Esteban Bowo, the mayor of Hialeah, has warned of a significant shortfall in the city’s budget for the new fiscal year, estimated at $426 million, which he considers tight.
The main problem, according to the mayor, lies in the large number of retirees in municipal government than active employees. That leaves an imbalance that can be detrimental to any economy.
In an interview with journalist Juan Manuel Cao of America Dev, Mayor Bowe emphasized that his administration is focused on lowering taxes for Hialeah residents. This does not mean that citizens will pay less this year because the taxable value of properties has increased.
Unlike Miami Lakes, where residents must pay for additional services such as firemen and libraries, in Hialeah these services are included in taxes as a single fee. However, most taxpayer money goes to the school board.
Bowe emphasized the importance of Hialeah’s budget being adapted to the needs of its citizens. Hylia is classified as a no-frills city where public figures, including the mayor and council members, do not have bodyguards.
Despite keeping the tax rate stable, the municipality faces economic challenges, mostly related to pensions and civil servant salaries. Accumulation of unused days by employees may be collected later upon retirement, representing a significant additional cost to public funds.
Unlike the private sector, where there is often a limit to the accumulation of unused days, government employees in the United States can accumulate a significant number of them over the years. This represents a significant financial burden on government, a growing concern in many cities and states.
In addition, Hialeah faces many lawsuits, as residents often sue the city for accidents caused by problems such as potholes in the streets. This requires allocating budgetary resources to both legal services and potential compensation.
Although some residents are exempt from city taxes due to exemptions such as housing and other assistance for low-income seniors, Mayor Bowo emphasized that they continue to contribute to the school system and district.
Finally, the mayor highlighted the need to invest in essential services such as police and fire personnel, and the importance of providing competitive wages and attractive pensions to retain workers who risk their lives for the good of society.
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