Facing budget challenges, Miami Springs may increase its tax rate 10 percent.
City finance director William Alonso recently met with department heads and learned that city coffers are in the red nearly $600,000.
"The millage required to balance the budget without any reductions would be 7.686," Alonso wrote in an internal memo to city leaders.
The proposed tax rate of $7.69 for every $1,000 of assessed taxable value could jolt property owners with a 10 percent hike from this year’s rate of $6.99.
Part of the reason for the budget deficit includes the following:
• $50,000 in employee raises;
• $452,000 in losses at the city golf course;
• $75,000 toward pension-fund increases.
The budget deficit takes into consideration that the city will earn $600,000 next year from its red-light camera program. The city has deemed this to be a “soft” number that could change significantly either up or down.
One reason for the change is because South Florida cities’ red-light camera programs came to a screeching halt on July 1 as municipalities scrambled to comply with a new state law.
Drivers nabbed by a red-light camera now have the right to contest their citations before a special local hearing board instead of using the county court system.
The rules move red-light camera citation hearings and let drivers contest their tickets earlier.
City leaders voted 5-0 on June 24 to adopt an ordinance on second reading adopting and implementing the newly enacted provisions of state law that would create a local hearing officer process that includes setting up a hearing board for appeals.
“We are well under way with the court planning and code changes,” City Manager Ron Gorland said. “We’ll be ready for the first appeal.”
The Miami Springs City Council is expected to hold a special meeting on Thursday, July 25, at 6 p.m. in order to set the tax-rate ceiling for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Once this tax rate is established, it can go lower but not higher.
Miami Springs’ first budget hearing is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 5. The second hearing is Aug. 19.