Sunday, June 30, 2019

Why I bike - local nature seen via cycling South Miami-Dade County. Bears, tortoises, fish and Iguanas

Sunday, June 30, 2019, was a big day for nature sightings while bike riding in South Miami-Dade County.
Cyclists stop for many reasons including traffic stops, mechanical breakdowns, as well as rest and bathroom breaks, but Palmetto Bay resident Palmetto Bay resident (and Triathlete) Mike Estevez who had the experience of the day for Sunday, June 30, 2019

This blog post is to document another of the many reasons why I ride. It is not just the health reasons, but so many interesting items of nature can be seen while biking any of the numerous trails and back roads of South Miami-Dade County.

But the big sighting of the day, and unfortunately I was not blessed with my own personal sighting (but I will be in the look out when bicycling in this area in the future):

A native bear! That's right, a BEAR (location not disclosed).

Thankfully the cyclists who were fortunate to see the bear in person did take photos, from a safe distance, without risk to themselves or the bear. Thank you to Mike Estevez and team mates for the photos (and for permission to publish here).

Please note that the Bear was spotted in a very secluded are of South Miami-Dade County, few people would have an opportunity to come across this bear - so fear not.

Posted below is the list of reported nature observations for Sunday, June 30, 2019:

Iguanas (lots of them, especially along 87th Avenue in Cutler Bay on the way to Black Point) - Biscayne Trail

Turtles (in the drainage canal along 87th Avenue in Cutler Bay) - Biscayne Trail.

Many fish were visible today in that same canal, same Biscayne Trail, some quite large. I am thinking some of the fish could be Snook.

A Gopher Tortoise - (I haven't seen this guy in a while, felt released to see it) in the Deering Area. Old Cutler Trail area

RELEVANT PRIOR POSTS:  I have documented much of the local nature on this blog, much of it observed due to biking, e.g., Saturday, June 20, 2015, Photos of the Day - Mainland Marsh Rabbit.

Local nature has been documented throughout this blog, including crocodiles at the Palmetto Bay Village Center.

I remain proud of my sponsorship of Palmetto Bay resolution 2015-105, opposing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's action to permit Bear hunting in Florida .... (Sponsored by Mayor Eugene Flinn)
FOR MORE INFORMATION:  There are significant materials available online relating to the Miami-Dade County Trails (CLICK HERE).

Monday, June 24, 2019

US Supreme Court provides a Federal right to contest local government action affecting property rights. Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania - From the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES BLOG (SCOTUSblog)

Most failed to notice a Supreme Court decision published Friday, June 21, 2019: Knick v. Township of Scott, 588 U.S. _____ (2019).* The US Supreme Court expressly overruled the legal precedent of Williamson Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), extending Federal Civil Rights, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, to land use actions by local governments. 

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Federal court litigation and rights under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 may provide much greater property rights to aggrieved land owners than the State remedies. My thanks to Palmetto Bay Council Member David Singer who does his research and stays abreast of developing issues and the law. Preparation is invaluable.

RELATED PRIOR POST: I invite readers to review my prior post of March 31, 2019, Update on DUV revisions. Reviewing attorneys' opinions and considering in light of transparency in the Village. Do these detailed legal opinions require updates in light of the Knick v. Township of Scott, US Supreme Court decision?

The "Ku Klux Klan Act": Section 1983 was enacted on April 20, 1871 as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. It is also known as the "Ku Klux Klan Act" as one of its primary purposes was to provide a civil remedy in Federal Court against the abuses that were being committed in the southern states, especially by the Ku Klux Klan. This action provides a Federal remedy to provide protection, the only remedy in some local areas, where laws may have existed to protect citizens in theory, but protection in practice was non-existent to some because those persons charged with the enforcement of the laws were unable or unwilling to do so. Section 1983 was intended to provide a private remedy for such violations of Federal law.

In land-use cases, the federal statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983 protects property owners against municipal actions that violate a property owner's constitutional rights, including actions that violate a property owner's rights to due process, equal protection of laws and just compensation for the taking of property under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Impact to bringing claims in Federal Court: Prior to last Friday (June 21, 2019), aggrieved property owners were expected to litigate state claims, such as inverse compensation claims, before they could take their federal property rights claims to federal courts.  The US Supreme Court rendered a 5-4 decision on Friday, June 21, 2019, that overturned this existing precedent and it will have major impact on property right litigation filed by property owners against local governments for ordinances that impact their property.  

It appears that under the Knick v. Township of Scott, 588 U.S. _____ (2019) decision, government regulation can be considered a "taking" within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment overruling a prior decision, the president set by a prior US Supreme Court in Williamson Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S. 172 (1985)

Please note that the immediate information posted below is taken verbatim from the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES BLOG (SCOTUSblog):

Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania

Docket No.Op. BelowArgumentOpinionVoteAuthorTerm
17-6473d Cir.Jan 16, 2019
Jun 21, 20195-4RobertsOT 2018
Holding: A government violates the takings clause when it takes property without compensation, and a property owner may bring a Fifth Amendment claim under 42 U. S. C. §1983 at that time; the state-litigation requirement of Williamson County Regional Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, is overruled.
JudgmentVacated and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts on June 21, 2019. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined.
SCOTUSblog Coverage

National Public Radio (NPR) and its report of this decision and potential impact: NPR - LAW - Supreme Court Overturns Precedent In Property Rights Case — A Sign Of Things To Come?, by Nina Totenberg, June 22, 2019:

As reported:
A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that property owners can go directly to federal court with claims that state and local regulations effectively deprive landowners of the use of their property.
The 5-4 decision overturned decades of precedent that barred property owners from going to federal court until their claims had been denied in state court.
Federal courts are often viewed as friendlier than state courts for such property claims. The decision, with all five of the court's conservatives in the majority, may have particular effects in cities and coastal areas that have strict regulations for development.
Property owners and developers often have complained that zoning rules and other state and local regulations effectively take their property for public benefit, and that the Constitution requires that they be paid just compensation.
          CLICK HERE to read the full NPR article

More to come on what, if any, impact this will have upon Palmetto Bay & Cutler Bay pending land use issues.

What is a taking? That can be an issue decided on a case by case basis, but let’s look at the simple facts of this case, now known as Knick v. Township of Scott, 588 U.S. _____ (2019). The property owner, Rose Knick, was contesting a local ordinance that forced her to allow public access to her private farmland due to the fact that her 90 acre outlying property has a family graveyard – a family, not a commercial public graveyard.

The Ordinance itself is simple. The Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, passed an ordinance requiring that 
“[a]ll cemeteries . . . be kept open and accessible to the general public during daylight hours.” 
The Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, passed an ordinance requiring that “[a]ll cemeteries . . . be kept open and accessible to the general public during daylight hours.” Rose Mary Knick, the property owner of a 90-acre rural property with a small family graveyard, was notified that she was violating the ordinance. Ms. Knick sought declaratory and injunctive relief in state court on the ground that the ordinance effected a taking of her property, but she did not bring an inverse condemnation action under state law seeking compensation. 

What I find interesting is the fact that the Township responded by withdrawing the violation notice and staying enforcement of the ordinance. Without an ongoing enforcement action, the lower court held that Ms. Knick could not demonstrate the irreparable harm necessary for equitable relief, so it declined to rule on her request. 

Ms. Knick also filed an action in Federal District Court under 42 U. S. C. §1983, alleging that the ordinance violated the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. 

Decided on Friday, June 21, 2019, reported as Knick v. Township of Scott, 588 U.S. _____ (2019) No. 17–647. Argued October 3, 2018—Reargued January 16, 2019 CLICK HERE to view the official published opinion.
* As listed in the Opinion Syllabus; ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which THOMAS, ALITO, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Governor DeSantis issues his very first budget vetoes. Cutler Bay and Deering Estate budget appropriations appear safe. Link to entire list provided.

The veto list is out and the news appears better for Miami-Dade Locals that other areas of the State, that is for those municipalities who had their requests make it into the State of Florida budget submitted to the Governor.

Here is the link to the 2019 veto list:

So how did the budget items do in the first budget for Governor DeSantis?

Incredibly, it appears that only a single local item I reported in my May 4, 2019 post listing highlights for our fellow Miami-Dade County municipals (& Deering Estate) was vetoed (indicated in red strike through text). Making it through appears to be $200,000.00 for Deering Estate Field Research Center and $200,000.00 for Cutler Bay-Drainage Improvement Cutler Ridge Section 3

Great work Deering! The list below is a final sampling of some of the local projects that will be funded by the State, as indicated. Check my math [review the official veto list (link provided) to confirm my review]:
$1,500,000.00 for City of Miami Biscayne Bay Tidal Valves and Stormwater Improvements (HB 3729)
$   985,210.00 for West Miami Potable Water System (HB 3775)
$   850,000.00 for City of Miami Springs Senior Center - New Building (Senate Form 1456)
$   750,000.00 for City of Miami Springs: South Royal Poinciana Median (Senate Form 1448) VETOED - Line # 1989, A Project 13
$   250,000.00 for Bay Harbor Islands Sewer Lateral Lining Project (HB 2151)
$   200,000.00 for Deering Estate Field Research Center - from Gen Rev Fund (HB 4055) (1639A)
$   200,000.00 for Cutler Bay-Drainage Improvement Cutler Ridge Section 3 (HB 3769)
$   200,000.00 for Doral Stormwater Improvements NW 114 Ave./50th St (HB 4499)
$   200,000.00 for North Bay Village Stormwater Pump Station (HB 2773)
$     30,000.00 for Miami Gardens Canal Erosion Protection Project (HB 2239)

Palmetto Bay requests submitted that were DENIED (not placed into the budget submitted t Gov. DeSantis:

$   745,900.00 requested for Palmetto Bay Multimodal Transit Station (HB 3763)
                             (total cost of project est.: $3,245,900)
$   745,900.00 requested for Palmetto Bay Nature Education Center (HB 4081)
                              (total cost of project est.: $2,245,900)
$   299,000.00 requested for Palmetto Bay Drainage Sub-Basin #61 Construction (HB 4069)
    (standard Stormwater % 50% of total project cost)

More will follow on breakdown down what the vetoes mean for South Dade, but I wanted to get this breaking news out to the community.

PRIOR RELATED POST: May 4, 2019, Legislativeasks - Legislature completes budget. Now waiting for Gov DeSantis' line itemveto. 2019 score card: Each year is different and 2019 was not a good budgetyear in Tallahassee for Palmetto Bay as the 3 requests failed to make it intothe budget. The three requests totaled $1,790,800.00 that the Mayor and council were seeking to offset $6,089,800.00 in proposed projects – specifics discussed (in the blog post)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

POD - new business opens on Old Cutler Road - just for fun. I passed.

Who says the current administration in Palmetto Bay is not business friendly? 

A kind reader send in a photo that proves that allegation wrong! 

A new business is an operation on old Cutler Road. Just in time for your summer reading. Also advertised are the sale of "Marvel Comic Books" but the banner advertisement would be an impediment to my stopping by to look for classic comic books. An example of a business decision that affect customers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Troubling: No explanation forthcoming from Palmetto Bay officials - County explanation offers more issues, than answers

I found this post this morning on Carol's "Village of Palmetto Bay for Real" Page. It creates more issues than answers.  And I would like answers.

But first, let's be clear: No one ever suggested that this was the decision of our district commissioner, however, based upon this answer, I do want to know who ordered the signs now that we hear that these signs are being ordered down. I ask that our Commissioner discuss whether she was involved in these discussions between Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Miami-Dade, including at any of her "MOM" Meetings (Meetings of the Mayors). Answers would go far in providing the back story on how this all fell into place.

Let's not overreact, but also troubling is how everyone seems to be scurrying when the Sunshine is cast on clear, conspicuous and clearly intentionally created (and posted) signs are revealed by my blog to a broad general audience. The signs are being removed "taken down" - so there will be no notice to anyone as to the relocation of this event? (I am thankful that I have the photos documenting that the signs were in fact placed there.)

This is troubling.  Now we are being told that PB and CB "decided" to work together for an event in Palmetto Bay. 

This is an open request for anyone with information on any meetings or agreements, information as to how two local governments made this decision out of view of their residents, to forward such information to me at

I have so many concerns, so many questions that I do not even know where to begin, but I will collect my thoughts and begin after my morning hearings.

FYI - once again, I post the photo of the County Banner that appears to be very specific - self explanatory:

I personally cannot recall any meeting or discussion in held public view or any advisement of the public, but then again, I am a very busy person so I cannot monitor everything. I depend upon the watchful eye of many other interested residents to assist. This requires further investigation.

RELATED POST: Background information can be found on the initial post relating to this situation, posted 6-17-2019: Half the story - leaving out a very important detail - the Truth: Palmetto Bay is hosting a regional MEGA Fourth of July event. Black Point's celebration moves to Palmetto Bay

Monday, June 17, 2019

Half the story - leaving out a very important detail - the Truth: Palmetto Bay is hosting a regional MEGA Fourth of July event. Black Point's celebration moves to Palmetto Bay

Get ready. The historic and popular Miami-Dade County Fourth of July event held at Black Point has been relocated to Palmetto Bay.  And those familiar with Miami-Dade County's Black Point celebration will remember how large it is; how many people take part and enjoyed that event.  I am personally shocked and disappointed that it will not be happening for 2019. I am sure many others will share that view. But that is not the point of this blog. The point is that the Palmetto Bay Village council has apparently made a huge policy decision without input or even notice to its residents in adopting and combining the Black Point Independence Day Celebration with the much smaller event held in Palmetto Bay.

So much for the small town feel to our past Fourth of July Event put together for our Palmetto Bay residents. My initial concern is transparency. Just when were our elected officials going to tell us? This was not discussed at a publicly noticed Village Council meeting. This is not a policy decision to be made by a single member of our Village Council per our charter.

The County did not simply "donate" to Palmetto Bay, but instead the historic Black Point event is now part of the MEGA Palmetto Bay/Cutler Bay?Miami-Dade County event; placing the responsibility for this blended event largely onto the shoulders of the Palmetto Bay taxpayers. This has the potential to have a huge impact upon our community. The County's celebration at Black Point was a huge competitor to Palmetto Bay's event. When were Palmetto Bay Mayor and council going to tell the residents that the County Celebration at Black Point was canceled - no, actually, MOVED to Palmetto Bay? This is an important detail! I have posted the Mayor's quote below, as it is more important for what is fails to say that what little information it actually provides.  

This is our 6th year hosting Independence Day right here in our Village. With the support of Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, the Village was able to secure great street entertainment, artists, and live bands,” said Mayor Karyn Cunningham.
Does anyone else here feel like they have been left out of the loop? 

CLICK HERE to view the source (posted as of 6/16/2019) - the official Palmetto Bay website. I am of the opinion that the facts portrayed by the Mayor and Village on this issue are far from accurately portraying the truth.

Let's face it - the quote was disingenuous. Nowhere does it say that this "support" is really to transfer costs and logistics of the Black Point event from Miami-Dade County, and move it all over to the Palmetto Bay venue. Will the "support"of the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners go to offset the $50,000.00 Palmetto Bay has budgeted for this event or is it all for newer expenses? What is the amount of the donation? Has this decision been delegated to a single member of the village council as to how the contributions from the County and Cutler Bay will be used - simply adding to the cost of the event without passing on any relief to Palmetto Bay taxpayers?

$50,000.00 budgeted by Palmetto Bay. The event appears to be approximately 60% subsidized. Along with the $50,000.00 Palmetto Bay taxpayor investment, Cutler Bay appears to be contributing $4,000 plus some police and Parks personnel, $2,500 from the office of County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, a $5,000 grant from Miami-Dade County. There are many more donations, as usual, as there have been over the 6 year history of this event. Atlantico, the apartment developer, has made a donation as well as providing use of their facilities for parking and for the VIP area (I wonder who will be invited to be in the VIP area?) Will Cutler Bay be shuttling people into Palmetto Bay via their Town circulator in order to reduce traffic? 

The County did not providing funding in order for Palmetto Bay " secure great street entertainment, artists, and live bands" - Palmetto Bay has been able to provide great street entertainment, artists and live bands each of the past 5 years. The money from the County is a small part of the annual costs of the Black Point festivities that Palmetto Bay taxpayers will now be undertaking and undertaking without putting the question to its residents as to whether they want to transform our local event into a much larger regional event.

We would know the answers to my questions had this matter had been discussed in public, instead of these decisions (including potentially ill-advised decisions) being made within private offices.

Worse yet, if it doesn't go well, will Cutler Bay and Miami-Dade County decommit to donating in future years while leaving Palmetto Bay taxpayers holding onto the annual costs of this regional celebration?
Miami-Dade County banner displayed at Black Point - notification that their July 4th Celebration moved to Palmetto Bay
Transparency is important, or should be. Involving residents in the planning of events is important, or should be. Heck, involving the entire council at a publicly noticed meeting (held in front of the public) is important - was it? If so, which members of the Village Council knew the complete and full facts of this blending of events and when did they first become aware of it.
So the truth is that this is no longer a local Palmetto Bay event - the county has "donated" money to the Village of Palmetto Bay to take over the historic and very well attended Black Point event (which I and my family have enjoyed many times over the past years) and hold it here in Palmetto Bay.

Was this MEGA special event discussed by the council publicly or passed along from council member to council member via an intermediary? 

How much is this support adding to the MEGA regional fireworks show?

And why is this event (and important change) being promoted outside of Palmetto Bay, but not to our own Palmetto Bay residents?

I'd like to see the parking and security plans for these recently enlarged MEGA public event. Will parking occur along US1 or will the neighborhoods be asked to absorb the additional traffic and parking? Will Palmetto Bay residents be provided priority parking and seating or do they risk being pushed back in their own event at this 6th year?

The above are a few of the issues that should be discussed in public as we all have a right to know.

I have said it  before, transparency is dead in Palmetto Bay. But then again, that's why readership is going so well on this blog as this is a place where I can truly say, "you read it here first!"

I have posted the Village event poster (right) that has been distributed as of June 16. Where does it provide notice that this event has changed from its original scope and size?

I also think it prudent that those redirected from the County event to Palmetto Bay be made aware that the rules are different. Palmetto Bay relies upon Food Vendors to sell their wares to the attendees - the key difference from the Black Point event is that Palmetto Bay does not allow personal BBQ grills. Let's get the word out.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Summer YA books preview: The 15 biggest (and best) reads | Entertainment Weekly - Alex Flinn's "Girls of Summer"

Palmetto Bay's own Alex Flinn has her latest YA Book - "Girls of Summer" has been released and is recommended reading for this summer. Entertainment Weekly calls it one of the 15 biggest (and best) reads for this summer. 

See Entertainment online (EW.Com) The 15 biggest (and best) YA books of the summer, by David Canfield, June 12, 2019.  Girls of Summer is featured on page 3 of 17.

 "Best known for her No. 1 best-selling phenomenon Beastly, Flinn returns with an infectiously lovely portrait of four girls who escape to the mountains over one long July, rediscovering their bonds and themselves in the process. ()"

As posted on Amazon:
Perfect for fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and To All the Boys I've Loved Before, this compelling contemporary novel is from Alex Flinn, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Beastly.
Four girls. One unforgettable July.

Britta is the bubbly drama queen. She needs to get away—and a peaceful cabin in the woods sounds like the perfect escape.
Meredith is the overachiever. She’s spent her entire life preparing for college, but at what cost? Now she’s wondering if that’s all there is.
Kate is the reluctant socialite. She’s searching for a reason to begin again after fleeing her small Georgia town—and a shameful family secret.
Spider is the quiet intellectual. She’s struggling with pain that has isolated her from her peers for much of her life.
When these four very different young women stay together for a month in the mountains, they discover that sometimes getting away from it all can only bring you back to who you really are.

Monday, June 10, 2019

A better step toward seeking canal bank stabilization money - SFWMD invites the public to attend their budget workshop to be held Wed., June 12, starting at 1:00 PM

Do you really want to positively impact the budget of the South Florida Water Management (SFWMD)? Here is your opportunity.  The South Florida Water Management District's Governing Board is encouraging the public to attend the agency's budget workshop on Wednesday, June 12, starting at 1 p.m. The workshop, which will be held at SFWMD Headquarters at 3301 Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach, will be open to the public and broadcast on

This may be short notice (I received the e-mail at 11:00 AM, June 10, 2019), but I highly recommend that residents and elected officials attend and advocate strongly for a budget that includes canal bank restoration in Palmetto Bay.

Other governments may promote it by including it in their municipal legislative agendas, but the State will be reluctant to fund items for the SFWMD not requested by the SFWMD Board. - this is our best opportunity!

CLICK HERE to view prior related posts regarding the South Florida Water Management (SFWMD)

SFWMD Governing Board Encourages Public to Attend Workshop on Next Year's Budget
Forum part of ongoing initiative to increase engagement with the public and stakeholders on issues impacting South Florida's water resources and environment

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The South Florida Water Management District's (SFWMD) Governing Board is encouraging the public to attend the agency's budget workshop on Wednesday, June 12, starting at 1 p.m. The workshop, which will be held at SFWMD Headquarters at 3301 Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach, will be open to the public and broadcast on

Wednesday's workshop agenda will focus on the development of SFWMD's budget for the upcoming 2019-2020 Fiscal Year, which begins Oct. 1. The Governing Board is committed to the continued open development of the budget. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and provide public comment on the agency's budget priorities. The workshop session is informative in nature and no decisions will be made by the Governing Board.

The workshop is the third in a series of workshops the Governing Board plans to hold before each regular monthly business meeting of the Governing Board. These forums are part of the District's ongoing efforts to explore all facets of the region's water resource issues and encourage public participation. 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

POD - "say hello to my little friend". This little guy was holding down my mail until I could check on it.

Photo of the day - a little green (very much a juvenile) tree frog. Fee free to use this link (CLICK HERE) which will take you to the UF / IFAS / Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation - Johnson Lab - South Florida's Frogs - in order to assist me in identifying this little creature.

We need to allow nature to keep a balance. 

We saw bats late last week and noted how they eat their weight in mosquitoes, something we can all get behind and support.  

Most diets listed for the various species of frogs appear to be consistent for beetles, crickets, caterpillars, beetle larvae, stinkbugs, ants, spiders, termites, and other small invertebrates.

We need to let these lil guys do their job.

The photo below provides a better perspective on the current side of this juvenile tree frog:

Friday, June 7, 2019

June 6, 2019 - Looking in on a colony of Mexican / Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats who call Palmetto Bay their home.

Are you really aware of the plants and animals that call Palmetto Bay home? 

There was quite a rare air crowd present at the home of Council Member David Singer and family on Thursday, June 6, 2019. We waited with anticipation for the daily departure of the homesteaded bats, identified as Mexican / Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats. We were told that there are pups at this time of year, so a scope was used to invade the bat habitat and observe them pre-evening departure. 

This Bat colony was reviewed by Melquisedec Gamba-Rios, Ph.D., BCI Research Fellow / Florida Bonneted Bat Initiative, Bat Conservation International, and Frederick Hubbard, Director,  
This was a great evening in Palmetto Bay - that is if you are a Bat-fan! (And I am!). My photography skills are limited as I was unable to get one of the bats to hold a pose for a photo.

We were told that the southeastern free-tailed bats commonly roost in buildings and under bridges in urban areas, where they form relatively large colonies with individuals typically numbering in the hundreds to thousands. Roosting together in large colonies allows baby bats, called pups, to remain behind in the warmth, comfort, and safety of the colony while the mothers leave the roost to feed.

The subspecies that occurs in the southeastern United States, including Florida, is Tadarida brasiliensis cynocephala.

These bats are the fastest mammals on earth and have been clocked at 99 mph in level flight (can't we give them a round up?!). 

They can fly as high as 10,000 feet and forage on tons of harmful pest insects daily. 

These bats are communal. They are known to form mega colonies that number in the hundreds of thousands, with the largest known maternity colony reaching nearly 20 million bats.

We are fortunate to have a colony of the Mexican / Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat here in Palmetto Bay - we welcome their evening feasts on pests such as mosquitoes. 

CLICK HERE to read more about the Mexican / Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat on the National Park Service Everglades website. 

Here is the link to the page of Bat Conservation International, specific to this Mexican / Free-Tailed Bat subspecies:

Please visit the respective web sites posted above - support our local environment including preserving the 22 acres on Old Cutler Road.

SPECIAL NOTE: Thank you Palmetto Bay Council Member David Singer and family for being great hosts, both on Thursday, June 6, as well hosts to our Bat-friends who are trying to make a go of it here in suburban Palmetto Bay - I can check Bats off my list of the wide range of creatures that call Palmetto Bay home.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Palmetto Bay Municipal Center Construction - Slide Show. We look back at some positive Palmetto Bay History.

Taking a look back - here is the video/slideshow of the day.

Presented is an official slide show of the construction of Palmetto Bay's LEED Platinum Village Hall. This video was originally published on Nov 2, 2012.

What does it mean to be Platinum level LEED Certified? Please see the prior related post of October 9, 2012, entitled Great news. It is official. Palmetto Bay's Village Hall receives Platinum LEED certification.  Many communities are “Green” with envy. 

The talk of a sustainable community was matched by action. This building sets the standard for sustainability. 

A significant portion of this Village Hall was paid through grants and aid from our trips to Tallahassee and Washington during 2006-2009. I continue to believe this project was worth the effort and will bring desirable economic impact to the area.

I hope that this Platinum Village Hall is a reminder to future councils as to what can be achieved when a community is inclusive, focuses on the positive and works together toward mutually established goals.

Very truly yours,

Eugene Flinn

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Property Taxes will increase in the next budget year. The question is how much. Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia issues June 1, 2019, Estimates of Taxable Value.

The preliminary tax roll was released for 2019/2020. Here is the initial news and how it will affect home affordability for your upcoming tax bill, what the numbers below mean for those who pay property taxes and it shows why it was smart to lower taxes in Palmetto Bay in 2016 and again in 2018: future taxes will be going up and not everyone is able to simply reach deeper into their pockets and pay an increased bill. The new taxes, and increased taxes that come on line for the 2019/2020 fiscal year will certainly amount to much more than a dinner out for many people, hitting those on a fixed income the hardest.

Here are the facts for the upcoming property taxes:

1. Your tax bill will go up (at least) 3%, the maximum allowable under the Save Our Homes Amendment (SOH) protection, unless the applicable property tax mileage rates are reduced in order to adjust for the increase in revenue. * This is due to the fact that each and every taxing district, each municipality as well as unincorporated Miami-Dade County saw an increase in value above 3.0, unless something drastically changes between the preliminary and final certified tax roll (July 1, 2019).

2. All property tax payers will see an increase in their property tax bills in 2019/2020 as approved by the voters in November 2018: #362. This tax is known in part as “Secure Our Future” – and will be collected from your property tax bills for the next 4 years. This is a new tax and is not covered by the Save Our Homes protection. Property owners will soon see a tax increase of $75 for every $100,000 in assessed taxable value, regardless of residential or commercial. About $232 million stands to be collected in Miami-Dade County, by July 2019 for the referendum’s first year.

This means that a home with an assessed taxable value of $400,000 will pay an additional $300.00 in property taxes for the upcoming property tax year. You can review your tax bill to locate your own assessed taxable value.

3.  Miami-Dade County is long overdue for a garbage fee increase. The proposed increase is $20.00 from $464.00 to $484.00.  This is less than a $4.3% increase. The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on this proposed increase on June 18, 2019, at 9:30 AM. This proposal may be approved, amended or rejected.


I have posted June 1 preliminary tax roll numbers for Palmetto Bay as well as some of our comparable municipalities. Palmetto Bay Council members may feel free to review my numbers and provide their own assessments or advisement.


2019 Estimated Taxable Values by Taxing Authority
Released JUNE 1, 2019

(CLICK HERE) to view the full document, available on the M-D Property Appraiser web page.

  5.0%   Coral Gables
  5.6%   Cutler Bay
  9.0%   Homestead
  4.6%   Miami Lakes
  4.4%   Pinecrest
  4.2%  Palmetto Bay
  3.9%   South Miami
  6.4%   Unincorporated Miami-Dade (UMSA)

  5.9%   Countywide (will affect your countywide portion of your tax bill)
  4.8%   School Board (will affect your School Board portion of your tax bill)

Initial estimate released June 1:
The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser issued the June 1, 2012 Estimates of Taxable Value to Miami-Dade County's Taxing Authorities.  This allows the County, School Board, and local governments such as Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, and Homestead to proceed with the preparation of their 2019-2020 budgets.

Final Property Roll to be released July 1.
July 1st the Property Appraiser’s Office will publish the 2019 Preliminary Assessment Roll, which provides the taxing authorities with their official numbers to set their millage (tax) rates in July.

*Amendment 10 is a benefit of the homestead exemption that provides homeowners protection by limiting the maximum that the assessed value of their home for tax purposes can be raised to 3%, or the CPI whichever is lower (with some exceptions). Voters approved this amendment to the Florida Constitution, which was effective January 1, 1995.