Interview with Juan Carlos Bermudez “We must remember the things that helped build the city.”


By: Diana Bello Aristizábal


The current Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 12, Juan Carlos Bermudez, undertook a battle in 2006 that he won in 2009 as mayor of Doral to free the city from post-incorporation mitigation payments required by the county, one more achievement to highlight in 2023, the year in which the city celebrates its twentieth anniversary.

The post-incorporation mitigation fee was created by the county as an annual tax previously collected from newly incorporated cities to offset the costs of providing services to unincorporated areas.

This tax had been proposed in perpetuity, although it was later reduced to a seven-year period due to an agreement that Doral, Miami Lakes, and Palmetto Bay made with the county, later ratified in a ballot referendum. Doral made seven payments from when it became a city until 2010, before the tax was completely removed.

We talked with Commissioner Bermudez about this important milestone in Doral’s history and what it meant to this municipality.

DFJ: What was the process like to free the city from post-incorporation mitigation payments?

Commissioner Bermudez: In 2001, the county required newly incorporated cities to pay a mitigation fee in perpetuity from a percentage of their millage rate. However, to me, that was never right because cities like Pinecrest, Sunny Isles, Aventura, and Key Biscayne were not paying it.

Given this scenario, in 2006, we created a committee with a representative from Miami Lakes, one from Palmetto Bay, one from Doral, and four from the county. Said committee met for one year, after which time it determined with a vote of 6 to 1 that the mitigation fee was indeed unfair.

However, the county made a legal claim against the city and the state to preserve the tax. Thus began a legal battle in which the county lost the first time in Jacksonville and then won in Miami.

After appealing, it was agreed upon that the three cities would only pay what corresponds to seven years and nothing more. Today, there is not a single municipality in the county that pays any money to exist.


DFJ: How much money has the City of Doral saved by eliminating this tax?

Commissioner Bermudez: The city has saved 150 million dollars in the last 13 years. The average payment for fiscal year 2022 would have been $15 million dollars if it hadn’t been removed, which means that in total the city has saved almost $166 million. 


DFJ: What has meant for this city in these 13 years to save that money?

Commissioner Bermudez: The city would not have the Police Department it has today nor its parks system or even its iconic government center that costs more than $20 million dollars. Furthermore, important roads such as 107th Avenue and 58th Street, among others, would not look like they do today.


DFJ: How do you see Doral compared to other cities in the county and what could be improved?

Commissioner Bermudez: I started getting involved with this city because I wanted a park for my daughters. Today, I am still a resident and I see it as one of the greatest cities of the county. It is a clear example of why it is worth building cities. As far as what could be improved, I think that 84th Avenue should be expanded and 112th Avenue between 41st and 25th Streets could be improved.

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