Miami declares financial urgency
MIAMI (WSVN) -- As expected, the City of Miami has officially declared "financial urgency."
Friday afternoon, Mayor Tomas Regalado sent a letter to the state making the declaration, which will allow the City to unilaterally re-structure public employee contracts. The move could mean bad news for the police and fire departments, as they will probably be forced to give up some money.
This declaration is designed to help balance the city's $485 million budget by Sept. 30. "It does not mean that the city is bankrupt. It doesn't mean that the city does not have money," said Mayor Tomas Regalado.
The mayor said that the city has two months to balance the budget, but the police union stopped negotiating and gave the administration no choice but to make the declaration, which gives the mayor power to cut the budget. "By law we have to have a balanced budget by September 30th of this year," the mayor said. "If not, we'll be in default with the state."
Miami is still $40 million in the red, but commissioners have slightly lowered the property tax rate. "We have to have courage to lower taxes and bite the bullet and take cuts and streamline the government, and this is what we're doing," Regalado said.
Miami Fraternal Order of Police Sgt. Javier Ortiz countered, "We have given everything that we have. We have police officers that are paying $300 a month for their police cars as a take-home surcharge. We don't have uniforms. We haven't bought new cars. We haven't had raises in the last four years, and all we're asking is for the bleeding to stop."
Ortiz said that he believes all of this is an election ploy so the mayor can say he lowered taxes. Although, according to Ortiz, on the backs of union members.
The union has 14 days to get back to the administration with suggestions on how they can come up with this $40 million. If they do not do so, the mayor said, they will submit a balanced budget, and the unions will have to live with it.
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