Miami-Dade’s final report on 2017 real estate values showed revenues tied to property taxes will beat expectations this year. But revenue tied to consumer spending and the tourism industry remains a problem.
The July 1 report by the county Property Appraiser’s Office released Friday afternoon inched overall valuations a bit higher than the preliminary estimates issued on June 1. But the final tally of an 8.4 percent increase countywide wasn’t much of a change from the initial projection 30 days earlier of 8.2 percent growth.
County budget writers are cheering the property-tax reports as the primary source of good news on the revenue front, amid economic worries and a tourism slump. A recent analysis of revenues for the budget year that starts Oct. 1 shows hotel taxes trailing projections, declining transit fares, and weakness in other areas tied to spending. At Miami International Airport, sales are projected to come in slightly below forecasts “primarily due to a decline in advertising and baggage services resulting from unfavorable economic conditions in South America.”
Mayor Carlos Gimenez is expected to unveil his 2018 budget proposal on July 10. His staff has been briefing county commissioners on how the numbers are shaping up, with an emphasis on revenue shortfalls tied to consumer spending.
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“Fortunately, we have the increase in property values,” said Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. But with weakness elsewhere, she said the 2018 budget “is not as good as I’d like.”
On Friday, Gimenez communications director Michael Hernández said the mayor will not seek to raise funds with higher tax rates for a budget expected to top $7 billion. “Mayor Gimenez will propose a responsible budget that will not include a tax-rate increase,” he said.
The revenue analysis cites last year’s Zika outbreaks as one factor depressing hotel taxes, which are projected to finish down about 4 percent by the fall compared to 2016 levels. “Health concerns impact our local economy,” the report said.
While Zika, economic woes in Latin America, and general softness in spending has sales taxes trailing forecasts, the property report issued Friday shows a different trend, according to Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia. While values are growing slower than last year, he said there’s enough new construction under way to keep overall tax rolls growing next year, too.
“I don’t foresee any slowdown,” he said. “You see cranes all over. … The money is still coming in.”