Written by Miami Today on June 18, 2009
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WAITING: Anticipating the July 1 release of the certified property tax roll, Miami-Dade officials are holding off on finishing a budget for fiscal 2010. "Once the property tax roll is released and we can gather more actual data regarding other significant revenue sources impacting the budget, we will submit the proposed budget to the Board [of County Commissioners]," County Manager George Burgess wrote in a Monday memo. Commissioners are to vote on preliminary tax rates July 21. The preliminary rates are ceilings — the commission could later lower them.
OK BY THEM: Commissioner Katy Sorenson, chair of the county’s Budget, Planning & Sustainability Committee, said it makes sense to have as much information as possible before proposing a budget. The commission will have to set a millage cap July 21, but "then we’ll have over a month to do the tougher job, which is to build a budget," she said. Commission Chair Dennis Moss said the same, noting that it’s an unusual economic time. "I don’t have a problem with the manager and the mayor basically wanting to wait… because that’s kind of what we’re [the commission] waiting on as well… It’s going to be a short window for everybody." Like Ms. Sorenson, he said "the hard work starts in terms of, what are we basically going to have to do in order to get to that balanced budget?"
CHANGE UNCERTAIN: After receiving preliminary tax roll estimates this month, Mr. Burgess projected a $350 million to $400 million budget gap. That could change by July 1, he wrote. Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia said his office is "fine-tuning the numbers." Generally, there’s little change between the preliminary and certified tax roll numbers, he said. "Normally it’s going to be very close… but there could be some adjustments, maybe up, maybe down."
CRISIS HUDDLES: The Miami City Commission may hold two budget workshops in August, when commissioners normally vacation. Chairman Joe Sanchez requested the sessions, saying the looming budget crisis warrants extra efforts: "I don’t think this is time for us to be on vacation when we’re going to have to be making some very tough choices."
FILM STUDY: An update on the film industry and its financial impact on Miami is due at a future Miami commission meeting at Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones’ request. The report is to include how much revenue and how many jobs the film industry generates locally, along with potential new locations for "Burn Notice," the USA cable television series that could be displaced if city plans move forward to demolish its filming location at the Coconut Grove Expo Center.