|Posted by Anne Siren on September 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM|
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea – Town commissioners unanimously agreed to lower the millage rate to the recommended 3.9312 during a special public hearing Monday. The rate was the same as tentatively approved Sept. 12.
The tax rate is down from the current rate of 3.9999 and is fourth lowest in the county.
Property values in LBTS are $1.761 billion, a 1.7 percent increase from this year’s $1.759 billion, the first increase since 2007-2008.
With the increase in values, the lower tax rate will raise the same amount of revenues as last year, Tony Bryan, finance director, noted.
Connie Hoffmann, town manager, said the town is budgeting conservatively. “We have seen others that didn’t and that are getting into trouble,” she said.
The town property tax accounts for 20 percent of the total tax bill. Other agencies, including Broward County and the Broward County School Board, account for the rest.
“I wish the other 80 percent were as conscientious as we are,” said Commissioner Stuart Dodd.
Commissioners also approved the town manager’s recommended annual budget of $20 million, up from $17.7 million.
The budget includes a 50 percent reduction in the water utility tax, which cuts $145,000.
Vice Mayor Scot Sasser said he would like to go after the rest of that tax in the new year. “I want to keep pressing to keep the tax rate as low as possible,” he said.
The budget includes $5.9 million in capital improvements, including streetscape and drainage improvements and sewer repairs.
About $1.5 million will go to improvements on Bougainvilla, 19th Street in Bel Air and in the Hibiscus Avenue, Allenwood Drive, Tropic Drive area. Work on Bougainvilla started this week.
No debt funding is required. All the improvements are being made with existing funds.
Parking revenues are up $571,000 over what was budgeted for this fiscal year. Those funds will be used for new parking on South Bougainvilla, re-configuring the A1A parking lot and for a public safety lot.
Parking revenues in the new year will be impacted by improvements planned on Commercial Boulevard and reconfiguring the A1A lot. The town has saved $100,000 by contracting out the parking operation, Hoffmann said.
Commissioners earlier unanimously approved a fire assessment fee for single-family residents of $130, the same as the current fee, and the fourth lowest in the county. The fees will raise $1 million for fire protection services.