Each year, the Miami Dade County Board of County Commissioners votes on exactly how to spend your taxpayer dollars. Did you know that YOU can have a say in how your money gets spent in Miami-Dade?
This year, they’re proposing a break down based on a few key categories, including:
- Public Safety
- Transportation and Mobility
- Recreation and Culture
- Neighborhood and Infrastructure
- Health and Society
- General Government
- Economic Development
Of key note for our watershed, is the section that involves infrastructure – particularly the Water and Sewer Department (WASD). You may have heard that there have been millions of gallons of sewage leaks in Miami Dade County this year. These leaks keep happening, in part, because our sewage infrastructure is breaking down with old age. Some parts of our sewer system are more than 100 years old!
Most recently, a spill near Oleta River State Park resulted in more than 1.5 million gallons of raw sewage entering Biscayne Bay and surrounding waterways, ultimately causing swim advisories at several nearby beaches. This is not only unsightly, but it can be dangerous to public and environmental health.
Also, the County released a report this year showing that over half of the septic tanks in Miami-Dade already don't work part of the year because of sea-level rise. This is an urgent environmental and public health concern. And, the estimated cost to get rid of all of the septic tanks in the County is on the order of $3.3 billion.
Despite these ongoing spills and failing septic tanks, WASD is not asking for more money for these projects. In fact, they're asking for less! WASD has said that budget shortfalls and lack of available funding have contributed to the maintenance backlog associated with these chronic sewage leaks.
Recent events illustrate that WASD may need this funding now more than ever in order to expedite repairs of our decaying sewage system.
Will you join us in asking for more funding to fix our leaks? Here's how:
- Show up! The final budget hearing for the County is September 19, 2019, at 5 pm at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center (111 NW First Street Miami, Florida 33128). You'll have to go through security and then take the escalator to the second floor. (If you get lost, just ask anywhere where the Commission chambers are.) You can give a brief public comment (2 minutes) to express your concerns and priorities for how taxpayer dollars are spent! When you show up, simply fill out a speaker card at the main desk and wait for your name to be called.
- Send a quick email! Copy and paste some of the below talking points and send an email to Budget Director, Jennifer Moon, to express your concerns and priorities for an investment in our water!
- Spread the word! Share this information online and tag your friends, family, and Commissioners! Let them know that resilient infrastructure is important to you and that you care about our waterways.
Tell the Miami Dade County Commission:
- Clean water is what makes Miami, Miami. Beach closures and a dying Bay are bad for Miami, our economy, and our community.
- Our sewage infrastructure is literally crumbling beneath us. Much of it is over 50 years old and presents a constant risk to our community.
- An investment in water infrastructure projects is not only long overdue, but federally mandated by a legally binding Consent Decree with the EPA.
- To build more resiliently, we have to bring our infrastructure up to and beyond its current carrying capacity in order to anticipate and accommodate future threats.
- We need to invest in septic to sewer conversion NOW. Septic, even when it works, still pollutes our waterways. Now, it's also not cleaning wastewater properly because of sea-level rise.
- We need to invest in water quality monitoring to assist the County with detecting leaks and contamination as they occur, making the public aware as soon as possible in order to reduce exposure to harmful contaminants and bacteria.
- Ultimately, we need MORE money for Water and Sewer to fix their system, not less!
Interested in learning more? Click here to review the entire proposed budget for Miami Dade County.