The city of Hialeah showed reserves of a little more than $12 million, according to its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2012, mayor Carlos Hernández announced Wednesday.
The report, known as a “CAFR,” was prepared by the Coral Gables-based accounting firm Alberni, Caballero & Co. The report indicates that reserves kept by the city amount to $12.2 million, or $200,000 less than in 2011.
“This is the sixth consecutive year the city has experienced lower revenue,” Hernández told El Nuevo Herald. “We are living in difficult times, but most importantly the CAFR shows that we are trying to find a way for the city to be more efficient with lower revenue.”
The 149-page document highlights the tax rate, which is $6.54 per $1,000 in taxable home value.
Hernández said that his administration already is preparing for a larger budget readjustment for 2014 because the total value of real estate in the city has fallen 3.5 percent in the past year. A substantial reduction of revenue from telecommunications taxes also must be added to this equation.
“This forces us to continue looking for more cuts without dramatically affecting city services,” Hernández said. “We will do all this without raising taxes, because the people have had it.”
Yet the fact is that the city’s “efficiency policy” has progressively reflected a cut in the hours of service at libraries and document-processing at police stations, besides closing restrooms at parks during weekends.
Hernández added that several jobs held by employees who retired in recent months will be eliminated and their responsibilities will be spread among other workers.
The mayor said that from the 2012 budget of $116 million the city had to mark $21 million for pensions and $19.7 million for health insurance.
That is why, Hernández said, part of his strategy is to prioritize negotiations with the police and fire unions in order to reach agreement on salary concessions, medical benefits and pensions. He made no reference to a lawsuit filed by a city union charging that the city reneged on promised wages and pension benefits.
“A lesson we can learn from the recent Detroit bankruptcy is that we have to take firm and immediate action,” Hernández said. “As mayor I must find solutions to the problems we face, because, unlike the federal government, I cannot print money or seek loans from China.”
The CAFR also indicates that by October a water-treatment plant will begin to operate at an annexed zone in west Hialeah. The $100 million project, built by a Spanish firm, was financed by funds from the city and Miami-Dade County.
The report also says that the city finished repairing and rehabilitating existing water-treatment plants.
The CAFR also reports on the construction of two apartment buildings for low-income people, one with 36 units on East 32nd Street and another of nine units located at 45 East Sixth Street.