Miami city manager plans to declare ‘financial urgency’

 

The Miami Commission on Thursday will receive an update on union negotiations. Commissioners will also vote on a proposed change to the city charter that would shift the election cycle.

kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com

Miami City Manager Johnny Martinez is expected to announce plans to declare “financial urgency” at a city commission meeting Thursday, Mayor Tomás Regalado said.

The move would allow the manager to unilaterally rework employee contracts.

The mayor says the measure is necessary to balance the city’s $485 million operating budget by September.

“The unions are not cooperating with the process,” Regalado told The Miami Herald Wednesday. “We need to have a balanced budget.”

Commissioners do not need to approve the declaration of financial urgency, Regalado said. Still, the move will likely meet some resistance. In years past, even the threat of financial urgency has prompted union leaders to call for Regalado’s ouster.

Thursday’s meeting will also likely include a discussion of the tax rate.

Regalado has proposed setting the rate at $8.47 for every $1,000 of taxable assessed property value, down from $8.50 last year. The average homeowner would see a savings of $3.54.

Commissioners must also vote on a number of possible changes to the city charter, including a proposal to move citywide elections from odd to even years. The shift would enable Miami to piggyback off Miami-Dade County elections — and could generate more than $1 million in savings each time a citywide election is held.

It would also give each of the sitting commissioners and Regalado an extra year in office.

Even if the commission approves the change, it would still have to win the support of Miami voters in November.

The commission plans to take a recess in August.

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