Statement from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez on the complaint filed by the United Teachers of Dade
(MIAMI, January 12, 2015) – "This afternoon, Miami-Dade County Attorneys filed a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) against me, as Mayor. The lawsuit claims that I am responsible for revenue shortfalls in the school system due to issues in the Office of the Property Appraiser and with the Value Adjustment Board. In fact, those entities are not under my jurisdiction.
"This unfortunate and frivolous lawsuit is political in nature and fails to recognize state and local laws.
"Unfortunately, UTD leaders did not participate or ask to be invited to the various meetings we have had throughout the last year at both County Hall and in the Superintendent’s office. Had they participated, UTD leaders would understand that the Property Appraiser is a constitutional officer elected countywide whose budget is approved by the Florida Department of Revenue – a state agency. Furthermore, the Value Adjustment Board is a creation of the State of Florida and not under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade County.
"Miami-Dade County has also experienced losses stemming from appeals at the Value Adjustment Board. Indeed, the County lost approximately $44 million in the middle of last fiscal year which required a painful reduction in countywide services and personnel. My administration is committed to working with the Superintendent, members of the School Board, administrators and our own Board of County Commissioners to identify ways to work through our challenges together and urge that there be meaningful action taken by the Florida Legislature.
"As County Mayor, I am aware that funding challenges affect both Miami-Dade County and the school system and my administration has always been committed to bringing together all parties so that we all understand the process and continue to work together.
"Over the past year, I along with senior members of my administration have repeatedly met with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, members of the School Board and MDCPS administrators to thoroughly explain how the Value Adjustment Board is funded and offered to continue working together to identify ways to reduce the backlog in property tax appeals.
"Through mutual collaboration, we can address funding issues and continue to build Miami-Dade County into a world-class community. Frivolous lawsuits like the one filed by the UTD are obstacles to our good work and waste taxpayer dollars that could be put to much better use."