Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez presented his final State of the City Address, before leaving his current position to move on to Miami-Dade County Commission representing District 12.
He began his speech by thanking everyone who has supported him as the City of Doral leader. “God gave me the opportunity to be the first-ever mayor of the City and comeback in 2016, as difficult as this position may be,” Bermudez said.
Then he proceeded to highlight the City’s accomplishments of the past year, starting with the millage rate adopted for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 of 1.7166, the lowest millage rate of any of the 34 municipalities in Miami-Dade County for the upcoming year and the lowest ever in the City’s history of almost 20 years.
“We promised to build a city that would not raise taxes, and we kept our promise,” the Mayor commented.
In addition, this year, the City of Doral received the Distinguished Budget Award by the Government Finance Officers Association, an AA+ in the City’s long-term Credit, worked in updating its investment policy under a 5-year financial plan, obtained a gold status for 2022 with the ‘Workplace, Wellbeing Award for Making a Difference’, was honored as the ‘Healthiest Employers in South Florida for a Medium Size Company’, was one of the nominees for the Florida Worksite Wellness Awards through a consortium of Miami-Dade and, lastly, the City obtained a gold status for the Work Place High Achievement.
As part of the many tasks, the City embarked on this year there is the digital security component, which is why through the IT Department, several cybersecurity trainings took place.
Public Safety, Road Infrastructure and the Parks Bond
Aside from the many recognitions the City of Doral obtained this year, Mayor Bermudez talked largely about three cornerstones: Public safety, road infrastructure, and the many improvements and facilities created under the parks bond.
“Public safety is the number one goal of our community to make sure you are all safe,” Bermudez pointed out. For this reason, this year there are about 154 sworn officers, and the City went through negotiations with the Police Benevolent Association and the City and the South Florida Police Benevolent Association to reach an agreement on a new three-year contract for the Police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants approved by 96% of the officers.
Also, there was an increase in base pay and off-duty pay for all sworn officers, additional bonus incentives, and healthcare benefits for retired officers as well as a partnership to provide mental health support to Police officers.
As far as road infrastructure goes, this year was completed North West City 2nd Street and 114 Av. traffic signal project began construction of the Doral Boulevard Medium Landscape and Improvement Project Phase II, between 97th and Palmetto Expressway; of the Intersection Improvement Project at 58th and 112-114, and finally the construction of the Stormwater Improvement Project Phase II was completed.
The Mayor also highlighted in the State of the City Address the extension of the Trolley’s route number 2 to service Jackson Memorial Hospital in Doral West and the Doral Academy Charter Elementary School.
Lastly, Doral families will be able to enjoy the many park renovations and facilities approved for this year and the next.
“Today we have 11 parks, over 165 acres of green space, the County’s largest park project in Doral Central Park, which comes in part from a bond approved by the residents in November of 2018, and that $150 Million Bond allows us to do a number of different things, including developing Doral Central Park (phase I it’s complete) which will have the first competitive aquatic facility in Miami-Dade County in a long time.”
The Parks Bond has also made it possible to complete the Doral White Course Park on May 4, 2022, and the Trails & Tails Park Lighting Project. Underway there are a pedestrian bridge park project that is about to start, a skate park, baseball and multipurpose fields, and a fitness loop. “Up until now, there’s been about 23 million dollars of work done on that.”
On the other hand, in Doral Glades Park will be offered new monthly nature programs thanks to a partnership with Miami-Dade County. Also, there was an expansion of the capacity for the Seniors Citenzs Program as well as the Special Olympics Program.
The City of Doral received the Army Partnership Award, a grant to improve the Silver Club and an award for Excellence in Park Recreation and Conservation Open Space Plan and Design. “Over a million dollars were received in land water conservation fund grants for Doral Central Park.”
As final remarks, Mayor Bermudez said traffic will continue to be a challenge in 2023, and the trolley will be critical to improve it.
He also took the opportunity to invite residents to help Doral keep its position as the best place to live, work, learn and play before saying goodbye. “I want to thank the Councilmembers for making this government efficient, effective and transparent. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead you for almost 16 years. I leave you with my best wishes.”