Flinn presents final State of the Village

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Mayor Eugene Flinn (left) and Councilman Edward Feller (center) are honored with a commemorative street sign finial during the finale of their eight years of “exemplary service” to the community, as Vice Mayor Brian Pariser looks on. Both members of the original Palmetto Bay Village Council are required to step down after serving a maximum two terms in office. The presentation took place at the State of the Village event on Oct. 27.

It was the eighth and final State of the Village address for outgoing Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene P. Flinn Jr., and a time mostly for looking back, but also ahead.

Taking place on Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the third floor Palm Room at the Palmetto Bay Village Center on Old Cutler Road and SW 184th Street, the event began at 6:30 p.m., a half hour earlier than usual to allow more time for visiting with Mayor Flinn and District 1 Councilmember Ed Feller, MD. Both have reached term limits and will be leaving village government.

That opening social hour was accompanied by a string ensemble from Palmer Trinity School, followed by a retrospective video of the village’s first eight years. After the traditional formal opening by the Miami-Dade Police Honor Guard, the mayor’s address, on the theme of “Building Community,” allowed Flinn to recap the events of previous years and express his vision for the future.

“Words cannot adequately express how proud I am of the residents of Palmetto Bay; how honored I have been to serve as your first mayor, and how excited I am about the future we created together,” Flinn stated in his speech. “We have created a community that exceeded all original expectations. Eight years have flown by so quickly — so many projects, so many challenges, so many successes.”

Flinn recounted the village council’s successes in ending mitigation, establishing reserves of more than $7 million, providing a range of services that residents asked for with a vibrant park system, an improved infrastructure of roads, sidewalks and drainage, while remaining fiscally conservative and keeping an excellent bond rating.

He also issued a challenge to the next mayor and council.

“I am leaving this house in good order,” Flinn said. “I join my fellow residents in expecting it to stay this way.”

He spoke on the improvements to Coral Reef Park, Palmetto Bay Park, Perrine Wayside Park and the addition of Thalatta Park and Ludovici Park to the village. He addressed the accomplishments of various departments such as the Village Policing Unit, Finance, Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement and others. He also said that even the seven-year battle to end mitigation fees to the county was a good thing.

“The $1.7 million we paid between 2002 and 2009 was, in essence, quite beneficial to us,” Flinn said. “The strong legacy of the mitigation- period remains. It taught the village how to serve the public on a reduced budget. We learned how to do more with less. I would like to thank Mayor J.C. Bermudez of Doral and Mayor Michael Pizzi of Miami Lakes for their persistence and for joining with me to fight for our money back.”

Event supporters included Baptist Health South Florida, who catered it; University Credit Union; Krispy Kreme; 1st National Bank of South Florida; Crown Wine & Spirits, and Scott Silver/Palmetto Bay Village Center. Members of the village Garden Club volunteered as wine servers, and Sunbox Eleven Winery donated a gift basket as a door prize.

“Words can not completely express how grateful I am to all of you for supporting me over the years, and I will never forgot that I will always be one of you — a proud resident of Palmetto Bay,” Flinn said in closing.

“I’m not exactly sure what my future holds, but there is one thing that I am sure of. Together, we built this community. Together, we will keep it great. Palmetto Bay is outstanding and I will always treasure the opportunity that I have had, to serve you all, these past eight years.”

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