City Taxes hold; schools increase

Juan Carlos Bermudez

On January 22, 2010, the City of Doral Council approved the fiscal year 2010- 2011 budget and millage rate.

Although the City saw a decline of 10.7% in property values, as promised when we incorporated, the millage rate remained the same as before incorporation – 2.447. Essentially, this means that those whose property valuations go down will see a decrease in their city taxes while those having the “Save Our Homes” ceiling will have their valuation increase capped at three percent, as set by the Property Appraiser at the existing Millage rate.

Unfortunately, Miami Dade County and the Miami Dade County School Board decided to use the “Rollback Rate” which means that taxes will increase for both the County and School Board portions.

For many homeowners (including me), this increase is substantial. Doral taxes make up only an average of 11.84% of a property’s tax bill. The bulk of the taxes go to the School Board operating (38.04%) budget and for countywide Operating and Debt Services expense (almost 30%).

These increases come at a very difficult time for many of us throughout Miami Dade County. I have expressed my displeasure to our county’s elected officials since any increase will severely impact so many of our residents..

To have supported raises for certain employees at a time when so many people have lost their jobs while local businesses suffer is not only bad politics but bad government.. Miami Dade County, like a business or a family in South Florida, needs to learn to live within its means. Since 1991 there have been eight new cities created. Most of those cities have continued to provide services at the same or a lower tax rate before incorporation while bringing government closer to the people with improved services.

During difficult economic times, county government must learn to function like the residents and citizens it serves.

The “Rollback Rate” this year will bring a substantial tax increase (over 60%) of those with homestead exemptions in our community. That is unfair to the residents throughout the county.

As your mayor, I am very proud that we have kept our promise not to increase taxes while providing better services. I only hope our county leaders show greater foresight next year.

ELECTIONS & HISPANIC HERITAGE CELEBRATION

During October, there will not only be high interest in national and state elections but we will also have city elections. Please remember to exercise your vote.

Meanwhile, I hope all the candidates will continue to follow a path the City has set over the last seven years. I will be exercising my vote for those who continue to support open and transparent government focused on our City rather than outside or personal political interests.

We also celebrate Hispanic heritage during October with a number of wonderful events marking the occasion, including fashion shows, cultural events and even a dominoes tournament. Just go to the City website, www.cityofdoral.com to see the list of events.

Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez can be reached at mayor@cityofdoral.com or at 305-593-6725.


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