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A response: Setting the record straight

By Audrey M. Edmonson, Commissioner, District 3 | 2/6/2014, 9 a.m.
Audrey M. Edmonson

To date, the CRA under the 1982 Ordinance has received $33 million from taxes that would have gone to the County. Since the 2007 Global Interlocal Agreement the CRA has received $23.8 million. Without the cap in place, the CRA will have more than ample monies to carry out its mission. Not to mention approximately $20 million in fund balance the CRA has been carrying for the last four years - monies that should have been invested back into the Overtown community during the economic downturn which would have made a difference to the struggling residents and businesses. With the cap in effect, the structure of its funding will need to be changed to ensure that its mission will be carried out. To that end, the County has offered alternatives that will allow the issuance of $60 million of bonds for its projects, fund up to $2.1 million per year of administrative costs, fund about $1.7 million annually for ongoing community projects, allow the CRA to fund the City’s obligation to pay off debt on Gibson Park through 2029 and fund additional future projects yet to be determined. These alternatives, if accepted, will need to be approved by the CRA Board and the City and County Commissions.

As a caveat, there was a meeting scheduled with me for Wednesday, January 29, 2014 with the newly elected Commissioner, the SEOPW CRA staff and Miami-Dade County staff (which would have been considered our first sit-down meeting). We were to discuss all the proposed and under-way projects in Overtown and possible solutions to any issue. However, not only was last week’s editorial written, sent to print, and out on the street prior to our scheduled meeting, but also a correspondence was sent to the Miami-Dade County Attorney threatening possible litigation. These actions left me with no other alternative but to postpone the meeting based on possible legal ramifications. This article gives the appearance that this issue would rather be solved in the court of public opinion.

The eradication of slum and blight for me does not begin or end with agreements and programs. I truly believe that hard work, dedication and commitment are paramount to any progress.

I remain committed to the community in which I serve and look forward to continuing to work with the City of Miami, the newly elected Commissioner and the Community Redevelopment Agency to make Overtown a world class community where people live, work and play.