The Real Deal Miami

Miami Beach oblivious to millions in water fees

Audit reveals a lack of accountability in collections

September 08, 2014 11:15AM

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Jimmy Morales

Jimmy Morales

Miami Beach ignored millions in unpaid water and sewer fees from hotels, condos and other businesses, a county audit shows.

The 2005 audit by the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department revealed about $10 million dollars in unpaid bills were never collected. The findings showed 11 Miami Beach buildings collectively owed $2.7 million in connection fees that were due that when they were built. Among those buildings are the Loews Hotel, Shore Club and the Yacht Club at Portofino.

Because of when they were built, a statute of limitations prevents the county from pursing these costs, according to the Miami Herald.

Miami Beach needed to verify the fees were paid before they issued a certificate of occupancy for these buildings. City Manager Jimmy Morales, who took over in April 2013, told the newspaper he was blindsided by these fees.

Because of these findings, the county department has changed collecting policies and now hold municipalities liable for these fees. [Miami Herald] Frank Maradiaga 

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