North Bay Village commissioners gave their final approval to the 2012-13 budget that includes funding for the International Baccalaureate program at Treasure Island Elementary School.
The International Baccalaureate curriculum – often referred to as IB – emphasizes critical thinking, intercultural understanding and community service, according to the program’s website.
All of Treasure Island Elementary School’s students would be in the IB program once it is implemented. Then, through a feeder system, they would enter IB programs at Miami Beach middle and high schools.
The IB program would be an ongoing expense to the city, and for next year it has been budgeted at $130,000.
While officials found wiggle room in the budget for next year’s cost without increasing taxes, down the line residents may see a rise in their bills.
In discussions leading up to the final budget approval, city officials have brainstormed how to fund the baccalaureate program in the future. One of the options was to charge about $2.93 extra on a resident’s monthly utility bill.
“That’s less than a happy meal,” said Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps at the Sept. 27 final hearing. “I don’t believe that anyone in this room cannot afford that. We all need to make a sacrifice.”
Other options are for the city to open an account where residents can voluntarily contribute to the program, ask businesses to contribute —or, as a last resort, increase property taxes. Officials, however, have not decided on an option.
After the school discussion, commissioners voted on the $15 million budget – only to deadlock. While Leon-Kreps and Vice Mayor Eddie Lim approved the budget, commissioners Richard Chervony and Stuart Blumberg thought it needed more work.
Chervony said that the city’s emergency reserve fund is too low at $200,000. Blumberg added that if the city would fund the IB program, then it must cut somewhere else.
More than $160,000 was trimmed from the general fund and allocated to the emergency reserve fund, including Fourth of July fireworks and two vacant part-time patrol officer positions.
Commissioners also gave their final approval of a tax rate just under $4.78 for every $1,000 of taxable property, the same as this year’s rate.
According to the county Office of The Property Appraiser, North Bay Village property values went down by 1.34 percent, so taxpayers may see a decrease in their tax bill next year.
The owner of a $103,000 home, the city’s median assessed value, would pay about $245 in property taxes.
The new budget took effect Monday.
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