Money, money, money // Flickr.com

Money, money, money // Flickr.com

Miami-Dade County, WTF?

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to have our county commissioners travel abroad for what the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium (ITC) considers the fostering of trade relationships between the county and foreign partners.

Being a hub for international commerce and tourism, Miami-Dade certainly has an interest in visiting potential foreign partners.

The problem, however, is that the overseas trips have yet to result in a single contract for the County.

The ITC is a county agency that attempts to help facilitate relationships between Miami’s business sector and the rest of the world; all under the auspices and approval of the government. What’s shocking is the fact that County agents and staff have far outnumbered the number of business personnel that have engaged foreign interests through the program, according to The Miami Herald. County taxpayers are left with the hefty $217,000 bill that resulted from nine trips since 2007.

Miami-Dade’s budget was $444,000 in the red. Cuts have been made to education, transit, and other vital city services; yet it seems Commissioners have not sought to cut such a wasteful item on the budget that is completely lacking in any true results.

An agency that saps $1.2 million from the County budget and does not produce actual economic benefit does not warrant the burden places on taxpayers.

Of course, logical action would be to eliminate this hole in the budget and replace it with a cost-effective agency after Miami-Dade County finds some financial stability, right?

Not for the County government. In September, county commissioners killed a proposal to eliminate funding for the ITC.

When asked about how a recent trip to Senegal worked out in favor of the County, Miami-Dade District 3 commissioner Audrey Edmunson hung up on a reporter from The Miami Herald.

The ITC spends thousands of dollars to send preliminary “scouts” to find suitable places to bring Miami-Dade businesses; a practice that the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce does not execute because they’ve stated that it’s an absolute waste of money that should not be considered.

Our County must stop spending our money on the luxury hotels and vain trips that haven’t resulted in anything substantive for Miami-Dade, except more wasteful spending. Turn home, Commissioners – concentrate on those who elected you to office, and commit yourselves to solving the gaping budgetary hole that has cut so many vital city services.

Maybe then Miami can truly be a world-class city.

November 20, 2009


Ramon Galiana

News Editor

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