Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid delivered his 2021 State of the Town address before a crowd inside the council chambers at Town Hall.
“The past 18 months have proven extraordinarily difficult,” Cid said on Oct. 21, in reference to the COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 6,472 people in Miami-Dade County, according to USAFacts.org.
“… We honor those we have lost during the pandemic by moving forward,” Cid said.
Elected officials from Miami Lakes and the county kept their promises to leave the town in better shape than when they found it, Cid said.
“And I’m glad to report that the promise has and continues to be kept as the state of our town is stronger than ever,” Cid said.
“And that’s why I’m extremely grateful for the team I get to work with every single day. With their never-ending support, we have managed to accomplish amazing things.”
Highlights listed by Cid include:
--A sale of $15.5 million in municipal bonds to fund stormwater drainage improvements;
--Receipt of $550,000 in federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funds that Cid said benefited 100 small businesses in town;
--Miami-Dade Police partnered with the Royal Oaks homeowners association to install cameras to scan license plates, which Cid said helped in the recovery of two stolen vehicles and reduced crime.
--Plans are underway for a possible $18.7 million redevelopment of Miami Lakes Optimist Park.
That project will likely require a return to the bond markets for funding, which voters may be asked to approve in the November 2022 election.
Elected official receives key to the town
Cid gave Sen. Rene Garcia, Miami-Dade County commissioner from District 13, the key to the town.
“It really is a distinct honor,” Garcia said about the first key he has ever received.
He previously represented Miami Lakes and surrounding communities in the state legislature.
“It’s been an honor of my entire life to represent this constituency,” he said of his East Hialeah roots, Miami Lakes and northwest Dade, which he called “one community.”
“You have an incredible [town] council here that is continuously working and fighting to make sure Miami Lakes is represented not only in Tallahassee but also before the county commission,” Garcia said.
Police officers, businesses, citizens and employees recognized
Two Miami-Dade Police officers who have spent their entire careers protecting Miami Lakes, worked in town prior to incorporation and will retire by the end of the year, received mayoral proclamations.
Cid praised Officer Juan Rodriguez for his “dedication and hard work” which “exemplified the embodiment of community policing.”
During his 25-year career, Rodriguez attended homeowner association meetings; participated in monthly meetings of five of the town’s volunteer committees; assisted with traffic at Bob Graham K-8 and Miami
Lakes Middle School and helped plan successful events such as the Fourth of July celebration; Veterans Day Parade; Spring Fling and Halloween in the Park.
He also performed crime prevention surveys for residents and businesses.
Rodriguez said while it was difficult to learn all the street names at first, “This is a great town.”
Sgt. Eduardo Ruesga has 30 years on the job. He is credited with creating a plain clothes squad and Street Crimes Unit and making arrests in home and auto burglaries and thefts, stabbings and shootings, work that led to the continuous decline in crime in the town, Cid said.
Ruesga has received more than 200 commendations and letters of recognition for his dedicated and professional work.
“I had plenty of opportunities to move on…. I chose to stay here because I’m spoiled,” Ruesga said. “This is such a beautiful place, such a beautiful town and such a wonderful group of people to work with.
“It’s my privilege to work for you and serve this community,” Ruesga said.
Maj. Javier Ruiz said of the officers’ impact: “You have helped your fellow man, you have helped your fellow officers and served as a model to your families by showing the core values -- integrity, respect, service and fairness -- of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
“Thank you for all of your years of service,” Ruiz said. “I’m really going to miss you guys.”
The Business of the Year was DemeTech, a manufacturer of masks and surgical supplies which opened a distribution center in town during the pandemic.
Members of the Arguello family who founded the company were present for the ceremony.
Vendor Employee of the Year was Jose Angel Ortiz of La Perla, for handyman-related services.
Accounting Technician Ruth Queiro was chosen Employee of the Year by Town Manager Edward Pidermann.
“She is always present, front and center, but rarely craves or receives the recognition she deserves for going way up and beyond what her job duties call for,” Pidermann said. “She is the first to volunteer, first to show up and always last to leave.”
Queiro said she was “honored” to be working in the town.
Mario Pinera, a sports coach, chair of the Education Advisory Board and member of the Neighborhood Improvement Committee, was named Volunteer of the Year. Cid said Pinera has performed many years of community service and described how after Hurricane Irma, Pinera took two ailing elders from their West Lake home to Shula’s Hotel and Golf Club on Main Street and made sure they received food and attention.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Pinera said. “This is an honor. I’m just a team member on the greatest, greatest team, I think, in the country.
“We have residents who will do anything for each other,” Pinera said. “You make a call and we’ll be there.”
His volunteerism isn’t something he does for recognition, Pinera said.
“I’m blessed and I like to pay it forward,” Pinera said.
Shown in the large photo above are some of the participants in the Miami Lakes State of Town address, from left: Joseph Sosa, assistant to the mayor; Vice Mayor Luis Collazo; Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano; Councilman Jeffrey Rodriguez; Mayor Manny Cid; Employee of the Year Ruth Queiro; Town Manager Edward Pidermann; Special Projects Manager Kristina Labossiere;, Town Clerk Gina M. Inguanzo; Deputy Town Attorney Lorenzo Cobiella; Principal Planner Susana Alonso; Deputy Town Clerk Ashley Shepple; Rosa Marrero, assistant to the town manager; Deputy Town Manager Tony Lopez; Green Space Maintenance Superintendent Jose Orellana; Director of the Building Department Daniel Angel and Budget Officer Melissa Hernandez. Photo courtesy of the town.