MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s latest budget proposal has fewer layoffs at the Miami-Dade Police Department if concessions aren’t made.
During a town hall meeting in Aventura Thursday evening, Gimenez unveiled the $6.2 billion proposal which called for eliminating 110 positions inside the police department, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. That’s about half the number of layoffs projected in his original budget proposal. Part of the savings would come from cancelling a $1.5 million increase that had been earmarked for the new Perez Art Museum Miami.
The mayor’s new proposal also calls for a new healthcare plan in which many county employees would have to pay new premium payments of $75 every two weeks, according to the Miami Herald. If approved by unions, the new plan would let Miami-Dade avoid all police-officer layoffs, according to the mayor’s budget director Jennifer Moon. She added that while workers not insuring dependents would pay the new $75 premiums for certain levels of coverage, workers with family coverage would likely see premium reductions.
Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera said any proposal which calls for police layoffs 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.”
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 plan.
“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 who were unable to attend the first town hall meeting, here are dates of 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
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.