LLC for $41,500.
Business Flare employs experts in Florida CRA planning and assessment studies. Homestead’s CRA sunsets in 2023 but it can be extended by providing an Assessment of Need demonstrating slum and blight conditions still exist. Both Homestead and the Miami Dade County Commission must approve an extension.
The CRA Director said told Councilmember Sean Fletcher that staff does not have the capacity to do this type of plan.
Councilmember Jenifer Bailey said “In a typical year, the CRA provides more than $300,000 in grants. To put it in perspective, this $41,000 means a lot more to the City where it’s needed the most.”
Mayor Losner said, “This entity was chosen due to recent success in Miami-Dade County with renewals of community redevelopment agencies. I understand that the assessment would include plans and specific goals rather than just asking for another twenty years for the CRA.”
When the assessment is drafted, Council has final approval of the product before its submission to the County. The drafting process includes Councilmember individual meetings with the experts.
Council approved the contract unanimously, 5 to 0.
Council approved several items for the consent agenda of its monthly meeting.
It agreed to spend an additional $20,101 for an electric schematic of the wiring design in the Park of Commerce.
New playground apparatus for Mayor Roscoe Warren Park was approved at a replacement cost of $250,000 for the ten year old existing equipment. Councilmembers asked if the old material could be reused or donated and staff promised to look into that.
City Manager Cate McCaffrey presented an item for renewal of the County low-cost spay and neuter services at Harris Field for service three days per week. Mayor Losner confirmed the County was providing a new trailer with a new base. “And new trim,” added McCaffrey. The five year contract stipulates a $1 per year payment.
“This is a big win,” said the Mayor. “I know former Councilman Jon Burgess worked long and hard to bring that facility here.” Council approved the item unanimously.
A Florida law enforcement grant of $206,489 for crime suppression was accepted. The Mayor asked if this was a recurring grant. The director of the SOS office within the police department explained that this was a new grant that was renewable. She said the salary portion of the grant was for overtime, not for hiring additional officers.
Council approved spending $300,000 to dig a new water supply well. This seventh City well essentially backs up six existing wells so that water would not have to be purchased from the County at a huge expense in the event of water failure.
Council was notified of an emergency purchase of a new water pipeline to accommodate the Krome Avenue Truck By-pass project. It was necessary to relocate the pipeline due to that construction at a cost of $102,500.
In a request to waive a fee for the use of the Phicol Williams Community Center, Councilmember Stephen Shelley asked for deferral of the item so the non-profit applicant could be present to make the case for their Safe Space workshops.