Commissioner's Corner: Ben Malik
February in Cocoa Beach, just turn on the weather channel and you will realize how lucky we are to live here as the Northeast continues to get hit by massive snowstorms. Sure we have to contend with a little extra traffic from our Northern/seasonal visitors but can you really blame them for wanting to share some of our sunshine! These visitors come support our local economy by spending money in our stores and restaurants many of which are owned by local residents and need this influx of visitors to survive. At the last commission meeting, Ed Martinez (local resident and owner of the Fat Donkey ice cream/dessert shop on Minutemen Ave) shared some market research he has been tracking for over a year: consistently over 80% of his credit card sales are from non-locals even though he has a very loyal local fan base, it only accounts for 20% of his credit card sales. This clearly shows the importance of visitors to our local economy and many of our local businesses could not survive without them.
Our new fire station had its grand opening on February 17th. Public safety is the most important task we are charged with and we must ensure that we have the infrastructure in place to ensure these services are available during major storm events. The new station will house all of our rescue/fire safety vehicles and is designed to withstand a category three storm (winds in excess of 140mph??) , the station is designed to function has an emergency operations center /IT data center during storm events and will allow us to provide first responder service during times of severe weather.
The City has accomplished much in the last two years with an improving economy and now has a 5 year strategic plan to follow as we seek out a new City Manager to continue to invest in our infrastructure, shore up our property values, preserve our natural resources and keep our taxes low. I would like to congratulate our City Manager, Bob Majka on his promotion to Bay County Manager (I know it was a tough decision for him but family should always come first and we were lucky enough to have his guidance for the last 2 ½ years).
The Cocoa Beach Citizens Academy class of 2015 just started, it is a wonderful free program offered by the City of Cocoa Beach (14 weeks of 3 hour sessions) designed for City residents, the academy educates citizens on the "how and why" of City departments. The purpose is to provide information to encourage community feedback and make residents more informed about city government. As a past graduate I highly recommend it to anyone that wishes to learn more about the City and become a more informed voter (social media/internet are not always accurate sources of information)
We encourage all of the residents to be more active in our local government as it represents democracy in its purest form. All of our boards, commission meetings and workshops are open to the public and can be viewed online. All residents can sign up for email newsletter from our own CBNN (Cocoa Beach News Network), to receive up to date information on what is happening in Cocoa Beach (just click on our website, www.cityofcocoabeach.com and click on the Notify Me).. We really want all of our residents to be engaged and be informed as after all we all live here as well!
Thank you for your support and allowing me to serve as your Commissioner, please feel free to contact me with any suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell at 321-794-6668.