Miami Waterkeeper and hundreds of community members made their voices heard at the County budget hearings in September, both in-person and virtually. At the final budget hearing on Sept. 28, the Board of County Commissioners passed a historic budget for Miami-Dade County. The approved budget fully funds necessary sewer infrastructure upgrades now, which should avoid far more expensive sewage (and dirty) problems later.
Miami's Waterkeeper Rachel Silverstein asking the Commission to vote for funding that protects our waterways. Photo Credit: Miami Herald.
This budget prioritizes a resilient Miami and plans for investment in our water and sewer. Funding the needs of the water and sewer department is a valuable water win, as our infrastructure is crumbling quite literally beneath our feet and requires maintenance. The budget funds translate to $.40 per month for many residents and less than $2 per month for the median resident, generating an additional $23.96 million. This will allow the County to access hundreds of millions of dollars in bond funds. These funds are critical to infrastructure projects, and in turn, Biscayne Bay.
Clean water is what makes Miami, Miami. Our economy is tied to the health of the Bay, which contributes approximately $12.7 billion in economic output, supports 137,600 jobs, and generates $627 million in tax revenue to Miami-Dade County (according to a 2005 Hazen and Sawyer report). It’s necessary to prepare our infrastructure for rising seas, protect our drinking water, and the aquatic ecosystems that are vital to our economic, social, and environmental construct.
We have to fund our water and sewer systems for our future. Thank you to Commissioners Oliver Gilbert, III, Jean Monestime, Keon Hardemon, Sally Heyman, Eileen Higgins, Rebeca Sosa, Raquel Regalado, Danielle Cohen Higgins, Kionne McGhee, and Javier Souto for voting for clean water.