The end of the calendar year is the perfect opportunity for reflection and the setting of new goals. For the Town of Cutler Bay, 2018 was an election year that introduced two new Council Members; Mayor Tim Meerbott and Council Member Robert “BJ” Duncan. During the first meeting of the new Council, the members received an update on the history of capital improvement projects throughout the Town. Public Works Director, Alfredo Quintero, reported that of the $21.3 Million in roadway infrastructure projects (i.e. Old Cutler Road, Caribbean Boulevard, SW 212 Street, and more) conducted by the Town since 2012, $17.2 Million was funded through grants or in partnership with Miami-Dade County and private developers. “This is a phenomenal saving to our residents, and the Town’s investment of $4.1 Million allowed for enhancements like decorative walkways with seating, improved bus shelters, beautiful landscape, and a drainage system that meets the industry’s highest recommendations,” stated Town Manager Rafael Casals. “Our continued partnership with Miami-Dade County and successful track record of winning grants contribute to the overall success of our small Town.”
The Town Council recommended that the Town Manager hire a part-time grant writer in 2013. “As an experienced grant writer, I understand how important it is to have a dedicated person that is able to identify and work with each department to win grant funding for the Town,” stated Vice Mayor Sue Loyzelle. “The Town Council’s decision to create a Grants Coordinator position yielded a great return on our investment.” In addition to securing funding for roadway infrastructure, the Town has received grant awards totaling more than $5.1 Million to increase tree canopy throughout the Town, improve parks, implement community policing programs, and provide after-school and summer camp services to elementary and middle school youth.
“This is fantastic news and worthy of recognition! We truly appreciate the Town Manager’s office and dedicated staff members for working to save our residents millions of dollars,” stated Council Member Michael Callahan. “Without grants and investments from the County and private developers, we would not be able to complete some of these projects.”
The Town Manager, Rafael Casals, has over 30 years of experience in municipal government, and earned the prestigious Credentialed Manager designation from the International City/County Management Association in 2017. The Grants Coordinator, LaKeesha Morris-Moreau reports directly to the Town Manager. In 2016, LaKeesha earned the Grant Professional Certification credential from the Grant Professional Certification Institute. She is one of only four credentialed grant professionals in Miami-Dade County.
“I am impressed by the team of highly trained professionals that we have working on our behalf in Cutler Bay. This assures residents that we remain committed to being fiscally responsible and providing cost effective services,” stated Mayor Tim Meerbott.