Town of Miami Lakes: A Model for Transparency In Government
The Town of Miami Lakes strives to be accountable and accessible to the public that we serve. As part of this ongoing effort to become the model for transparency in government, the Town of Miami Lakes has taken the following measures to Achieve Better Communication, Transparency, & Public Participation on all Issues. This priority is at the core of our mission, and part of the Town’s Strategic Plan. We realize that to provide quality services, we must first understand our residents’ needs. As our town and technology continue to evolve, we must establish a variety of mechanisms that will enable us to remain in constant communication with our residents.
"Transparency in government is always talked about; however, the difference in Miami Lakes is that we have taken great strides in implementing and delivery a truly transparent government," said Councilman Ceasar Mestre.
Quarterly Performance Reports
In addition to the annual reports required by the Town Charter, the Town Manager also reports quarterly on departmental goals and successes. The Performance Measures Report provides a narrative for each performance area. Performance measures provide effective and reliable ways to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Town's service delivery.
"Performance Management is all about having an accountable and efficient municipal government," stated Mayor Manny Cid. "This new system promotes transparency and empowers our residents by being able to measure the effectiveness of town-wide programs or expenditures."
The Town continually works to improve the quality of services we deliver and the means by which we measure and evaluate our performance. Through this reporting mechanism, the Town has implemented measures that will be useful when making decisions.
In addition to these reports, the Town’s Strategic and Master Plans can also be found under the "Office of the Manager": www.miamilakes-fl.gov/manager
The Town of Miami Lakes became the first municipality in Miami-Dade County to welcome video submissions for remote public comment. Those who are not able to attend the meetings can either email or upload a video on the item they wish to speak about for the Town Mayor and Councilmembers to hear during the Public Comment. This new option is another tool the Town of Miami Lakes is using to extend citizen engagement and outreach.
In addition, the Town webcasts Planning and Zoning ("P &Z") Board meetings as well as Council meetings, workshops and special events such as forums or press conferences.
For more information and to view the meetings live and archived P & Z Board and Town Council meetings, please visit www.miamilakes-fl.gov/meetings.
Status of Town Action Items
To provide residents with updates on the initiatives and proposals discussed at Council Meetings, a monthly status report is posted to the Town’s website. This report provides information on the sponsoring Councilman or staff member, along with next steps and actions to be taken. The reports are updated monthly after each Council Meeting.
"One of the roles the council plays are to provide oversight and to ensure resident services are being delivered and that initiatives are being properly prioritized,” said Councilman Tony Lama who proposed the initiative. “In my business, we regularly use dashboards to track performance. With the help of the manager and staff, we have compiled a list of initiatives to do just that for our municipal services and initiatives. What's great is that residents will also have access to this data and know how their tax dollars are being used. We are striving for maximum transparency.” To access the status report, please visit www.miamilakes-fl.gov and click on the “Town Action Items” tab under Quick Links on the left-hand side of the homepage.
To access the status report, please click on the “Town Action Items” tab under Town Council tab on the left-hand side of the homepage www.miamilakes-fl.gov.
The following tools not only reduce paper and staff time but also allows for easy public access to search and view reports and information.
The Town of Miami Lakes strives not only for more transparency but also for public access. In 2014, the Town began utilizing VR Systems for Candidates to create and submit their Financial Reports electronically. Election information and the financial reports can be found on the Town's website under “Office of the Clerk”: www.miamilakes-fl.gov/electioninfo
Online Submissions for Public Records Request
The online portal for public records requests allows residents the option of submitting public records requests directly from the Town’s website.
To access the Public Records Request online form, please visit www.miamilakes-fl.gov and click on the “Public Records Request” tab under Online Services on the left-hand side of the homepage.
For more information, please contact Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo, at email@example.com or (305) 364-6100.
In an ongoing effort to bring more transparency to the Town's finances, the Town has added a monthly check register section to the finance section of the Town's website. This section includes a full listing of checks the Town issued during the prior month.
To view the check register, please visit the “Finance Department”: www.miamilakes-fl.gov/finance
Since 2011, the Town has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States for its comprehensive annual financial report. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government, its staff and management.
"Transparency has truly been ingrained in the Miami Lakes town government culture," stated Mayor Manny Cid. "This is just another example of Miami Lakes leading the way in financial transparency."
The comprehensive annual financial report has been judged to meet the highest standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the comprehensive annual financial report. The Mayor, Town Council and Town Administration take pride in our continued efforts to increase transparency.
These reports can also be accessed on the Finance Department’s page of the website listed above.
In addition to posting the Town’s check register, the Procurement Department posts all of the Town’s active contracts and current Solicitations. This department is responsible for the procurement process which includes the purchase or contract of commodities, equipment, and services, contract administration, dispute resolution, as well as the disposition of Town-owned surplus property.
Please visit the Procurement Department’s page of the website to access this information.
Have you ever noticed a pothole or sidewalk that needed repairing? And you wanted to report it to Town Hall, but didn't know exactly who or what department to report it to?
Well, now you can submit various request types like potholes and sidewalk repairs and other maintenance issues right from your phone!
Simply take a photo, and your phone’s GPS will find your location and send your request directly to Town Hall!
Visit www.miamilakesconnect.com for more information.
The Town has vastly increased our social media presence adding twitter (over 1,700 followers) and Instagram (over 1,400 followers). Facebook continues to be our farthest reach with over 4,500 followers reaching about 12,000 people daily. We’ve even created a separate account on Instagram for Miami Lakes teens which lists the activities and events taking place at our new Youth Center “The Spot”.
Be sure to follow us to stay informed about all Town initiatives, programs, and events:
The Town thanks all those who have are already following us to stay up to date with the latest news from the Town. Be sure to use our official hashtag #iheartmiamilakes when posting and tell us why you “heart” Miami Lakes. Photos will be shared on the Town’s social media pages and website at www.miamilakes-fl.gov/iheartml
To create a sustained level of openness and accountability between the government and its residents, the town will continue to strive to incorporate the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration. Transparency initiatives like those listed above will continue to build trust between the people and the government.