County Mayor Proposes Cutting the Bone

Across the board pay cuts, layoffs and fewer services highlights Mayor Alvarez's budget plans

1,700 down and possibly more to go. That's potentially how many Miami-Dade County employees will be looking for work soon if Mayor Carlos Alvarez's budget proposal is approved.

Alvarez didn't stop with cutting jobs to balance a budget $427 million in the red. He also wants to cut all employee salaries by five percent, increase the tax rate, and a cut in many services.

''This year's budget was more difficult than any I can remember,'' Alvarez said during a press conference Wednesday.

Police and fire department officials will be spared the ax but will feel the pinch of less pay. That will probably rile the feathers of the union heads, which could lead to some lively discussions and demonstrations in commisison chambers during budget hearings later this summer. The budget must be finalized by Oct. 1.

The $7.8 billion proposed 2010 budget features less services than the 2009 budget, which is about $300 million less. Parks and Recreation won't seem so recreational anymore. County pools may be closed about half of the year despite the fact that its practically summer all year long. Residents might want to stock up on Slip-N-Slides or pitch in to buy a community water gun.

The rest of the commission still has to approve the plan and as they say, the devil is in the details. But this devil is carrying a really big ax.

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