The financial situation of The City of Miami Beach continues to slide into the abyss. Deficits of 10 million two budgets ago and 20 million one past are now feared to reach 40 million. This in a city of 80,000 or so full-time residents. The City has probably masked the problem with stimulus money (there are "reconstruction projects all over the town), the the real culprit is the outrageous salaries and pensions of its employees. The tally of salaries is appalling by any city's standards, let alone one so small. Six figure salaries are the rule and even secretaries make $75,000 a year. The city employee, fire, and police unions hold the dagger of death at the throat of Miami Beach.
The City's immediate fix: double fines and permit fees, hinder the opening of new businesses as much as possible, and make as much as an effort as possible to justify City Hall employees' positions as much as possible. I know of no business here that has escaped the usual shakedown--unless, of course, they are businesses own by commissioners or similarly connected people. It is discouraging and embarrassing. Corruption, whether blatant or veiled, in omnipresent, because delaying the right of a business to open after all the periods have been put on the sentences is one simple, if vague action: Corruption.
On a lighter note, Leopoldo is off all weekend and we intend to bring the town to its knees.