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Miami Budget Approved, Officials May Still Declare “Financial Urgency”

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Once again the City of Miami is considering declaring a ‘financial urgency’ as it looks to the budget for the next year.

Late Thursday, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the half a billion dollar budget, but must make up for a $40 million shortfall. Commissioners said they will not raise taxes, but will likely lay off workers and cut spending to balance the budget.

City officials have declared ‘financial urgency’ for the last three years. It’s basically a legal maneuver to void union contracts with employees and make cuts. The measure is being used now because the city has hit an impasse in bargaining with several unions, including the police union.

Nearly 80 percent of the city’s budget goes toward paying employees so that’s often where the cuts have to come from. The Fraternal Order of Police points out that they’ve had pay and benefit cuts for the last four years. Firefighters say they’ve lost an average of 35 percent of the pay in the last few years. They add that morale is down and some aspects of the department are falling apart.

“Our equipment is in shambles. We almost have more trucks in repair than we do out on the street. When we were serving the citizens during Calle Ocho we had to borrow vehicles from other departments. It’s in very bad shape,“ said Robert Suarez with the Miami Firefighters Union.

The declaration of ‘financial urgency’ will not help Miami’s financial state, especially with the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing them of shady accounting practices and Moody’s considering lowering the city’s credit rating.

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