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Miami-Dade Voters Oust Mayor Alvarez in Largest Municipal Recall

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Miami-Dade County voters ousted Republican Mayor Carlos Alvarez after he raised property-tax rates to help close a deficit. Florida’s most-populous county is the largest U.S. municipality to recall a top official.

The county, home to the city of Miami, backed Alvarez’s removal by 88 percent to 12 percent in voting yesterday, according to the elections office. Commissioner Natacha Seijas was also recalled. Forty-one percent of respondents in a March 5 poll for the Miami Herald cited the tax increase as their reason for favoring a recall.

Alvarez, 58, angered residents in 2010 with higher tax rates as property values fell 22 percent in three years, according to the appraiser’s office. His $7.6 billion budget for fiscal 2011, which began Oct. 1, used the rate increase and $186.7 million of spending cuts to close a $440 million revenue gap. It was adopted by the 13-member County Commission in September.

Miami-Dade, with about 2.5 million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is the largest local government to recall a top official, said Joshua Spivak, a senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform at Wagner College in New York City. Californians removed Democratic Governor Gray Davis in 2003.

Alvarez, a native of Cuba, became mayor in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. County commissioners have 30 days to appoint a new mayor or call a special election to complete Alvarez’s term, which ends in November 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jerry Hart in Miami at jhart@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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