Five Times Carlos Gimenez Screwed The Taxpayers
Well, Carlos Gimenez has done his fair share of giving it to us with no Vaseline as well. So no matter who you pick, we're fucked. Ain't democracy grand?
Here are Gimenez's top five boondoggles:
- The $100 million water treatment plant. Remember Robaina's pet project to provide water to undeveloped land the city of Hialeah annexed? Well Gimenez, along with ten of his county commission colleagues, approved a joint agreement between the city and the county to split the cost of building the plant so it could also serve portions of unicorporated northwest Miami-Dade. Of course that all hinges on people actually moving into new houses on the undeveloped terrain, which in this economy, ain't coming any time soon.
- The $1 billion port tunnel. While a lot of supporters tout Gimenez's steady opposition against the Marlins stadium deal, he has been a leading supporter for one of the most ambitious, and some say most unnecessary, public works projects in Miami-Dade history. Plans are full steam ahead to excavate the muck underneath Biscayne Bay to create a corridor for cargo trucks entering and leaving the port. But truck drivers say the problem isn't traffic congestion getting to the port, but rather draconian security measures that cause delays in their deliveries.
- City of Miami fire fee. Gimenez has gushed endlessly during his campaign how he left the city of Miami fiscally sound when he resigned as city manager in 2003. But he always fails to note that he was the chief champion of the city's controversial fire fee, which was instrumental in balancing Miami's books during the years it was in place. But in 2002, the Florida Supreme Court deemed a similar fire fee unconstitutional. The decision meant Miami had wrongfully collected as much as $90 million from taxpayers. Indeed, two years later a Miami-Dade circuit court judge deemed Miami's fire-fee ordinance illegal.
- The Grand Prix of the Americas. Again when he was city manager, Gimenez was one of the main cheerleaders behind a scheme to enrich a couple of City Hall insiders. Prominent architect Willy Bermello and his partner, attorney Peter Yanowitch, promised millions of dollars in revenue to the city if they were allowed to hold a sports car race that cut through Bayfront Park and parts of downtown Miami. But after the race wrecked havoc on Biscayne Boulevard and Bermello and Yanowitch sold their interest for $1.2 million, the buyers pulled the plug the grand prix. The city and the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority was left with a $2 million oil slick of bills and debts.
- Miami Parking Surcharge. In another failed attempt to shore up the city's finances without raising property taxes, Gimenez was a strong advocate of the city's 20 percent parking surcharge. For years, anyone parking in the city had to pay the additional tax which generated $13 million a year to the city. At one point, Gimenez and Miami elected officials wanted to extend the surcharge for 40 years to help the Florida Marlins build a stadium. Imagine that? Thankfully the surcharge was also struck down as unconstitutional.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.