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Miami-Dade County Proposed Budget Confirms Dedication To P3s

Albert E. Dotson, Jr.

Last week Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez introduced the County’s FY 2015-16 Proposed Budget and Multi-Year Capital Plan. A review of the budget’s line items confirms the County’s dedication to the use of public-private partnerships (“P3s”) in executing its ambitious capital improvement plans across the board. The County has allocated $250,000 for P3 consulting support to, as the mayor stated,

“help pay for the expertise needed to ensure these Public Private Partnership agreements include the needed protections to ensure the delivery of new facilities and services far into the future.”

According to the mayor, private consulting on the use of P3s will allow the County to take advantage of the increasing number of P3 opportunities presented by the private sector.

The proposed budget identifies 689 capital projects across all strategic areas, many of which are ideally suited to be carried out using a P3 model. In the public safety realm, the County is aiming to continue ongoing major capital maintenance projects to all correctional facilities to include communications infrastructure expansion, inmate housing improvements, mental health renovations, and major rehabilitation of the Pre-Trial Detention Center. Funding will also be put toward the continued planning and design of a court facility at the Joseph Caleb Center and the purchase of 1,000 body cameras for police officers.

In the strategic area of transportation, the budget covers continued cruise terminal improvements, bus fleet replacements, dredging projects to increase port capacity, a terminal optimization program at the Miami International Airport, and funding for the “MiamiCentral” passenger rail station downtown and its proposed link to Tri-Rail. In health and human services the County is also budgeting for the continued construction of various affordable housing projects and a new software system that will provide a workforce tracking and payroll monitoring solution.

In support of one of the County’s most ambitious multi-year capital improvement plans, the budget also allocates funds for upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure. The Water and Sewer Department (“WASD”) is turning to P3s for the completion of numerous infrastructure projects including a biosolids processing facility, for which WASD will soon issue a solicitation to design, build, and operate. WASD also plans to issue the final request for qualifications for the South Miami Heights water treatment plant by the fourth quarter of this year.

With hundreds of projects in the pipeline and a budget for P3 consulting support, the County is primed for a surge of successful and efficient partnerships with the private sector to accomplish the County’s long-term capital improvement goals.

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