Is Miami-Dade College moving to Opa-locka?

In new annexation plans, North Campus may become part of city

Carla St.Louis | 4/10/2014, 9 a.m.

Tucked in Westview, Miami-Dade College North Campus is moving to Opa-locka without having to move at all, due to an annexation plan that features a 1.4 square mile increase to the city limit.

The plan was submitted to Miami-Dade County in August of last year and is currently awaiting approval.

City Manager Kelvin Baker has not set a date for his meeting with the county’s annexation board. If approved, it will add 822 acres of land, increasing the city's boundaries to 5.9 square miles from 4.5.

The expansion would begin from Northwest 107th Street to Northwest 127th Street and from 27th Avenue to 37th Avenue to the West.

Although the City would lose some revenue from utility fees it charges, the annexation stands to generate about $2.7 million in property tax revenues based on the city’s current tax rate. As it stands, the city charges a 25 percent fee to business owners in the unincorporated surrounding areas for using the city’s sewer and water treatment services.

While Opa-locka officials view the possible annexation as a coup, bringing in much needed cash, its anticipated that business owners will strongly oppose it because it will increase their property taxes.

Currently, the millage rate for unincorporated Miami-Dade County, the region Opa-locka wants to annex, is under $2 for every $1,000 or taxable property value, according to Miami-Dade County records. It's the standard rate for business owners to pay.

In comparison, the fee for the City of Opa-locka is about $9, the second-highest rate in Miami-Dade County after Biscayne Park's $9.50 charge.

Despite the discrepancy, the plan is likely to be approved because of little opposition from the public. Because the area is a business and commercial district, very few residents live in the region to prevent it from being absorbed. According to the Miami-Dade County Charter, referendum on an annexation is unnecessary if less than 250 people live in the area in question.

The city's annexation plan is the largest to date, aside from the redevelopment of Magnolia North and the original City Hall building.

Efforts to reach Opa-locka's Mayor Myra Taylor received no reply.