West Miami doesn’t plan to make any changes to its tax rate, if commissioners approve a 2013-14 tentative budget.
Last week, the West Miami Commission tentatively approved a tax rate of $6.88 tax rate for every $1,000 of taxable property value — the same as last year.
When the tax rate remains unchanged, longtime homeowners can expected a slightly larger tax bill due to increased assessed home values. This year, the maximum increase in assessed value for a homesteaded home is 1.7 percent.
City manager Yolanda Aguilar said the city is doing better financially compared to past years.
“We have always lived within our means and do more with less,” she said. “Our payroll is less than other cities.”
The projected total spending for this coming budget is $4.6 million compared to the current $4.3.
Aguilar said there are no plans to lay off employees, but there are two employees who will retire. She said the positions are expected to filled. The positions are in the public works department.
She also added that the city has a pending application for a federal COPS grant, which would pay for an additional police officer.
“No word yet from the Department of Justice on our application for funding,” she said. “The grant pays for the first 3 years of an entry level police officer and the city matches at 25 percent of salary and benefits. Only if awarded will that position be funded.”
The city now has 12 police officers, four sergeants, a captain and chief. The police department also has a reserve program.
If approved for the grant, the city would benefit from an additional officer in case it is granted proposed annexation located in the area west from Southwest 67th Avenue to 71st Avenue (on the east side of 71st Avenue) and Southwest Eighth Street to Southwest 12th Street (on the north side of the street).
The proposed location includes residential and commercial area.
The city now had 5,878 residents.
The city has also pursued a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation for the completion of traffic circles identified through a traffic study. Aguilar said the city is waiting on approval.
Currently, the city has about $300,000 in their reserves as of last September.
Although the city has faced financial hardships, Aguilar said quality service has been available for residents.
“Employees are committed to providing the highest level of service and the City’s elected leaders promote quality of life services,” she said. “Employee turnover is very low, which says a lot about the level of commitment to the city.”
West Miami’s proposed tax rate and budget still needs to go before the commission after another budget hearing before taking effect Oct. 1, the start of the 2013-14 fiscal year. The final hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at City Hall, 901 SW 62nd Ave.