Pidermann reflects upon first year as Miami Lakes manager
Thursday, February 20, 2020
During a luncheon to thank employees for their support during his first year on the job, Town Manager Edward Pidermann reflected on progress made in Miami Lakes.
“We made it and you are the reason we were able to survive,” Pidermann said Feb. 4 when he treated staffers and Miami-Dade police officers to the meal that was brought in to town hall. “Thank you.”
Pidermann, 57, is a longtime town resident with his wife of 36 years, Martha Pidermann.
“He’s been dedicated since day one,” said Martha Pidermann, who joined her husband for the occasion. “This is his dream job and he’s happy doing it.”
A former assistant chief of management services for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, Pidermann won the position over five finalists. He oversees a staff of 40 and earns $178,000.
His performance review by the town council is pending.
Councilman Josh Dieguez weighed in on how
Pidermann has done while working with a lean, total $40 million budget.
“Ed Pidermann has time and again demonstrated his core values that I think led to his ultimate selection as our town manager,” Dieguez said.
He called Pidermann a “hard worker who is unflinchingly honest and driven to deliver excellence for the community he has lived in since the 1980s.”
When Pidermann started, the budget faced a shortfall after an interruption in Florida Power & Light franchise fee payments led to a gap in revenues.
Pidermann said his biggest challenge was balancing the budget without that money.
The town council wouldn’t let him raise the franchise fee from three percent to six percent and wouldn’t raise taxes.
Over three decades, FPL paid franchise fees to
Miami-Dade County, which passed monies through to municipalities.
But that agreement expires in May, allowing cities and towns to negotiate their own contracts. Pidermann said Miami Lakes’ new deal with FPL begins on June 1.
“Because of the time between the county agreement ending and the town agreement beginning, we had an $800,000 gap and are only going to be getting paid for four months,” Pidermann said. “That would mean a shortfall in those franchise fee revenues for most of the fiscal year.”
Funds for maintaining infrastructure are also scarce.
Street and sidewalk repairs are needed in many areas and are on the town’s to-do list. Street lighting in some parts also needs upgrading.
“Since I live in the town, I know the areas that need fixing,” he said. “We hope in the next few years residents will see improvements.”
An estimated $4 million renovation to the 30-acre
Miami Lakes Optimist Park – including a gymnasium and new basketball and tennis courts, fields and dugouts – are also postponed.
“We’re trying to find solutions for the renovations to Miami Lakes Optimist Park,” he said. “The challenge is adequately funding our infrastructure.”
Miami Lakers may see
Pidermann driving about town.
“I get out in the community as much as possible to meet residents and learn what they need,” he said.
Ongoing costs include lawsuits -- one against former Mayor Michael Pizzi, who is seeking payment of legal bills after he was acquitted of bribery charges, and the other against the city of Hialeah and corporate entities over access to the town via the Northwest 170th Street bridge across Interstate 75.
Improvements -- such as an eight-acre, $260,000 park being built at Northwest 89th Avenue and Northwest 154th Street that should open in April and is an attempt to keep closed a second bridge to Hialeah-- are happening.
A Safe Routes to Schools project -- a $1 million, 1.7 mile sidewalk along Miami Lakeway South and Miami Lakeway North to connect Miami Lakes K-8 Center and Miami Lakes Middle School -- is set to be finished in July.
The path would keep kids safe from traffic while walking or biking to schoo and is funded by the Florida
Department of Transportation, Pidermann said.
Pidermann noted cooperative relationships between the town staff and council during his tenure.
“The mayor and council have been incredibly supportive,” he said. “Teamwork between the town’s administration and elected officials is the only way to advance the town.”