Namon on Coral Gables’ $35 Million Increase in Spending
May 1, 2011 Leave a comment
I reproduce the comments by Mr. Richard Namon on the first meeting of the Cason Commission.
On Tuesday April 26, Coral Gables had its first official Commission Meeting. It’s clear who was in charge of the City Commission – City Manager Salerno. He was decisive and dominating. By restructuring the City’s current debts and increasing the years of debt obligation, the City Manager said he would raise about $22,155,000 of “new” money.
That money will be used for his vision of a Neighborhood Renaissance. Using a tactic commonly used by conmen he urged: If you don’t act now, you will lose this once in a lifetime opportunity. He pushed his vision for the City’s most important needs through the Commission. The only other participant on the dais wearing pants was Commissioner Ralph Cabrera who voted NO on the proposal. Ralph felt a Vision for The City Beautiful should come from resident meetings that would guide the Commission – not from the City Manager. No one else dissented. The City Manager keep pushing saying this was only an approval to go forward, not a final approval.
In his presentation Salerno droned away, making his $28 million Vision sound boring. I wondered how much we would save in taxes if he only refinanced the existing debt. No one on the dais asked. After the meeting I asked Don Nelson, the head of the Finance Dept. how much this $22 million of found money would cost the taxpayers when it was paid off? He estimated $35 million!
Our new Commission, at its first public meeting, has agreed in principal with the City Manager’s vision that costs $35 million over the next 20 years. During the pre election campaigns, the main talking points were fiscal conservatism and dealing with City debt. As a start this is not only ominous, it is disappointing.
Richard Namon, Sr.
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