Local

Three Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Ambulances “Rescued”

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Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (Source: miamidade.gov)

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (Source: miamidade.gov)

Politics

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Three Miami-Dade Fire Rescue ambulances slated to be eliminated to cut costs for the coming year have been saved.

That’s according to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez who will hold the first of a series of town hall meetings on Tuesday to discuss the proposed budget.

Three fire trucks and 149 firefighter/paramedic positions remain on the chopping block, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

When the commission voted last month to keep the county’s property tax flat, Gimenez said 22 libraries would also have to close which meant the loss of 250 jobs. Last week, the mayor said only 14 facilities faced closure.

And the numbers keep changing.

Originally, the cutbacks and closures were needed to fill a $50 million gap in the next year’s budget – the county’s new year begins October 1st.  Now, according to the paper, there’s $15 million gap in fire rescue, and a $20 million hole for the county’s library system.

The mayor’s communication director, Fernando Figueredo, said they are continuing to work on reducing the number of cutbacks and closures by looking at putting off the purchase of new equipment, transferring employees and getting out of property leases.

Since the county’s fire-rescue and library operations are funded with taxes separate from the county’s more-than $4 billion operating budget, money can’t be shuffled from other areas to their budgets.

Commissioner Javier Souto announced Monday that he will hold a special meeting this week of the Cultural Affairs and Recreation Committee to address the library closings. He said one option to reduce the number of closures would be to move the libraries from buildings they lease to county park buildings so they could save money in rent payments.

“We own a tremendous amount of square footage,” Souto told the paper. “We’re paying rent in shopping centers, we need to eliminate that.”

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