Following a presentation proposing the annexation of part of Brownsville to the city of Hialeah, the council did not vote on the issue, hearing only from residents of the community, most of whom clearly disagreed with the measure.

The city of Hialeah held a very different council meeting, with Brownsville residents in the room excited about the city’s expansion.

At Tuesday’s public hearing, many citizens who live in the area that would be annexed if the project goes ahead strongly disagreed. Among them was an aide who yelled at councilors in protest for which he was immediately kicked out of the room by the police.

Jesus Tundidor, Councilor of Hialeah, explains that “we will (give) more services, police and firefighters”.

These services are part of the plan to annex that part of Brownsville that would include a warehouse district and a residential area, which would have a negative economic impact that, for now, makes no sense to many.

Hialeah, the sixth largest city in Florida and the second in the country with the highest percentage of the population speaking Spanish, is now looking to expand.

“We have to invest a lot in our police…it will be an additional expense for the city…nearly $4 million in the first year,” says Mónica Pérez, council president of Hialeah.

According to former State Representative and Brownsville Community Leader James Bush, “Residents want to know what the tax change will be because they’re worried about how it will affect their pocketbooks…and they feel it is important that they first seek help from the community”.

“We’re talking about a Hialeah for the next twenty or thirty years…and what we see we can do today to build that foundation in part is maybe look at opportunities for expansion “said Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo.

A cost-benefit analysis is currently underway to annex part of the area known as Brownsville, east of the present city, to Hialeah.

“The city is analyzing whether it’s practical and feasible, whether we can take over this area,” Mayor Bovo explained.

Dr. Enid Pinkney, historian at Brownsville Historic Hampton House, asks, “Please don’t let anyone steal your heritage, because they won’t sympathize with them, or your culture and your heritage.”

The historian of Hampton House, a historic site in the Brownsville area, said at an event Monday night hosted by the local Neighbors Civic Association that the annex would pose a risk to that community.

Mily Herrera, a Hialeah community activist, doesn’t like to take any risks either: “Look at the area west of I-75 how badly these residents and the taxes they pay have suffered. We don’t have enough police, firefighters, and public service workers, as they think then now, to add to the pain of the city even further.

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