The state Legislature had no authority to halt millions of dollars in payments three of Miami-Dade wealthiest cities must pay to the county each year, according to a court ruling handed down Wednesday.
In 2007 the Senate and House unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Miami Republicans Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Rep. Julio Robaina, banning the practice of counties charging cities for the right to incorporate. Though the law was meant to apply statewide, Miami-Dade is the only of the 67 counties imposing the stiff fees.
Annually Doral, Miami Lakes, and Palmetto Bay fork over a combined $11 million in mitigation payments to Miami-Dade for the right to incorporate. The county started charging the fees in 2000 as a way to wane the growing incorporation trend.
The three cities, who retained high-profile attorney Bruce Rogow to fight their cause, vow to appeal the decision by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Daryl E. Trawick.
''None of us have been naive enough to think this issue isn't one that's going to be decided upon by the Florida Supreme Court,'' said Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn.
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