Miami-Dade Mayor's Budget Means Cuts to Police, Jails, and Libraries

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has proposed a county budget for next year that is all about cuts. To avoid raising property taxes, the county would eliminate hundreds of jobs, hitting police, corrections officers, and librarians the hardest.

In a Tuesday press conference, Gimenez unveiled a proposal to help close the current $64 million budget deficit. In his suggested budget, which will be reviewed by the County Commission, more than 600 positions will be eliminated.

These eliminations include: 177 posts and 20 civilian positions in Corrections and Rehabilition, 228 sworn positions and 57 civilian positions in the police department, and 94 full-time positions in libraries.

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"We will not increase the burden on our residents through higher taxes," Gimenez said.

Other reductions will be made as services are outsourced and positions go from full-time to part-time. In libraries, Gimenez hopes to replace some full-time staff with part-time positions instead.

Gimenez's proposal did not include any kind of concessions from labor organizations although he did say that he hopes to reach an agreement with them to help reduce job eliminations.

"Let me be clear that any concessions successfully negotiated with our labor organizations will allow for the buyback of direct service cuts and could reduce the total budgeted position eliminations by more than 75 percent," Gimenez said as he repeatedly emphasized the possibility of less cuts.

Next week, commissioners will vote on setting the maximum tax rate for the upcoming year. The actual finalized budget for the next fiscal year will not be decided upon until September.

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Sabrina Rodriguez