Dear Editor,

I attended the city budget workshop this past Monday (August 15, 2022) and no different than with many other council meetings I attend, I leave there shaking my head.

The Curtiss Mansion, The Historical Society, and the River Cities Festival were all there, asking for monies.  All three [are] super essential non profit organizations to this community. Yet some of our council people drilled these volunteers, like they were asking for the world.

Curtiss Mansion and Gardens
Curtiss Mansion and Gardens

Yes. We are a small city budget, but not small enough that you would not consider these requests. Some requests are nominal at best, in the overall scheme of operating a city.

These are organizations that are part of our identity and our history as a community. They help bring visitors, that in turn, eat in our restaurants, buy in our shops, and stay in our hotels.

Look it bothered me, because I just wish I would see them drill their own department heads with same questioning on how they come up with these proposals for city projects, and how those monies are delegated. I just felt they were being a penny-wise and pound-foolish.

They’ve thrown numbers recently around like if trees grow to the sky:

  • Improvements to the doggy park $90,000
  • Median project on South Royal Poinciana $2.7 million
  • Exercise equipment on Curtiss Parkway $100,000
  • New racquet ball courts at a cost of $300,000
  • New playground on Regan Park $100,000
  • 3 million dollar loan for improvements on the golf course.

Come on.  Are there only a few of us that see it?

These non profit organizations each play a crucial role in our economic development as a community.  Successful economic development today, is not about what you don’t have, but it’s about what you do have. Let’s not take them for granted.

I know Mayor Mitchell knows it. I hear her and see her all the time make efforts to acknowledge all these great volunteers. I’m just not convinced everybody else sees it that way.

I’m a resident for 23 years and counting. I volunteered in many organizations, from the moment I stepped foot in this beautiful town. I whole heartedly believe we need to support and help these non profit organizations. They are super essential and valuable.

If you really look at what they were asking for, and why they were asking for it, the questions on some organizations should been minimal. The requests were for start up funds for a festival that the community looks forward to every year, and one for improvements to a historical building on city owned property.

The only thing that I would have reservations would be the Historical Society request. Not the idea or concept of a museum, because it’s needed. The placement of it is my problem. Unfortunately, they got this location [on Stafford Park] as a last resort, after many years of trying other locations within the city. Councilman Best has alluded to this several times before…why the Historical Society and Curtiss Mansion don’t work together?

That one does leave me scratching my head.

I guess force their hands to work together, if they want the city funds. This is why the city needs a complete strategic plan and everyone working synergistically together towards that plan.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse by bringing up the Town Center, but I will. Unfortunately, it’s necessary sometimes to get your point across to others. Those are type of projects were you probe and ask the tough questions. Maybe others forget the number of city projects that were mismanaged and went over budget.

Yes our city council is there to be the eyes and ears for the good of public interest, but please be more diligent on budget items that really could put a dent on future budgets.
Reinvestment in your city is no different than a company who reinvests their profits back to its own corporation. There is value in these organizations and what these volunteers bring to the table. Some of our residents and maybe even our city officials, don’t realize it themselves.

You don’t think your property values just go up because you want it to. Do you?

Well it’s through all the efforts of all our local non profit organizations, and some of your city leaders with vision, that help shape the type of community, that is in such high demand in real estate.

We just all have to be committed to work together, as a community, to make this an even better place to live.

Jorge Santin
Miami Springs Resident


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