Miami Beach

Miami Beach tax bills to rise slightly

The city of Miami Beach’s seal overlooks the dais where city commissioners approved the city’s property tax rate and budget for the new fiscal year.
The city of Miami Beach’s seal overlooks the dais where city commissioners approved the city’s property tax rate and budget for the new fiscal year. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

On the eve of the new budget year, which began Wednesday, the Miami Beach City Commission gave its final approval to the property tax rate and the city budget.

The commission set this year’s tax rate at $6.02 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value. That’s down from last year’s rate of about $6.11 per $1,000. The lower rate comes from decreases in debt service costs and the operating budget.

Nevertheless, homeowners can expect to pay slightly more in city taxes because the tax-rate cut is too small to offset even the small annual increase in assessed home values allowed for owner-occupied homes under the Florida Constitution.

The owner of a home assessed at about $197,000 would pay about $903 in city tax, about $4 more than this year. That assumes the property owner qualifies for the standard homestead exemption and the home’s assessed value increased by 1.5 percent, the maximum allowed this year for an owner-occupied home.

Owners of rental properties and other commercial real estate do not enjoy this limit in assessed-value increases, so their tax bills will increase in proportion to rising market values.

The City Commission also approved a $280 million general fund operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Meanwhile, residents can expect to pay higher water and sewer fees in the coming year. The increases come after the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department raised its fees for the city, which pays the county for potable water and sewage treatment.

The average rate-payer will pay about $14 more in water and sewer fees.

City Commissioner Micky Steinberg emphasized that the increased rates are passed down from the county.

“This is a pass-through fee,” she said. “I think the right thing to do is to pass it.”

Together with a previously approved 84 percent hike in storm water fees to combat sea level rise, fees have gone up about $21 a month.

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