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Lobbyist offers report from Tallahassee

Lobbyist offers report from Tallahassee

The August 3rd South Miami Commission meeting featured lobbyist Fausto Gomez’s report on recent dealings between city representatives and state government officials in Tallahassee.

Gomez claimed that South Miami benefitted quite well during the week of wheeling and dealing in Tallahassee, considering that 2010 has been a difficult year for policy makers, with sessions between local and state lawmakers “influenced by outside sources, such as corruption, that were not conducive to focusing on policy.”

South Miami commission members who joined Gomez in the capital lobbied for bills that would improve the safety and condition of local public roads. An agreement was reached to install stoplight cameras at intersections. Another agreement reached will allow the South Miami com- mittee’s opinion on state road projects within city limits to be considered by project leaders.

Perhaps the most critical, and contentious, topic that surfaced from the Tallahassee sessions was the conflict between Florida and Miami-Dade County commissioners over the authorization of a $1.5 million allotment for improving South Miami’s transportation infrastructure. Despite having the support of state officials, Gomez explained to commission members that the county government was unlikely to authorize release of the funds solely for South Miami’s use.

The public works sector has been searching for a way to raise $2 million to execute a plan for improvements to the drainage system. The state government’s recent approval of $163 million distributed to the environmental agency has created a generous grant program for new projects. Citing North Dade Village’s recent success in this grant program, Gomez urged South Miami officials to strongly consider applying for funding. Mayor Stoddard promised to “look at all the reports and work with staff to determine whether the city should apply for these grants.”

As the issue of public retirement pension plans was important to many, Gomez concluded with a promise to Committee members that city representatives would attend the next Tallahassee session with the pension plans as a top priority on their docket.

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