Saturday, November 23, 2019

One Year Report Card

Don't make any mistake.  This time last year, North Bay Village was in grave danger of complete failure.  Eight years of scandals, incompetence and misrule had left us with a slender thread of a functioning government.  Hundreds of thousands had been paid out as hush money to fired employees and the village was adrift with a village manager not even employed by the village, no police chief and a scandal prone Village attorney.

When Brent Latham, Marvin Wilmoth and Julianna Strout took their places on the dais, they faced a staff actively working against them while the level of chaos was much higher than any reasonable person would even have predicted.   

In the past, I have written about the peculiar tendency of the new administration not to publicize the many changes they have accomplished since those dark days.  Well, finally, there's a list and it's a good one.  

The 2019 North Bay Village Report Card.  

  • Grants:  $11 million and counting in grants compared to the previous year of $0
  • Dog Park:  On track for completion in  January 2020.  
  • FreeBee:  The Island Hopper was replaced by On Demand Ride service to anywhere in the Village, Collins Avenue in Miami Beach and Biscayne/79th St.  
  • Downtown  Express:  Starting December 3, North Bay Village will be running two or three daily FREE nonstops to the Omni Transportation Center where you can transfer to the People Mover. 
  • Cost to The Village for Both Services:  Number to follow but less than the cost of the Island Hopper. 
  • Community Events:  Over 20 community events so far this year including the Mayor's Restaurant of the Month, Commissioner Strout's Women's Initiative Panel Discussions, planned Bike Rides, NBVPD Movie Nights, Halloween Spooktacular, Winter Wonderland and others.  
  • Community Policing:  Carlos Noriega was rehired and promptly reinvigorated Crime Watch, expanded PAL to include ALL North Bay Village kids, not just the ones in school at Miami Beach, put cops back on the street, reinstated the bike patrols and opened our police department back up.  
  • NBV100:  The Strategic Planning is ongoing and includes all aspects of Village development now and in the next 25 years.  Of special note is that North Bay Village is not only addressing resiliency but taking the lead.  
  • Unprecedented Cooperation with State and Federal Elected Officials:  State Rep Michael Griece, State Senator Jason Pizzo and Congresswoman Donna Shalala have been engaging actively with North Bay Village elected officials and they are bringing home the benefits to us.  Compare and contrast to 2018 when we received $0 in shared funding from the state and less from the feds.   
The three useful members of our commission, Latham, Wilmoth and Strout are working hard to direct the village to doing the right things, and with the staff of Village Manager Ralph Rosado, Chief Noriega, and others doing things the right way, the results have been dramatic.  

There's a lot more to come, and many more arguments to be had and they will be had,  

The hard work is paying off.  

I'd give them an "A" with room for improvement in communications, financial planning and responsiveness.   

What's your grade?

Kevin Vericker
November 23, 2019

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