The Helping Hands column profiles the town’s 12 volunteer committees that promote various causes in Miami Lakes and help town government serve the community. Committees’ activities are funded by the town budget and by ticket sales from some events.
Committee: Economic Development Committee
Founded: Nov. 12, 2002
Chair: Matthew Casamayor
Vice Chair: Jose Llano
Members: Romy Portuondo Remior, secretary; Jorge Alvarez; Rodolfo Blanco; Eric Brandon; Steven Brimo; Jessica Medina; Manuel Perez; Andrea Graham Rechichi; Magaly Rubio and John Tingle.
Purpose: Assists in the development of a well-rounded business climate to help the town’s commercial tax base through the aggressive recruitment of new businesses, according to Town’s website.
Networking mixers, webinars and promoting commerce within the community are just several things the town’s Economic Development Committee does. It is made up of volunteer residents who are business owners or people interested in the town’s business community. Meetings are usually held once a month at Miami Lakes Town Hall.
Miami Lakes Town Planner Susana Alonso spoke at the Feb. 21 meeting about getting local businesses to advertise on the Freebee vehicles in town, or for companies to even put wraps on the vehicles to promote their firms and help ease the costs of the program.
Committee member Jessica Medina, a commercial lender with U.S. Century Bank, volunteered with the committee two years ago.
“I wanted to join something that could make a difference in some way, shape or form,” Medina said.
Medina was enthusiastic about the Freebee ads and wrap program and said that she has enjoyed networking and helping businesses during her time on the committee.
Personally, she said she wants to have a lasting impact upon her community and help others who have a vested interest in its success.
Medina said the committee has become an important resource for business owners. That night, a local restaurant owner observed the meeting and said he wants to join the committee.
It planned to meet again Feb. 27 to discuss ways to help business owners apply for the District 13 Mom and Pop business grants that are managed by Commissioner Sen. Rene Garcia’s office.
The grants enable “small owned and operated businesses to buy equipment; supplies; advertising/marketing; inventory; building liability insurance; security systems and to make minor renovations,” according to the Miami-Dade County website.
The role of the committee is to not only help bring in new businesses but to also support existing companies in town.
“To make sure that the businesses we have here can continue to grow and flourish, and whatever we
can do as a liaison for the town in order to help those businesses I would say is our goal,” Medina said.
To join the Economic Development Committee or any other town committee, file a form with Miami Lakes Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo and attend two committee meetings.
A town council member will then recommend the applicant to the rest of the council for his or her appointment.
Committee members must live or work in town, and some committees require a background check.
For more information go to https://bit.ly/3lRTaA9.
In the photo: The Economic Development Committee during a February meeting, clockwise from right: Chair Matthew Casamayor at the head of the table; member Jessica Medina with her back to the camera; Vice Chair Jose Llano; member Jorge Alvarez and Town Liaison Jonathan Gil. Town Transportation Coordinator Olivia Shock is standing at rear. Photo by Alexandra Herrera.