The Debt Surge and Management in Coral Gables

The Commission (except for one of the commissioners) is missing the point of the city manager’s renaissance spending plan (the $22.2 million Debt Surge).

The Debt Surge was conceived in the dark, pulled out of the sleeve of the city manager at the first commission meeting after the election, and its funding comes first, rather than last after priority spending should have been discussed with the community.

The financing package makes no sense with permanently low interest rates that are certain to not rise for years (not months, not weeks), with refinancing could easily be done in stages in tandem with spending needs, and the savings used to solve intractable financial weaknesses.

Apparently, some of the outgoing commissioners are looking for projects on which to stick their names, the city manager projects his new role as the “Machiavelli of Coral Gables”and he marks the end of the “Middle Ages” (i.e., the Slesnick Years) to redress the Decline of Coral Gables.

This city cannot afford a period of pharaonic spending to glamorize the city’s progress.  The Commission needs to fix the city’s pension liabilities, maintain its infrastructure, fix the Biltmore mess and hold down taxes for a few years and build its reserves,i.e. place the city on very sounding financial footing.

Above all, we need a city manager who is committed to the highest standards of democracy, citizen participation and transparency–something we didn’t have for years and we still don’t have.

The city manager, it would appear, has fully assimilated the methods of the Slesnick era (the “Middle Ages”) with secrecy, back room negotiations and resentfulness of citizen comments and participation.

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

2 Responses to The Debt Surge and Management in Coral Gables

  1. Rodger James says:

    While I agree with your article please do not make predictions as to what interest rates will do over any period of time. It is absolutely an unknown so while one can have a view nobody can say with certainty. Therefore the Commission and manager must make their decisions based on needs and can only make assumptions on the level of rates.

  2. SMcG says:

    My main comment on interest rates is that it make no sense to run out and refinance loans just because interest rates are low–there are many factors that should go into the equation of the total cost of a investment program and now you can use the money.

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