A Test For Democracy: Will City of Coral Gables Start Spending Again?

Seems like there is certain pressure from businesses and a willing disposition of the city manager and some commissioners to start spending big on city projects.  It is said that we can do that because interest rates are low–not a good financial reason.

There is pressure from Chamber of Commerce, Miracle Mile businesses and the IBD to undertake the Miracle Mile and Giralda Streetscape Project.  This is (and I underline) estimated to cost $16 million.  You can bet that the project will cost more after government and businesses get their hands on the “vision” project.  Why is this called the Miracle Mile Streetscape anyway, when it includes Giralda.  Why include Giralda?  Are you sure that this project will “pay for itself?”

One commissioner has already talked about spending money on parks and a senior center and speaks fondly of the free (subsidized) trolley and the Ponce street upgrading.  Good projects, but can we afford more of them now?  I think not.  Why should the taxpayers subsidize the trolley. (By the way, subsidizing the trolley takes business away from the city parking lots, so the real subsidies are much larger than the operating and maintenance costs of the trolley).

Let’s hear from the mayor and commissioners just three goals: we need to fix pensions and hold salaries down for several years, freeze or reduce taxes and fix the Biltmore lease, and freeze and reduce salaries.  Please, no more studies are needed–just decisions and actions by the commissioners.

Failure to do any of these will mean failure for the city’s finances and more taxes for us all in Coral Gables.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

2 Responses to A Test For Democracy: Will City of Coral Gables Start Spending Again?

  1. Robert Burr says:

    Miracle Mile improvements are spending, but more correctly they are investment in our aging infrastructure that is critical to the success of our signature product: a charming and delightful downtown area that serves residents, businesses and tourists. George Merrick created a charming product to which the public responded quite favorably. Now, we must be true to the style and vision of that intention. The erosion of our unique traits and qualities is the slow demise of that product vision. Every generation must accept the challenge of renovating, maintaining and furthering that vision to remain faithful to the charming qualities that define Coral Gables. We’ve spent a fortune on unnecessary and questionable expenses over the past decade while ignoring Miracle Mile’s pedestrian amenities. This is shameful and counterproductive to our long term mission of retaining our unique identity as a city. Ponce improvements are outstanding. Bring the same intelligence, grace and upscale vision to the Mile. Do it in a way that most benefits businesses and residents with the least amount of financial burden. We own those sidewalks. We own the streets, not the shopkeepers. Our leaders must shepherd this critical improvement project with world-class quality and miserly financial oversight.

  2. SMcG says:

    As usual, thanks for your cogent comments.

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