When voters elect a new Miami-Dade County mayor — which could happen on Election Day Tuesday, but probably not until a June 28 runoff — the winner will be thrust into a pressure cauldron, confronting pressing challenges under scrutiny from a skeptical public.
By July 15 — slightly more than two weeks after the expected runoff — the mayor will have to present the Miami-Dade County Commission with a proposed budget for the sprawling county operations for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. A deficit of $400 million is projected for the new budget, which is $7.5 billion this year. With a public that has little tolerance for tax increases, that means steep cuts.
By the fall, the mayor must face off with cantankerous union bosses as labor contracts open amid expectations that deep concessions will be on the table. The contracts for all 10 county unions — ranging from water-and-sewer employees to firefighters — expire on Sept. 30.
The new county executive must grapple with a transit agency that has been reeling under federal probes amid an extraordinary six-month suspension of all federal grants. Jackson Health System, the county’s safety net hospital, remains in crisis.
And lurking in the wings: businessman Norman Braman, who financed the March 15 recall of Carlos Alvarez as county mayor, creating the current vacancy. Braman is now clamoring for speedy reforms by the new mayor.