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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez unveiled his last budget before facing reelection.
He said there’s plenty of good news to share in his $7 billion spending plan, but his political opponent in next month’s election is signing a different tune.
“A lot of good things that the resident should be happy about,” Gimenez said. “And the great thing is no tax increases.”
The cornerstone of the plan is transportation. There will $41 million pumped into a traffic signal system. Money will also be allocated for greenways and bike paths as well as six rapid transits corridors.
Other items on the budget include $1 million for a summer youth employment program, $200 million for affordable housing projects, $2.9 million youth safety initiative and 40 Miami-Dade police officers.
“It will mean quicker response times, more police officers on the streets,” Gimenez said.
But critics say 40 officers isn’t nearly enough. Gimenez’s challenger Raquel Regalado wants more.
“We have 53 police officers that are retiring in this fiscal year and he only has only allocated 40 spots,” she said. “We continue to fall behind in terms of our police presence.”
Gimenez says long promised relief from traffic congestion is on the horizon finally with plans for additional rail lines.
“We in three, four, five years or so will start to see these projects come into fruition, which will again give us options,” he said.
But all this hinges on Gimenez winning reelection in a few weeks – something Regalado hopes to prevent.
“This is a campaign budget that he hopes will solve the problems that he’s created over the last five years,” she said. “I think residents will see it for just that.”