River Cities

Miami Springs considers outsourcing building department

Amid a projected budget surplus, the Miami Springs City Council is considering saving money by outsourcing its building and code compliance departments.

“Revenues are (forecast) to be $15,499,000 and total expenditures are $15,350,000,” said City Manager Ron Gorland, at the first budget workshop held Monday night. “So there’s a surplus of approximately $148,000.”

Gorland told the council that they could make changes in two places: revenues and expenses. One area where projections were markedly higher was the building department.

“The [building department] budget for next year is projected to be about $56,000, or 9 percent, higher,” said Finance Director William Alonso.

The increase is due to a 14 percent increase in medical insurance costs, Alonso said, as well as funding a “vacant position necessary due to increased building and code activities within the operation.”

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Councilman Billy Bain quickly zeroed in on the projected $100,000-a-year part-time salary of the city’s building official Skip Reed. As of June 30, the city revealed it has paid Reed $84,000.

“At the current rate, he will end the year at $115,000,” Alonso said.

Bain then questioned the projected $4,200 cellphone bill, $3,438 land-line phone bill and $1,578 Internet bill.

Four building department employees have city-issued cellphones which cost taxpayers an average of $1,050 each per year.

“We are looking at outsourcing the whole department and where is the benefit or quid pro quo,” Gorland said.

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Bain said he did not know about the city’s meeting last week to outsource the department.

“Outsourcing the building department is currently being analyzed,” Gorland said by email Tuesday, when asked by the Miami Herald how much money such a move would save tax payers.

This analysis, Gorland said, could take a few more weeks, or after the second budget workshop meeting that takes place at Monday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The building department has requested $632,183 to fund next year’s expenses.

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