Last night was the 8th Annual Palmetto Bay State of the Village. This bittersweet event saw the last address from Palmetto Bay's first mayor and founding father, Eugene Flinn, Jr. Attended by hundreds, the event continues to show the strength of this Miami bedroom community.
"Incorporated in 2002, Palmetto Bay used to be a place where home sales were described as East Kendall, south Dade...or just ignored completely because it didn't fit into a Miami Herald category," explained term-limited Councilman Ed Feller explained. Now, Palmetto Bay is on the map as one of the top places to live in the USA.
Indeed. the Village now boasts police response times among the top in Miami-Dade county, has lived up to it's name as the "Village of Parks", added tons of new space to Palmetto Bay Park (including world-class softball fields), opened a brand new library and amphitheater, and will soon open a LEED-certified "platinum" Village Hall and Town Center.
When many communities were dropping services and raising taxes, Palmetto Bay did the opposite. Of the 33 municipalities in Miami-Dade country, Palmetto Bay has the 3rd lowest tax rate. This year, the taxes will again go down slightly. In fact, through fiscal responsibility, the Village will also place $700,000 into reserves this year. No wonder why the Village has a AA bond rating, almost unheard of in today's economic times.
All the while, new and improved services continue to be provided to Palmetto Bay residents. The annual picnic, regular movie nights in Coral Reef Park, nature events, kayaking, ladybug releases and the summer camp program are just a sampling of what is happening in Palmetto Bay. The Village also purchased and will soon open Thalatta Park, a 4+ acre park right on Biscayne Bay. This new park will allow residents direct access to the water and will host many high-profile events in the future.
Most of the evening was about thanking people. Mayor Flinn explained that when you look at the Village, everyone is contributing. Whether actively working in government or attending in an event, we all make up what Palmetto Bay has become. Flinn went on to recognize lots of people by name, highlighting their roles in the community. He stressed that while there were many names mentioned, each was extremely dedicated and efficient at their job, again underscoring fiscal responsibility.
The event was broadcast live on the web by yours truly. You can see a low-quality version here. I was even honored when the mayor told the audience that I extended the reach of the community to those that could not attend, including his brother serving in Iraq.
As the evening wrapped, the outgoing mayor challenged everyone, "I and the council leave you a house in order. I expect you to keep it in good shape." He went on to say how his heart and family will forever live in Palmetto Bay and he expects to attend lots of community events.
Writer's comments: Six years ago, I moved to Palmetto Bay from New York City. I could not be happier. I am proud to be bringing new people to look at and buy homes in this amazing Village.
A full set of my photos are available here.