The town of Cutler Bay is proposing a higher property tax rate for the upcoming 2015-’16 budget year in order to maintain the town’s services without having to dip into reserves.
The Town Council has proposed a tax rate of $2.53 per $1,000 of taxable property value.
Impact on taxpayers
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The average homestead residential taxable value this year is $94,089, which means those residents will pay about $238 in property taxes, about $13 more than if the town were to adopt its current tax rate of $2.39. This assumes the owner qualified for the standard homestead exemption and the home’s assessed value increased by 0.8 percent, the maximum allowed by law this year for an owner-occupied home. The slightly higher tax bill is also partly the result of increasing property values in Cutler Bay, which experienced 8.8 percent growth.
The town cannot raise the property tax rate any higher as the budget season goes on, but it can be lowered or remain the same.
Impact on services
According to the town’s administration, Cutler Bay could elect to keep the tax rate at its current level by deferring big ticket items, such as its town hall “hardening” project. The project called for replacing all windows with hurricane impact windows. After reviewing the original budget submitted July 22, town staff and town council members have discussed the possible deferment of the project and developing the design phase of the $800,000 item. The town is also looking at alternate ways of funding the project through various grants.
“By deferring this we will be able to save enough to keep our tax rate the same, while adding more police officers, a high priority. I believe keeping our tax rate low continues to be important to homeowners and business owners. We are proud our town is doing so well, as evidenced by the increase in property value, but people are still struggling to keep up in this recovering economy, any tax relief would be welcome,” Mayor Peggy Bell said.
What the town manager says
“We just competed our first budget workshop on July 22. I presented the proposed budget to the town council. Since that time we have been going through and looking at anywhere where we can have any further reductions, in order to try to keep the budget and the [tax] rate at its current level, $2.39. During the first workshop, we went back through to see what other items we could cut or defer in order to keep the [tax] rate at the current level. In between July and Aug. 19, we have been going through and meeting with council members and town staff trying to collectively look at items we can defer or reduce.” — Ralph Casals
▪ When: 7 p.m. Sept. 10 for first hearing; 7 p.m. Sept. 24 for second hearing
▪ Where: Town Hall, 107200 Caribbean Blvd.
Check your mailbox
Homeowners will receive a letter called a “TRIM notice” in August giving them their proposed tax rate and hearing dates. The letter will also include proposed tax rates for the county, school board and other local agencies.