Burgess: Cutbacks won't hit developers
By Wayne Tompkins
Miami-Dade County's development services are not expected to suffer from staffing cutbacks in the proposed budget, County Manager George Burgess says.
Mayor Carlos Alvarez' budget calls for $240 million in spending reductions in the face of property-tax cuts approved this spring in the Legislature.
About 1,200 jobs, including vacant positions, are being slashed in the $7.5 billion budget, which Miami-Dade commissioners also must vote on.
"Permitting and building-code compliance are supported by fees," Mr. Burgess said. "We don't subsidize it with property-tax revenues at all."
Even so, the spending cuts could have both positive and negative ripple effects for builders and developers.
"One major part of the budget is a fairly significant reduction in our proposed millage rates and, consequently, tax levels," Mr. Burgess said. "The construction industry is dependent on people wanting to live here, the quality of life, the affordability of homes."
Matt Greer, COO of Carlisle Development Group, said interest rates and consumer demand will hold far greater sway for developers than the county's budget.
"One effect could be that while wealthier communities absorb the budget cuts pretty easily, others will struggle, and that could affect the desirability of some properties," he said.
Silvio Cardoso, president of the Builders Association of South Florida, said that with the end of the historic five-year building boom, "it's back to reality for all of us.
"We're going back to a normal market, and the county should live within its means just like everybody else."