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LWVMD Position on Miami Forever Bond

The LWVMD SUPPORTS Miami Forever bond; vote YES on the November 7th ballot.

What is it? Miami Forever is a series of construction projects in the City of Miami with a total value of $400 million. The projects fall into five broad categories:

  1. Affordable Housing and Economic Development ($100 million)
  2. Flood Prevention and Sea Level Rise Mitigation ($192 million)
  3. Parks and Cultural Facilities ($78 million)
  4. Roadway Improvements ($23 million)
  5. Public Safety ($7 million)

Citizens Oversight. If adopted, an implementation plan will be created by the administration through an open and transparent process and will be approved by a Citizens Oversight Board and City Commission.

Projects will Evolve. There is an initial project list - that’s how the categories (and amounts) were identified. The list, though, has not been widely-shared as a certain amount of flexibility is required due to pending plan updates.

  • Miami Forever projects will be funded through a General Obligation Bond (GO Bond). A GO Bond is one way for cities fund major construction projects - that wouldn’t have been paid for without significantly increasing taxes.
  • The City pays back the Bonds through the collection of property taxes. Projects will take approximately 15 years to complete and 20-30 years to pay off, sharing the costs with future taxpayers who will also benefit from the city-wide improvements.

There is no tax increase. This is tricky-and lots of misinformation. Miami residents and businesses ARE paying property taxes (Miami Debt Service) on past bond programs - they are just not paying more (the average income tax bill might actually decrease).   Ex: Property Tax Bill:

  • 2016-17 Miami Debt Service: $62.05
  • 2017-18  Miami Debt Service: $59.05 (with new bonds approved)
  • 2017-18 Miami Debt Service: $pending

Why Now? This is an ideal time to borrow money for projects because the City’s finances are strong.  If we act now, we can also take advantage of low-interest rates and the city’s best bond rating in 30 years. In the same way that fixing a small leak is much cheaper than waiting for the pipe to burst, tackling these projects now is less expensive than delaying as flooding damage increases and costs go up.