River Cities

Miami Springs, VG, Medley set tax ceilings for coming budget year

Municipalities in Miami-Dade County are required to set the ceiling for their ad valorem tax rate for the coming budget year, which begins Oct. 1. It is the yearly tax on the assessed value of real estate and the ceilings set by municipalities can be lowered but not increased during the budget process. 

The Miami Springs council met in a Special Meeting at 5:01 p.m. last Thursday to make their decision. The current ad valorem tax rate is 7.6710 or $7.67 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value of real estate. The median assessed value of the 3,790 homes in Miami Springs is $168,457, according to the property appraiser’s 2013 tax roll report. The average homestead- exempt Miami Springs property owner pays $910.93 in taxes to the city.

The meeting was expected to take only a few minutes and it did, but not before the original motion to set the ceiling was amended. The original motion was made to set the ceiling at 7.995 mills and there was a second to that motion.

Before Mayor Zavier Garcia could call for a vote, Councilman Billy Bain blurted, “I don’t know if I want to go that high,” and Councilman Michael Windrem followed with, “I definitely don’t want to go that high!”

The motion was quickly amended to establish the ceiling at the current rate of 7.6710 for fiscal 2014-15 and the vote was unanimous. Assistant City Manager confirmed that the “rollback rate” (the rate that would produce tax revenues to balance the current budget) had been increased after July 1, to 7.2331 mills. 

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Budget workshops are scheduled for Miami Springs at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 and 6 p.m. Monday, August 18. Public Hearings on the proposed budget will take place at the regular council meetings in September at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8 and Monday, Sept. 22. 

The Virginia Gardens and Medley councils also recently met and set their tentative tax rate. Virginia Gardens, at their meeting on July 24, set their tax ceiling below the current rate at 5.1500 (current rate 5.4233), while Medley, due to necessary road improvements, increased their tentative rate to 6.38 (current rate 5.38) at their meeting on July 23.

The median assessed value for the 567 homes in Virginia Gardens is $125,133, according to the county property appraiser and the typical homeowner who takes the standard $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $386.93 in taxes to the village.

Virginia Gardens added $57 million to its tax base when Boeing Training & Flight Service purchased an additional $57 million in flight simulators. It was the largest percentage gain of any of the 34 Miami-Dade County municipalities and explains how their tax rate is guaranteed to be lower in the next fiscal year.

All three cities must approve final, balanced budgets by Sept. 30.

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