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Miami-Dade Commission Approve $6.3B County Budget

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County commissioners have approved a $6.3 billion budget for 2013-14.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, the budget passed shortly after midnight by a vote of 11 to one.

The commission is hoping the county government will qualify for a federal grant that would help avert firefighter layoffs and the elimination of fire trucks.

Despite firefighters’ appeals that Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration tap countywide emergency reserves to save three trucks and prevent 59 pink slips, commissioners said they will instead hold out hope that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awards the Miami-Dade fire-rescue department a two-year, $5.9 million grant to plug the budget hole.

If the grant doesn’t come through next month, the county could still consider raiding the reserves.

Commissioners also found a way to keep the fire department’s venom-response unit intact by agreeing that the service is provided across the county, not just to areas that do not have city fire services. As a result, Miami-Dade will pay for most of the $641,000-a-year unit out of the county’s general fund.

The money will come from another decision reached by commissioners late Thursday: to revise the county’s policy of complying with federal immigration authorities’ request to keep foreign nationals in detention longer than local police requires. That should save Miami-Dade about $600,000 a year, Gimenez said. Only about $350,000 of that will go toward the venom-response unit.

Thursday night’s hearing lasted more than seven hours.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

 

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