(Wednesday, September 1, 2021) – Typically, the first page of the Islander is written by the Mayor. However, as many of you already know, Mayor George “Bud” Scholl has resigned effective September 1, 2021. If you have not read his farewell message, we invite you to read it here. We wanted to use this space to say thank you to Mayor Scholl for his over 13 years of leadership on the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission, first as a commissioner from 2007 – 2014 and then as mayor since 2014. He was a visionary even prior to his time on the Commission, serving on various volunteer boards and committees including the Charter Revision Commission, the Historic Preservation Board, the Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Board, and the search committees for the City Manager and City Attorney.
George “Bud” Scholl was the City of Sunny Isles Beach’s third mayor, following Norman S. Edelcup and David P. Samson. Samson took office at incorporation in 1997 and served as mayor until his death on October 12, 2003. Edelcup was the sitting Vice Mayor at the time of Samson’s passing, thus becoming mayor in 2003. He was re-elected twice, serving as mayor until 2014, when Scholl was elected.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend Bud Scholl for the dedication, devotion and personal commitment he has given to public office these past thirteen years,” says former Mayor Norman Edelcup. “As Commissioner, while I was then Mayor, and later succeeding me as the City’s next mayor, Bud has always made leadership decisions to make Sunny Isles Beach a ‘world class’ community for all its residents, visitors and businesses.”
Under his leadership, Sunny Isles Beach progressed substantially in terms of infrastructure, efficiency and finance. With his vision and direction, the City catapulted forward as an effective government, raising the quality of life for residents without raising the millage rate. In his early days as mayor, Bud could be heard praising the past mayors’ achievements in building the city. He also knew it was his responsibility to ensure that SIB could sustain the new growth with infrastructure improvements, park land, and high- quality services, all while remaining fiscally responsible. Bud was a fair, forward-thinking, smart leader, keeping true to his role as a policymaker. He often referred to his ‘30,000-foot view,’ leaving the day-to-day operations to the administration as the charter requires. As a result, our city is thriving financially, socially, and culturally.
Throughout his time in office, Mayor Scholl championed technology, safety, capital improvement, financial, and arts initiatives that brought our city into a new era. In large part due to the Mayor’s Technology Challenge issued in 2016, we added free Wi-Fi to the parks, SIBshuttle buses, and on the beach; migrated to a mobile parking app for municipal lots; created an app to track the SIBshuttle; and installed solar-powered charging benches in most parks and car charging stations in select municipal parking lots. With safety reigning at the top of the priority list, Bud increased visibility by the patrol units, initiated a security camera program in our parks and facilities, and facilitated the creation of a Transportation Master Plan.
Around the city, we saw a successful drainage project on 174 Street, construction of the North Bay Road Pedestrian Bridge connecting 172 and 174 streets, the purchase and preservation of park land to ensure a park within walking distance of every resident, and the buildout of the new Gateway Center, a facility like no other in SIB. Financially, Bud also effectively initiated or completed over $120 million in capital projects without the need for taking loans or issuing bonds. Always looking toward the future, we grew our unassigned fund balance in the General Fund from $7 million to over $22 million. The establishment of a Cultural Master Plan provided us with a detailed blueprint to enrich the quality and quantity of cultural events, along with the creation of a Public Arts Advisory Committee.
Sunny Isles Beach has prospered under the leadership of Mayor George “Bud” Scholl. He is leaving the Commission in good hands and in a good place for future growth and opportunities. We wish Bud all the best as he focuses on his important role as president and CEO of OneBlood and look forward to serving him for many years as a proud resident of Sunny Isles Beach.