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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — On the final day to vote, the decision on whether Miami-Dade would get a new courthouse came in.
Sixty-four percent of voters decided they did not want a new civil courthouse for Miami-Dade County with 36 percent voting yes.
As part of the rejected referendum, a property tax increase was needed to pay for the new civil courthouse which had a price tag of about $400 million.
Miami-Dade County Chief Judge Bertila Soto issued a statement following the results saying, “While tonight’s outcome is disappointing, we know that this campaign has already been a success because it brought public awareness and a universal consensus that conditions at the Dade County Courthouse are dire and solutions are required immediately. It’s now incumbent upon County Hall to take the necessary steps to ensure that the courthouse undergoes full inspections and that the plan to replace the courthouse be executed. We would like to thank everyone who worked hard in supporting this campaign and recognized that a safe and functional courthouse is the cornerstone of our democracy. Tomorrow, the work continues to achieve what this community deserves and needs — a cost-effective, efficient and safe civil courthouse.”
The county said they need a new building because their aging facility at 72 West Flagler has a leaking roof, peeling facade and a basement that floods in heavy rain.
The downtown Miami building was designated as a historic structure so it cannot be demolished.
This means, if it had been approved, the new civil courthouse would have to have been located elsewhere.
According to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, even if voters rejected the $390 million borrowing plan for the court house, Miami-Dade’s debt tax will soar in the coming years.
County forecasts predict the special property tax that pays for Miami-Dade’s debt is set to go up by 50 percent in 2016.
This is in part because of new debt that voters had approved for Jackson Hospital system, owner by the county, as well as the rise in borrowing costs from a nearly $3 billion bond program approved by voters in 2004.
The current cost for every $100, 000 of a property’s value is $45 but county forecasts show the tax will need to grow next year to $69 per every $100,000 of a property’s value thanks to an increasing debt load.
For election results, click here.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)
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