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Advocacy, Community and Support for Growing Brickell

PRESIDENT GAIL FELDMAN’S MESSAGE FROM Summer/Fall 2014 BHA NEWS: This coming spring, Brickell Homeowners Association will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. For a quarter century, BHA’s mission has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in our Brickell neighborhood. As we look ahead to the next 25 years, we look forward to continuing our mission.

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BHA President Gail Feldman

Since our founding, communication and advocacy have been central to our efforts. This publication, the BHA website and our monthly meetings strive to promote awareness and involvement. As Brickell has grown and evolved into an urban neighborhood where people live, work and play 24/7, we’ve become aware that sense of community is also a large part of the equation.

So, you’ll notice, if you haven’t already, more outreach by BHA. We will continue with our successful business outreach and networking focus at our meetings. However, we are also expanding our reach by hosting additional events for the general community with the goals of encouraging a sense of community and interconnectedness and having some fun.

I wish to thank our community partners Mercy Hospital, FirstService Residential, Toscana Divino, Christ Fellowship Downtown and Mary Brickell Village for supporting our BHA events. Each of these entities’ generous support has enabled us to offer enriching and fun entertaining events for children, families and young adults.

As our sense of community becomes strengthened through events, as your President I promise you that BHA’s commitment to advocacy is as strong as ever. We have an unwavering commitment to continue to fight for what our neighborhood needs and deserves.

A recent Miami Herald article (9/9/2014) talked about substantial revenue generated by development impact fees paid to the City of Miami. Historically, Brickell has not seen the benefit of impact fees which have been generated right here in our neighborhood. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of development in Brickell, however, fees generated have not kept pace and been invested in Brickell’s infrastructure. We know this from living through and witnessing the growth of Miami. We have addressed this issue with Commissioner Marc Sarnoff for several years.

Advocacy remains BHA’s core mission

As the Commissioner explained recently: “Impact fees by State statute and by Florida jurisprudence are required to have a direct nexus between the user who pays the fees and the use of the fee, or in this particular matter, Parks. As Brickell loses its green space, the City accepts impact fees to offset for the loss of the space, and provide for the creation of parks or the enhancement of parks.”

However, in the list of parks to get attention or upgrades, we haven’t seen our beloved Simpson Park or Alice Wainwright Park mentioned. Both are ecological gems and each requires attention and funding support.

 “Brickell is generating millions in excess of what we’re getting in investment.

Separate and above the impact fees issues, we’re not getting nearly what we pay for in city services. Based on an analysis of the City’s revenues, Brickell accounts for $68 million in City ad valorum taxes and only receives about $8 million in City services. This means that Brickell gives up about 90% of its taxes to the City, aside from the impact fees that Brickell generates. These calculations are based upon Planning and Zoning Department as well as police and fire.

So, yes, we would like to see impact fees spent in the area where we can feel and see the impact, plus we would like to see more services for the revenue we’re generating. Right here in our neighborhood.

Brickell needs infrastructure development to keep pace with Miami’s expanding dense, dynamic urban environment. We need amenities, green space and the most experienced profesionals to address complex traffic planning and growth management challenges.

 Happy to help…to an extent

Clearly Brickell is the donor neighborhood for the City of Miami. Please don’t get me wrong; it’s not that we don’t care about those less fortunate. However, some element of fairness is needed if we’re generating millions for the City’s coffers year after year. We shouldn’t have to beg for the grass to be mowed.

We will continue to advocate for the City to allocate funds in its budget for Brickell. Brickell homeowners should feel a part of the City and should feel appreciated. The City should honor our taxes and development impact fees, not only with words, but with resources for our neighborhood.

For its part, BHA pledges to continue advocating on behalf of our neighborhood as we embark upon the next quarter century and beyond.

From BHA News Vol. XXIV No. 2, Summer/Fall 2014