Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava's statement on 2015-2016 budget priorities
“I thank the Mayor and Budget Director for the numerous discussions we’ve had about the budget and concerns I have raised about county services. Our community has weathered difficult economic times, but thankfully, the intense economic recession has finally loosened its grip and the outlook is bright for Miami-Dade's future. This is a rebuilding year, so I hope we can find a way to build back services and public infrastructure to improve our quality of life and increase economic wellbeing for all our residents. I have heard from my constituents and will advocate for restoring the vital county programs that our residents need:
Our parks have lost so much funding that we can’t keep the lawns mowed, much less provide great outdoor experiences for our families or programming for our children. I am grateful for the Mayor's proposal to restore basic maintenance and some programs, but I will continue to seek a long-term sustainable funding source for our parks.
Miami-Dade County faces serious challenges caring for stray and abandoned animals; our shelters and spay and neuter teams are overloaded, even with recent investments. We must find the significant resources required to end the pet overpopulation problem and reach our "no kill" goals.
A dwindling police force is losing ground to a growing population. I am pleased that the Mayor is increasing our police force, but we still have a long way to go to resolve our public safety challenges. In addition to officers on the street, we need to bolster our specialized units such as the Agriculture Patrol and Economic Crimes Unit, to combat our alarming rates of fraud and identity theft. And we need to focus more on crime prevention and mediation programs that reduce violence and enhance community-police relations.
Our agricultural community – the second largest industry in the County and integral part of South Dade culture – needs serious support and protection.
Traffic congestion is our Achilles’ heel. We must do more to prioritize investments in Transit - including improvements to the South Miami-Dade Busway.
I believe, thanks to the economic forecast, that we can do more to restore these services and look forward to working with the Mayor and my fellow Commissioners to see what we can do to accelerate the rebuilding. This is why I am supporting the recommended millage rates, with no rate increase, and look forward to continued dialogue with the public about the investment choices they believe should be reflected in this budget.”