Coral Springs city officials have to decide between cutting existing services or approving an increase in the property tax rate for next year.
Adopting the rollback rate, which is intended to raise the same amount of tax revenue as the current year, would actually yield $347,000 less, Bob Goerig, Coral Springs’ budget and strategic planning manager, said at a recent business plan workshop. Maintaining the current millage rate of 4.5697 mills will result in additional tax revenue of $1.7 million, but the city would still have to deal with an $800,000 gap in its operating budget, he said.
With property values increasing 6.2 percent in the city, keeping the current millage rate will result in a tax increase of $42 for the average single-family homeowner. Increasing the millage rate by 0.09 mills to 4.6611, which will help the city raise an additional $800,000 and close the operating gap that it now has, will result in a $60 increase.
Apart from closing the gap and maintaining existing services, the city also has plans to borrow $12 million for crucial capital infrastructure improvements. “If we increased the millage rate by 0.18 mills, that would be an increase to the average homeowner of $78 a year, and that would provide $1.5 million, which is about the amount that is going to be needed to borrow the money for all the capital projects,” said Goerig.
The city proposes to increase the solid-waste fee for single-family homes by about $9, from $225.84 to $234.75. The fire fee for single-family homes is also going up by $5.64, from $141.36 to $147, but there is no change in the fees for multi-family units or commercial establishments. Water and sewer rates will go up by 3.5 percent.
Among the other major proposals are the creation of a special dependent district for Corporate Park and a salary increase of four percent for all city employees. Mayor Skip Campbell asked if the city was in sound enough financial shape to provide such a salary hike.
“I think probably your private community have had maybe 2 to 3 percent increases,” Campbell said. “Four percent seems pretty liberal and fairly generous. Have we looked at that?”
“The year before, it was 2-1/2 percent,” said City Manager Erdal Donmez. “The year before that, it was 2 percent, and the year before, it was cash. The year before, it was zero. In future years, we are looking at 4- to 4-1/4-percent increases. Hopefully, we will do better, because we are competing for the same talent with other cities and the private sector. But we are very conservative, keeping the overall cost under four percent.”
Campbell didn’t sound convinced. “You get money in; you spend money,” he said. “We can’t spend more than we get in. We got to look at the total picture. We have got some hard decisions coming up, very hard decisions.”
The second business-planning workshop will take place July 15. At the meeting, the City Commission will decide the tentative millage rate for next year, as well as the fire and solid-waste fees. There will be two public meetings for the residents to voice their opinion on the budget on Sept. 11 and 24.
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