Council keeps property tax rate flat

Government By David L. Snelling, Reporter Wednesday, September 29, 2021

     The Miami Lakes town council approved the property tax rate and a $82.4 million budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

     The vote was unanimous for the millage rate of 2.3127, which is unchanged since 2019, as well as for the budget during the Sept. 22 second and final hearing.

     The tax rate stays flat, but some property owners will see slight tax increases because their property values increased by 3.6 percent, according to Town Manager Edward Pidermann.

     The rate of 2.3127 mills, or $2.31 per $1,000 of assessed property, means a homeowner with property valued at $350,000, less her $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $693.81 to the town.

     The taxes will generate an estimated $8.3 million in ad valorem revenue, which funds 44 percent of the town’s general fund operating budget. 

    The rest of the $19 million general fund operating budget monies come from utility taxes, intergovernmental revenues, fines and the FPL franchise fee.

     The general fund operating budget pays for administration, police, public works, community outreach and parks.  The police and crossing guard budget is nearly $9 million, which represents 46 percent of the total general fund budget.

     The council also approved cost-of-living adjustment raises, or COLA, as well as a merit bonus program for town staff.

     Pidermann said lower wage earners will receive a 2.8 percent COLA and may be eligible for a bonus between 0% and 1.5% based on their performance evaluations for the new fiscal year.

      Higher paid town employees will receive a COLA pay increase of 1.9% and may receive a bonus of up to 2.87 percent, also based on evaluations.

      The administration is seeking a compensation package for high-performing employees and to retain them. 

     Over the past two or three years, 20 employees have left town jobs, and 10 of those resigned for better-paying work elsewhere, Pidermann said after the meeting.

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