Mayor Gimenez to Uncle Luke: Back Off!

Last week, our columnist Luther Campbell slammed Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The following is Gimenez's response:

Last year, while campaigning for Mayor of Miami-Dade County, I made certain promises to our residents for a better community. In the fourteen months since then, we have worked day in and day out to keep those promises.

A key promise was to reduce the burden on our taxpayers. Days after taking office, I proposed a budget that took the total property tax rate back to 2009-10 levels. This was the largest tax cut in County history. This year's budget further reduces the tax rates by two percent, bringing my total tax reduction to 14 percent in 14 months, saving taxpayers more than $405 million in less than two years.

Another priority was to reorganize County government. I led that effort by cutting the Mayor's salary in half on my first day in office. In addition, we reduced the number of County departments from 42 to 25 and eliminated 1,767 vacant positions. Efficiencies brought about because of the reorganization will save the taxpayers nearly $80 million in these two budgets.

Another important promise I made was to plan for the future. During my time as Mayor, I have consistently supported projects and activities that promote job creation, economic development and the sustainability of our community, like our efforts to improve the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. This year's budget supports infrastructure improvements, and projects that will attract and retain businesses to promote the future success of our County for generations to come.

Finally, I made a promise to the people of Miami-Dade that I would restore their faith and confidence in our county government. This, however, is not done with words; it's done with deeds. Although we have a sense of cautious optimism, we know we have much more to do. This is just the beginning. As I lead the County in these efforts, I remain committed to restoring economic prosperity to our community and making it a great place for our families to build brighter futures.

Follow County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Twitter at @Gimenez4Mayor and @MayorGimenez.

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