Dear Neighbor,

Happy New Year!  As you would expect, I am re-focusing, re-energizing, and setting priorities for 2017!
 
As your City Commissioner, I worked hard in 2016 to keep my campaign promises to you (accomplishment highlights follow below).

As I set priorities for the coming year, I welcome hearing what you think is important for the direction Miami Beach should take in 2017 and beyond. Preservation of property values and affordable flood insurance will continue to be important, as are affordable and workforce housing, efficient and transparent city government, improving city parks, and stimulating arts & culture.  We must revitalize Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue as our traditional visitor meccas, and add North Beach to the list of special destinations.  
Please let me know how you see it.

Sincerely,  

Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán
johnaleman@miamibeachfl.gov
2016: Campaign Promises Kept!
Fiscal Responsibility
In keeping my promise to you for fiscally responsible decision-making, my colleagues and I passed the lowest property tax rate in the history of the City of Miami Beach.

I have supported new infrastructure required to sustain your property values into the future, including stormwater and sewer system improvements, and elevations of streets and seawalls. For many families, their primary residence is the single largest asset they own, and I want to ensure that we continue increasing property values as we did in 2016.   

I also sponsored the creation of the Resiliency Communications Committee whose goal is to reduce your flood insurance premiums. Read more HERE.  I will keep you posted on progress!
Further demonstrating the fiscal prudence of this Commission, we pre-funded $3M for the City's  pension mortality payment , which is about half of the City's additional pension obligation that will come due in 2018.  I will be serving on the City's FInance Committee again in 2017.
Quality of Life for Residents
The list of steps, some big some small, that my colleagues and I have taken to keep Miami Beach one of the best cities in America to live, play and work is lengthy. Two major areas of focus have been:

Keeping You and Your Family Safe: we created a new police unit for the entertainment district, added police officers in North and South Beach, added park rangers (who are all military veterans) throughout the city, acquired a fire boat as well as emergency management radio system replacement, and more.

Party House Crackdown... we upped fines, upped enforcement, and shifted the burden of proof to violators for illegal transient home rentals.  I am also working on tools to make renting easier for responsible landlords - more on that when ready for prime time... In the meantime, tourists can already use www.practicesaferenting.com to verify their vacation rental is legal. 

Environment, Flooding & Sustainability
2016 has been a banner year for Miami Beach as a national leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship.  We:
  • Created a new Environment and Sustainability Department.  
  • Joined the 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC).
  • Kicked off a long-term, comprehensive resilience strategy for our City and the greater region.
  • Budgeted $1M for resiliency enhancements.
  • Established a tree preservation trust fund, and strengthened shade canopy protections.
  • Banned Styrofoam citywide.
  • Set standards for beach sand quality.
  • Expanded our recycling scope to textiles and electronics.
  • Adopted a Green Procurement Policy.
  • Adopted LEED building standards.
Building in Resilience - 
The City has partnered with two PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing companies, which enable you to pay off energy efficient and/or green energy improvements to your home over time through an assessment on your property tax bill. Learn more HERE.

Safeguarding Evacuation Routes - 
The City of Miami Beach in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation ( FDOT) began a flooding mitigation project along Indian Creek Drive/SR A1A Drive from 26 Street to 41 Street. The infrastructure improvements will include a new storm water drainage system, pump station and seawall. The existing roadway, curbs, gutters and sidewalks will be elevated to meet new flood elevation requirements. Driveways, light poles, signals, signage and pavement markings will be replaced to match new roadway alignment and configuration.  Thanks to Mayor Levine and City Manager Morales, the State got started on this critical 24-month project, and is picking up $20M of the $25M tab.  

To learn more about the City's Planned Progress click HERE.
Education Innovation
I have continued to serve on the City's Quality Education Committee to ensure that education is a priority in our City.  

2016 Education Enhancements included:
  • City-funding for additional Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten classes.
  • Dual Enrollment classes for college credit at Nautilus Middle School and Miami Beach Senior High.
  • Supporting the creation of a new culinary elective at MBSH.
  • Behavioral health and health clinic funding for public schools city-wide. 

Traffic and Transportation

2016: The Year of the Trolley

Yes, Miami Beach, you now have a FREE city-wide trolley with WiFi!

Learn more HERE.


New Laws to Reduce Congestion

I sponsored a few headache-reducing initiatives in 2016:
  • Increased fines to developers who block major thoroughfares during peak hours.
  • Scooter parking program for North Beach, which created additional resident parking opportunities.


and supported colleagues' ideas including:
  • Requiring traffic studies on all new projects
  • Tighter controls on tourist bus disembarkation 
  • Requiring off-street loading spaces


Water Taxi to Miami

With access points at the Miami Beach Marina and Purdy Avenue Dock, you can now make your way by water to the City of Miami.

Schedule and fares are HERE.

The Future of Transportation

Whether you live in South, Mid- or North Beach, you can attest that our Causeways are choke points, and any little disruption on I-95 causes arterial and surface street backups all throughout Miami Beach.    You have probably said "no" to something fun because of the pain of getting there.     [Get Miami Beach traffic alerts by texting MBTRAFFIC to 91011].  

Whe ther or not light rail is the best technology, traffic within our City limits will only be materially reduced  by two transformative forces: regional interoperable mass transit and autonomous vehicles.

Mass Transit -
We ought to be able to get to and from Miami International Airport, downtown, etc. on reliable rapid mass transit that does not get snarled up with the cars.  Most major cities have it, and we are decades behind.  What technology we use is of lesser concern than the requirements that (1) it be interoperable over the causeways into Miami, (2) that we get as much funding support from the County, State and Feds as possible, and (3) that we see it in our lifetime! Keeping pressure on the County to prioritize the Beach Corridor (BayLink) is crucial.  The Commission has pressed "pause" on our light rail plans, and I have asked the City Manager to expand our environmental study to meet federal funding eligibility requirements.

Autonomous Vehicles -
We can speculate when and how autonomous vehicles will transform transportation and parking, but clearly this is no longer science fiction.  Self-driving cars are now allowed in NevadaFloridaMichiganCalifornia, and the District of Columbia, at least for testing purposes. 
Here are some interesting relevant articles:


Preservation
Historic preservation was a topic of debate throughout 2016.  
To summarize:

Residential Multi-family
MiMo architecture in North Beach received historic support from the Commission with the initiation of new Conservation and Local Historic districts. 

Single Family Homes
Setbacks and other design criteria were implemented for new construction; I held a community workshop to identify preservation incentives to tip the scales in favor of single family home preservation.

Commercial
Incentives for adaptive re-use were reinforced and enhanced; 1700 Alton was designated.


I also sponsored a new rule that our Land Use Boards will evaluate resiliency and sustainability on all projects that come before them... development and preservation strategies and projects must address future climate change.
But it's not all work... 
Whether it is celebrating with our seniors, mentoring future leaders, or collaborating with community leaders, the people-side of public service is a joy and a privilege.
marjorie
schools girls
mayors
In 2017, I will continue to drive positive progress to make Miami Beach an innovative and resilient city, and simply
a great place to live, work, play and raise a family!
Commission Meetings 2017
Click  HERE to access the City Commission Schedule

Click HERE to access the City's Boards and Committees

A special THANK YOU to all of my City Committee appointees and nominees who volunteer to serve...
I appreciate you!

Moving Miami Beach Forward Together!

Whether you are a Miami Beach resident or a business owner in our community, my office is here to help!  Our door is always open, so feel free to stop by or e-mail me at johnaleman@miamibeachfl.gov

Follow me on  Facebook  and  Twitter  to stay up-to-date on important initiatives throughout our community.
John E. Alemán | City of Miami Beach Commissioner | 786-459-7111 | johnaleman@miamibeachfl.gov