Commissioners met last night at Miami City Hall for the first of two open-to-the-public budget hearings that included an "oh no you didn't" verbal tiff between Commissioner Tomas Regalado and Mayor Manny Diaz, according to the Miami Herald.
On the hot topic of property tax rates, commissioners (with the exception of Michelle Spence-Jones, who did not vote) voted to keep them as-is, at least for now. Whatever they finally decide won't officially become law until their meeting in two weeks.
But the nix on raising taxes means cuts elsewhere -- $28 million worth - in city services and payroll.
"It's unconscionable and immoral for someone to say I won't take a pay reduction to save a colleague's job,'' said commission chairman Joe Sanchez, referring to the unions not making concessions necessary to save city jobs.
Thirty minutes before breaking, Mayor Diaz addressed comments made about him by Regalado about $3.6 million spent over three years in the mayor's office.
"Earlier in the day, Commissioner Regalado took a cheap shot at me,'' said Diaz. Regalado interrupted him and threw papers on the floor in a tizzy.
"Mr. Mayor, I didn't take a cheap shot. You don't have the right because you've been living as the mayor of Beverly Hills."
Diaz rebutted with an accusation that Regalado spent $25,000 for coffee.
The two eventually decided to use their indoor voices again and got back to business.
Among the reasons for the city's financial issues, Diaz cited firefighter salaries, saying that 73 firefighters earn in excess of $300,000 a year, and that if unions across the board would agree to the same cuts as non-union workers, layoffs could be avoided.
Fraternal Order of Police President Armando Aguilar didn't take too kindly to that argument, telling City Manager Pete Hernandez that a few months ago Diaz was praising the city's financial infrastructure to sell the construction of a new Marlins ballpark.
"I don't know which Manny Diaz to believe,'" he said.