Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Earlier today, the Board of County Commissioners met to vote on the property tax rate ceiling for the 2010-2011 county budget. When the commissioners vote in September to determine what the actual rate will be, the rate they just voted on cannot be exceeded. With the exception of three members, the Board voted to support the rollback rate. Though we won’t know the actual rate until September, this is one of three critical steps that will ensure that we prevent the worst of the cuts.

It is due to the efforts of several organizations and numerous concerned residents of Miami-Dade County that we were able to secure this vote. The rollback rate will earn the county the same amount of property tax revenue as last year, thus avoiding even greater budget cuts. While we would have liked to have the flexibility of the maximum rate, this is a huge victory for the Penny Wise Campaign given the recent developments and setbacks encountered.

It is important that we acknowledge that we have only won a battle –the outcome of the war remains to be seen. We will still be facing a deficit of around $60 million- a huge improvement over the $400 million loss without rollback. But because the cost of services increases each year, cuts will still happen. On the chopping block now are over 900 jobs and a 25% reduction in funding to social services agencies (on top of the 30% cut last year!).

We have until September to collect as many signatures as possible and let the Board of County Commissioners and the mayor know that social services and county jobs are not expendable parts of the county budget. Please help us by signing the petition and forwarding it to all of your friends- we’ll be collecting them until the next vote in September. We also need you to keep calling commissioners, keep coming to our actions and keep attending our meetings. If you’d like to become further involved, please contact the phone number or e-mail address listed below. We will need a tremendous amount of support if we are to protect social services and county jobs in Miami-Dade. As residents, we all deserve to live in a healthy and safe community and we cannot allow ourselves to be penny wise and pound foolish!

There will be several opportunities in July, August and September to engage in this process and add your voice to this important deliberation.

Here are key dates to keep in mind:

August 24: Property tax TRIM (truth in millage) notices will be sent out to homeowners to inform them of the property tax rate ceiling set on July 20 (a.k.a. the rollback rate).

Sept. 13: First budget public hearing, at which any member of the community may address the Commission regarding the tax rate, funding priorities and other budget issues.

Sept. 23: Final budget public hearing. The final tax rate and budget are approved at this meeting.

Oct. 1: New fiscal year begins.

For the full text of the Mayor Carlos Alvarez's Proposed Budget Message, visit www.miamidade.gov/budget/

Contact Information: Jacob Coker-Dukowitz, Coordinator, Penny Wise Campaign, 305.576.5001 x25 or Pennywise.campaign@gmail.com

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