Sleepy Miami Commissioners Pass Budget Deal at 3 a.m., Don't Really Know What's Inside
Faced with a massive $62 million gap in city finances, angry unions and an increasingly hostile commission, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado did what any good leader would do: He kept commissioners up so late they didn't know what they were voting on.
It worked! Just after 3:30 this morning, they voted 3-2 to pass a proposal that included at least $7 million in last-minute spending increases by every department in town.
What are those increases? Who snatched up those $7 million extra dollars while the city unions agreed to more massive cutbacks and nine layoffs?
No one really knows!
Commissioners didn't get the new budget proposal until two hours before last night's meeting, and then were peppered with enough amendments and changes over the nine-hour marathon meeting to leave Thomas Jefferson cross-eyed.
"This has been a frustrating month in trying to keep up and do our due diligence," Commissioner Francis Suarez told The Miami Herald after he voted against the budget because he didn't have time to review all the changes.
There was good news to come out of the late night budget party. First off, no matter how opaque, the city is at least ahead of the federal government when it comes to having a working budget to keep Miami running.
Property taxes will also drop a bit under the deal, saving the average homeowner twenty bucks or so.
But really, in a time of economic strife, disintegrating revenues and insane pension systems, isn't there a better way to pass a city budget than using the kind of sleep deprivation techniques perfected down at Gitmo?
"This rush at the last minute is not just," Commissioner Frank Carollo, the other nay vote, says.
Amen to that. Just wait until the details start leaking out about what the hell commissioners actually passed last night.