OCTOBER 1, 2008
Budget For Next Year Is Approved
The Coral Gables City Commission approved the proposed budget of approximately $144 million dollars for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The property value millage rate will remain constant at 5.250. City officials made a point of explaining that the City’s annual financial reporting undergoes a stringent review process by independent accounting and auditing professionals. The annual report, which describes in detail what the City of Coral Gables will be budgeting for each department, is audited by a national accounting firm and reviewed by the Auditor General. This financial report is also separately reviewed by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), an independent organization that evaluates the document for compliance to national accounting standards. The GFOA has awarded the City of Coral Gables a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the last 17 consecutive years.
Coral Gables Museum To Break Ground
The City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Museum Corporation invite the public to the groundbreaking ceremony of the Coral Gables Museum. The event takes place tomorrow Thursday, October 2 at 4 p.m. at the Old Police and Fire Station, on the corner of Aragon Avenue and Salzedo Street. The ceremony is the culmination of years of work which began in 1995 to create the first City museum. In 2003, the Coral Gables Museum Corporation was formed to direct and operate the facility. The City’s Historical Resources Department applied for and received over $1.5 million in state and county grants to rehabilitate the building. In 2005, the Museum Corporation began to raise additional funds, and through the grant funding, the architectural firm of Jorge L. Hernandez was hired for the project. Eventually, the Museum Corporation determined that additional space would be necessary to make the museum a viable institution. The City agreed, and a new and separate 3,000 square foot gallery space was designed, in addition to a beautiful 5,000 square foot public plaza, both of which will be located in the surface parking lot currently behind the Old Police and Fire Station. Scheduled to open in 2010, the Museum will host gallery spaces, a community room, museum and City offices, the city’s archives and a research library.
Ponce De Leon Entrance To Be Dedicated
The Coral Gables Garden Club cordially invites the public to attend the dedication of the Ponce de Leon Entrance on Tuesday, October 14, at 4 p.m. The grand entrance is located on Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Southwest Eighth Street. This is the third City entrance the Garden Club has helped built with donations from local citizens and the help from City workers after committing to build entrances that founder George Merrick was unable to complete. The entrance has arches on either side of the sidewalk on Ponce de Leon Boulevard, the clock tower in the median, and two pillars of light on the sidewalk that compliment the classic style of the City.
City Is First To Use PDAs For On-site Inspections
Inspectors with the Building and Zoning Department are now using PDAs, handheld devices that combine computing, telephone and internet, plus laptops to conduct inspections in a more efficient manner. The City of Coral Gables is the first municipality in Miami-Dade County to use PDAs to conduct inspections. All mechanical, plumbing, structural and electrical inspectors along with code enforcement officers now access permit inspection software, forms and documents on PDAs that compliment the laptops secured in their vehicles. Notes and explanations if necessary can be typed directly into the online system instead of the inspector handwriting tedious notes. PDAs are the perfect size when inspectors visit construction sites and hi-rises. All forms are also accessible on the PDA and the addition of a built-in camera gives the officials flexibility to document discrepancies or issues on the site. By using this wireless electronic system, City officials can post the results of the permit inspections and any pertinent information instantly online. Permit applicants just log on to Online Services through the City’s website, www.coralgables.com, to view the information. To date, more than 3,000 people have used the Online Services webpage, a service launched in July, making it easier and faster for applicants to check permits status online.
Keep Your Garage Doors Closed
The Coral Gables Police Department is working with neighboring law enforcement agencies to solve a home invasion robbery which occurred in Coral Gables. This case is similar to others that have occurred in the neighboring jurisdictions. The suspect enters the home through an open garage door, and confronts the homeowner with a gun demanding property. The victim’s vehicle is taken by the suspect. All investigative leads in this case are currently being pursued at this time. If you are home during the day, the Coral Gables Police Department recommends that you keep your garage door closed and remember to lock all of your doors. Residents are asked to contact the Coral Gables Police Department immediately if any suspicious vehicles or persons are observed in their neighborhood. The Coral Gables Police Department main line for non-emergencies is 305-442-1600.
Green Your Commute, November 10-14
The City of Coral Gables and South Florida Commuter Services want you to “Green Your Commute” during the week of November 10-14. Leave your car at home and make a difference during this week by using the Coral Gables Trolley or any other form of public transportation to help save the planet. If you commit to leave your car at home for at least one day during November 10-14, participants are eligible to win great prizes such as a Hawks Cay Resort getaway. Event organizers are also looking for additional green sponsors that will participate in this event providing food, refreshments or giveaways. If interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chambers Of Commerce Unite For Turks & Caicos
At the last Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting, more than 300 business leaders and City representatives gathered at the Biltmore Hotel to witness the installation of new board members and to listen to Mayor Don Slesnick give the State of the City address. Tina Fenimore, president of the Providenciales Chamber of Commerce made an appearance at the meeting to talk about the devastation of the islands of Turks and Caicos, specifically of Salt Cay, South Caicos and Grand Turk, after Ike hit the shores as a Category 4 hurricane. A tearful Fenimore described the island’s situation as “seven square miles of total devastation.” Fenimore is organizing relief efforts for Turks and Caicos and is calling on donations and supplies which will be delivered to the affected areas. Non-perishable food, baby formula, diapers, toiletries, clothing, building materials, and water are some of the items that are needed. All interested in making donations can contact Fenimore at 786-866-7723 or 786-290-6199 or via email at email@example.com or www.provochamber.com.
No Parking Of Dilapidated Vehicles On City Swales
In order to maintain the City’s swale areas in an orderly and aesthetic fashion, the City of Coral Gables approved an amendment to the Zoning Code related to vehicles which are decayed, deteriorated or have fallen into partial ruin through neglect or misuse. A recent increase in the number of junk and dilapidated vehicles that are parked in swale areas, some displaying “for sale signs,” prompted the amendment of the code to prevent the deterioration of neighborhoods. The new provision provides a definition for dilapidated vehicle and junk motor vehicle which have property damage in excess of $500, stripped vehicles which have parts that have been removed and dilapidated vehicles which have fallen into partial ruin. These vehicles are prohibited from parking on City swales. To report a violation of the Zoning Code, contact Code Enforcement at 305-460-5226.