It's Budget Time: What's The Process & What To Expect
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
August 24, 2023
This week’s news: It is budget time. Our budget cycle kicks off around February and culminates with two Public Hearings where the Final Budget and any Amendments are adopted. We also adopted the two Safe Neighborhood Districts’ Budgets and the Fire Fee. The good news is the Millage Rate Fire Fee remained the same. This does not mean individuals will not see an increase in their Taxes. The State Requirements show an increase in Market and Fair Market Taxable Values. When Values go up, taxes go up. Homestead Property Percentage Tax Increases are capped at 3 percent and Non-Homestead Properties are Taxed at Value.
This system has been in place for years and is not changing anytime soon. It is called Save Our Homes For A Reason. It protects Homeowners that live here full time from Tax Increases as a result of extreme jumps in Values due to speculation and spikes due to Market Conditions. It is not at all a perfect system and obviously, we are seeing the impact now on the Rental Market. On the other hand, Values are so high it is doing its job to keep residents in their homes.
Over the course of the past five years, we have been implementing a Budget Stabilization Process. If you've followed my articles, I covered this topic extensively in my State Of The City Address and the South Florida Sun Times ran multiple articles covering it. We have made tough decisions and stopped kicking the can down the road.
Recently I had an opportunity to speak with someone in regard to municipal services and the disconnect individuals have about what we actually provide as a City to our residents, the costs and more importantly the value. While the trim notice is not a welcoming piece of mail, since it is a statement of Taxes. I will tell you that we are utilizing every bit of those Tax Dollars to ensure we stabilize, maintain and in some cases increase services.
It needs to be noted that when you get a Tax Bill it includes every Taxing District and Special District for Broward County. Ours is a portion of your Tax Bill. Municipal Taxes and Fees provide the necessary life sustaining and Quality Of Life Services that are Required by Law for us to provide. We watch every dollar and individuals would be surprised to just see what you get for each dollar.
I like to say you get round the clock Security and Fire Protection, round the clock Emergency Healthcare, Safe Drinking Water. The ability to flush your toilets, Trash Removal, Roads, Parks to recreate and other daily items that are often taken for granted. I like to break them down to a dollar.
The Ad Valorem Taxes go to the General Fund: $0.30 of these Funds go to Day-To-Day Operations, Administrative Charges from the various Departments, Non-Departmental Costs and many items that you would expect are needed to run a business. In addition, this portion includes transfers to the CRA, Community Redevelopment Agency.
The next largest use of the Fund includes: Public Safety: $0.45. $0.26 of each dollar goes towards Police Services and $0.20 goes towards Fire and Rescue. While we do have a Fire Fee that is $265, this Fee can only be used for specific items relative to Fire and Apparatuses. The General Fund Supplements the other costs to run Fire and Emergency Medical Services. $0.12 goes to Staffing Costs of the City Manager, Procurement, Budget Monitoring, the City Attorney, City Clerk Information Technology, Human Resources and the City Commission.
The City also provides Building Services which include: Code Permitting and other Business Operations. $0.03 cents of each dollar accounts for those services. $0.05 goes towards our Parks and Recreation and Open Spaces. Human Services accounts for $0.02 of each dollar and Public Works accounts for one cent of every dollar. So, you can see every dollar is accounted for and goes to services people depend on.
The General Fund is only part of the City Budget. Quite often you hear complaints about budgets getting larger. Our budget includes all Capital Works Projects and this year we are embarking on a huge Citywide Rehab and Replacement of our Underground Infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent on Water Systems, Sewer Pipes and Pumping Stations. These projects do not just take brick and mortar but involve Staff from multiple Departments.
Capital Projects also include: Replacement and Maintenance of our Parks System. This year we are Upgrading Equipment that cleans our Beaches. As we stabilized the Budget, we are also introducing some more programs at our Parks. As a note, we are always looking for partnerships at our Park Facilities. If you have a Special Program that you would like to offer please reach out to our Director.
We also continue to Upgrade and maintain our Technology Division to ensure we provide a Safe and Reliable Platform for users to access Services and Information. While in today’s world, everything is moving to Online and to Cloud Based Solutions and these Services cost money.
We currently have a great Budget Portal where residents can go Online and see our Budget in an interactive way. Permitting, Business Licenses and Financial Services have all moved Online. We still have In-Person Services for all our residents and businesses Mondays through Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
This past Wednesday, we held our Final Budget Workshop. All of them are Online and you can also watch all of our Meetings on our website at: www.Cohb.org Visit the site and click on Agendas. If you have not seen our site, I encourage all of our readers to visit it. Sign up for Notifications.
The First Budget Hearing is scheduled on September 13th at 5:05 p.m. and the Final Budget Hearing is scheduled on September 26th at 5:05 p.m. Both meetings are at City Hall located at 400 South Federal Highway. Every resident is encouraged to come out to participate or watch the meeting live.
As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns, and ideas to make our City a better place! I am available at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or: email@example.com. On my Office number at: (954) 457-1318. Or on my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at: Mayor Joy Cooper.