Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Carlos-O-Meter

Create Seniors First Trust Fund


“I will create a Seniors First Trust Fund to assure that the elderly continue to have access to warm meals and I will extend the low-income seniors property tax rebate program of $100 for next year.”


Updates

Gimenez delivers rebate but no senior trust fund in second budget

During the 2011 campaign, Carlos Gimenez said, "I will create a Seniors First Trust Fund to assure that the elderly continue to have access to warm meals and I will extend the low-income seniors property tax rebate program of $100 for next year.”

We gave him a Compromise after his first annual budget passed because it included the rebate, but commissioners rejected the trust fund. We took a look at this promise again during the second budget year of Gimenez's mayoral term in 2012.

Since commissioners rejected the trust fund, in 2012 Gimenez didn't propose it again. But commissioners did agree to continue the rebate for homesteaded seniors who earn about $27,000 a year. (Read more details about now that rebate program was started in our previous update.)

We keep this promise at a Compromise.

Sources:

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez,Budget message, July 12, 2012

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's proposed budget, Appendices, July 12, 2012

Miami Herald,"Miami-Dade mayor proposes hold-the-line budget with lower tax rate,”July 12, 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, Nov. 8, 2012

Gimenez proposes rebate for seniors but not trust fund

Mayor Carlos Gimenez received a Compromise for a two-part promise he made during the 2011 campaign:

"I will create a Seniors First Trust Fund to assure that the elderly continue to have access to warm meals, and I will extend the low-income seniors property tax rebate program of $100 for next year.”

County commissioners nixed the idea for the trust fund but approved the rebate in 2011. Now we are watching Gimenez's efforts in his second budget proposal, this time for the 2012-13 year which starts Oct. 1.

Gimenez released his proposed budget in July, and it includes about $3.5 million for the Save Our Seniors Homeowners Relief Fund. The fund was originally created before Gimenez was mayor (see more details below in our previous update) and provides a $100 check per household to those 65 and older who get the state's senior homestead exemption. To qualify for the senior homestead exemption, a senior must earn no more than $27,030 a year, said county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie.

We'll note that Gimenez is proposing to send a little bit of cash to seniors while he faces re-election in the Aug. 14 primary.

Gimenez did not propose the trust fund because commissioners rejected it last year, and because Gimenez wants to keep services at current levels, his spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.

We won't give a final rating on this promise for the year until we see the outcome of the budget process, which concludes when commissioners take their final vote Sept. 20. For now we rate this a Compromise.

Sources:

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Budget message, July 12, 2012

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's proposed budget, Appendices, July 12, 2012

Miami Herald,"Miami-Dade mayor proposes hold-the-line budget with lower tax rate,”July 12, 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, July 19, 2012

Gimenez didn't get his wish on senior fund

Days before he was elected as Miami-Dade Mayor, Carlos Gimenez made a series of promises that related to providing money for seniors.

One of his promises posted on the website of CBS4 News on June 22, 2011 -- about a week before he was elected mayor -- stated: "I will create a Seniors First Trust Fund to assure that the elderly continue to have access to warm meals and I will extend the low-income seniors property tax rebate program of $100 for next year," said Gimenez.

He made a similar promise about the trust fund in a May 31 email to supporters:

"As County Mayor, I will establish the SENIORS FIRST TRUST FUND, to ensure a long-term revenue stream supported through savings generated by reducing the size of County government from 60 departments to 25, bloated bureaucracy with exorbitant executive salaries."

This Carlos-O-Meter item will evaluate Gimenez's two-part promise: to create a Seniors First Trust Fund and to extend the low-income seniors property tax rebate.

In a Sept. 22 memo to commissioners as they prepared to vote on the budget, Gimenez included a proposal for $850,000 to create a Seniors First Trust Fund "to support services to seniors in our community."

When Miami-Dade County Commissioners met to approve the budget, they voted to reallocate the mayor's proposed $850,000 for the trust fund to the general fund, according to county spokesman Suzy Trutie. You can see the vote in this video of the budget meeting starting around the 9-hour, 20-minute mark.

That means the Seniors First Trust Fund is kaput for this year.

The property tax rebate program was spared, however, at a cost of about $3.4 million (see page 304 of the budget).

The funding continues the Save Our Seniors Homeowners Relief Fund, which was created during the previous fiscal year by Commissioner Bruno Barreiro. The relief fund provides residents 65 and older who have received the state's homestead exemption for seniors a $100 check per household. To qualify for the senior homestead exemption, a senior must earn no more than about $26,203 a year, said deputy property appraiser Marcus Saiz.

Gimenez promised to create a Seniors First Trust Fund but commissioners rejected that proposal. He also promised to extend the tax rebate for low-income seniors -- and Gimenez delivered here. We will have to wait until July 2012 to see if he proposes a Seniors First Trust Fund again. But since he met half of his two-part goal, we rate this a Compromise.

Sources:

CBS4 Miami, "Gimenez: Cut Taxes, Wasteful spending as mayor,"June 22, 2011

Miami-Dade County, County Commission minutes, Sept. 23, 2010

Miami-Dade County, Video of County Commission meeting, Sept. 22-23, 2011

Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez's Budget memo, Sept. 22, 2011

Miami-Dade County, Budget proposal Appendices, July, 2011

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro press release, "Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro sponsors "Save Our Seniors" program to provide $100 for seniors with homestead exemption,"Sept. 24, 2010

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Sept. 23-Dec. 16, 2011

Interview, Marcus Saiz, Miami-Dade deputy property appraiser, Sept. 30, 2011