MIAMI – In their first meeting in the new council room at the renovated Miami City Hall, Miami's City Council and Miami Special Utilities Authority (MSUA) made a big move to improve the reliability of the City of Miami's electric utility services.

A financial study by Wildan and a city utility rate study plan indicated bonds are needed to complete necessary work on two substations and electrical utility infrastructure, according to City Manager Dean Kruithof.

Bond consultant Greg Nieto presented information before the measure was approved by the MSUA and council.

A resolution of authorization was made for the execution of incurring up to $8.5 million for certificates of indebtedness to provide funds for the capital improvements to the substations with interest not to exceed 5 percent for a 15-year utility bond.

“Congratulations on the new facility, what a better way then by going into debt,” Nieto joked before explaining the bond.

“This will meet your needs for the electric improvements,” Nieto said. “One thing to keep in mind is this is for today's interest rates.”

First payments will be due starting in August or September and the debt is secured strictly by utility rates from City of Miami customers.

Kruithof explained, “This is a utility bond, by state statute as an MSUA we're allowed to go into this type of debt utilizing the rates that we charge our customers for electric, this is an electrical utility rate. You might remember several months ago Wildan Financial came to us, laid out a structure by which we increase the rates to be able to accommodate the debt service we're discussing tonight. This does not require a vote of the people.”

Subsequently, the Miami City Council and MSUA approved a work order with Olsson Associates for the design, engineering and bidding documents of an electric power Substation No. 1 or the Operations Center Substation.

“This is behind the Coop at the Operations Center, this is a substation that's been that's very similar in age to the transformer they believe is a 1968 transformer,” Public Utilities Director Tyler Cline said.

In other business, a mayoral proclamation was read honoring the 2018 NEO A&M Wrestling Team; Boo Dryden, Jack Karstetter, Cody Karstetter, Kendon Lee, Wyatt Jordan, Devin Crawl, Alex Kauffman, Zeke Silva, and Brian Andrews for their outstanding achievement along with Coach Joe Renfro.

A proclamation was read naming April 3, 2018, as Eli Hale Day in the City of Miami honoring Miami native and champion wrestler Eli Hale.

Mayor Rudy Schultz read another proclamation declaring April 8 to April 14 as Telecommunicator Week in the city.

Local 911 Dispatchers, Supervisor Diana Evans, Trainer/ Coordinator Valerie Barger, and Dispatcher Deborah Johnson-Untereker were recognized and given a round of applause.

“We can't say enough about our dispatch staff - they work shorthanded, understaffed to have two dispatchers 24/7 and they just do an incredible job, and probably the most critical job in the city,” Miami Chief of Police Thomas Anderson said.

Some further progress was made with the City of Miami's Splash Pad project with the passage of a contract for Construction Manager at Risk with Magnum Construction Inc. for Robert Catcher for pre-construction costs of $2,000 and 10 percent of the cost of the work in the construction phase.

Public Works Director Alicia Hogan said the project is now expected to begin with community input in the design phase in August or September.

“That's going to throw us into October or November, and pouring concrete is just not a good idea, so they are projecting March of 2019 for completion,” Hogan said.

Discussion of ordinance and MSUA resolution options for freezing transfers out of the MSUA Fund to finance bonds for MSUA Capital Improvement Projects per the recent Willdan Rate Study.

“When we saw it in the rate study it was an eye-opener for us,” Fitzgibbon said.

Fitzgibbon went over three option proposals with the council members and Mayor.

“MSUA funds have funded 15 to 35 percent of the General Fund,” she said.

The council agreed to pick up the discussion at this month's work-study meeting.

A proposal offered by AOS in the amount of $78,010.23, recommended by IT staff was approved to approve the City of Miami's Network Storage array.

“Normally this is an item we would have put on the consent agenda, but David worked a number of months on it, “ Kruithof said.

He went on to say Ballard and his staff worked to research the best options and has been working to update the IT infrastructure to best serve the City's network.

Although the bid was not the lowest of three received, IT Director David Ballard, explained the proposal chosen offered an ability for upgrade, and longer and better service life.

“It's the heart of our network infrastructure,” Ballard said explaining the importance of the investment.

A claim for $3,000 was approved to be paid to Capital Ventures Government Relations.