Mayor Gimenez’s Budget Reveals Deep Cuts

MIAMI (CBS4) – Twelve days after taking office, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez will recommend closing 13 libraries, eliminating the county’s Head Start program and reduce the county workforce by almost 1,300 employees as part of a plan to close a $409 million budget deficit next year, according to sources familiar with the proposal.

Gimenez’s will formally unveil his first budget Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., but sources who had been briefed by the mayor and his staff outlined the proposal to CBS4’s Jim DeFede on the condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the mayor.

Also on the chopping block: the county’s Boot Camp program which served 200 juvenile offenders last year and cost the county nearly $5 million, and the Women’s Detention Center which will save the county $3 million.

Gimenez is also expected to reiterate his pledge to cut the number of departments down to 25, although it will be several more weeks before a new organizational table for the county will be introduced.

It is not immediately known which of the county’s 13 libraries will be closed, but Gimenez indicated that he would target libraries that are infrequently used and those that are located close to other branches.

The Mayor is also expected to close the county’s larger, regional libraries at least one day a week, and the remaining branch libraries to just four days a week in order to save money. Two of the four book mobiles will also be discontinued.

The cut to the Head Start program, which provides educational opportunities to poor and disadvantaged children, could generate the most controversy. Approximately 400 county employees could be laid off if the program is eliminated.

In his briefings with commissioners today, Gimenez reportedly stressed that no children would be affected because the county would simply pay a private company to provide the Head Start services. County officials believe the private companies can provide the services cheaper than the county.

In addition to cutting his own salary and benefits by 50 percent, Gimenez has pledged to cut the budget for the mayor’s office by 20 percent and is asking commissioners to cut their budget by ten percent.

The bulk of the savings however will come from county employees who will be asked to contribute an additional five percent of their salaries to cover the cost of the health insurance. The mayor is also proposing doing away with merit pay, cost of living increases and longevity pay.

The biggest loser in the mayor’s budget is the Miami Dade Police Department which will be asked to not only pay more for insurance and give up a three percent raise they were expecting, but it will also do away with a step increase that would have raised their rate of pay.

More from Jim DeFede
  • wow

    Let see three percent contribution to my pension, I can live with that. But now an additional 5 percent contribution towards my health insurance for a total contribution of 10 percent in top off what I regurlarly pay for my insurance for a total of almost a thousand dollars a month in insurance deduction and then in top of that a three percent cut or even more. Oh and also taking away a pay step, maybe by the time these cuts are implemented I can apply for food stamp and section 8. what a pay cut of fifty percent when he already makes 12,000 plus a month in pension and another 150,000 a years for my being a mayor or did he get a raise since he only made 6000 as commissioner.

  • Robert

    Yes! the police are making too much money and their retirement is out of this world!
    Go… Mr Gimenez, bring the county back to where it is functional FOR THE PEOPLE!
    You might want to look around the desks and work stations of your lady workers… it looks like museums wher each have 15 or more family pictures on the walls and desks, these are major distractions instead of concentrating on the jobat hand. Maybe when these are cleared out and they get back into an 8 hour working mode you might find that there are TOO MANY WORKERS!!!

    • m

      Robert, you must be from planet moron!!! Remember your posted comments the next time your in need of help. Police officers deserve Respect and financial compensation for laying everything on the line!!!

  • yokolee

    What an imbecile

  • Mark

    When did it become OK to take away hard working county employee’s pay to balance a budget. The workers are also residents, taxpayers who are struggling losing their homes filing for bankruptcy and desperately trying to make ends meet.

  • A Proud County Employee

    Major Gimenez last time I checked the same County employees that you are making an example of to the public are part of the tax base and yes we do pay our taxes and are in the same financial difficulties that the general public is in. I know of many County employees that are experiencing the foreclosure process and have to pay their taxes and credit cards and other expenses that we all as a whole have to pay.

    I have been a employee of Miami Dade County for 17 years, starting from the bottom and working my way up, which if I am not mistaken is the principles that this great nation was founded on! Take into account that for a family of 4 prior to last year’s payroll contribution to insurance was paying close to $800 a month for insurance for Jackson Health, don’t get me started if you wanted Av-Med. Then We had to contribute 5% to the health fund. Then our governor, wanted to make examples of County and State employees to his tea cup backers a 3% contribution to the FRS and now Mayor Gimenez wants to hit us with another 5% contribution to our health insurance. j

    I deal with the public, and I have seen our workforce decrease over the past 2 years but we continue to provide the public the best service possible while our workload has more than doubled. Over the next few years those experienced County employees that joined DROP prior to the governors changes are going to be gone, which means that the County’s combined knowledge base will decrease to the expense of the public that we serve. The County may see it as a saving, but to the community it will be felt. I have always been proud to serve my community and held my head up high when I tell people what I do, but know I see that we are just the bottom line and before it is all said and done all County agencies will be swallowed up by private industries who can do the job for the lowest bid. At the end of the day it will be the citizens of Miami Dade County that will be sorry when County offices are only open a few hours a day or when your child has to do a report and they have to travel miles to their local OPEN library and then wait for hours to use a PC.

    So Mayor Gimenez as you stand on the dais and tell everyone what you plan on doing, let us see at the end of the day who will profit from your decisions: the citizens of Miami Dade County or the private entities that always have their claws in everything.

  • observerfromupnorth

    I always get a laugh when government heads say that out sourcing jobs is cheaper, why not get with the department that you want to close and let them shrink their budget so they do not lose jobs. Also when you are cutting safety forces pay and benefits is always a bad thing, this is where the corruption comes in at, how are you going to control that Mayor? I am always for smaller government but this is crazy. Head start was a lost cause any way, kindergarten thru 12th is good you just have to have good teachers in place, parents at home who teach their children to behavior or suffer consequences.

  • jorge

    don’t like his idea’s .. maybe more than people should have gone to vote….

  • Ernie

    Great plan. I like the way this guy handles the check book. I voted for Robiana but I think Gimenez is the man for the job. OBAMA should learn from Gimenez…

  • Harriett

    I simply do not understand how this mayor and our governor think laying people off is going to make things better for the county and state. This will put more people on unemployment, foods stamps and other government assistant. This also hurts retail because if people do not have money, they do not buy. People will become more desperate and crime will increase. How is all this helping us?

    • Ernie

      I dont want to try to convince you but I do want to educate you. If there is no money than who the hell is going to pay for that? Remember States cant print money like the Fed, you prefer Miami Dade County file for Bankruptcy and all county employees lose there pensions going back 30 years? Eduacate yourself before giving an opinion. Dont speak from your feelings..

      • Richard

        There are other ways to get money than take it from working families. What you and others don’t realize is government employees work for benefits NOT pay. If they have a degree they can’t get paid alot more than what government pays them. This is becoming war on the middle class for politicians overspending during the boom years and now are caught with their pants down.

    • Robert

      So what should he do?… raise taxes in order to maintain all these county employees at their very chushy jobs. Dade county is way over staffed!!. Did you know that out of all the firemen that dade county has only 22 make less than $100,000 a year, a job where you are on 24 hours (sleeping, cooking, watching TV… after some basic chores around the station) then 48 hours off, then 24 hours again… then 48 off and then the cycle begins again.

      • about time

        or they are all hangiing out at Publix.

  • UckTheFunions

    Time to get rid of these tax SUCKING union jobs and put the money back into the taxpayers. With all these stupid pensions we have to pay to them for the rest of their lives and them whining how they put their lives on the line everyday.

    I got news, one or two cops may die a year but in South Florida alone 2,000 taxpayers die in car accidents, so we also put our lives on the line everyday to get to our jobs.

    Thanks Carlos!!

  • Kenneth Karger



  • about time

    He should have cut more The county for years has been to large.

    Charge the police gas and insurance for their take home vehcles.
    Close fire stations. Reduce the number of asst chiefs.

  • Paul

    It’s about time……but more—-and deeper— cuts are needed. The county bureaucracy is incredibly bloated. You have 3,300 employees out of a total workforce of 27,000 (i.e. over 10% of the employees) who are making over $100,000 a year …..PLUS perks. It is INSANITY. Almost half of those 3,300 employees come from police and fire. Don’t believe me? You can easily find the spreadsheet by Googling “Miami Dade County over 100K”. It is posted on Scribd and on the blog “Random Pixels and Loose Talk.” The information was obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request. It gives you names, positions, and W-2 information.

    Such inflated salaries simply don’t exist in privately-run companies. County departments are filled with staffers who are assistants to the assistants and making over $100K. The Mayor’s secretary makes over $100K. The train engineer who drives my Metrorail in the morning is making over $100k. The list goes on an on. You have enough attorneys on the county payroll to out-staff the largest law firms operating in South Florida. It will make any rational observer sick to his or her stomach.

    And what do the county’s employees do now that they’ve had to start paying a small percentage to their own gold-plated retirement and medical plans? They whine like babies. That’s all they know how to do because they’ve been coddled my the “system” their entire lives.

    I say CUT. Cut with a hacksaw and an axe….not a scalpel. Don’t just close down libraries made obsolete by the internet. Close down fire stations made obsolete by the fact that few people live in wooden houses anymore. Shutter entire departments that are worthless and simply serve as a refuge for career bureaucrats. In my mind, the county should have MAYBE 300 employees making a $100k or more….not 3,300. Most of those high paying jobs, especially in areas like IT, could be easily outsourced for a fraction of the cost. IT IS TIME TO END THE INSANITY.

    And you wonder why we have an enormous deficit in this country?

  • ProfLloyd

    It’s interesting that the later at night the comments are posted, the dummer they are. ;-)

    This is all because of lower property taxes. Solutuion: Raise taxes.

  • POPO

    What about his beloved fire department? no cuts for them?

  • E.S

    There is no more since of pride and accountability in the community no more. Politicians for years have been defrauding the community with no consequences. The Marlins staduim was approved by bribes and kick backs but no investigation has happen. You want to control spending you follow the money and make people accountable for thier actions. We as citizens should be able to sue politicians for the mismanagement of funds and siding with special interest. They should also stand trial for shadey accounting tricks that Miami was accused of. We vote these people into office to manage millions of $ they should have consequenes for thier actions when they fail. The people should not pay for the greed of politicians, special interest groups, and corporations. We should also our selves why special interests and corporations donate $ to thier campaigns. This country was created to govern the need of the people not the top 1%. Time to take our country back and send a strong message that Dem or Rep work for the people not corporations.

  • Savvy Taxpayer

    What about closing permanently the So. Dade Govt. Center, which was built to avoid the need for residents of So. Dade to travel downtown to transact any business with the county. All county offices have been closed; Com. Bell left for fancier digs in Palmetto Bay, leaving only Com. Moss and a snack bar in the premises. Closing an almost vacant building will save on utilities, security, etc., or it could be rented out to private businesses. With that income or savings, many of the libraries scheduled to be closed could be saved.

  • jimmy

    right on savvy, So. dade govt. center is a money pit. and you know what, prof lloyd, lets not forget what happened when we voted for the half penny tax to expand the metrorail. Not only has the metrorail mysteriously stayed the same size, but now Transit is under federal INVESTIGATION for mishandling of funds. hmmm
    …AND… lets not forget about the mayors secret fund, how else was he able to CREATE a position for Iglesias at a whopping 225K/ year. where did THAT money come from?!

  • bobbyb

    I am a county employee. Please don’t forget the benefit of the real estate tax rollbacks…. I want someone to check out the LARGE number of county employees that are paid close to $300 monthly to drive their own cars. That would generate some bucks. If they don’t want to work if their perks were removed, I am sure that someone else would be happy to take their jobs. … they did propose elimination of some fire positions….I believe that red light cameras could generate millions and perhaps prevent some accidents.

    • Ernie

      I understand you guys dont want your cushy slacker government jobs taken away but the ride is over and the reality is your all replaceable at 40% of you your current salaries/benefits are. Government workers have to realize that your part of the problem your not the solution. Your all the cancer in the economy…


      • bobbyb

        Ernie – I am a 60 year old female that works part time and make $10.35 hour with no benefits.There is no option for full time where I work. I doubt that they can replace me for 40% less. I have been there 10 years with no benefits and now no raises. I am not complaining about my situation. I am saying to take away the money for other employees that are paid to not drive county cars. You didn’t even read what I wrote. You owe me an apology for calling me the cancer in the economy.

      • Ernie

        bobbyb there is an old rule its called the 80/20 rule. That is 20% do the work for 80%. I dont know you so I really dont know what category you fall under. What I do know is wether you get minimium wage or $300K per year from the county there are alot of unecessary jobs and overpaid jobs in the county and alot of lazy people go to work for the county because they know they can get away with not doing much compared to private business that makes employees accountable to stay profitable.

      • bobbyb

        I take pride in my work and many others just clock the hours. if you had read what I actually wrote then you would have seen that I made a suggestion to take away some undeserved perks that many of the people downtown enjoy. I still resent that you hide behind your anonymous moniker and call me a cancer. I bet if your kid got a job with the county and received certain benefits ( none of which I get) and a promise of a good retirement that you wouldn’t be calling him a cancer. We can all yell and scream and accuse – what good does that do? I made a suggestion and you attacked me.

  • Rafael Bocanegra

    I hope somewhere in that budget is a new deal charging the Florida marlins managament for the construction of that stadium if not Mr Gimenez “adios”

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