Following some debate the Doral council approved and adopted a balanced budget and a lower property tax rate for the 2012-2013 fiscal year during their final budget hearing.
It took the council eight votes to reach the final approved tax rate of about $2.22 for every $1,000 of assessed taxable.
The rate is the approximate mid-point from the tax rate of nearly $2.24 the council passed during the first budget hearing and the lowest proposed tax rate of about $2.20, which Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez presented at the last hearing.
“At no point do I think there is not going to be enough money to run the city efficiently,” said Bermudez, adding the lower rate “represents a savings to the residents.”
Vice Mayor Michael DiPietro and Councilman Pete Cabrera voted against the newly approved tax rate, which passed 3-2.
“I don’t think it’s going to effect our services," said DiPietro, "Looking at this, this is more of a capital funding decision."
DiPietro said he is worried that the lower the rate may cause problems for future councils and impact the city’s ability to build infraction such as storm water drains and parks.
Under the $2.22 tax rate the owner of the typical Doral home, which is assessed at about $212,252, taking the standard $50,000 homestead exemption would pay about $360 in taxes to the city.
Doral property values increased about 1.97 percent, according to the county property appraiser.
The Miami-Dade County Appraiser’s projections mean that even with the tax rate decrease, some residents may not see a sizeable decrease in their tax bill due to the spike in values.
Doral is projected to receive roughly $18.2 million in ad valorem taxes in the upcoming fiscal year from the new rate, a difference of about $1.8 million to the city from the nearly $20 million in ad valorem taxes it would have received by maintaining its current tax rate of about $2.43.
Following the passing of the new tax rate, the council voted 3-2 to approve and adopt a roughly $58 million budget and eliminated a nearly $177,000 gap in the budget caused by the lower tax rate by reducing that amount from the roughly $7.5 million they’d set aside for phase one of a planned police department.
Mayoral candidates Cabrera and Councilman Luigi Boria voted against the budget.
Doral, which currently has about $23 million in its reserves, has never increased the property tax rate since its 2003 incorporation.