Bal Harbour set higher initial tax rate, but lowers other fees

07/17/2014 2:34 PM

07/17/2014 2:35 PM

The Bal Harbour Village Council has set the initial amounts that residents will see on their bills for the next year.

At its meeting Thursday night, the Council unanimously increased the preliminary property tax rate, reduced the fee for security and landscape services in the gated residential community and left the trash pickup fee the same.

The Council also unanimously agreed to alert village residents of potential higher water and sewer rates from the county and Miami Beach.

The council set the initial property tax rate for the 2014-15 fiscal year at $2.26 per $1,000 — up from its present of $1.91 per $1,000.

The initial rate is still lower than rates the village used during the past decade.

“We have had a historically low rate,” Village Manager Jorge Gonzalez said during the meeting.

The higher rate will add $1.3 million to the village’s budget for the next fiscal year, while the present lower rate will only add about $330,000.

The lower rate represents a 15 percent reduction from what was used in 2013-14, which Gonzalez described as “significant,” and it is 33 percent less than the 2004 rate.

Bal Harbour has the second-lowest property tax rate in Miami-Dade, only Aventura’s is lower.

The median appraised property value in the village is $440,000. So, whether the Council decides to stick with the higher rate or return to the lower one, residents will pay either $998 per year or $844, respectively.

The rate is still subject to change, however.

The council will have over a month until its first budget meeting Sept. 11 to determine if the options available with the increased revenue are worth the extra amount charged to property owners.

“By setting the rate now, you’ll have a cushion to decide,” Gonzalez said.

The council lowered the fee for security and landscape services in the gated residential community of the village to $1,802 for each single-family home from its current $2,616. The village will use $185,000 from its general fund to balance next year’s budget and cover the full cost of the services.

While those increases and reductions are what the council decided, they have to accept the water and sewer rates from the county.

The county’s Water and Sewer Department could increase its water rate by 3.9 percent and its wastewater rate by 4.3 percent to account for higher operating costs.

As a purchaser of the county’s water and wastewater treatment services, the village will alert residents in their August utility bills of possible increases.

The increases are $1.78 per 1,000 gallons of water, from $1.71, and $2.56 per 1,000 gallons of wastewater, from $2.45.

Trash pickup, which was left unchanged, will cost single-family homes $480.32 and $224.74 for multifamily.

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