On October 28th, Homestead’s Mayor Steven C. Bateman delivered the City’s State of the City Address to a crowd of more than 350 persons at the Champions Club at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In a room filled with local dignitaries and business persons, Bateman stated that the City of H o m e s t e a d “embraced a new vision of public responsiveness, reduced costs, and streamlined government.”
According to Bateman, through the combined efforts of the City Council and the City’s hardworking employees, the financial health of the city is sound, its budget is balanced, the City is safe, and the City’s service levels are appropriate and tailored to the demands of its residents.
In his address, Bateman described many of the City’s recent projects such as the new Homestead Trolley service, a new city-wide recycling program, and the opening of the City’s new community center. The free-of-charge trolley service stops at major points of interest and connects to the Miami-Dade Metrobus system and the South-Dade Busway System. The new recycling program replaced Waste Management’s program and expects an operating surplus the first year. The new community center was renovated and expanded to include a gym, ceramics room, computer room, health and exercise room, and a multi-purpose room.
A series of ten major projects such as the widening of Lucy Street from US 1 to SW 137th Avenue were presented to the audience. These projects and the construction of the new $30 million charter school comprise the City’s new “Stimulus Program.” The City extends a 10% preference in the bid process to local contractors and a requirement that seventy percent of local labor is used in City projects.
To guide the policies of the City Council over the next several years, a very successful visioning session was conducted on May 20th with the City Council and the City’s executive staff. The visioning session was facilitated by Dr. Scott Paine from the University of Tampa. The goal of the visioning session was to align the efforts of the council to develop a government that is truly responsive to its citizens.
Five vision statements were generated from the all-day session. The vision statements will be used as a blueprint to guide the city council and the administration. The basic visioning statements are to improve: economic opportunity, education, public safety, downtown Homestead, and quality of life.
Mayor believes that a beautiful city is a proud city. The City started major landscaping and aesthetic improvements in highly-traveled areas of the City, mainly on Campbell Drive. Hundreds of Florida Live Oak trees were donated by numerous local growers. In the next few months, more than $500,000 of landscaping and irrigation projects will be completed throughout the city.
Education has been a high priority for the City Council. The City supported the development of several local schools including the new Charter School at the City’s Baseball Stadium, the School Board’s Homestead MAST Academy, Dade Medical College, and the arts-based Atala Montessori School in the ArtSouth complex in our downtown.
The City Council’s commitment to the Business community has been unwavering. Ninety-eight percent of business licenses are issued and inspected within five working days. We created a new, online Development Review Process Handbook to explain in simple terms the review process for all types of building and zoning applications.
Over the last year, the accomplishments of the City of Homestead have been many and significant. The state of the city is sound as a result of the council’s planning, clear vision, and the hard work of the City Council and its employees.
In the next year, Bateman expects a more responsive, cheaper, and more effective government. Mayor Bateman wants to position Homestead at the forefront of Florida’s cities. With the help of the City Council, our employees, and our residents, he believes that those goals will be achieved.
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