State of the City 2012 – A look back at 2011

Dear Citizens of Sunny Isles Beach:

According to the City Charter, I am to present a “State of the City” message on an annual basis in January. This affords the Office of the Mayor the ability to update our citizens about important issues that came before your City Commission during this past year.

It is my pleasure and privilege as Mayor of Sunny Isles Beach to report to you, the citizens of our wonderful City, that the state of the City’s financial condition continues to be very secure and strong. This past year we have been able to maintain our funding fund reserve in excess of $10 million.

During the past 4 years the financial and real estate markets in this country suffered the worst downfall since “The Great Depression” in the 1930s. Locally we have seen real estate values drop by as much as 25 to 50 percent. In recognizing these economic changes the City Commissioners and I set into motion important policy and budgetary changes affecting the financial well being of our City.

The projected governmental operating budget for 2012 is $27.8 million, a 2.3 % increase from 2011. According to the Miami-Dade County Tax Assessor’s Office, property values in Sunny Isles Beach – excluding new construction, increased overall from $5.4 billion to $5.6 billion.

The City added $224 million in new construction property values have risen from $2.5 billion to $5.8 billion, an increase of 132%! Our millage rate of $2.886 per $1,000 of taxable value has remained the same as last year. The rate is 14% less than the 3.35 millage rate we had in 2003 when I became Mayor.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach took advantage of its strong liquidity investment and borrowing capacity by refinancing approximately $7.7 million of debt at 5% interest rate to an impressive 2.38% interest rate. As a result it was also able to obtain an additional $2.3 million in funding from Sun Trust Bank. These new funds will be used for developing parks in the southern and western areas of the City.

More than 100 kids and their parents attended the grand opening celebration of the City’s Skate Park on Saturday, February 12, 2011. The Skate Park is located at the west end of Town Center Park, 17200 Collins Avenue. Helmets are required and pads are recommended for all ages. Skateboards and helmets are available for rent on-site at the Skate Park.

For the tenth year in a row, the City of Sunny Isles Beach hosted its unique Egg Scramble event. At my announcement to “go”, children 12 and under “scrambled” through a sea of brightly colored beach balls to collect plastic, candy-filled eggs. Ten thousand eggs were found and shared by over 1,000 children. Once all the eggs were gathered, the festivities continued with a special baseball field dedication to celebrate the naming of the field as the Chief Fred Maas Baseball Field. And then it was fun and games for everyone!

On Monday, April 18th at 10 a.m. 182 Drive next to the school was re-named Commissioner Gerry Goodman Drive. The former commissioner was honored for all his service to the City by family, friends, and professional colleagues. I spoke about Gerald “Gerry” Goodman’s contributions in helping the City to grow, touching on his concerns for residents’ quality of life and safety with regards to traffic and pedestrian crossings.

On June 8th former City Commissioner Roslyn Brezin was also honored by Miami- Dade County and the City of Sunny Isles Beach by naming 183rd Street at Collins Avenue in her name. Many years of service and dedication earned her this dedication. More than 100 citizens witnessed this well deserved presentation.

Heritage Park was dedicated on Saturday, June 18 with a ceremony honoring veterans who served America and commissioners who served the City. Two bands entertained the crowd for 4 hours. Games and face-painting were provided for the children, roving circus performers entertained the crowd and complimentary souvenirs were enjoyed by all.

Sunny Isles Beach celebrated its 14th Anniversary on Sunday June 19th. More than 3,000 citizens enjoyed the free Barbeque. There were games and rides for the children, music and the offshore boat races. It was a sunny day and everyone had a great time.

I was honored on September 21st by the Miami-Dade County Schools by renaming the Sunny Isles Beach K-8 as the Norman S. Edelcup SIB K-8 School. “The children in this community and their education have been a priority during my lifetime of community service and I’m deeply honored by this recognition.”

Celebrating JAZZ in Sunny Isles Beach — Florida’s Riviera celebrated their 4th Annual Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest Thursday, Oct. 13 – Sunday, Oct. 16. In partnership with the Sunny Isles Beach Tourism and Marketing Council to benefit Joshua’s Heart Foundation and Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, more than 800 citizens attended the Jazz Fest contributing more than $2,000 in donations to the charities. Sunny Isles Beach will again be celebrating the sweet sounds of Jazz Thursday, October 11- Sunday, October 14, 2012.

The City’s annual Halloween event “Booogie by the Beach” took place on October 28th and 29th at Pelican Park. Festivities included carnival rides, games, crafts, musical entertainment; a costume contest was also a main event along with the traditional haunted a house with its 15 rooms.

The City held its First Annual Veterans Day Celebration which took place on November 11th at Heritage Park. More than 1,000 citizens attended the ceremonies including many veterans such as former Commissioner Gerry Goodman, the guest speaker, and Charter Commissioner Irving Turetsky. This will be a City annual event.

The dedication and grand opening of Fire Rescue Station #10 took place Wednesday, November 23 in Sunny Isles Beach. The Station is a 2 story 11,400 square foot triple bay facility. The new station accommodates up to 12 firefighters and a battalion chief. Remarks were made by Miami Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman and Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman S. Edelcup.

The year closed with the annual Winter Fest in December at Samson Oceanfront Park. There were rides and games for the children, roaming carolers and Santa made a special appearance to provide a photo opportunity for families.

My fellow citizens, as we enter the New Year 2012, and on behalf of our City Commission, Police Department, City Staff, and myself, we pledge our continued loyalty and dedication to the citizens of Sunny Isles Beach. By working together, we will continue to raise the quality of life for the residents in our community and to promote our City known throughout the world as Sunny Isles Beach, Florida’s Riviera.

In conclusion, we wish everyone in our community a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Thank you, God Bless You and God Bless America.

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