Miami mayor to declare financial emergency
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The City of Miami is ready to declare a financial emergency just a day after the city's credit rating was called into question.
Moody's has announced it could downgrade the City of Miami's credit rating due to the SEC investigation announced Wednesday into allegations that the city had misled investors. This has caused great concern for City of Miami officials, as they gathered for an emergency meeting Thursday to look at what must be done.
There are various reasons for concern by officials. Should its credit rating be downgraded, the city would have to pay more in interest to borrow money. Another concern is when Moody's, one of the nation's top three credit agencies, goes through the books, they will want to see that the city has a balanced budget. However, the City of Miami happens to be $40 million short.
The solution to quickly balance the books could lie in the hands of City of Miami manager Johnny Martinez, who, in coordination with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, would declare a fiscal emergency. When or if that does happen, it would mean the mayor would be granted unilateral authority over any cuts he would like to make.
Fearing they would be targeted for cuts, employee unions appeared at the commission meeting Thursday, saying they have already suffered many cuts for years on end and do not want to see any more.
The city counters that they have been working with unions on good faith negotiations. During the meeting, Regalado said, "The public and the city employees should know that the team appointed by the manager has been thinking outside of the box, and they have come up with many, many ideas."
Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, brought up tough budget negotiations where police made great sacrifices. "I remember, in 2009, when Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones said, 'Armando, Armando, you need to dig deeper.' Well, guess what?" he said. "We dug our own graves already. How much more are you going to take away from us? Where does the abuse end? We have done our share. It's time now for the citizens of Miami to do their's."
The decision to give the mayor the power to do what he wants does not need the approval of the commissioners. However, it is playing out in front of them just as a formality. Regaldo said Friday or shortly thereafter he and the city manager will pen a letter to the state declaring the city is in a financial emergency.
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