MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Six point two billion dollars is a lot of money and Miami-Dade residents have a lot of questions about how it will be spent in the upcoming fiscal year.
So Mayor Carlos Gimenez is embarking on a town hall tour of sorts in hopes of clearing up any confusion regarding his proposed budget.
“A lot of the issues here are very complex,” Mayor Gimenez said. “A lot of people have misconceptions about what we can and can’t do and you just can’t explain it in 20 seconds.”
On Wednesday, Gimenez fielded questions submitted via Facebook and Twitter.
On Thursday, he’ll be face-to-face with residents at the Aventura City Commission Chambers.
He’ll likely be asked about possible library cuts and layoffs at the police department.
“We need the PBA to come to the table. Come to the table and you can save all these jobs,” Gimenez said.
Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera said the proposal puts public safety at risk.
“We’re already working shorthanded. We’re not able to provide police services,” Rivera said. “Right now it’s taking 2 or 3 hours on certain calls to respond to people. We’ve seen an increase in violence. We won’t be able to address that situation and we won’t be able to solve crimes.”
Earlier this week, about 400 people were put on notice that their law enforcement job could fall victim to layoffs or demotions.
The mayor said it doesn’t have to come that, so long as the police union and its members agree to extend current pay concessions and new healthcare plans.
“We can save these jobs. I don’t want to layoff any of these police officers anymore than anybody else does,” the mayor said. “We can get it done. Just come to the table.”
For those unable to attend the first town hall meeting in Aventura Thursday, below are the upcoming forums:
August 19: Florida City’s City Hall, 404 W. Palm Dr.
August 21: Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami
August 26: Palmetto Bay Council Chambers, 9705 E. Hibiscus St.
August 28: West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way, Miami
September 2: North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens