On July 29th, newly elected Mayor Carlos Gimenez addressed the Pillar Members of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce for his first presentation to a business organization since the election in June 2011. Held at the La Gorce Country Club, the Quarterly Pillar Breakfast sponsored by Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. is a program initiated by the Chamber Leadership this year.
Introduced by Former County Commissioner Jimmy Morales, Mayor Gimenez spoke to the business leaders of Miami Beach about pertinent City issues such as tax reductions, shrinking the size of government department and staff, green initiatives, while focusing on public safety and programs for seniors and children. Morales is currently with Stearns Weaver and a member of the Board of Governors at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Gimenez is responsible for the management of an annual budget that exceeds $7.5 billion for the City, and the largest concern expressed by the business leaders present were the allocations of these funds. Since the election, Gimenez has cut the size of the government departments from 50 to 26 in order to preserve funds, and rolled back raises for government employees.
Mayor Gimenez answered questions from the audience also focusing on the dredging projects of the Port of Miami to accommodate to the new megaships coming in from the expansion of the Panama Canal. Mayor Gimenez assured the public that a raise in water and sewer taxes would not be implemented this year to finalize this initiative.
Pillar Board Chairman, Michael S. Goldberg said, “It’s great that our members were able to express their concerns about the local business community to Mayor Gimenez. His presentation was precise and to the point on what his goals are during his term as Mayor. The Mayor’s attendance at our Quarterly Pillar breakfast was key in helping make the event successful. I commend him for selecting the Miami Beach Chamber for his first presentation to a business organization.”
A standing ovation was given for Mayor Gimenez, when he announced that the Miami Beach Convention Center needed to be brought up to a grade ‘A’ Convention Center to attract more business conferences to Miami Beach.
Aaron Perry, Immediate Past Chair of the Miami Beach Chamber, said “It is very encouraging to hear that the construction of a new convention center on Miami Beach is a priority for Mayor Gimenez.”
The Chamber’s Sustainable Business Council Leaders were present at the event, and noted that they were in full support of the measures for affordable environmental protection. The City of Miami Beach has spearheaded several programs to keep the city green, and was recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement City Livability Award by The U.S. Conference of Mayors. Gimenez’s priorities on green efforts are supported by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Alongside Mayor Gimenez, Judge Darrin P. Gayles, 11th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, who was introduced by Pillar Board member Michael Grieco, Criminal Law Offices of Michael C. Grieco, addressed the Chamber members at the Breakfast event as well. Judge Gayles spoke to the executives about the budget and salary cuts that had been implemented within the Judicial Court employees. Gayles advocated for proper compensation for lawyers, and judges and also for the community to become more involved in the selection of trial judges.
The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce hosts a Pillar Breakfast for its members on a quarterly basis, and invites prominent leaders of the community to address key issues facing the City of Miami. The next breakfast will be held on October 7th, 2011.