Miami-Dade mayor's budget lowers tax rates

New police officers, firefighters to be hired

MIAMI - Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez unveiled his proposed $5.9 billion budget for the next fiscal year, and it further reduces tax rates. 

Homeowners will likely see property taxes go down. 

"We can reduce the tax rate another 2 percent and still maintain the levels of services," Gimenez said at a news conference Friday. 

Other highlights: 

For the first time in three years, new police officers will be hired. The county's fire department, short more than 50 firefighters, can start recruiting. 

The mayor's office said it was difficult to predict how many men and women could be hired, because numbers hinge on how many graduate. 

Also, funding for the Miami Art Museum, the Miami Science Museum, and Vizcaya will be restored to pre-recession levels. There are no plans in the budget to close libraries or parks, an unpopular cost-savings proposal in last year's budget. 

In January, county employees, and law enforcement officers protested when they were asked to contribute an additional 4 percent to their own health care costs, and that is likely to be a sticking point again. 

"We barely got that passed last year. And so, there is a more than good chance we won't get that passed this year, so that has to be taken into consideration," Gimenez said. 

Should commissioners not agree to the contribution, the budget sets aside $23 million to cover the cost.

To read the mayor's budget proposal, click here.

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.