Miami Lakes

Miami Lakes adds funding for town boards

Miami Lakes council members tentatively approved a $31 million budget for 2015 despite not being able to fund some of the town’s requests.

The Town Council unanimously adopted a tax rate of $2.35 per 1,000 in taxable property value, the same rate as this year.

Town Manager Alex Rey did not recommend a lower tax rate due to higher fees for police services from Miami-Dade County and lower franchise fees collected from Florida Power & Light.

Representatives of three town boards asked the council for more money.

The youth activities task force, the elderly affairs committee and the cultural affairs committee wanted more than they had been allocated in the town manager’s spending plan.

“It is imperative to support those people who make this community great,” said Alec Anderez, 24, about the youth activities task force. “Last year we served 22,000 people, and I hope this year we could make it 44,000.”

Mayor Wayne Slaton said he wants to fund the committees’ requests at the levels that they asked. He asked the town manager to come back with recommendations on where the funds should come from for the next budget hearing.

“I think we can definitely, as a council, find the money for the committees,” said Councilman Tim Daubert. “I think there is also some areas that we can discuss, one being the entry features.”

Slaton’s amendment for the budget passed without dissent.

Councilman Caesar Mestre identified an additional $29,000 in savings from the proposed budget. He asked the council to amend the budget to reflect already-negotiated reductions in financial institution fees and the garbage contract by $9,000. He also suggested the town re-allocate $20,000 in surplus from public works processing fees and the town engineer’s departmental budget for the town’s marketing program.

Councilman Nelson Rodriguez supported the campaign to advertise the town, calling it “very needed.”

Slaton considered the marketing strategy for Miami Lakes a “win-win” for multiple entities within the town.

Vice Mayor Manny Cid proposed two topics for the next budget hearing: the interest income from the town’s investment portfolio and a planned town-wide traffic study.

The second budget hearing will be 6 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 6601 Main St.