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Candidate: If Miami-Dade has to raise tax rate, commission should decide without referendum

@PatriciaMazzei

Daniella Levine Cava, who is running for Miami-Dade County Commission, wouldn't say Thursday if the board should raise the property-tax rate to fund public libraries.

But she did say that if a rate hike is needed, then commissioners should sign off on one themselves, instead of taking the matter to voters in a referendum -- an idea Mayor Carlos Gimenez has floated that would give elected officials some political cover.

"I'm concerned that they might need to" raise the tax rate for libraries, she said Thursday morning outside the Miami-Dade elections department in Doral.

First, commissioners should take a look at how they're spending the money they have, said Levine Cava, who is running against Commissioner Lynda Bell in South Miami-Dade. 

The library department faces a $20 million budget shortfall. A task force convened by Gimenez suggested a tax hike, but the mayor wants public support first.

Levine Cava was at the elections department to submit more than 1,200 signatures to qualify for the ballot by petition, a move candidates use to save on their candidate filing fee and also to show grassroots campaign support.

She said she raised $50,000 in March, bringing her total to more than $250,000. That's respectable for a challenger but still less than the incumbent Bell, who had raised more than $335,000 as of the end of February.

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