I was disappointed to see that the current Miami Lakes Town Council is reverting back to a tax-and-spend philosophy after all the progress that the town has made in recent years.
Under the first Mayor Wayne Slaton regime, the town raised the tax rate from $2.47 to $3.05 per $1,000 in taxable property value, a huge tax increase on residents and businesses. During my years as mayor we were able to undo that damage and drastically cut taxes, while still delivering a surplus every year and even given residents tax rebates. During my administration, Miami Lakes became known as one of the most fiscally conservative, pro-business and economically expansive cities in the state.
Unfortunately, during the past year, culminating in the passage of the budget Tuesday night, the current council has gone back to an ill-advised philosophy of higher taxes and a never ending barrage of new and increased fees in order to pay for out-of-control spending.
Specifically, because property values have gone up, keeping the current tax rate means an across the board 5 percent tax increase for resident. The current rate is 5.6 percent above the rollback rate. On top of that, the town last night voted to double the fees for residents, churches, and businesses obtaining a special event permit and increased fees for all residential building permits.
Worse, the council voted to impose a new waste franchise fee that waste haulers will pass on to the town businesses and residents living in multifamily dwellings. This new franchise fee amounts to a new tax on businesses and residents. All these new fees and taxes are being imposed by the council as the town has gone from 30 employees to more than 70 employees.
With the current direction of the Town Council, the town could become what we fought so hard in recent years to prevent — a huge bureaucracy that feeds itself with higher taxes and increased fees. Hopefully, I can make it back before the current Council figures out new ways to raise taxes and fees, and creates and spends another million dollars in unneeded positions.
Michael Pizzi, Miami Lakes
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