After disputed presidential elections in Venezuelan, Doral can expect a new wave of immigrants from the South American country who could increase the population by 40 percent in the next two years, Mayor Luigi Boria said Monday.
The number of Venezuelans could jump from nearly 50,000 residents to about 70,000 by 2015, Boria said.
“This wave represents a challenge for us,” said Boria, who after winning the November election became the first Venezuelan mayor in Florida.
Boria mentioned the wave after Venezuela’s National Election Council announced Sunday night that the government candidate Nicolás Maduro had won the presidential election by a narrow margin of a little more than one percentage point.
Boria said that he has already had talks with authorities in Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee to obtain federal and state funds to pay for infrastructure projects and improve services to the community.
The city now manages an annual budget of $58 million largely from a diversified tax base that includes residential areas, small businesses and large industries.
Boria said also that last year, the city approved real estate projects to develop about 6,000 homes that would be ready within the next two years. Most of these projects are located in northwest Doral.
However, some in Doral have criticized the deal, saying that the mayor’s children own Grand Floridian LLC., which plans to build the luxury residential area on 107th Avenue.
The mayor and his eldest son, Alexander, have repeatedly denied the existence of a conflict of interest. Alexander has said that the zoning of the residential area allows him to build 170 houses but that he will focus on building only 67 one-family homes.
Boria is also considering the need to strengthen Doral’s Police Department, which has 90 employees. He said that for the next fiscal year’s budget that will be presented in September he expects to consider recommendations from City Manager Joe Carollo.
In the last few weeks, the department has focused on reinforcing a strategic alliance with the Miami-Dade county police, whose headquarters is located in Doral. This has allowed Boria to display joint operations in the fight against drugs that have led to raids on houses located in exclusive developments, which were being used to produce and market marihuana.
In seeking solutions for another major problem in Doral — heavy traffic — Boria said he will continue to push projects to expand roads, such as 102nd and 104th Avenues, which he said will bring relief to saturated 107th Avenue traffic.