Annual State of the Village Address
17301 Old Cutler Road
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157
17301 Old Cutler Road
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157
2019 State of the Village Address
Delivered by the Honorable Mayor Karyn Cunningham
Wasn’t that great? Let me underscore this most important point: The state of our Village is strong, safe, and together we are defining its future.
Public safety is a top priority. This year, we finalized a contract extension to ensure the future of our Palmetto Bay Policing Unit, and expanded community patrols. Thank you to our police department. You have my respect, admiration and love.
We continue to foster a strong alliance with our top-rated schools, and we are vigilant about the management of your tax dollars. It bears repeating that we have passed a budget this year that maintains the millage rate to the lowest level in our history.
We are also working to grow our business base in the Village. Since January of this year, close to 75 new businesses opened here in Palmetto Bay. Many of them are mom and pops. We’re proud that they call Palmetto Bay home and are investing in our community. New businesses and restaurants are popping up that provide services and entertainment opportunities for all of us. I encourage you to check out some of these places like Trattoria Blue… Dapples… Nailed It DIY Studio… Palmetto Bay Family Dentistry… and Pig Floyd’s to name just a few.
This year we said goodbye to our friend, Village Attorney Dexter Lehtinen. Dexter, thank you, and we wish you well as you embark on this next chapter. We welcome our new in-house attorney John Dellagloria to the Village family. John comes to the Village from his private practice but has years of experience with municipal work, having served for the cities of Miami Beach, North and South Miami. In addition, he has served as a full-time lecturer for University of Miami’s School of Business. John will join our Charter Officer Team and will work closely with Village Clerk Arocha and Village Manager Silva. Welcome John!
Of all the talent we have to celebrate, I am most proud of the talent we have of our Village Council. Though we don’t always agree, everyone has a love of Palmetto Bay and works to listen, discuss and build consensus. In our short time together, we have:
- Developed a Strategic Plan for the Village.
- Conducted a Council Visioning Session and successfully reached consensus on Village Priorities. Thank you, Manager Silva.
- Obtained more passive park space.
- Installed wireless access points at our parks. Thank you, IT gurus, Eric and Yohanan.
- Created an app for our commuter system.
- Completed basin 61 stormwater drainage system.
- Constructed 2 localized stormwater projects.
- Procured grants totaling over $240,000. Thank you, Jenny in Grants.
- Began the process of redrafting the Downtown Code after a nearly 2-year moratorium.
- Expanded the successful park and ride initiative to a second location – Thank you Public Services.
- Introduced Freebee on Demand.
- Prioritized the Maintenance of our Parks.
- Repaired and painted Village bus benches.
- Renovated and reopened of the Perrine Community House at Palmetto Bay. Thank you, Facilities and Maintenance.
- Hosted new programming for Senior, Youth and highlighted local artists once a month. Thank you Parks and Recreation.
- Created policy for Land Purchase Procedures. Thank you, Vice Mayor John Dubois.
- Partnered with our friends at Deering Estate to honor our veterans and collaborate on sustainability. Thank you, Jennifer Tisthammer and Bonnie Barnes.
- Joined Resilient 305 and American Flood Coalition to address and plan the growing concerns of flood vulnerabilities.
- Passed policy for conceptual plans for connectivity, crosswalks and safe routes to schools in the Village. Thank you, Councilmembers Matson and Singer.
- Decreased Building and Permitting Fees by 25%. Thank you, Councilmember Fiore.
- Banned the use of chemical pesticides by Village Vendors and Village Staff.
- Collaborated with our County Commissioner on reduced speeds on canals. Thank you, Commissioner Cava.
- Processed over 500 new passports at our new Passport Acceptance Facility generating $22,000 in revenue for the village. Thank you Village Clerk Arocha.
These are just a few of the achievements accomplished by Council, Administration and our amazing Staff.
As I often say, it is easy to come up with great ideas. But our Charter Officers, Directors and Staff are the real talent here. Under the supervision of Village Manager Ed Silva, Village Clerk Missy Arocha, Deputy Manager Olga Cadaval (who also oversees Communications, Human Resources and Grants), Parks and Recreation Director Fanny Carmona, Finance and IT Director Desmond Chin, Public Services Director Dio Torres, Community and Economic Development Director Maria Pineda, Wes Maltby (Building Official), and Police Department Commander Maria Guerra our staff is dedicated and committed to making every aspect of Village life enjoyable. Please stand or wave to be recognized. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all. I also want to recognize Village Manager Ed Silva’s 12 years of service. This is the last State of the Village as Manager, but I am sure we will continue to see you in and around the Village.
As we look ahead, we know that in order to grow and thrive, we will face challenges and opportunities along the way. Traffic, transit, sustainability, economic development and the population growth in our surrounding communities are at the top of list. Of all of these, traffic remains the number one concern that impacts most resident’s quality of life. It is also the most difficult to address, as the issue has many layers and no easy single solution.
Because of our location, morning and evening traffic through Palmetto Bay has grown exponentially. More and more people are moving to communities south of us; a trend expected to continue. Because we are not alone in asking the county and other intergovernmental agencies’ help to address our issues, it is so important that we team with neighboring communities.
Through the revitalization of our Chamber South/South Dade Coalition, the South Dade mayors meet regularly to discuss issues, share ideas and formulate solutions. I am grateful to be working with Mayors Meerbot and Corradino. We have developed a strong friendship based on collaboration.
We are to fortunate to have some amazing local, county, state and federal electeds that care about our community. I would like to ask my council colleagues Vice Mayor Dubois, Councilmembers Fiore, Singer and Matson, along with Cutler Bay Mayor Tim Meerbott, Pinecrest Mayor Joe Corradino, Pinecrest and Cutler Bay Councilmembers, our Commissioner, State Representative Vance Aloupis as well as Pinecrest Councilmember Anna Hochkammer and Mayor Steve Losner to please join me on stage.
My mother use to tell me that you are only as good as the company you keep, and I am glad to be in such good company. I thank each of you for joining us tonight and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to make our communities a better place to live, work, learn and play.
Palmetto Bay's Got Talent!
During our 2019 State of the Village Address, we took the opportunity to recognize our homegrown talent. These are folks who have dedicated their personal time and effort to improve the lives of others. We humbly offer our appreciation to the following individuals in recognition of their contributions to make our village a better place to work, live and play:
- "Rosemary Fuller Award for Excellence in Education": Dr. Laurence Feldman
- "Pay it Forward" Award: Mr. Marvin Hollub
- "Palmetto Bay's Got Talent" Award: Author John Rindfuss Hansen
- "Power of Art" Award: ArtSouth
- "Gus Barreiro Champion for Children" Award: James Haj, The Children's Trust
- "Small Business" Award: Joyce Masso, Al's Lawnmower Sales & Services
- Student Photography Contest Winner: Robert Hoel, Jr.
A World of Thanks!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our event sponsors:
- The Corradino Group
- Baptist Health
- Ford of Kendall
- Transport Workers Union
- Safer Compass
- CENTNER Academy
- The Estates Company
- Imperial Events