Biscayne Park commissioners announced their pick for new city manager at a special meeting held last Thursday.
Heidi Shafran, 41, beat out more than 20 candidates for the position. She steps into her new office on Dec. 2 and says she has several priorities on her to-do list.
“One of my biggest goals is to make a list of priorities with the commission and work towards getting everyone on the same page as far as which issues need to be addressed,” Shafran said. “I also think the annexation process needs to at least be addressed. We need to do a study so an intelligent decision can be made. The money is already budgeted for that. A study would look at all the components needed, how to develop services, and we can have the planning council look at the study. We can pull out at any time.”
She discussed annexation as a possible way to solve the revenue problem for the village which is very close to reaching the state cap for its tax rate. The village is nearly 100 percent residential.
“We need to have a formal conversation with the county about this. We could look at delivery of services but those are one time savings. It’s like if you start clipping coupons at home to save money. It’s going to help once but unless you increase your salary, things won’t really improve. We need to improve the salary for the village,” Shafran said.
Another item on her list includes the well-known tree canopy as well as the overall look of the village.
“There’s a lot of focus on the medians and the tree canopy and I really want to help preserve the character of the village,” she said.
Lastly, Shafran wants to concentrate on the general operations of the village offices including the efficiency of employees, streamlining commission meetings, and optimizing board meetings, adding that she would like to receive recommendations from the boards in order to help in the decision-making process for the village.
Shafran comes to the village with 15 years experience in local government. She began her career as the commission aide to then commissioner Nancy Liebman in Miami Beach. From there she was the principal planner and historic preservation officer for the city of Hollywood, and later became the community planning and development director for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Now she is the community development services director for the city of Wilton Manors.
Shafran lives in Deerfield Beach with partner Marlene Marante and their daughter, Shoshana, 8. She is planning on moving to the village or the vicinity during the summer after this school year is finished.
“I love the style of the community in that area.”