Power Outage, Contaminated Beaches, and Budget Woes – Dr. Josie Valdes-Hurtado Sounds the Alarm

Letter originally published in the Islander News from Dr. Josie Valdes-Hurtado.  Republished with permission.

Power outage, dirty water and budget communication latest signs of Village administration’s deficiencies

During the Council meeting on August 29, and after heavy winds (not a storm), there was no electric power in a few hundred homes around the Village. Also, and after a few days, a “No Swim” warning remained due to bacteria contamination in our beaches.

These are only two examples of recurrent urgent matters that affect our daily lives and lower property values; still, they continue to be postponed for attention and resolution. They are examples of serious priorities that are not clearly addressed in the inadequate and insufficient PowerPoint presentations of the budget that the manager has unveiled so far. Unfortunately, there were no more than 15 attendees at this meeting at any given time as the agenda’s items were followed. I venture to advise the Council to develop a format with a more participant-friendly schedule.

Two former members of the Council, Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay and Member Ignacio Segurola, reminded the manager and all seven Council members the never before experienced absence of a complete yearly budget ready, on time, for the public to review. The only obvious reason for such lack of responsibility was openly and simply identified as the manager and Council “not doing their jobs.” Never have delays and subsequent excuses been part of the governance of this Village, except when, a few months ago, deadlines to publish the “last language revision” of the Vision 2040 Plan were also missed repeatedly.

So, we must ask ourselves, is this a pattern? Will we be subjected to incomplete crucial information and data regularly? Will the voters realize how essential it is for the future of this island to be informed? How long will it take for voters to realize that only through constant vigilance and involvement can we stop another monstrous building from being given variances, approved by the majority of Council, and erected only to face after-the-fact amazement and disbelief from Key Biscayne Villagers and visitors?

Best to all,

Dr. Josie Valdes-Hurtado

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