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County Budget Briefing for Homestead

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Posted: Friday, August 17, 2018 11:06 am

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava brought County budget experts to Homestead on Tuesday August 14 at the Dickinson Community Center. County department directors, including a deputy Mayor, presented the $7.867 billion budget for fiscal 2018-2019 to the small public audience.

“Tonight is everything you want to know about the budget,” said Commissioner Cava. “There aren’t too many controversies here. There is no tax increase although there are new expenses.”

The Commissioner has a second briefing in her district scheduled for August 16 at 6 pm at the South Dade Regional Library in Cutler Bay.

The County Commission set a preliminary budget hearing for September 6 in its downtown chamber with a final hearing on September 20 prior to adoption. The new budget takes effect October 1.

Director of the County Office of Management and Budget, Ryan Elliott presented the new budget consisting of $2.496 billion in capital projects and an operating fund of $5.370 billion.

The County’s largest operating cost is for public safety (police, fire, judiciary, etc.) at 30c on the dollar, while the largest general government cost (at 8c per dollar) is for salaries for 27,000 employees.

“The millage rate is flat this year which is not easy to accomplish,” said Elliott. Current county millage is 4.669, with County debt service at 0.4644. Total millage charges including fire rescue operations, library services and UMSA

operations equals 9.7643.

The County’s Director of Transportation Alice Bravo gave a brief explanation of the SMART plan to expand public transportation in Miami-Dade. Asked about road maintenance in rural Miami-Dade, she focused on paving the County has done to date based on limited funds.

The County Commission deferred a decision on SMART plan choices until its special meeting on August 30 at 2 pm, according to Commissioner Cava. The deadline in the federal process for shared funding is in September.

An overheard comment by a county employee, “it took two hours to get here!” caused secret smiles in the audience.

Director Elliott reviewed several highlights of the proposed budget such as providing police security services in one hundred primary schools in

unincorporated Miami-Dade County. “Funding will provide targeted patrols and response to active shooting incidents too,” he said.

Other new initiatives include adding two new fire suppression units and one new fire rescue unit. The County also plans to start a ten-year capital improvement program to replace or renovate twenty fire rescue


Elliott’s presentation showed funding increases for youth safety programs, extending library hours while increasing funding for materials, a program to expand the County’s tree canopy following Hurricane Irma’s damage, and

funding the strategic rapid transit plan (SMART) including traffic signals adjustments.

Although the budget includes no tax increases, it does call for various fee “adjustments”.

County water and sewer services are due to increase $3 per month for all customers, special taxing districts could have cost adjustments, and the storm water utility rate is due to increase $1.00 per household to fund drainage improvements. Fee increases are expected for animal services, the libraries, neighborhood code compliance, parks and several other fee-driven services.

Next year, the County plans to spend $222.3 million on affordable housing, pay for recruitment classes for firefighters, law enforcement officers and correctional training, provides programs for 7650 at risk youth, and support 130,000 emergency shelter spaces plus $2 million for emergency supplies.

“The County’s two biggest economic engines are the airport and the port,” said Elliott. His statistics show 45.6 million airport passengers a year handling 2.3

million tons of cargo with 6.5 million passengers coming through the port. County support for these operations is built into the budget. General grant agreements totaling $90 million also comes from the economic development fund.

“The County has contributed to Homestead’s downtown development,” said Commissioner Cava. “South Dade has a real opportunity for growth in economic development with the transportation to support it. Yet we can preserve the natural environment and agriculture at the same time.”

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1 comment:

  • kritter posted at 9:00 am on Tue, Aug 21, 2018.

    kritter Posts: 18

    i wish they'd use some money for a canal patrol. the canals are polluted with trash. i remember the days when canals were pristine and kids swam in them.