Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava addresses the crowd at Zoo Miami during the "State of the County" speech on January 24, 2024. (Photo/provided by Miami-Dade County)
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Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava proposed a $2.5 billion bond measure in her “State of the County ” address, saying she wants to create affordable housing and eliminate  leaky septic tanks that are putting Biscayne Bay at risk. 

“It will fund pressing challenges like housing, septic to sewer, flooding and parks in our county,” said Levine Cava, who is running for reelection. “This historic approach will turn around the follies of the past and build for the future.”

Levine Cava in the past has pointed to homes with septic tanks as posing one of the greatest threats to Biscayne Bay as runoff fuels algae blooms that  kill sea grasses. 

“It’s essential that we protect beautiful Biscayne Bay, a natural treasure that generates $64 billion of economic impact,” she said.

Speaking at Zoo Miami in front of 1,000 people Wednesday night, the mayor did not dwell on  specifics, especially when it comes to issues affecting Key Biscayne. There was no mention of revamping the Rickenbacker Causeway or the county’s ongoing efforts to repair – and eventually replace – the Bear Cut Bridge.

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Levine Cava  gave few details in her speech on the “305 Future Ready” bond – which must be approved by voters – except to say it would be “accountable and project-specific.” General obligation bonds are typically paid from property tax revenue, but no further details were given on Thursday from the mayor’s office. 

“We must be braver and bolder than ever,” Levine Cava said during the speech. “It will require courage. It will require taking risks.”

A recent poll from EMC Research showed Levine Cava, who holds nonpartisan office but who proudly touts her status as a Democrat, has opened up a commanding lead against her rivals. The survey also showed public support for the bond measure

A crowd of about 1,000 were on hand at Zoo Miami to hear Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava give the State of the County address on January 24, 2024. (Photo/Miami-Dade County)

For much of the speech, Levine Cava listed her accomplishments, saying she guided the County through the pandemic and it is now economically thriving with an employment of 1.6% – below the national average of 3.7%.

Levine Cava also touted transportation measures, , such as adding electric buses and a Tri-Rail link to downtown.

The mayor said her administration met the housing crisis head-on with the new Office of Housing Advocacy, renovating three public housing developments in Little Havana and revitalizing low-income housing in Goulds.

“The housing crisis still reaches too many, which is why we’re strengthening homes against severe weather, offering mortgage, utility, and condo special assessment relief, and preventing evictions wherever possible,” Levine said.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.