Biscayne Gardens incorporation vote heats up

Billboards and signs for and against the incorporation of Biscayne Gardens are popping up.

A new billboard is ratchetting up campaigns on both sides in advance of a Nov. 2 vote, when residents will decide if the unincorporated Biscayne Gardens area will become the 35th municipality of Miami-Dade County.

The opposition to incorporation comes from residents concerned about increased taxes, but those in favor believe white residents fear an incorporated Black-majority city more. The unincorporated area is surrounded by North Miami Beach, North Miami, Opa-locka and Miami Gardens.

Should Biscayne Gardens become a municipality, its property tax rate will likely increase 107% in order to realize a balanced budget, according to a memo from Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Currently, Biscayne Gardens residents pay an unincorporated tax rate of $1.93 per $1,000 of assessed value. After incorporation, the new city of Biscayne Gardens will have to charge $4 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Pro-incorporation activists also argued that residents needed to control the area’s zoning and that a city government will be more responsive to residents’ needs than Miami-Dade.

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