Palmetto Bay Officials Advocate for the Village at the State Capitol
Members of Palmetto Bay’s Council and administration traveled to Tallahassee this week to meet with members of the State of Florida Legislature and discuss the Village’s 2023-2024 legislative agenda. Mayor Karyn Cunningham, Vice Mayor Leanne Tellam, Councilwoman Marsha Matson, Village Manager Nick Marano, Village Clerk Missy Arocha, Community & Economic Development Director Heidi Siegel, and Executive Assistant Karla Maestre made the trip to advocate for several important projects that will positively impact the safety and quality of life in Palmetto Bay.

The highest profile items on the Village’s agenda were the upcoming Veterans’ Park and planned sub-basin projects. Funding for Phase 1 of the Veterans Park project, which includes walkways, a boardwalk, a natural area, family bathrooms, interactive displays, and a Gold Star Family memorial is currently in the Senate budget and we are optimistic about the funding for Sub-Basins 41 and 11. Both sub-basin projects are identified in the Village’s 2020 Stormwater Master Plan. The two structures need improvements based on drainage deficiency issues due to limited system capacity and the condition and age of the systems. We will continue to work with our state delegation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to secure funding for these important projects. The Village has previously been awarded $4,558,600 over the past two years for other sub-basin projects and will work diligently to get our stormwater projects into this year’s budget.

To seek assistance in furthering these initiatives, the Palmetto Bay delegation met with Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez; Senator Alexis Calatayud; Senator Jason Brodeur; Representative Vicki Lopez; Representative Alina Garcia; Policy Director Kim Cramer from the Governor’s Office of Policy & Budget Environmental Unit; and Executive Director James “Hammer” Hartsell from the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Besides lobbying for funding, Palmetto Bay officials also discussed the proposed amendments to the Live Local Act and how the bill may be improved for the benefit of smaller communities, such as Palmetto Bay. Mayor Cunningham and Manager Marano personally met with the incoming Speaker of the House Danny Perez to discuss areas of importance to the Village. Mayor Cunningham also met personally with Representative Mike Redondo, who represents District 118, the area immediately west of Palmetto Bay, and Deputy Secretary Mara Gambineri from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

While at the state Capitol, Mayor Cunningham also ran into several Palmetto Bay residents who are representing the neurodivergent/UM card. It is not surprising to see Palmetto Bay residents involved in matters that affect the wellbeing of our South Florida community.
The delegation returned home feeling positive about the progress they made on the trip, and confident that support and funding can be secured for these projects that will be so meaningful to the Village. We will continue to monitor the budgeting process in the state and will report back to our residents any new information about our funding requests and other priorities.
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