Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Opa-locka looking at lower tax rate

Opa-locka is considering a slightly lower tax rate to residents for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The City Commission approved the staff’s recommendation of a tax rate of $8.90 per $1,000 of assessed property value at a special meeting Wednesday. The rate was $9 the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Under the proposed tax rate, the owner of a home valued at $50,000 would pay about $222.50 in property tax, about a $2.50 decrease from last year. This assumes that the owner took the standard homestead exemption.

The city can only decrease the proposed rate or keep it the same as the budget season continues. Commissioners must adopt a budget before their new financial year starts Oct. 1.

City Manager Kelvin Baker said he wants to continue to take “small bites” at the tax rate each year and hopes that it can become as low as neighboring municipalities.

“We’re committed to bringing down these millages; year by year we have to take nibbles at it,” Baker said at the meeting. “Millage” is the unit of measuring the property-tax rate.

Baker said that as he works on the city’s budget, keeping the tax rate low was important and not an easy decision.

“This is a tall order, with all of the other challenges we have in the budget process,” Baker said at the meeting.

The commission voted to approve two public hearings to discuss the budget. Both meetings will be held in September at Sherbondy Village Community Center, 215 Perviz Ave. The first meeting will take place at 5:01 p.m. Sept. 10, the second at 5:01 p.m. Sept. 24. Under state law, budget hearings must be held after 5 p.m.

Homeowners will receive a letter some time in August giving them their proposed tax rate and hearing dates, called the “TRIM notice.” The letter will also include proposed tax rates for the county, the school board and other local agencies.