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Miami Herald: Miami-Dade County should follow Miami Lakes’ lead in supporting small businesses

Small businesses are the engines that truly drive our local economies. As the mayor of the Town of Miami Lakes and a small business owner, I have a unique perspective on how government and small businesses interact. Finding a balance between public safety and making sure that small business owners can open and operate their businesses in a timely and cost-effective manner can seems difficult. However, in Miami Lakes, we have found a balance. We have streamlined the permitting process and restructured building department duties between our building director, who focuses on customer service & process, and our building official, whose focus is regulatory, ensuring we apply the law properly. Dividing these duties between two positions has made Miami Lakes the leader in helping those seeking permits navigate the process in a minimal amount of time. We need to see similar options for our Miami-Dade County small businesses. It is encouraging to see Commissioner Kevin Marino Cabrera’s recent resolution calling for streamlining Miami-Dade County’s permitting process. It’s a step in the right direction to alleviate the heavy burden placed on small businesses.

But many potential small businesses never open their doors because the prospective owners are intimidated by the time-consuming process or drowning in a sea of red tape and costs associated with a burdensome permitting process. This affects the quality of life of all residents, since these potential enterprises not only create employment but also provide new products and services in neighborhoods across the county. In Miami Lakes, we view such entrepreneurs as potential assets to our community and always look for ways to make the process as simple and cost effective as possible. Unfortunately, too often, county government treats the aspiring businessperson as an adversary, stifling business and job creation. All local governments should strive to serve their residents and view small businesses as valuable assets. That’s the only way they can truly improve residents’ overall quality of life.

By treating residents and small businesses as customers who need good service, Miami Lakes has been able to create an excellent environment for families and small businesses, while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in Miami-Dade. The Miami Lakes Town Council recently rolled back property taxes by 9.3%, bringing our millage rate to the lowest in its history and providing relief to residents and property units, helping small businesses in the process. By stressing the importance of service and looking at things from residents’ and small business owners’ perspective, we have improved the quality of life for everyone in our town.

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