Message From Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
Fellow Residents of Miami-Dade County:
Over the past few years, we have seen a global trend toward urbanization, a reality that has also impacted Miami-Dade County. People from all over the world are choosing to make our community a place where they want to live, work, and play. These new residents are attracted not only by our privileged geographic position and unparalleled climate, but also by our economic and cultural opportunities.
Our challenge in government is to manage growth while ensuring that all our residents continue to receive the level of services people have come to expect from us. We are doing so by running a responsible and structurally balanced government that is moving toward fiscal sustainability in order to live within its means, keeping taxes at an affordable level for our residents and businesses, and investing in the drivers of economic growth.
Miami-Dade County is taking full advantage of our unique geographic position as the Gateway to the Americas, and beyond, by developing a robust business climate that creates good paying jobs. To strengthen our position in international trade, we’ve made unprecedented, billion dollar investments, in our two greatest economic engines – Miami International Airport (MIA) and PortMiami, making them world-class, state of the art facilities.
And those investments are quickly paying off. MIA had over 40 million passengers in 2013, making it one of the best and busiest airports in the nation. And Port Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World, continues to be a leader in cruise and cargo traffic, soon to be one of the few ports on the eastern seaboard capable of servicing the new larger ships that will cross the widened Panama Canal. Together, MIA and PortMiami have had a very positive impact on our top industry: tourism.
Making these investments in our traditional economic drivers also allows us to seek ways to expand business opportunities into new sectors. We are unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of our community by supporting start-up incubators and other technology-based businesses. This May, I will be hosting mayors and business leaders from around the world for the Mayoral Innovation Summit as part of the e-Merge Americas conference, which will gather the brightest innovators in technology as well as civic and thought leaders. Their presence in our community will continue to position Miami as a leader in technology.
Miami-Dade County is also growing as a center for arts and culture. Adding to Art Basel, one of the most important art events in the world, we opened the Perez Art Museum Miami this past December, and the new Science Museum at Museum Park is on schedule to open in 2015. These and other new additions to our shared civic spaces enhance our waterfront and the urban experience, making Miami even more attractive, not only to our 2.6 million residents, but also to global travelers.
In addition to focusing on economic development, we’re also supporting efforts to educate and retain the young men and women that will make up our future workforce. The successful Mayor’s Executive Internship program, instituted two years ago in collaboration with Florida International University, will now be expanding to other local universities. Together with the South Florida Workforce programs and the various internship programs we have instituted, we’re providing work and growth opportunities for our young people right here in Miami-Dade County.
Finally, we are doing all of this while eliminating waste and reducing the size of government. Since I took office in July, 2011, we have been successful in making our County government more efficient by reducing the number of departments while continuing to provide the same or increased levels of services to our residents and businesses. Leading by example, this also includes a 25% reduction in the budget of the Office of the Mayor.
I’m committed to achieving a balance between maintaining a government that is efficient and lives within its means while creating the conditions for economic growth and opportunity. Working together with the Board of County Commissioners, we will continue to move Miami-Dade County forward toward being one of the top global communities that our residents and visitors can enjoy for decades to come.
Carlos A. Gimenez
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