MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday released his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, which looks to raise property taxes.
"I don't like it any more than anybody else," Gimenez said. "I'm a really good administrator, but I'm not a magician."
The budget calls for spending $6.3 billion in the coming fiscal year with a property tax hike of a little more than 5 percent. That works out to about $100 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home in unincorporated Miami-Dade and less in cities with their own fire departments.
Gimenez said fire rescue and libraries face cutbacks unless taxes increase.
"In terms of the fire service and library services, if we go back to keep everything flat, we're going to have to take out six units in the fire department. We're probably going to have to close down 17 libraries, and I don't think that's what the people want," said Gimenez. "The only taxes that we have proposed to increase are taxes to maintain levels of service."
The mayor's proposed budget will get its first public airing next Tuesday in the commission chamber.
"The economy is beginning to come back, but if then you're going to start doing things that are going to retract that improvement, then we won't be doing our job," said Commissioner Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa. "I will not support that (5 percent tax increase)."
If the property tax increase is rolled back, Gimenez said the Pets Trust may lose funding.