“If my class was already paid for and budgeted for before training was even completed, how come I am being told that I might be laid off? If there was enough money to offer me the job, did you know that there might not be enough money in the budget to keep me on the job? ” said Isara Vimonsut, a firefighter whose position might get cut if the currently proposed budget passes. The 32-year-old Army veteran and father of a 2-year-old girl said he waited five years to become a Miami-Dade firefighter because the department was not hiring until recently.
“This is the county I really wanted to work for,” he told the Herald.
In addition, the county has decided not to increase taxes to turn the county’s animal shelter into a “no-kill” operation. In the fall 2012 election, 65 percent of the voters agreed to the non-binding question that would have increased the typical homeowner’s tax by $20 annually to pay for the program.
In its proposed budget, the county includes $4 million in additional funding for the Animal Services Department. Officials said the shelter is getting closer toward fulfilling a ‘no-kill’ plan, under which 90 percent of the pets in the shelter would be saved. Recent estimates released by the department show that 80 percent of dogs and 66 percent of cats are saved at the shelter. The county is also planning to build a new shelter, construction for which is expected to be completed in 2015.
But Pets’ Trust supporters still felt cheated.
“I see a car on the street with four flat tires, and I don’t offer to fix not just one, which is what you’ve offered to do, but I’d offer to fix all four,” said Michael Rosenberg, Pets’ Trust co-founder.
Added Rita Schwartz, also trust co-founder: “How can $4 million accomplish what Alex (Muñoz) and the experts admitted would take $19 million to do? The intelligent people of Miami-Dade County knew what they were voting for. They voted to fix the problem. And $4 million will not fix the problem.“