In the Know

Knowing about all the progressive initiatives going on in Sunny Isles Beach should make residents and visitors feel fortunate to live, work and play in the city becoming internationally known as “Florida’s Riviera.”

DID YOU KNOW… At the Nov. 15 City Commission meeting, a resolution was approved accepting results of the Nov. 6 general election, declaring George “Bud” Scholl to be elected as Commissioner, Seat 3 (southern area); and declaring Jennifer Levin as Commissioner, Seat 1 (northern area), who was automatically elected having no opponents. Scholl, who will now embark on his second four-year term, defeated opponent Harvey Busch by 548 votes, earning 57 percent of the vote while Busch got 43 percent of the vote. Levin is filling the seat of Vice Mayor Lewis Thaler, who was term-limited out. Another general election will be held in November 2014, when the following City Commission seats will be up for election: Mayor (incumbent Norman Edelcup will be termed out); residential area commissioner – seat 2, central area currently held by Jeanette Gatto; and residential area commissioner – seat 4, currently held by Isaac Aelion.


When students start the 2013/2014 school year, the Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 School will be taking learning to a higher level – literally. New levels will soon be added to the existing school building to accommodate 12 new classrooms and roof deck. The Sunny Isles Beach City Commission approved the expansion project to alleviate student overcrowding and allow for the reopening of art and music rooms.

According to a December 2011 memo from the City Manager to the Commission, the agreement [between the City of Sunny Isles Beach and Miami-Dade School District] contains a cost-sharing arrangement in which the city is committing up to $2 million for this expansion project. If the project cost exceeds $4 million dollars, the school district will absorb the additional costs.


Sunny Isles Boulevard is continuing to undergo a dramatic “revitalization transformation.” Two new developments recently approved by the City Commission include: Two, 20-story residential towers at 400 Sunny Isles Boulevard with 230 condo units and an enclosed commercial marina building; and the Sunny Isles Beach Jewish Community Center at 488 Sunny Isles Boulevard – a five-story, multi-use building including a main worship area, a Montessori pre-school, social hall and private restaurant.


Sunny Isles Beach is also moving forward to complete a comprehensive “green initiative” highlighted by the development of even more parks and green space coming to Sunny Isles Boulevard and the south end of the city. DID YOU KNOW… Sunny Isles Beach has one of the lowest property tax rates in Miami-Dade County: 2.8000 mills per $1,000 of assessed value. Bucking economic trends, property values are also on the rise. According to Sunny Isles Beach Assistant City Manager- Finance Minal Shah,

“The 2012 taxable values, including new construction, represents an increase of 10.745% over the 2011 Taxable Values after Value Adjustment Board changes. Without new construction, the increase in taxable values is 9.43%.” The 2012 increase in taxable values is the second consecutive year values have been escalating in Sunny Isles Beach – even exceeding last year’s growth rate. In 2011, Sunny Isles Beach was one of only ten Miami-Dade municipalities that had an increase in property values (up 8.3% from 2010).


Adding yet another positive note to the city’s reputation for inviting the community to enjoy great cultural events, the 5th annual Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest in October was a great success featuring Grammy nominated David Benoit. In keeping with the city’s commitment to giving back to the community, the event helped raise funds to support Joshua’s Heart Foundation.


Sunny Isles Beach now has a new Sister City. Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup and Mayor Mauro Passalacqua of Taormina, Sicily in Italy signed agreements bonding the two cities when the Sunny Isles Beach Commission attended the formal signing ceremony in the host city of Taormina. .

Susan Simpson, director of the city’s Cultural and Community Services Department, explains, “Sunny Isles Beach is a participating member of Sister Cities International – dedicated to fostering cultural, economic, and educational exchanges with cities around the globe sharing similar attributes with Sunny Isles Beach. Through research and a site visit, Taormina, Italy was confirmed to be a suitable partner in a Sister City relationship.

“Taormina, Italy is a beautiful, luxury, coastal, resort community. There are several opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges with Taormina, Italy as they also share a strong commitment to culturally rich public programming as does the City of Sunny Isles Beach. There is a strong mutual commitment to collaborate on educational exchanges. And the tourism industries have already discussed possible collaborations that will continue with the formalization of this relationship.”

Sunny Isles Beach also already has a Sister City relationship with Netanya, Israel; and is currently considering forming another new Sister City alliance with the City of Hengchun/Kenting, Taiwan.


Almost one million vacationers visit Sunny Isles Beach every year. The city is becoming one of the most desirable travel and leisure destinations thanks in part to promotional campaigns launched by the Sunny Isles Beach Tourism and Marketing Council, working in cooperation with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB). Right now, special packages are available at the most desirable Sunny Isles Beach destinations including: Acqualina Resort & Spa, Double Tree by Hilton Ocean Point Resort, Marenas Beach Resort & Spa, Solé on the Ocean Resort & Spa, Trump International Beach Resort, Turnberry Isle Miami and the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort.

According to Rolando Aedo, GMCVB Sr. Vice President of Marketing and Tourism, “Sunny Isles Beach is part of an amazing destination with its own unique brand recognized globally… Occupancy and revenue per available room has risen dramatically and we’ve continued to see record growth. This is great news for Sunny Isles Beach and speaks to the amazing things that have happened here. Ninety-six percent of visitors expressed their intent to return and this satisfaction reflects the city’s [exceptional] hotels, parks and beautification projects – indicating tourists and residents appreciate [the city’s amenities].”


Sunny Isles Beach now has more lifeguards and more towers providing extra safety. Police Chief Fred Maas explains, “Currently, nine towers are operational. Several are newly constructed by our talented public works associates. The design of the new towers includes storage areas for emergency rescue equipment and A.D.A. accessible beach wheel chairs. The strategic location of the towers allows for more coverage of the same amount of beach territory and also allows for ocean rescues to take place while not abandoning or compromising coverage of the beach. In essence, more coverage, more manpower, more equipment, more safety and quicker response time for our patrons. This is where your tax dollars are being invested wisely and efficiently in a life saving, life protecting fashion.”


As of Oct. 5, the Sunny Isles Beach parking meter system changed from Pay-and- Display to Pay-by-Space as a convenience feature to patrons of the municipal parking lots. The new system enables patrons to pay the meter for the desired amount of time and then simply walk to their intended destination without the hassle of waiting for a receipt to print or taking a long walk back to their car with a receipt. Just remember your space number! For more information, phone: 305-792-1705.


Sunny Isles Beach community shuttle buses now offer expanded services. This free service operates seven days a week on various routes, offering riders a convenient transportation option. Daily routes include residences and businesses throughout the city, as well as to the Aventura and Intracoastal Malls. And now, the City has expanded shuttle bus service to include travel to Hallandale, Surfside, and South Beach. Residents also have the opportunity to utilize free shuttle service to and from Mount Sinai Medical Center three days a week. Transportation is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 8 a.m. or 11 a.m. pickup and noon or 3 p.m. return.

Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance, and riders must be picked up at a residence within the City of Sunny Isles Beach.

For more information, phone: 305-792-1706.

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