The Hispanic community has accounted for much of the growth. About 67 percent of the population was Hispanic in 2000, Census figures show. By 2010, 79.5 percent claimed the same heritage.
Mayor Luigi Boria, who was born in Venezuela and has lived in the area for 24 years, noted the growing diversity.
Now, there are many more Colombians, Venezuelans, Cubans and Brazilians, he said.
The growth has led to bigger budgets. In its first fiscal year, Doral’s general-fund budget totaled a little more than $23 million. This year, the city council had $58 million to work with — enough to prompt City Manager Joe Carollo to propose cuts and hint at a smaller budget next year.
Carollo’s appointment in January surprised many and marked the return of the former Miami mayor and political firebrand to public service. Interim city manager Merrett Stierheim, who had been hired to guide the city in finding a new manager, resigned a few hours before the council hired Carollo. After his resignation, Stierheim said the hiring of Carollo was “a terrible decision” by the council.
At the time, Carollo — a friend and political adviser to Boria — said he regretted recommending Stierheim to the mayor. On Thursday, Carollo said he had moved on from the public tiff.
“I’m just focused now on what I need to do as city manager,” he said.
In another episode, political activist Vanessa Brito led a failed attempt to recall Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera. Rumors ran wild about who may have instigated the recall, which fizzled in April after too few signatures were submitted.
Regarding the city’s purse, Carollo said that Doral’s finances are strong, particularly after the council approved his recommendation to reduce the current fiscal year’s budget from $58 million to $41.5 million and pump up the city’s reserves to about $40.6 million.
He said that a new city needs an especially strong reserve fund because of expected infrastructure and capital-improvement needs that come with growth.
“It looks like we’re loaded with money,” he said. “But we have to be very savvy and financially responsible in how we spend it because if not, it could turn around really quick.”
Boria said he remembers narrower roads and farms when he first arrived. Now, he has said that improving traffic congestion has to be a priority for the council.
Resident Robert Vos agreed, saying that increased traffic is the biggest change he’s seen in the 14 years he’s lived in Doral.
“There are times when it’s almost gridlock,” he said.
Besides current and planned road improvements, Boria said that expanding the city’s free trolley service and extending Metrorail might be worth pursuing.
“We might want to look at mass transportation,” he said.
Robert Uria, who moved to Doral with his wife in 2000, said the quality of life has improved since the community became a city.
“There are spectacular holiday events that my young boys enjoy,” he said. “The parks are run efficiently and proactively like none I have ever seen. I actually see our police officers on a regular basis. Fantastic restaurants. Great people. I cannot ask for a better place to live.”
For 20-year-old Luis Camejo, who coaches the sons of some family friends in various sports during the summer, the city’s parks are high points for him.
As he taught two boys how to swing a golf club at Bermudez Park on Tuesday, he said he likes the services that come with being a city.
“There are more police, more parks,” he said. “I like it more now.”
This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with The Miami Herald.
Follow @joeflech on Twitter.