MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez delivered the State of the County address Tuesday where he touted the accomplishments of his 8 months in office and laid out his vision for the future, which includes a 4-step plan to create new jobs.
“When you elected me a few short months ago, it was a clear mandate, change the direction of the county,” said Gimenez.
Mayor Gimenez switched between English and Spanish throughout the speech at key points he wanted to make.
“Cutting taxes and balancing the budget required tough decisions.”
In his eight months as mayor, Gimenez proposed, and the Commission adopted, a budget that reduced property taxes by over $200 million, reduced more than 1,100 County positions and reorganized County government, going from 42 departments to 26 departments.
In order to accomplish this goal, major concessions were made by County unions including the Police Benevolent Association which fought looming layoffs. In the end, the police department took pay cuts to keep working but they weren’t happy about the steep cuts imposed on workers to cope with the slimmer budget.
Gimenez said he led by example.
“One day one, I slashed my own salary in half.”
The Mayor is now looking ahead with optimism. He touted record growth at the seaport and airport and at falling unemployment rates that have dropped from their 14-percent peaks.
“This year, 2012, my top priority is job creation.”
He plans to do that with a four-step plan.
- Expedited permitting
- Eliminating outdated regulations
- Customer friendly organization
- Less red tape
“It’s time to be bold. It’s time to do the right thing,” said the Mayor.
His biggest challenge though may be the reforms he’s pushing. He’s throwing his weight behind eight-year term limits for county commissioners.
“No conditions, no tricky language. Just 8 year term limits. Period.”
Watch Mayor Gimenez’ entire State of the County Address here.