South Dade Matters

Looking at the World South of Miami: Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Miami-Dade County.

Category: Palmetto Bay

PB: Early Budget Meeting Report

You want $20 Million for What?!?!

The council’s only real budget debate centered around an obscure section of the capital plan where the administration proposes future capital projects. Think of this as a kind of “wish list” for politicians trying to sway voters.

Vice Mayor John Dubois took issue with the arbitrary insertion of a $20 million line item for a new multi-purpose complex at Coral Reef Park. To give you an idea of the scale of such a project, note that the entire village hall complex cost a mere $12 million.

So what exactly are they planning for a park that already struggles to offer parking? According to Mayor Stanczyk, she needs a meeting room that can accommodate 65 people. Mr. Dubois suggested using the council chambers (capacity 90+), which costs nothing. SDM was able to find a rendering of Mrs. Stanczyk’s ideal building:

Taj

The fast spending Mayor Stanczyk was unswayed and clung to what amounts to her umpteenth grandiose but unplanned concept. Remember the parking garage/entertainment complex next to village hall? Or, her massive plans for Thalatta Estate? This mayor has never seen a spending project that doesn’t deserve a good fat dose of your tax dollars.

In the end, the council overrode Mayor Spendthrift and halved the project’s budget. Perhaps the next council will look more critically at foolish and wasteful self-aggrandizing monuments.

Time for a Police Review?

SDM can’t say that Mayor Stanczyk is not creative with the uses for your money. In a year where the village is “flush” according to FOSDMs, Mme. Mayor still thinks we have more to give. Last night, she proclaimed that the village needed a separate millage for the police department. Yes, you heard that right.

Why do we need such a thing? Well, she went on to say that during her time in office, police costs had risen from around $4.5 million per year to the current year projection of $7 million. She seemed to think the way to solve this challenge was to add more taxes. Remember, the $7 million figure could jump because the county hasn’t completed its negotiations with the PBA.

SDM checked our neighbor to the north and found that Pinecrest fields a force of 77 (including 32 full time officers) for a cost of $7.9 million. Palmetto Bay’s policing unit is comprised of 46 souls, 35 of which are full time officers.

SDM Says: The next council should establish a task force to see if Palmetto Bay is getting its money’s worth when it comes to police services. It looks to us like we’re getting about half the force we’re due for what we pay. And, please, dump the half-baked separate millage idea.

One more Stanczyk Tax Bites the Dust

SDM failed to notice an ordinance the Mayor put on the agenda for first reading that would have established a new tax in Palmetto Bay. She called it a “Solid Wast Franchise Fee,” which is a tax on your garbage and is especially aimed at commercial properties.

The rest of the council gave the proposal a moment of silence and it failed for lack of a motion.

SDM Says: The Mayor and her Manager wield their authority like a tax and spend wrecking ball. More employees, more unfunded projects, more taxes and more bad ideas…it is really time for a change.

Joan’s Gone

Apparently the rumors are flying about Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s status given that her Palmetto Bay home is for sale. You can check out the listing here. It looks like a great place and given the nearly $1.5 million price tag, SDM has to wonder whether the Palmer situation really hurt her property values.

JL

SDM Says: The home looks great. Hope it sells fast and for a great price.

PB: Budget Quick Bites

My How You’ve Grown

During budget year 2004-2005, Palmetto Bay employed 15 people on a full-time basis and 11 people part-time.

For this upcoming budget year, Emperor…er…Village Manager Ron Williams is recommending 53 full-time staff and 38 part-time employees.

Ten years and our little village has more than tripled both its full-time and part-time staffing levels.

You almost have to go to Washington, DC to find that kind of out-of-control spending.

But, Your Recurring Revenues Are About The Same

If you take away the “Special Revenue Funds,” the revenue picture changed only slightly over the ten year period. Total revenue in 2003-2004 was $12,080,038 and in 2012-2013 (actual) the total was $13,704,657.

So, revenues rise by just under 12% but full-time employees grow by 353%. Now that’s a lean government!

The Fund Balance – a/k/a The Reserve – Drops by Almost $1 Million

Page 46 of the budget book shows that the village is proposing to reduce its reserve – called the “fund balance” – by $961,000.

And that’s how you pay for your new employees!

PB: Seen at Levine Cava Party

SDM was going through the pictures posted on Eye On Miami and found this picture. The second shot is a close up, cropped version.

party 2

MME

It don’t take a rocket surgeon to identify these folks! Mme. Mayor searching for some coattails to ride.

Guest Post by David Singer: Seat 3 Candidates Speak

The Candidates from Seat Three Speak

During the election cycle there are few opportunities for the average Palmetto Bay resident to get to know a candidates objective in running for Council. I had an interesting idea, why not request from each candidate a narrative on what their personal goals will be in their first 100 days of their term if they win their respective council seats. Narratives were limited to 250 words and I pledged to all candidates I would not comment or change what was submitted. As promised please find their essays below:

Henry Clifford’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

In my first 100 days, I hope to work with others to improve Palmetto Bay in the present and for the future. To:

1. Take immediate steps to reduce traffic speeding and cut- through, specifically in the 87-82-77 avenue corridor, and all subsidiary paths.

2. Initiate a program to identify and acquire additional lands for small, passive neighborhood parks.

3. Finish the site approval process for both Fire stations planned for the eastern Village.

4. Establish permanent boards:

Long-Range Planning

Business Cooperation/Coordination

Transportation/Traffic Mitigation

Our first long-range planning committee lasted one meeting. Our business property owners need to be encouraged and enabled to work, together and self-funded, to improve appearance, compatibility, and occupancy rate. Our Board can coordinate and push all civic business groups. Our transportation plans need continuous revision, and our traffic problems will never go completely away. Boards need coordination with counterparts in adjoining cities.

5. Post explanation of all reserve fund monies/bank balances, next to check register on the Village web page. Sources and designation of all monies in every reserve need to be clearly and continually displayed.

6. Establish a repair/replacement reserve fund for all hard Village assets.

7. Publish all zoning applications that are anywhere in pipeline, as the law allows. We need no more surprises. Identify all public works projects planned before, state if and when they will be carried out; be sure the public knows of them before bids are authorized.

8. Protect residents.

Larissa Siegel Lara’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Government is instituted to represent us, to unify our community and to deliver services efficiently. Everything I do on the Council will be directed towards achieving that standard.

To guide us toward that end and keep us on track, we need a strategic plan, developed by the Council and representatives from across the community. Achieving community goals requires a tangible plan of action with specific accountabilities, timing, budget and expected results.

During the first 100 days, I will:

1. Establish a Parks and Recreation Citizen Advisory Board to bring the community’s perspective on programming, operating hours and maintenance planning to Palmetto Bay’s parks.

2. Request oversight of Downtown Redevelopment Taskforce so the Council is directly involved with this vital undertaking. My focus will be to ensure that this effort remains energized and progresses toward a successful implementation.

3. Launch a citizens committee to develop a Strategic Plan. Tasked with drafting both a 1-year and 5-year proposal for council review within 90 days, the Committee will benchmark neighboring city plans, and develop a specific approach for stakeholder inclusion.

These initiatives will help invigorate the community, activate smart growth in the business districts and provide resources to sustain high quality services.

My background in business processes and leadership has prepared me as a methodical decision maker and problem solver. My passion for bringing people together will produce tangible results. As an open and independent thinker, I will consider all sides of every issue before the Council.

Jim Shedd’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Public Service means serving the public interest, doing the greater good. For over 33 years I had the honor and the privilege to serve my country beginning at the age of 19 when I enlisted in the U.S. Army (Vietnam 68-70), that was followed by a combination of 30 years of State of Florida Law Enforcement (9 years), and over 21 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Since January 2005, I have been a small business owner in Palmetto Bay and having been on both sides of the aisle (Government and Private); I understand the differences and similarities and therefore, assist both sides in achieving the common goals.

When anyone steps into the public arena and is asking the citizens to trust him or her with that which is most precious in or democracy: “your vote”, it carries with it a very heavy burden and responsibility; I am capable of bearing that burden and fulfilling that responsibility believing in Duty, Honor, Country.

I pledge to you that not only just for the first 100 days, but for the entire time that I have the privilege of representing the Village of Palmetto Bay and its citizens, I will make the decisions that are necessary, keeping focus on the greater good for the entire Village with integrity, civility and a respectful conduct towards all.

+++

My disclosure…… I have not endorsed either of the candidates or their positions.

- David Singer

Guest Post by David Singer: District 1 Candidates Speak

During the election cycle there are few opportunities for the average Palmetto Bay resident to get to know a candidates objective in running for Council. I had an interesting idea, why not from each candidate a narrative on what their personal goals will be in their first 100 days of their term if they win their respective council seats. Narratives were limited to 250 words and I pledged to all candidates I would not comment or change what was submitted. As promised please find their essays below:

Karyn Cunningham’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Create a Resident-Driven Five Year Strategic Plan based on resident surveys and community outreach. These will serve as the basis for development of the goals, objectives and intended outcomes identified by the Council and most importantly, a plan for implementation and accountability.

Reduce Taxes and Eliminate Wasteful Spending- For two years, the village has passed budgets with an average of over 20% increase in general fund operating expenses. This must stop. Despite high marks for village services, dozens of new employees have been hired. We need to spend smart and spend on projects that are determined to be priorities BY THE RESIDENTS, not by the Council or the Village Manager in a vacuum. This can be accomplished using input from better community outreach.

Expand Resident Communications through increased and substantive emails, mailings and newspaper advertising to create more transparency, ease of access and flow of village information to residents about village happenings and other important information of interest to residents.

Create a Small Business Marketing and Communication Plan to increase revenue through business development by attracting and growing local businesses. I will analyze the impact and outcome of our existing policies and how they relate to economic development, job creation and business development in the community.

Expand Village Advisory Boards to create more opportunities for residents to have a voice in local government and encourage civic engagement in the community. New Advisory Boards will include: Financial, Parks and Recreation, and Special Events Planning. In addition, establish Advisory Board Reports on the agenda of every council meeting.

David Zisman’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Palmetto Bay is a great community but the Council has lost its direction, vision and civility. I’m running to change that and build a community of friends and neighbors. I’m a businessman, owner of Evenings Delight. I pledge to bring that experience to the Council. My goals are based on what I’ve heard from Village residents over many years. Although one-hundred days is insufficient time to compensate for the neglect of the current Council’s four years, I will initiate these polices starting in the first Five Minutes of my term:

• Hold the line on taxes.
• Make our Parks the best in the County.
• Develop a downtown that safeguards the residential quality of our village.
• Provide the police with the needed tools to ensure our safety.
• Provide fire stations to save lives in the Village.
• Establish civility on the Council.
• Work with South Florida Water Management to restore deteriorating canal banks throughout our Village.
• Ensure Village employees provide friendly customer service for Village residents.
• Streamline Village government.
• To ensure Transparency, post all bids, contracts and expenses online.
• Stop unnecessary litigation.

Together we will make this a better place to live while maintaining a low tax rate. We need action, not surveys. We need decisive leadership on the Council, not committees. We need a council that will lead us toward a better future. Please JOIN TEAM DAVE! and vote November 4th, David Zisman for Palmetto Bay Council Seat 1. Palmetto Bay, You Deserve Better.
David Singer

PB: Meet the Candidates

Local Realtor Miami Hal (a/k/a Hal Feldman, RE/MAX Advance Realty) offered an excellent service to our community when he videotaped the Palmetto Bay Business Association’s candidates forum. Click here to watch. SDM will augment the service by providing a cheat sheet to find some candidates of interest (time on the video in parentheses):

County Commission District 8

Daniella Levine Cava (7:38)

Lynda Bell (10:15)

Palmetto Bay Mayor

Peter England (13:07)

Patrick Fiore (15:34)

Eugene Flinn (17:32)

Shelley Stanczyk (20:36)

Palmetto Bay Seat 1

Karyn Cunningham (24:12)

David Zisman (26:48)

Palmetto Bay Seat 3

James Shedd (29:09)

Larissa Siegel Lara (31:44)

Henry Clifford (34:26)

SDM Says: The candidates did a creditable job of presenting themselves. A couple of standouts: David Zisman used some of his time to level legitimate criticism of the past village council, especially focusing on the nonsensical dog barking ordinance. Henry Clifford wins the award for most boring presentation. Karyn Cunningham and Larissa Siegel Lara come off as most polished. The mayoral candidates are going to go at it hard, but Flinn and England have to be the frontrunners.

Guest Post by David Singer: Election Season Musings

Guess who’s back?

A vacation from writing has a way of clearing and bringing more focus to an individual. I recently took some time off for that reason to prepare myself for the most crucial election in Village of Palmetto Bay’s history and this blog will probably be the most important in a series of topics I will be writing on prior to the election.

Below I have listed five quick reasons not to vote for the current Mayor in November’s election. To some I may be rehashing history, but as George Santayana once said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

• Mayor Stanczyk single-handedly (with some help from Joan Lindsay) kept the law firm of Figueredo & Boutsis in business. If the Palmer Trinity lawsuit was settled six years ago, as it should have been, the Village of Palmetto Bay would not have spent over $1,000,000 in taxpayer’s money on wasteful litigation. The Village of Palmetto Bay as recently as July of 2014 agreed to basically the same terms as Palmer Trinity offered six years ago and prior to spending the $1,000,000 in legal fees. The firm of Figueredo & Boutsis appears to be no longer in business. It looks as if Mayor Stanczyk and the Village of Palmetto Bay was their largest and maybe only client?

• Mayor Stanczyk wanted and still wants to debark your dogs. Let us not forget this brilliant piece of anti-animal/anti-dog ordinance that she attempted to pass which would have cost a Village taxpayer an average of $300 fine for every five barks on any given day. I guess Mayor Stanczyk never found a dog she didn’t want to kick.

• Mayor Stanczyk, along with our Village Manager Ron Williams, wanted to turn Thalatta Park into a private enterprise wedding venue which affected the Thalatta Park to be open a total of 15 hours per week to the public. The State of Florida had to be notified and basically stopped Mayor Stanczyk’s and Manager William’s delusions of grandeur. Now all residents are assured that Thalatta will be open a minimum of 40 hours per week, run correctly and under the guidelines that were agreed to by the Village.

• Mayor Stanczyk had four years to secure a new fire station for the Village of Palmetto Bay. She had accomplished nothing until last month to make that happen. The Village has been in desperate need for a new fire station the last six years. Did a lack of action on the fire station cause a Palmetto Bay resident’s death? What we know is that only in the last few months has Mayor Stanczyk really focused on a life and death situation that has plagued this Village for years.

• Mayor Shelly Stanczyk and the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) have been equivalent to an infection that has plagued the Village of Palmetto Bay for years now. If the Village residents leave Mayor Stanczyk in office for another four years it would be akin to not finishing all your antibiotics that the doctor prescribed and the unfortunate likelihood is the infection will return. This Village cannot sustain another four years of Mayor Stanczyk and the damage she has done to the Village needs to be repaired by a new Mayor and Council.

This was just a small example of how she has led this Village over the past eight years. I failed to mention her fraudulent website during the last election, her demeanor during the Council meetings, her lack of understanding of Roberts Rules of Order, the numerous ethic complaints filed against her while she’s been in office and her lack of respect for opinions that are not her own, I could go on but you get the point. It’s time to move on and bid her a fond farewell.

David Singer

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers