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
"I do not want to be the mayor who compromises public safety," Alvarez said in his own press conference in response to Braman's critique of the mayor's choice to raise property taxes and salaries instead of cut services. "I don't want to be the mayor that frankly craps on public service and the quality of life for our people."
Last Thursday, on a 8-to-5 vote, the county commissioners passed the $7.3 billion budget, which includes increases in salaries for county employees worth a total of $132 million, but also will include service cutbacks throughout the county.
About those salary increases -- Alvarez said that they were already locked in by contracts that can't be re-worked.
"We have explained this ad nauseum... I guess the Miami Herald does not have the brain capacity to understand what we have tried to explain."
Now, however, Alvarez will have to explain that to the voters, should Braman manage to collect the 48,000 signatures -- a recall effort of which he said he will fund a major portion -- to get on a special election that would cost taxpayers up to, ahem, $4.5 million.
The price tag, Braman said, is worth it.
Mean while, residents are already chiming in and signs have begun popping up in front yards that show their displeasure with the pending tax hike, like this one in southwest Miami-Dade seen over the weekend.
"Taxes my ass Carlos. Te Vas."