Letter to the Editor. Are our village institutions suffering from Island Fever

Are our village institutions suffering from “Island Fever?”

We all know we live on an island, but in my view from a commercial perspective it is unfortunately more Gilligan’s Island than Hong Kong Island.

Our island lies 7.5 miles from one of the worlds most desirable destinations, Miami, but at times the institutions responsible for protecting us and our heavy investment in our properties seemed oblivious to the need to bring people over the causeway to spend their money on goods, services and properties. Doing so would go a long way toward protecting our property values and the viability of our commercial component.

As a result, our property values have declined 5% in 2 years, while others have risen. I am amazed that during the same period OpaLocka, with wall-to-wall corruption, investigations and no real permanent management has increased in value by 5% during the same period as did the average of all properties in Miami-Dade County.

There are valid economic reasons behind our villages devaluation, such as overbuilding in the luxury market or currency declines in Latin America. But others have swum upstream in the past so why shouldn’t our village utilize some of our plentiful resources to save multiples of what should be spent doing so? The alternative, if the assessed value of the village declines some more, is either taxes are raised or budgets must be cut. How many police, fire or other essential personnel would be terminated because of lack of available funding? Does the island end its youth or seniors’ programs? Make a choice between investing in the financial wellbeing of the community or gutting what we have.

Since Oceania Condo stopped advertising and the tennis tournament departed, Key Biscayne does not have its name out there, and people have short memories. Last year, 67,000 people moved from New York to Florida. Add to that the other “blue state tax refugees” from the north and the key could position itself to capture some of them. It’s simple economics’ that if the demand increases -- because these affluent buyers know we exist and what we have to offer -- they will purchase here, and prices will move higher, again protecting and increasing our tax base.

Bottom line is the village and chamber should stop worrying so much about what is here now and worry about attracting more families to enjoy what we all know is the best place to live in Florida -- or anywhere in the world for that matter. Do that and we will all benefit.

Barry Goldmeier

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