2013 State of the City Address
This evening it is a privilege and honor to come before you in this my First State of City Address. I first want to recognize my esteemed colleagues on the City Council.
I would like to take this time by thanking the Vice Mayor Christi Fraga, Councilwomen Sandra Ruiz, Ana María Rodríguez, Bettina Rodríguez Aguilera, City Manager Joe Carollo and the entire staff for their commitment to the City.
They have been instrumental in assuring the success of this great city (let us give them a round of applause).
I thank you all on behalf of our residents.
I look forward to collaborating and working with you as we continue to move forward.
A few days ago I sent a letter to Mr. Carollo, and I am not going to read the letter in its entirety, but I want to emphasize that it is time to move forward, I know that the people of Doral do not like to see what has occurred with the recent discord between the City Manager and myself.
Few days ago, I read a recent survey about the current political climate, and the people of Doral do not want to see this Public Dispute extend itself any longer. It is no surprise that all of us were impacted by this recent survey of public opinion. It is time to usher in a new season of cooperation and get past our recent squabbles and begin a new. ,,,
The people of this great city,, elected me as their Mayor and you as councilmembers,, and expect us all,,to represent their best interests and work,, in a cooperative and dignified manner. Let us remember what Abraham Lincoln said: "a house divided cannot stand"
I recommended the City Manager to the city council back in January knowing his capabilities and experience. Mr. Carollo the letter I recently sent to you and the intent of that letter was to recognize the excellent job you have done and you continue to doing.
I want to tell the residents that we can turn the page. We are mature adults that can see far and beyond our faults, and I am determined to reflect that spirit going forward.
I encourage you to please think about our City and the residents we have the honor to represent. I have decided to turn the page and challenge all of us to move forward in the interests of the people that have elected me to lead this city.
Two weeks ago I attended the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. It also gave me great pride to participate in the Hanukkah Ceremony. The focus of both Ceremonies was “light”,,,
let’s use light as a source of new energy for this Administration. In other words, as your mayor I want us to take the word light to represent a new beginning for our city,,,,
a new beginning that includes Collaboration, Participation, Peace and Unity for the City of Doral.
I could assure you that this year 2013 has been a successful year for the City of Doral. I could honestly say that I have learned sooo much in this first year.
It has been an honor to serve this wonderful City, and I realize there is so much more to do during this Administration and more importantly to serve the citizens of Doral.
In fact, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and goals about the Future of the City of Doral.
The only way to make a positive impact and understand the issues in this City was to start meeting with the local residences by knocking on their doors. You see,,! being Mayor is not just about cutting ribbons and making appearances at ceremonies, but it is about serving our community and our residents, rolling up our sleeves and working hard every day. It also is about building confidence in our government for the residents and business community. I would like to mention some of the accomplishments the city has benefited during the first year of my administration
Our City has been built on the financial backs of our residents. They feel confidence in their Mayor, city council and city manager because of the stewardship we have shown in amending the past budget and our diligence in working on this current budget.
For the record this has been one of the lowest budgets we have had in the History of this Prestigious City. We have increased our reserves 12 million during the first year of my administration and currently have 42 million dollars in reserves and next year our reserves will increase another 15 million due to the current budget we just approved
We give the public quality and consistent service and are aiming to always improve the quality of those services. We have lowered our taxes twice in the last 15 months.
We actually have the second lowest mileage rate in this County.
We aim to lower taxes and elevate the quality of life of all our fellow Doralians with great efficiency.
We have proven to be excellent stewards of the city’s finances,,,, as I promised to do when elected
At the beginning of the year I proposed effective ways to reduce traffic congestion in our City. We are pleased to have opened several new roads and plan to create new ones to reduce the stress of a growing City. We have to remember that we have close to 50,000 people in our city, and we have over 120,000 that commute into this City daily. As a commuter I have experienced being caught in traffic and can relate with all of you,,,, and this problem needs to be addressed,,, and worked on continuously. We are actively working with County and State Governments to improve our travels by expanding the viaduct road on NW25thstreet, NW117 avenue and other roadways to assist us in alleviating the congestion.
We have already improved by widening NW114 Ave at 41 St, also NW33rd St off of 87 ave and not to mention many other city roads that have been renovated.
Another accomplishment was being able to provide our City’s Police Department with the best possible place to operate in and work effectively. We were able to renovate and increase the infrastructure and space, so that the Police Department can continue and serve our lovely community with dignity,,,,
This project saved the City approximately a staggering 14 million dollars alone because we took advantage of new space that was not being used.
We are currently working on the next project which is called phase 2 and this endeavor will impact the Future of our Police Department fifty years from now.
In the beginning of my tenure I initiated a Zero Tolerance Program to increase the safety of our residences. This program increased Narcotic arrests by 50% within one year. The Crime Watch revitalization increased the number of crime watches to 48 compared to the 27 from the previous year.
The City’s Parks and Recreation department is well known to be one of the best in the nation from its recent award for the Gold Medal,,, award for Excellence in Park Recreation Management.
Maintaining our level of Excellence we are in the process of making the first state of the Art, Indoor and Outdoor Facility to provide a venue for the city’s children to enjoy.
One of my priorities as Mayor has been to provide the council and city with information about savings without decreasing the level of services,,,, that is why,, this administration with the help of the whole staff has transformed the vision for the future of our beautiful City Of Doral.
I want to insure transparency, accountability, efficiency and the well-being of our residents.,,,
These changes are a process that seeks to provide meaningful and understandable disclosures,,,, which are responsive to the council members and our residents.,,,
It involves fundamental changes,, that will not happen overnight.
Now,,, let me talk about the bright Future I see for the City of Doral,,,,
we have Five Goals that will take our beloved City to a new level of Excellence.,,
First of all, we want to increase our communication with the public.,,
Next we want to define the use of vacant and developable land by:
1.Defining the use of the property next to SouthCom on 97th Avenue
2.Establish a Workshop for the discussion of development of J.C.Bermudez Park
•Study and Facilitate the development of a Cultural Center
•Building a Senior Center for the Elderly
•Create of a new Mountain Bike Trail
3.Promote Opportunities for Economic Development
•Identify business Incentives
•Establish proven methods in having businesses hire Doral Residents
4.Continue to develop a Pro-active Police Interaction with the Community
5.Continue the Green Goal Initiatives
My dear fellow citizens,,,
our future is extremely positive,,,
but needs to be worked on every day to continue to guarantee our success.,,
Our city is strong-,,, and getting stronger-,,,
but we must be aware,, of being crushed under the weight of our own success.,, It is time to work harder and closer together than ever before,,,,
and put aside our differences,,
and concentrate on our shared love of this city,,, and desire to make it even better.,,
I would like to close this State of the City Address with a quote from John F. Kennedy by saying: “If we are strong,,,,
our strength will speak for itself.,,,
If we are weak,,,,
words will be of no help”.
Again I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to be here with me this evening. And I want to wish you all a Happy Holiday Season.
City of Doral
8401 NW 53rd Terrace
Doral, FL 33166