Council discusses cuts to police, impacts of rollback rate on budget

Government By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, September 14, 2023

     The rollback millage rate the Miami Lakes town council adopted in July is leading to proposed spending cuts to everything from flowers planted in medians to being able to hire two more police officers, the elected leaders heard during a workshop in advance of the first budget hearing on Sept. 14.

      The $2.07 rate per every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value will leave a deficit in revenues of $828,746. The money is  needed for the proposed $20.6 million general fund for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, staff reported during the Aug. 29 workshop.

     Town Manager Edward Pidermann proposed numerous spending cuts to obtain a balanced budget: $113,480 for two intern salaries and staff cost of living raises slashed from 5% to 2.5%; $3,000 from the mayor’s travel budget and per diem; $80,000 to eliminate the senior citizen tax relief program and $95,837 from cutting back on how frequently flowers are changed and mowing happens in green spaces and pocket parks, among other items. 

     Also on the list: Eliminating $135,071 for police overtime for special details to enforce traffic or prevent auto burglaries.

     Councilman Ray Garcia asked if it was still possible to find money to pay for two more officers. 

     It would cost $160,000 per officer; the town supplies uniforms, a patrol car, payment into the Florida Retirement System and salary, Pidermann said. 

     “I think the [special] details were very successful … what I’m worried about is with the reduced numbers for these details, eventually [criminals] are going to realize [it],” Garcia said. 

     The budget hearings on Sept. 14 and Sept. 26 begin at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 6601 Main St., and will be broadcast online.