MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 17: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez speaks during a press conference as he defends his budget policies before a commission meeting to come up with a final budget for Miami-Dade county on September 17, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Mayor used the opportunity to defend himself and lash out at some of the media on reports that he gave raises to executives, police and firefighters as the county faces a budget crunch. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Carlos Alvarez
Billionaire businessman Norman Braman's effort to remove Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez has received an "overwhelming" response since it was launched two weeks ago, garnering 90,000 signatures on the recall petition.
Braman held a news conference Monday to announce the results of the recall drive, saying he was done collecting signatures and was moving forward with the next step to remove Alvarez.
The signatures will have to be verified by elections officials. Braman only needed about 52,000 signatures.
Alvarez issued a statement late Monday following Braman's press conference.
“I have always been preparing for an election and campaigns are great opportunities to cut through misinformation and get to the truth. As a 50 year resident of Miami-Dade County and a 34 year public servant, I care very deeply about this community and the people who call Miami-Dade home," he said. "I remain committed to serving the people of Miami-Dade County to the best of my ability until my term ends.”
Braman launched his recall effort in September after county commissioners passed the $7.3 billion budget that will see property taxes raised as much as 14 percent in some cases while employees receive pay raises.
"$174 million in property tax increases to fund $132 million in salary increases is not acceptable," said Braman.
Though he said it's still possible he could attempt to remove the county commissioners who voted for the budget, Braman said right now he's focused on Alvarez.
"This is step one, this is an enormous undertaking and we want to complete this," said Braman.