Miami Beach Freezes Non-Essential Expenditures

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Freezes Non-Essential Expenditures:

Action in response to preliminary budget numbers

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales has issued an order to immediately freeze all non-essential, non-capital related expenditures and mandating that all expenditures over $5,000 be approved by an “end-of-year oversight committee.” Morales took the action to get ahead of a looming budget gap. With lower than expected increases in property values released last week, the City faces a gap of between $5 and $6 million in its FY 2020 budget. By law, the budget must be balanced by the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1.

City CFO John Woodruff told Commissioners at their budget retreat last month that a 5.6% increase in property values was needed in order to maintain current services, 6.3% if the City were to meet its goal of not using any money from the Parking Fund for general operating expenses. The preliminary numbers released by the Miami-Dade County property appraiser showed a 3% increase.
 
To get out in front, Morales issued a memo late Friday afternoon which reads:
 
“To continue to prepare for the fiscal year end and a possible reduction in tax revenue for the next fiscal year, I am ordering, effective immediately, a budget freeze for all non-essential, non-capital (construction) expenditures. Any expenditure request (e.g. requisition, purchase order increase, p-card purchase) over $5,000 will require the prior approval of the end-of-year oversight committee chaired by [Assistant City Manager] Mark Taxis and comprised of members from the Budget, Finance and Procurement Departments. I have asked that any expenditure over $5,000 that is incurred without prior approval of the committee will be reported directly to me.
 
“We need to make sure we are tightening our belts everywhere we can without affecting service levels. If we tighten our belts now, we may be able to avoid more serious reductions later.”
 
The memo is addressed to an email list whose recipients are hidden.

Image: Shutterstock.com

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