TIME TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS!It’s that time of year when we prepare our annual budget for all the functions and activities of the City. As it has been with each year, this Fiscal Year 2018 budget reflects our city’s priorities. The annual budget is a lengthy, formal process which includes the following procedures:

• A budget calendar is developed to schedule tasks and deadlines that must be met.
• The city manager, mayor, and commissioners discuss goals and objectives for the coming year.
• Budget expenditures are reviewed.
• The estimation of expenditures is continually revisited for the sake of accuracy.
• Public hearings are held to hear public input on the suggested budget. The proposed budget is reviewed and discussed by the city manager, mayor, and commissioners at a public hearing.
• The budget is then adopted by the commission and becomes a formal document that guides the City functions through the year.

The question might be asked, “Why is my property tax bill changing?” Even though the City’s overall tax levy – the total dollar amount the City collects in property taxes – is increasing slightly, the West Park portion of your property tax bill may go up or down from 2017 to 2018. This is due to many factors including a change in your property’s value and changes in the values of other services and properties. When reviewing your property taxes each year, it’s important to recognize that you pay property taxes to several taxing authorities, though you will only receive one property tax “bill.”

In the 2017 Notice of Proposed Property Taxes the agencies listed under the Taxing Authority column are the agencies that levy taxes on your property. For illustration purposes, the approximate ad valorem rate of a dollar proposed by the City is thirty-two cents, while the other taxing authorities are proposing to charge sixty-eight cents of a dollar, combined. The other taxing authorities are Broward County, the School Board of Broward County, the Children’s Services Council, and South Broward Hospital District. The non ad valorem portion of your notice is generally for service fees such as fire protection and solid waste services.

At the beginning of August, we proposed a millage rate of 9.004 as the initial rate because the County requires that all cities submit their initial rate by August 4, 2017, while we continue to negotiate with our service providers and partners such as the Broward Sheriff’s Office for Police and Fire Rescue services and the Town of Pembroke Park as our neighboring partner. As negotiations continue and other sources of revenue are realized, it is our intent to reduce the millage rat.

This year we have a few challenges which might call for a slight increase in our taxes. Let me assure you that the challenges are in necessities and not luxuries. However, there is hope in the future as the progress on the Transit Oriented Corridor (TOC) continues, but for now we must make the tough decisions. In closing, I encourage you to come to the public meetings and get firsthand information.

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