Public libraries would remain open -- but with far fewer full-time librarians. Two successful programs to help youth offenders would be scrapped. Subsidies for community-based organizations that provide social services would get a 10 percent cut.
To close a
The tax rate set each year by county commissioners would remain flat under Gimenez's 2014-15 proposal. A separate portion of taxes that pays for voter-approved construction projects would go up 6 percent, thanks largely to last year's
A homeowner in an unincorporated neighborhood such as Kendall with a taxable property value of
Not all properties are subject to the same county taxes, since some cities provide their own library and fire services. Those that rely on county libraries -- the majority of homeowners -- will be paying a higher portion of their taxes toward the library district. Taxes for countywide services and the fire department are going down to allow for a 38 percent increase in the library's relatively small tax.
Gimenez's proposal assumes his administration won't reach any deals with labor unions over temporary pay and benefit concessions workers gave up three years ago that the mayor wants to make permanent. Without new contracts, about
The proposed layoffs set up another battle between Gimenez and the county's unions, since he's portraying the service cuts as avoidable if employees agree to less compensation. "You can buy certain things back with concessions you get from labor," Gimenez said in an interview before the budget's unveiling.
If unions extend the concessions and agree to the mayor's request for a 15 percent reduction in healthcare costs, he said, "you get all of your cops back. You can save some programs in corrections and parks."
Commissioners are scheduled to vote next week on the maximum property-tax rate. A final budget for the fiscal year that begins
"We will not increase the burden on our residents through higher taxes," Gimenez said when he unveiled the three-volume budget. "We will not govern from budget crisis to budget crisis."
The mayor's budget totals about
The proposed operating budget for day-to-day expenses for the nation's seventh-largest county is
Gimenez's budget lists a slight increase in overall debt payments for
While Gimenez touted a budget that doesn't rely on surplus cash and reserves to eliminate deficits, the mayor is counting on one-time savings to avoid further cuts or higher taxes. A tentative deal he struck with
Police, the largest department in
The Midwest police district, which is based in
Specialized police units, including those in charge of gang, robbery and tactical narcotics investigations, would be reduced. It would take longer for officers to respond to non-emergency calls -- 30 minutes instead of 13 minutes budgeted for this year.
"You don't enjoy the safety and security you deserve," he said of residents. "But you can certainly enjoy a Dolphins game."
The corrections department would scrap the Boot Camp and "I'm Ready" programs -- which, the budget says, "have been recognized as successful models for reducing recidivism rates among youthful offenders." Gimenez's administration says those cutbacks would not hinder the department's ability to comply with improvements required by the
While no county parks would close, they would be staffed by fewer workers -- more of them employed part time -- and would receive less landscaping and maintenance. Zoo
Transit fares would increase by
Other fees would increase as well. Water bills, which went up 8 percent this year, would go up another 6 percent to fund federally mandated fixes to the county's dilapidated sewer system.
The county's animal shelter would begin charging for a number of services that are currently free, with the standard dog vaccination package jumping from complimentary to
Elsewhere in the budget, the public works department would cut back on sidewalk and road sign repairs, and on removing graffiti. Hours of operation for the county's 311 telephone assistance service would be slashed to Monday to Friday from
Gimenez's budget would still mean cuts for the library district. Taxes would generate enough for a
One public library -- the
Library advocates urged commissioners on Tuesday to reject Gimenez's proposed budget and instead increase the overall tax rate. On the heels of a 2011 tax-cut package in Gimenez's first year in office, the system has relied on both spending cuts and cash reserves to bridge the gap between revenue and expenses. Library advocates want the tax raised high enough to generate
"The library system is going to take yet another cut in current services," said
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