Predictions that a finalized county tax roll may show an 8 percent gain in 2015 over 2014 carried an optimistic but guarded warning from Miami-Dade District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava speaking to a West Kendall audience on June 24.
“There is no telling whether revenue gains may be offset by already-committed decisions of the past, but restoring funding in policing is something both you and I should support,” she said.
“We’re hoping then to have a better idea of how the tax roll valuations will affect the 2015-16 budget, and whether any restorations from past cutbacks will be possible,” she told the audience, hopeful that cutbacks in policing resources may be among the first to be restored.
Citing one example, Levine Cava noted that the Agricultural Patrol, attached to Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District, had its capability reduced by “by one-fifth” of its enforcement staff.”
“There’s been an upsurge in thefts throughout the farms, from equipment and supplies to crops themselves, just taken from the ground,” she told the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) of Miami- Dade Police Hammocks District.
On a positive note, Levine Cava said she is supporting a proposal to expand the Police Academy from one to four sessions in 2015-16 “because we’ve been short by 250 officers over the past year. We need to have qualified new graduates to take on new positions, either from retirees or vacancies that can be filled again.”
In other comments:
• Levine Cava said she wants the commission to examine a recent California move to have banks turn over foreclosed properties to non-profit agencies for use, rather than carry the uninhabited homes indefinitely;
• She will lead an effort to more closely address missing county revenues from unpaid taxes, licensing fees and other charges not currently being sufficiently monitored for non-payment;
• She said a new Kendall route utilizing the South Dade Busway remains a specific priority to encourage more transit commuting and less US1 traffic;
• She will back a continuing effort to resolve criticism of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) in a face-toface meeting to see how to get better public representation by the appointed board.
“The last two proposed MDX board members got a pretty stiff examination for their interests, and that will continue,” she noted of commission appointments to MDX. “It’s time that the MPO (Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization) took an overview look at MDX and all transportation policies to improve our system.
“You know, I only took office just seven months ago, so I am still getting to learn my way around,” she concluded. “But we now have our office going ahead with seven staffers and we want to hear from you to get more involved with governing our county.”
The next Citizens Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, July 29, 7:30 p.m., at Hammocks District Station, 10000 SW 142 Ave., when Andria Hanley of Camillus House will recap the non-profit agency’s role in assisting Miami-Dade services. Complimentary refreshments are served.