WEST KENDALL (CBS4) – Embattled Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez made one of his first public appearances Monday night, since his recall election was scheduled.
Supporters of Mayor Carlos Alvarez and angry homeowners alike questioned the mayor as he fights for his political life.
“When you don’t have, you make do with what you have until situations improve. That’s it there’s nothing else to do. You don’t raise taxes,” one Miami-Dade resident told Mayor Alvarez at the Kendall Federation of Homeowner’s Association meeting.
Mayor Alvarez spent most of the evening defending his budget which rolled back the tax rate to that of the previous fiscal year- raising some homeowner’s taxes. He says he had to or services, like police, fire and parks would’ve been slashed.
“That is what I believe would’ve been a disaster for this community,” Alvarez told the group of about 100 people.
That budget is at the center of the recall efforts against him. And though he said this event was not about campaigning for votes…he admitted to CBS4′s Natalia Zea that he has to address concerns.
And he did get some tough questions.
“How can you justify giving substantial raises and promotions to your own staff?” asked resident Kenneth Karger.
The Mayor responded, “Four individuals got salary adjustments, probably about $80,000 worth. We saved the taxpayers by merging about $1.7, $1.8 million.”
Mayor Alvarez also took some jabs at the County Commissioners who voted against his budget.
“When all these folks that are wannabe mayors say I voted against it- ok- well what did you offer?”
But the point he drove home hardest, was that voters will decide whether his budget, and his track record are worth pushing him out of County Hall.
“You’ll decide whether the recommendations I made were appropriate or not and if not you’ll choose someone else to represent you, it’s as simple as that,” Alvarez said.
But the Mayor’s legal efforts to stop his recall election continue. Monday, a second judge stepped away from the case for being too close to one of the attorneys involved.
The new judge has not yet been named.