North Miami Council approves MOCA roof repairs, storm shutter rules

On Tuesday night, the North Miami City Council unanimously agreed to spend more than $600,000 to deal with roof repairs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the city’s marquee cultural spot.

The council also agreed, on a 3-2 vote, to make it illegal to leave storm shutters up more than 72 hours after a storm or hurricane warning has been lifted.

Councilwoman Carol Keys was against the motion, saying she was concerned that would not be enough time for elderly residents.

Also during the meeting, Budget Director Rosalind Ray Morgan and Finance Director Miguel Augustin discussed the city’s budget and expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Keys said she was not happy with the level of detail and asked for more information.

“The budget right now is the kind you’d give to an investor, not someone who wants to see what’s really going,” she said. “There’s an item on here under social services that’s $651,991 period, end of story. I’d really like to know where that money is going to.”

Also discussed were a number of unexpected expenses from the previous year, including increased pensions, salaries for city officials and $7 million spent on renovating Cagni Park. According to Augustin, last year the city of North Miami spent $33 million on salary increases and $10.5 million on pensions.

“As far as salaries, salaries have been rising due to contractual obligations from three unions that we do have. We have one more year of increases,” said Arthur Sorey, the interim city manager.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban L. Bovo made a presentation about the upcoming 2020 census. Bovo told the council that there would be no citizenship question despite the Trump administration’s attempts.

Data from the census is crucial in issues like funding and  congressional representation. Bovo said the county will be opening its libraries so that people can fill out the online version of the census form.

Residents can begin to fill out census forms on March 12.

“Perhaps the greatest thing we can do as U.S. citizens and residents of this great nation is to participate in the census,” said Bovo.

Rashawn Raysor is currently a Senior at Florida International University who's pursuing a degree in Journalism. He has a passion for writing and reporting on human rights, social issues, and the arts.