ML lawmakers approve $26M budget

Thursday, October 5, 2017 0 Comments

The Miami Lakes Town Council gave its final approval to keep the same rate for property taxes and adopted a new $26 million budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.

But the wrath of Hurricane Irma already delivered an impact to the spending plan, as the town, so far, will spend nearly $1.5 million from the town’s General Fund reserves for the clean-up and recovery efforts, hoping FEMA will reimburse 85 percent of the town’s expenses, said Town Manager Alex Rey.

After the Category 3 storm passed through South Florida, town staff and clean up crews immediately started removing uprooted large trees and debris from the town’s busy roadways, residential and business areas.

State officials said Irma could be a $300 billion catastrophe for the entire state of Florida.
Rey said Miami Lakes will undergo a series of budget amendments during the new fiscal year, which started October 1, as the expenditures for the clean-up and recovery efforts become more clear.

Miami Lakes might see the first FEMA reimbursement money in about six months, Rey said.
Mayor Manny Cid said he’s optimistic about the federal agency’s reimbursement procedure, which the town followed down to a tee, in contrast to Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

He said Miami Lakes had to pay back $700,000 to FEMA after that storm.

The town’s tax rate of 2.335 is $2.33 for every $1,000 taxable value but residents might pay a slight tax hike since their property values have increased.

The rate generates about $6.6 million in ad valorem taxes, and with other revenues, carryover funds and reserves, Miami Lakes was able to craft a $26 million budget plan for this year.
Police services, residents No. 1 priority since incorporation, constitutes 51 percent of the budget, which is estimated at $8.4 million, an increase of $555,298 due to an increase in health insurance and adding two police officers to the detached unit.

Changes to the budget following the first hearing were an increase of $500 for Town Council travel expenses for conferences and public official training sessions for a total of $2,000; and $200,000 from police impact fee reserves for the License Plate Recognition software to help the police track down vehicles that may be wanted for a crime or placed on the Amber Alert.

Councilmember Ceasar Mestre proposed the legislation at last month’s council meeting, which places camera at the town’s entrances and exits to record license plates and immediately alert law enforcement of vehicles suspected in a crime. 

For parks and recreation, Miami Lakes is budgeting a total of $1.4 million for improvements to Miami Lakes Optimist Park, which includes the Optimist clubhouse; the Mary Collins Community Center; redeveloping a vacant parcel at Royal Oaks Park; and the design of the Par 3 golf course. 

As part of the budget, the town is also offering to reduce traffic congestion by spending $125,000 for a traffic study, which would encourage drivers to park their cars near the Par 3 golf course and ride a bus to connect them to Metrorail, as part of partnership with Miami-Dade.

The town’s budget for next year also includes sidewalk replacement ($170,000); street lighting utilities and repairs ($332,000); N,W. 67 Avenue widening project ($489,000); and $150,000 for the Par 3 golf course design.

Some of the significant budget changes are excluding $1.4 million in carryover funds for litigation fees and reserves ($624,000); beautification projects and park improvements ($362,300); employee rendition and training ($158,300); miscellaneous projects ($134,000) and reserves ($121,400), as the expense budget reflects an increase of about $1 million from last year.

For transportation improvements, Miami Lakes has budgeted $4.2 million for the N.W. 59 Avenue extension that includes the Public Works Storage  and Boat Yard ($775,000); roadway and drainage improvements in Lake Sarah ($590,960); the construction of Safe Routes to School ($580,000); milling and resurfacing of Miami Lakeway South between N.W. 67 Avenue and Lake Candlewood Court ($193,252); on-road bike path striping at N.W. 89 Avenue near Barbara Goleman High School ($50,000); and traffic calming devices ($25,000).

The town’s Mobility Fee would fund the design of the underpass bridges at N.W. 146 Street and the Palmetto, and N.W. 160 Street and the Palmetto ($330,000). Also, Mobility Fees in the amount of $300,000, in conjunction with a $1 million FDOT TAP Grant awarded to the town is allocated for design and construction of Business Park East ($650,000) and Main Street East ($650,000) complete streets implementation projects.

The N.W. 67 Avenue Widening Project, south of the Palmetto, is funded by the Town Center Developer’s Contribution in lieu of road impact fees ($408,069).

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