Wednesday, June 23, 2010

North Bay Village's New Sister City - Maywood CA

I propose that North Bay Village should enter into a sister city relationship with Maywood, California.

We have a lot in common. North Bay Village is a small, overlooked city (~7,000 people) in the middle of the Miami urban sprawl. Maywood is a small, overlooked city (~28,000) in the middle of the Los Angeles urban sprawl. North Bay Village is the most densely populated municipality in Florida. Maywood is the most densely populated municipality in California. The demographics are similar in that both are younger, predominantly Latino cities. Both have a fairly high number of recently developed properties that remain unsold.

There's something important we can learn from Maywood - how to go broke. Maywood got there first and in order to avoid bankruptcy, the city commission dissolved all city departments, including the police, and outsourced the services to surrounding communities, who need the cash. Read the LA Times article here and it's like looking in a mirror.

Maywood's $10.1 million General Fund has a deficit of $450,000. Our $5.9 million has a deficit around $600,000. Maywood ran into insurance problems because their police department was wracked by lawsuits. North Bay Village has the same lawsuit problem. Will an insurance problem follow?

One of the criticisms of Maywood is that during this crisis, the city failed to maintain a permanent city manager.

Now there are differences. For example, read this quote from the LA Times article, "In the last decade, shouting matches have erupted during council meetings, election campaigns have been marked by political hit pieces, and even an accusation was made that a city clerk tried to have a councilman killed." At least, we're not that bad in that to my knowledge, no city employee has put out a hit on an elected official.

But this story is North Bay Village's story. And this could easily be our next step.

Kevin Vericker
June 23, 2010

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