Investing In Our Future

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

When I was elected last November with a mandate from the people to “fix what’s broken and make things work,” I was tasked with making very difficult decisions. As Mayor, I do not have the liberty to debate the causes of sea level rise, tidal surge, or climate change, but I am charged with ensuring that Miami Beach, its residents, and its businesses are equipped to handle the effects.

We have already taken immediate action. Earlier this year the City Commission unanimously voted to raise standards on citywide projects for stormwater planning and there are currently three new pump stations being installed on an emergency basis on lower Alton Road that will be completed in the coming months.

It’s time to continue moving forward with a comprehensive plan for a fortified stormwater drainage system to combat our chronic flooding. While some may feel there’s time to delay, yesterday, six out of the seven members of the City Commission, myself included, voted to invest in our community’s future by increasing stormwater rates. In this economic environment, any form of fee or tax increase is very difficult to do. I commend the five Commissioners who voted “yes” for their courage and for putting the interests of our City and its residents above self-serving and shortsighted politics.

Clearly, if the City had other funds available to finance this emergency flood prevention program, we would have used them instead of raising the rates. The new rates will reflect an average increase of $7 per month, or approximately $.25 per day for the typical household. The funds will be used to finance the reconstruction of our antiquated stormwater drainage system, which entails the following proposed upgrades:

● Installation of 35 large pump stations
● Installation of 30 smaller pump stations
● Conversion of 21 injection pumps
● Repair of existing outfalls that discharge stormwater and installation of one-way flex valves

Moving forward, to finance the remainder of our flood prevention program, my colleagues and I will explore all possible external funding opportunities, including county, state, and federal sources.

As your Mayor, I will never play politics with an issue as dire as flooding mitigation in our City. You can always count on my dedication to doing what’s right and to serve the best interests of our residents. I will work day and night to make these improvements and to make every dollar we spend count. Because when it comes to this city and to the people who live in it, I don’t play politics. I play, “Let’s get it done.”