While other communities speak of increasing taxes and drastically cutting services, property owners in Coral Gables will see a lower tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.
The city commission has preliminarily approved the millage rate proposed by city manager Pat Salerno. The budget, which would take effect starting Oct. 1, calls for a property tax millage rate reduction from the current rate of 5.669 to a new rate of 5.629. The rate represents $5.629 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
This would be the first time in more than 20 years that the city has reduced the millage rate for three consecutive years. As a result, the owner of a single family home with homestead exemption that has an average taxable value of $588,023 saves approximately $260 annually. The owner of a homesteaded condo with an average taxable value of $280,498 saves approximately $125 annually.
“Although it is a challenge to reduce the millage rate and still have the necessary funds to maintain and enhance the services residents enjoy, I believe the proposed budget accomplishes the needs of our residents while keeping us on the path to eco- nomic sustainability,” said Mayor Jim Cason.
The proposed budget includes seven additional police officers for the field, the largest number of sworn officers in the city’s history, from 183 to 190. This brings the number of total personnel in the Police Department from 256 to 263.
For the past few years, there has been a conscious effort to right-size the entire city organization without compromising any of the services residents enjoy. Consequently, this strategic increase in positions still results in a smaller total workforce than the city had two decades ago.
Proposed funding for the Capital Improvement Program is approximately $9.8 million. The program includes funding for the purchase of additional green space, restoration of the Merrick House, repairs and improvements to other city facilities, re-sodding the Youth Center field, and two streetscape projects, among other improvements.
There will be two public hearings in September before the final budget is adopted.