Council lowers mileage rate for 2018-2019 property taxes

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 0 Comments


To give residents a tax break since property values have been increasing for several years, the Miami Lakes Town Council adopted a new rate of 2.3217 mills and an estimated $50 million budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The town initially kept the same rate for property taxes at 2.3353 mills during a budget workshop last month, however, Vice Mayor Frank Mingo proposed the lower rate at the first budget hearing.

Council members were expected to stick with it or reduce it further to 2.2906 mills, or the roll back rate of 2.2190 at the second budget hearing on September 18. 

The roll back rate represents $286,183 less in property tax revenues and the 2.2906 rate is expected to generate $7 million in ad valorem revenues, and with additional revenues, Miami Lakes’ general fund operating expenses are estimated at $17.7 million. 

Council members instructed Town Manager Alex Rey to make several changes at the first budget hearing in addition to lowering the property rate for taxes.

Rey and his staff restored $59,824 taken from $130,000 for enhanced police presence at Bob Graham Education Center and Miami Lakes K-8 Center.

The program was initially funded by Miami-Dade County Public Schools ($70,176) and a transfer from Dunnwoody developer’s contribution for education purposes to supplement the cost of police security.

However, at the first budget hearing, town staff was directed to reverse the $59,824 and restore the developer’s contribution to the full funding of $300,000, which is earmarked for educational purposes, improvements to impacted schools in the town and youth education programs.

Another change made from the first budget hearing was finding money in the budget to give town staff a 2.3 percent pay hike also known as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

That equates to $62,067 for the general fund, $2,094 for transit and transportation, $32,037 for building department employees, $4,376 for stormwater and $1,577 for the facilities maintenance fund.

The budget also includes a projection of revenues estimated at $4.8 million from building permits for the new Senior Village and Assisting Living Facility; Lennar townhouses; Bob Graham/Elevate/Crescent; and N.W. 57-59 avenues development and $2.5 million in carryover funds from 2017-2018.

The police budget increased five percent, as the town budgeted $8.7 million for public safety services, which is 49 percent of the spending plan for next year.

For other capital improvement projects, Miami Lakes is projected to spend $3.8 million for stormwater drainage improvements including $1.9 million for the third part of roads in West Lake (N.W. 148 Terrace/N.W. 148 Street/NW 149 Terrace; $1 million for phase one of the Royal Oaks roadway and drainage project; and $837,000 for the second portion of the town’s canal bank stabilization.

For transportation capital improvements, the town allocated $5 million for projects that include $2.3 million for N.W. 59th Avenue extension and boat storage yard; $1.1 million for Miami Lakes Business Park East (N.W. 60th Avenue); $685,000 for a safe routes to school project; and $441,747 for a project to widen the Palmetto Expressway and Ludlam Road.

For public safety impact fees, Miami Lakes budgeted $430,597 for the town’s license plate recognition software, and a mobile speed radar.

Miami Lakes may schedule a mail-in ballot election to ask residents to approve borrowing money to complete the master plan for Miami Lakes Optimist Park, which has been delayed for 15 years, as the town’s pay-as-you-go plan is not working. 

The town earmarked $2 million for the park, leaving the town $2.5 million short to finish the much-needed improvements.  

The $4.5 million price tag calls for building new basketball and tennis courts, an airnasium, walking and bike trails and replacing the park’s lighting system.

In addition to approving the rate for property taxes, Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance which establishes non-advolarem assessment rates for special taxing districts for security guard gate and lake maintenance.

The town will take over the districts on October 1, which is the start of the new fiscal year.

Miami Lakes decided to take over the county’s districts from Miami-Dade instead of handing them over to homeowners associations to save them money.


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