2017 Budget Passes

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

2017 Budget Passes:

includes increased stormwater fees and public safety enhancements

The City Commission this week passed a $317 million budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 that begins October 1.
Of note:
  • A property tax rate of $5.88 per $1,000 of assessed property value. While the City indicates this is the lowest tax rate in its recorded history, owners could see a slight rise in taxes due to increased property values.
  • A 36% increase in stormwater fees to cover payments on bonds issued for the installation of new pumps and the raising of roads to address sea level rise. Monthly payments for residential customers will increase from $16.67 to $22.67.
  • Water rates will remain unchanged, however, bills will be calculated differently: There will be a base charge to ensure full-time residents are not disproportionately bearing the burden of service costs. (In the past, part-time residents have been able to discontinue service while the City continued to experience year-round service costs.) And a flow charge – based on actual usage rather than a minimum usage – to promote conservation and remove any undue burden on low water users.
  • Sewer fees are increasing, mainly due to a pass-through of increases from Miami-Dade County for treatment costs. Typical payment comparisons: for a 5,000 gallon per month customer the total combined water and sewer bill will increase from $63.30 to $74.96; for a 10,000 gallon per month customer, the bill increases from $127.50 to $138.39.
The budget also includes a number of service enhancements several of which are focused on public safety: an additional rescue unit at Fire Station 4 and staffing for the fire boat; three additional police officers for the 41st Street Corridor and boardwalk coverage; two police officers to meet “the growing and changing needs” of North Beach; 12 new police officers and 24/7 coverage for a new dedicated Entertainment District unit covering Ocean Drive, Washington Avenue, Collins Avenue and adjacent areas as required. The unit will also have “dedicated homeless outreach responsibilities.” In addition, there will be six full-time and two part-time Park Rangers added to Lummus Park, seven days a week 8 am to midnight as recommended by the Mayor’s Ocean Drive Task Force.