Miami commissioners to vote on police budget
COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) -- City of Miami commissioners will vote on the 2014 budget, Wednesday and consider whether to give raises to the city's police officers or allocate those funds to hire new recruits.
At Miami City Hall, commissioners will be looking at several budget proposals for Miami Police, a department whose entry-level officer salaries rank among the lowest in Miami-Dade County.
Under one plan proposed by acting city manager Daniel Alfonso, 10 new officer positions would be added in 2014 to a department reportedly suffering from understaffing after years of salary and benefit cuts. The plan would take money from other departments, with $500,000 coming from a citywide election run-off in November, another $500,000 coming from a risk management insurance pool, and $470,000 from profits made during the 2013 Ultra Music Festival and local filming of the TV series Burn Notice.
"We identify $2.4 million that will go to additional police services are change is that we don't recommend," said Alfonso, "but if the commission desires to advocate additional resources, those are areas that can be reduced to the budget."
The Miami Fraternal Order of Police brought forth a plan requesting more funds to give all Miami Police officers a salary bump of $5,000 more a year. "It's a plan that will not cut services, it will not raise taxes," said Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz. "If anything, it's going to increase services because we'll be able to put more police officers on the street."
A second plan from the city calls for more drastic cuts to various city departments. This proposal, which would add 100 officers to the department, would cost $9 million. The plan would entail cuts to departments like city parks, which would lose 30 full-time jobs. "I think the important thing is to show to the residents that we have listened to them, and we have found money to add more police officers," said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Miami Police Department Chief Manuel Orosa said that they have had the same amount of officers in the department since the 1990s. "We do need to grow the police department. We are patrolling the city with the same amount of officers we had in the 1990s, and the city's population has grown tremendously," said Miami Police Department Chief Manuel Orosa.
Commissioners will begin hearing from advocates of these proposals beginning at 5:05 p.m. Stay tuned to 7News for continuing coverage of the City of Miami budget hearing.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)