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County Questions

There are two county wide questions in your ballot. One is about who has control over special taxing districts and another is about access to information.

Here’s what you’ll see on your ballot:

Charter Amendment on Control of Special Purpose Districts in Municipalities

Shall the Charter be amended to allow the Board of County Commissioners to provide, by ordinance, that the governing body of any special purpose district located entirely within the boundaries of a municipality be the governing body of the municipality rather than the Board of County Commissioners as is currently required by the Charter?

Here’s what it means:

There are hundreds of different special taxing districts throughout the county. When we say district, we mean things like a hospital district or a community development district.

Sometimes these districts span multiple cities (aka go across Coral Gables, Miami, and Miami Beach, for example) and sometimes they’re completely contained in one city (only in Miami).

Right now, the Board of County Commission governs all of these special taxing districts. If this is passed, it would mean that any special district located completely in the borders of one city will be governed by that city.

The good: Local management of local districts. You don’t have a county commissioner from Coconut Grove deciding on how a special purpose district in Hialeah operates.

The bad: It would take away any county rules that govern a special purpose district — like for example competitive bidding rules and living wage ordinances. Many municipalities, although not all, have their own such ordinances.

Editor’s note: This section has been updated. 

If you vote:

Yes:

A city governs its own special purpose district.

No:

The Board of County Commissioners governs all special purpose districts.

Now on to the next question:

Here’s what you’ll see on your ballot:

Charter Amendment Including Right to Copy Public Records in the Citizens’ Bill of Rights

The public records provision of the Charter’s Citizens’ Bill of Rights, enforced by both private action and the Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust, currently requires public records of the County and the municipalities be open to the public only for inspection.

Shall this provision be amended to also require that such records be available for copying by the public in a manner consistent with State public records law?

What it means:

Basically that nothing changes. Citizens already have the right to copy public records under Sunshine Laws, which are state laws. If passed, it would also be written into the Citizens’ Bill of Rights, which are county laws.

If you vote:

Yes:

Citizens will have the right to copy and inspect public records under county law.

No:

Citizens will have the right to copy and inspect public records under state law.