What’s the next proposed budget change, Mr. Mayor?

Every workday morning county cops wake up and the first thing to enter their minds is: do I have a job? Certainly it makes sense that they have and will keep their jobs. After all, the county has just spent a ton of money training new police officers.

But how can they feel secure? The mayor now says the county must eliminate 450 police officers so the taxpayers of Miami- Dade wouldn’t have to pay a little more in real estate taxes. Seems the mayor is afraid the voters of our county will not return him to office if he proposes a modest tax increase.

Okay, the mayor changed his position. Cut back on library services and there might be enough money to get rid of fewer cops. The City of Miami, recognizing a good deal when they see one, said if the county kicks the new cops out after training them, there are jobs waiting for them with the City of Miami. Great deal for the city — just trained and ready to go to work. It’ll save the city a lot of money.

But wait, if the county employees are willing to pay a little more for their health insurance perhaps the county can keep even a few more of the new cops. Now the mayor has the cops against the other county employees.

Let’s wait and see what the county commissioners say. They might vote in a small tax increase and save not only the police jobs but keep the doors of the libraries open a little more and not fire as many librarians as first expected. The mayor then said he might veto a tax increase if the commission approves one.

Okay, let’s see, the mayor now has the police up in arms, the library staff angry, most county employees ticked off over the possible increase in health insurance and possible layoffs, not to mention all those voters, and their kids, who depend on the library system for after school activities. The mayor may get so many county employees angry enough not knowing what is going to happen next that they alone may not return him to office at the next election. They might even join the recall movement and not wait for the next election.

History: Just a few months ago, the mayor said a small increase in real estate taxes might be necessary. Radio talk show programs lit up like Christmas trees. Angry! Angry! Angry! How did the mayor respond? Did he go on the radio and explain the logic behind a “small” increase? No, he ran back to his office on the top floor of the county building and quickly announced that he was not going to increase taxes. Rather, he said that he would cut spending. And that’s how it all came to be.

What I consider funny is that back on July 13 the mayor said that when he was elected mayor, he promised to restore fiscal responsibility to our government and put Miami-Dada County on a sustainable path. Far too long, the county has governed from budget crisis to budget crisis. That day he inferred no cuts in police but painful cuts in other areas.

Mr. Mayor, you were hired by the voters of Miami-Dade County after you interviewed for the job during the last mayoral election. Now your almost daily proposed changes in who will keep their county clerical positions, how safe will we be with the cuts in law enforcement officers, where are the kids going after school now that libraries has reduced hours has the residents of the county first nervous, then angry and now ready to do something to force a change.

I know politics is a popularity contest for elected officials. But some times that must be put aside for the good of the community.

We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to Kenneth.Bluh@ColumbusCL.com. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.

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About the Author

Kenneth Bluh
Kenneth has been writing a column for Community Newspapers since 1989 when he first wrote about the incorporation movement in UMSA (Unincorporated Municipal Services Area). His columns cover the political scene in Miami-Dade and Tallahassee. Educated at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, Kenneth has been a member of the banking/mortgage lending profession in Florida since 1962. Contact him at kbluh@americanbsm.com or 786-247-0547 where he manages American Bancshares Mortgage LLC’s Reverse Mortgage Department.

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