What I Learned during the Budget Hearing Tonight

I  learned a few things from the Commission meeting today.

  • The Director of Finance sings the same song every year, and he has for many years.  “We have a great millage rate.”  “We really need the money.”  “We are a great city that needs the money.”  “Don’t worry, Miami-Dade is taking a much bigger share of the rate so our tax rate isn’t that bad, really.”
  • The City Manager has a plan to reorganize, restructure and right size the city’s government.  [I wonder what is the plan and whether we, the citizens, hear about it in more detail.]
  • The City Manager feels that the employees have sacrificed a lot and when the economy comes back the sacrifices can be rectified. [Many citizens think it is the taxpayers that have been sacrificing, rather than the employees.  Maybe the Manager is just playing up to his staff.]
  • One Commissioner reminded us that employees haven’t received salary adjustments for a couple of years.  [I am personally reminded that there is been literally no inflation for two years, so their salaries haven’t gone down in real terms for two years.]
  • Mr. Kerdyk said that there are 1,000 housing units in “pre-foreclosure” out of 16,000 so times are really, really, tough for the community.
  • The City Manager said that there are plenty of candidates for the jobs of police and firefighters.  [Economics tells you that we don’t have to pay the police and firefighters as much in these conditions–supply and demand.]
  • There are 7 police officers and 2 lieutenants positions that are unfilled and will mostly remain so as a financial buffer.
  • The reserves have taken a huge hit because of the FEMA double billing debacle.  We just have $3.3 million after repaying FEMA.
  • I have the feeling that the City Manager and the Commissioners are praying for a strong economic recovery as a way of digging out of the financial mess. [The City Manager said we have a financial mess (in so many words).  Don’t count on a strong economic recovery.
  • Nothing, nothing was said about the Biltmore.  [Maybe, I missed it.]

About Stephen E. McGaughey
Resident of the City of Coral Gables

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