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The 2018-19 Miami-Dade County $7.8 billion budget proposal dropped this week, laying out how much the county is planning to spend on everything from parks to police officers. Soon, the discussions and debates will begin on how that should be adjusted before it becomes official on Oct. 1.
We’ll be back in a couple weeks with a detailed breakdown of what’s in there, but until then, here are some of the basics that anyone who wants to know how their tax dollars are spent should know.
WHAT MAKES UP THE COUNTY BUDGET? It’s all the revenue and spending that the county has plotted out for the next fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019. All the county departments submit funding requests to the county’s Office of Management and Budget, which combines all that into a final proposal.
The revenue is all the money the county expects to make and comes from things like property taxes, transit revenue, water and sewer bills, federal and state grants, special funds, sales taxes and other sources.
County spending shouldn’t exceed that, or the budget will be imbalanced.
WHAT ARE SOME PRIORITIES THIS YEAR? Mayor Carlos Gimenez has identified public safety at schools as a major focus – not surprising, after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. About $20 million has been set aside to place a police officer at more than 100 schools across the county.
His proposal also includes funding new response teams and additional training for officers.
ARE MY TAXES GOING UP? So far the county hasn’t proposed increasing the property tax rate but the overall tax rate will increase slightly–you can read more about that in the Miami Herald.
WHAT WILL THE COMMISSION APPROVE? They’ll be voting in September on the budget plan. They will also set the property tax rate for the county (if you live in a specific municipality, like South Miami or Miami Gardens, your commission or council will do the same).
WHEN IS THE BUDGET FINALIZED? The 2018-2019 fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, so the budget has to be finalized by Sept. 30.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED? There are two formal public hearings at County Hall on Sept. 6 and Sept. 20. Both meetings start at 5:01 p.m. because state law requires the meetings to start after 5 p.m. to encourage public participation. Commissioners in every district will typically host meetings to receive resident feedback and Mayor Gimenez’s office also hosts meetings across the county before the budget is finalized. Check here for updates on those meetings and to reach out to your commissioners. We’ll be adding those to the newsletter calendar as we hear about them. Know of one we should list? Send it our way.
We’ll be following the big discussions on what gets funded and digging into the budget over the next few months so let us know if you have specific questions about the process. Hit reply or email us at [email protected]
Not so fast. David Beckham might be one step closer to his dream of a Major League Soccer team in Miami. Yesterday the City of Miami approved a plan to let voters decide whether to allow the city to negotiate a lease with the Beckham group for a soccer stadium complex on the city-owned golf course. Voters have a say on this because the proposal is to negotiate the lease without opening the property up to bids from other private companies. Technically, that violates the city’s competitive bidding laws – so the city’s also facing a lawsuit. (Miami Herald)
Sink or swim. As sea levels rise, the cable network that makes the Internet possible could be ruined by saltwater. A new study says that 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable, most of which is copper, could be underwater as soon as the early 2030s. AT&T says that it’s already using cabling designed for underwater use – like the kind that criss-crosses the Atlantic – in at-risk areas, and other companies say they’re making the transition. (WLRN)
No such thing as a free lunch. The Metromover used to cost a quarter a ride, but back in 2002, voters approved a half-penny tax that made it free. Ridership soared, but the system operates at a loss of $13.5 million a year. Now two county commissioners want to charge a fare again. They argue it’s unfair that the Metromover runs in a part of the city that serves some of the county’s wealthiest residents, while lower-income riders are paying $2.25 a ride to use the bus or the Metrorail. (Miami New Times)
Grounded. On Tuesday, two small planes collided in midair over the Everglades, crashing and leaving four people dead. Both planes were owned by the Dean International flight school, which has logged 26 Federal Aviation Administration accident/incident reports since 2007 – but only eight “enforcement actions.” The school’s planes were also involved in five accidents from 2007 to 2017, with two dead. So far, the investigation has raised more questions than answers, among them whether this school should’ve faced stronger penalties over the incidents.. (Miami Herald)
Curves ahead. It’s been a wild ride for South Florida’s food truck scene since it first took off a few years ago.. The number of trucks rolling around South Florida reached a peak of about 200 a couple years ago. But now the explosion of chef-driven local restaurants is making food trucks a much less enticing option, and many are reliant on being hired for special events. The next boom, they predict: food halls. (Miami New Times)
Arroz con mango. Young Latino Republicans like Miami Mayor Francis Suarez are rising stars in their party, but they increasingly don’t know if Latinos even have a place in the GOP because of things like the Trump administration’s immigration policies. “I don’t think right now the Republican Party is attracting Latinos or African-Americans in droves … even in drips,” Suarez told POLITICO recently. Some of South Florida’s Republican-held congressional seats, like Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s seats, are among the most contested in the country – and if the Republican party doesn’t figure out how to win back some of those Latino voters, the GOP could lose them in the midterms. (POLITICO)
🍛Today: Try all the healthy, delicious noms at Jackson Hall (Allapattah)
🎥Tomorrow: Congolese rhythms come to Overtown for the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🎥 Saturday: Catch Krush Groove, a hip hop classic, with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🗣Thursday, July 26: Ask a dietician all your questions about sugar (Allapattah)
🗳Hear from the D-27 Democratic candidates (Coconut Grove)
💵 Get a District 8 breakdown of the county budget (Cutler Bay)
🌃Jam around a rooftop pool (Downtown)
🌊Talk climate change, Miami, and voting (South Beach)
🐟Dance to save the fishies – corrected date (Downtown)
🎭 A new season of Microtheater kicks off (Downtown)
🇨🇴Celebrate Colombian independence with a massive party (Wynwood)
🌌Explore the galaxy with Frost Science (Downtown)
🎸Celebrate 15 years of PALO! (Little Havana)
☕Talk intention at Creative Mornings with the owner of Loba (Downtown)
🍹Party after hours at The Bass (South Beach)
🚴Take a history tour of Coconut Grove by bike (Coconut Grove)
🕺Celebrate the grand opening of the Bodyshop Experience (Wynwood)
🔬Be a scientist for a day (Key Biscayne)
🌅Start your morning off with a rooftop yoga sesh, then dance it out (Mid-Beach)
🍻 Show your Hialeah pride at this neighborhood hang (Hialeah)
☕ Attention creatives: Brand New Mornings is back (South Beach)
🎹 Jam with Afrobeta (Wynwood)
👩🎨 Local artists take over Mango’s (South Beach)
💃 Sip and salsa at Bousa Brewing (Little River)
🥁Learn West African dance (Little Haiti)
🎭 Catch Shakespeare under the stars (North Beach)
🍎 Browse and nosh at Market Mondays at the Arsht (Downtown)
🗝 Digitize your historic photos of the 305 for a chance to get them in a book (Coconut Grove)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.
But before we go, we’ve got to close the loop. Yesterday we threw a little Miami road trivia question down here: what major east-west street in Miami-Dade used to have a canal dividing it?
About 40 percent of you guessed Bird Road, but bzzzt! It’s actually Miller Drive, which only 21.4 percent of you guessed.
Props to reader Rafael Ciordia for stumping most of us.
– The New Tropic