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North Miami finalizes budget, tax rate

North Miami approved its budget and tax rate for the 2014-15 fiscal year last week at its second budget hearing.

The City Council voted Monday to approve the budget, which leaves the property-tax rate unchanged at $7.9336 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value. Because of rising property values, however, many owners will still see higher tax bills.

The council also allocated $100,000 to be used for outside legal services in the city’s ongoing dispute with the former Museum of Contemporary Art board. If a resolution is reached before the city spends that money, the funds will be returned to the general fund.

The museum’s former board sued North Miami in April, claiming the city breached its contract by not properly maintaining the museum. The former trustees and the city entered mediation in June in an attempt to settle how both sides will split about 600 works of art, and have continued conversations without reaching a final settlement.

The budget allocates $50,000 to provide for library books, e-books and other materials for the North Miami Library.

The city staff also agreed to change the language of a line item dealing with the payment of city staffers who have been working with the community redevelopment agency. The City Council voted to amend the designation from “stipend” to “CRA allocation” after Councilwoman Marie Steril expressed concern about the language used in the line item.

The reorganization of the CRA in July allowed for an amount to be paid to city staffers for taking on the work that was originally done separately by CRA staff members.

The budget also reduces the amount of city furlough days from six to three, and allocates about $200,000 for a potential forensic audit of the city's finances. Councilwoman Carol Keys proposed the audit at multiple meetings earlier this year, and the council voted in July to move forward with plans for one.

The new fiscal year begins Wednesday.

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