Miami Beach

Miami Beach approves lower tax rate, bigger budget in 2015-16

Miami Beach’s commission approved a lower property tax rate and a $300 million general fund budget Thursday.
Miami Beach’s commission approved a lower property tax rate and a $300 million general fund budget Thursday. Miami Herald File

Miami Beach’s commission approved a lower property tax rate and a $300 million general fund budget Thursday.

Property tax rate

In a year when the Beach has experienced growth in property tax revenue, the city lowered its 2015-16 property tax rate enough for typical homeowners to see a small decrease in their tax bill.

The city commission approved a tax rate of $5.91 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is slightly lower than last year’s rate.

The owner of a median home valued at about $211,000 would pay about $961 in property taxes. This is an $8 decrease from last year, assuming 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.

Budget

Commissioners also approved a $300 million general fund budget, which is a $20 million increase from last year.

Mayor Philip Levine was absent from the vote because he left for a campaign event. Term-limited Commissioner Deede Weithorn was the sole no vote, saying she does not believe the budget is growing at a rate that is sustainable in the long term.

The bigger budget is partly the result of increases to maintain existing staff and service levels including keep up with pension obligations, merit raises for city employees and increased legal fees.

The city is also budgeting more recreational senior and youth programming, as well as new staff positions. Added expenses include staffing for new lifeguard stands, a motorcycle unit in the police department, three new code compliance officers and two new part-time employees to handle citizen issues and complaints.

They said it

“I’m very concerned that we’re growing a budget which could be unsustainable.” — Commissioner Deede Weithorn.

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