Bev Gerald is running for the Palmetto Bay Village Council District 1 seat that will be vacated by Ed Feller, MD.
Gerald has lived in the area that is now the Village of Palmetto Bay since 1976. Her two daughters, Alison and Betsy Gunn, attended Coral Reef Elementary and Southwood Middle schools, and both graduated from Palmetto Senior High.
“I am running to make sure that our village continues the progress we have made since our incorporation in 2002,” Gerald said. “My election to the village council will ensure a voice for fair, positive, and common sense decisions for our residents.”
In addition to her two daughters, Gerald also is the proud grandmother of Sawyer, Liam and Mac O’Keefe. She has been a widow since 2002 and now is retired from full-time employment. She said that she has the necessary time and accessibility to devote herself to public service for the village, and that her experience will help her as a council member.
“My background of more than 14 years working for a city attorney’s office has given me invaluable experience in knowing how the decision-making process works for municipal legislative and legal issues,” Gerald said.
“During several years of community outreach for an elected school board member, I learned about issues that concern our residents. And, as a former small business owner, I am keenly aware of financial and bureaucratic issues that often accompany business ownership.”
Gerald’s most recent employment was with CHARLEE Homes for Children where she served as office manager. Previously, she served as the community liaison for Miami-Dade School Board member Evelyn Greer, worked for more than 14 years in the Miami Beach City Attorney’s Office, and was a business owner at Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami.
Gerald served as secretary of the original Palmetto Bay Steering Committee for the village’s incorporation, starting in 1995 until incorporation was achieved in 2002. For the past 11 years, she has served as president of Let’s Incorporate Now Coalition (LINC) that has helped the five newest cities to incorporate, starting with Miami Lakes in 2000.
She served on the county’s Subcommittee on Annexation and Incorporation, and was County Commissioner Katy Sorenson’s appointee to the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women in the mid-1990s.
“I am honored to receive Commissioner Sorenson’s endorsement for the Palmetto Bay Council District 1 seat,” Gerald stated.
Her extensive volunteer work includes her current appointment to the Palmetto Bay Historic Preservation Advisory Board and she was this year’s treasurer/registrar of the Palmetto Bay/Cutler Bay American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Gerald previously volunteered in the KAPOW program at both Perrine and Vineland elementary schools. She has devoted countless hours to many other non-profit organizations in the county, including Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Chamber South, Economic Development Council of South Dade, Dade Heritage Trust, and the Deering Foundation.
“If elected, my top priority is the protection of our residential neighborhoods from intrusive and inappropriate development,” Gerald said. “We need to carefully weigh the total impact that large projects bring to our residential homes and to our roadways. We must ensure that a balance is struck between maintaining excellent municipal services while keeping our village tax rate low.”
Gerald supports retaining the responsive police force contracted with Miami- Dade County, but thinks that in certain other areas improvements can be made. “A primary need is to consider a change to our comprehensive land use plan that creates a zoning component that better defines the requirements for large projects and mitigates the impact to our neighborhoods,” Gerald said.
“The village needs to create more ‘userfriendly’ policies on zoning and code compliance issues that affect our residents. The village needs to improve its communication to our residents so they will be better informed on these issues.”
Gerald also believes that if the budget allows, village businesses along the US1 corridor may need tax incentives to help them prosper and stay in the village.
“I have lived in Palmetto Bay for 34 years and, as a long-time resident who worked to incorporate our community, I have a keen interest in maintaining and improving the quality of life that makes living in Palmetto Bay such a pleasure,” she said. “While campaigning door to door, I have heard many issues that concern you. I believe that I will be your best voice on the council to represent your concerns.”