Mayor’s Response to My Letter on the Budget Crisis

Without further comment, I reproduce a response from Mayor Don Slesnick to my letter to him and Commissioners. I thank him for the direct response and I think that it summarizes quite nicely his public views on the budget.

…We are taking the pension issue very seriously and have been the first Commission in thirty years to reign in some of the cost items and are planning to do more – but everything must be done (by state law) through collective bargaining with the unions. If you have some specific suggestions it might help. However, please know that we are planning to lay off about 8% of the work force and cut some salaries – and freeze all others. Today, in the FOP impasse hearing, we took further steps to “draw back “on the cost of the pension plan while still trying to maintain the morale and espirit de corps of the department. I do not think that anything we are proposing or considering is unacceptable – we need to keep our city as one of the special places of Florida with first class services and amenities that bring residents and businesses to us (one of the strongest real estate markets in the State – even during bad times). To become a “cut rate” city will not serve you well as the market turns upward. Having said that – I do not believe that we are intending to raise the millage as high as we advertised – we felt it was a smart business move (even if it drew comments like yours) to give ourselves some wiggle room as we delved deeper into the budget challenges and opportunities for the coming year…

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

One Response to Mayor’s Response to My Letter on the Budget Crisis

  1. Robert Burr says:

    Did you hear that sound? That’s the sound of the mayor backing down on the huge millage rate increase he insisted was necessary for the city to continue operating in a first-class manner. In 1928 when the depression caused many in Coral Gables to lose their homes, a recall election removed all but George Merrick from the commission. It’s extremely rare that taxpayers get so upset with their leaders, but tough economic times fall hard on the average family and governments that are used to taking whatever they need are slow to evolve. It takes a lot of pressure from the people who give the money to get the people who tax and spend the money to pay attention.

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