Palmetto Bay Mayor Shelley Stanczyk gave the State of the Village Address on Wednesday, Oct. 17, the 10th year the annual event has taken place, but with several notable “firsts” that added significance to the Palmetto Bay milestone.
For the first time, the address took place at Village Hall instead of Palmetto Bay Village Center as it has in the past. The event also was simulcast via live-streaming video and on WBAY Channel 77.
After a reception in the promenade in front of Village Hall at 6:30 p.m. that drew 250 people, the event moved inside to the council chambers for the address. Southwood Middle School Jazz Band provided cocktail hour music, The Children’s Voice sang the National Anthem and the Miami-Dade Police Honor Guard gave a spectacular presentation of colors.
Phillis Oeters of Baptist Health, a sponsor of the event, gave the welcome remarks and introduced Mayor Stanczyk, who in turn introduced the village council, charter officers and village staff. Stanczyk also acknowledged visiting VIP’s such as Miami- Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell and South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard.
After a short video celebrating the 10th year of the village’s incorporation, Mayor Stanczyk began.
“As you all know, Palmetto Bay was incorporated in September 2002,” Stanczyk said. “The birth of our city, like the birth of our nation, didn’t come without a fight. I’m sure former Mayor Eugene Flinn, attorney Ed Ludovici, and our current Vice Mayor Brian Pariser will be more than happy to share some of their early war stories with you.”
Stanczyk went on to talk about the improvements to the park system, mentioning each park and its special attractions. Next she mentioned education.
“I am very proud of our village’s schools — thanks to the dedication of our remarkable principals, administrators and parents who work so hard to make sure our children succeed,” Stanczyk said.
Mayor Stanczyk praised the work of the Palmetto Bay Village Policing Unit.
“Your council recently voted to help this effort by adding two police officers to the force for this fiscal year,” she said. “Once again, we have one of the best response times to calls for service — emergency and non-emergency. Commander Truitt and his dedicated officers are to be commended for this remarkable trend, year after year.”
She also praised the Public Works Department, which has made significant advances in roadway improvements, traffic calming and stormwater drainage. Stanczyk said that sidewalk repairs and installations of new sidewalks would continue.
The mayor promised improvements to IBus service and ongoing beautification enhancements as well.
“Once again — four years in a row — we have received Tree City USA recognition and were awarded the Tree City Growth Award for our continued outstanding commitment to our tree canopy,” Stanczyk said.
She mentioned the attention that Planning and Zoning has been receiving about ordinances creating “appropriate standards” for non-residential uses in residential neighborhoods.
“We love our churches and schools and we love our residents,” Stanczyk said. “We want all to be able to live in harmony. To that end, we have worked hard to create laws to protect everyone’s interests. Just as residents don’t want to be surprised when they discover a large development comes to their neighborhood, we also want to make sure that developers are not surprised by provisions of the laws that were not clear to them.”
She spoke about the Code Compliance Department’s Lot Maintenance and Abandoned Properties Program, tackling foreclosed properties that have been allowed to fall into disrepair. Stanczyk said she is proud of the Art-in-Public Places program, which is managed by Planning and Zoning.
Next she mentioned the Building Department and improvements there.
“When we first took over this function, our average turn-around for permits was seven days for homes. Now, it is 1.28 days. The average was 15 days for businesses; now, it is 1.57 days.” Stanczyk mentioned that the millage rate has been held at 2.447 since 2009 and reminded everyone that out of their entire tax bill, only 13 percent goes to Palmetto Bay. The rest goes to county government, the public school system, South Florida Water Management District, and other services.
“In this contentious world that we currently live in, our community is not immune,” Stanczyk said in closing. “I urge all of us to work together, to be respectful of each other, and to realize that while we may have different views, we can express these views with courtesy.
“We all come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different cultures, but we are all human beings who have basically the same needs — we strive for a sense of contentment. Like any family, we may have our battles, but… in the end, we are all residents of Palmetto Bay and we share a goal — to make this village the best community to live in.”