State Of Hallandale Beach - Part II: Taxes, Parking, & Sanitation Services Are All Being Discussed

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

May 19, 2022

This Article is Part II of my State Of The City. It is written in speech form. It was delivered In-Person and hosted by the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce at the Flamingo Room located at Gulfstream Park.

I would like to ask a question. How many of you in this room have a CAP on the price you charge for goods and services?

Cities have a CAP of 10% on Property Taxes. That is what cities can charge for the ability to deliver services required by Charter. I suggest that this is an unrealistic CAP. This Tax Structure makes our State extremely popular. This too is a whole other issue creating a housing crisis; but our system makes operating a City quite difficult.

In our City the CAP is even worse at 8% because we have two Special Taxing Districts. General Revenues come from Property Taxes. You may think Property Values have gone up. That may be true, but to save our Homes Taxable Values only go up by 3%.

Property Tax is not the sole source of Revenue for cities. We also depend on Franchise Fees, Sales Taxes and Gas Taxes which were all reduced due to shut downs. We often forget this fact. Many Local Governments still have not recovered from the 2008 Housing Crisis when Governments dipped into Reserves. Currently, our Tax Rate is 7%.

As part of our Budget Discussions, we are actually debating increasing the Tax Rate to 8% over three years. This would equate to a .65 Mill a year and generate $3 Million Dollars annually. Taxes are never a great thing but they pay the bills.

In the recently released 2022 Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Economic Source Book it showed that we are extremely competitive when it comes to what is called the Overall Tax Rate with other Municipalities. The Overall Tax Rate includes a snapshot of what it costs to live in a city. The Rates in the thirty-one municipalities range from 17% up to 24%. Our Rate is around 20%.

Dr. Jeremy Earle and our Staff have worked tirelessly on a Multi-Faceted Plan to move us forward with a 5 Year Budget Stabilization Plan. Last year one of these measures was implemented. Our “On Street Parking Program” has been implemented in our City right away. It is ironic that this idea was floated in 2008 and it was not passed. The Program took in consideration the impacts to our Residents with a Monthly Rate and a separate Visitor’s Rate.

After a few months grace period, Residents are now adapting and understanding the benefits of the Program. By using the Program Revenues to manage spots, more spots were freed of stored vehicles and spots overused by Vacation Rentals.

The added bonus was that our City Asset is now being used to generate Revenue. These Revenues were used last year to buy Police Vehicles that had been put off for years. We hope to expand Overnight Parking options at our Beach Lot and will be able to use Revenue where needed.

We as a Commission are currently working on this Year’s Budget with a focus on making sure we are looking at better ways to leverage our resources to generate Sustainable Revenue and stop one-time quick fixes to our Budget. These are important and necessary measures and they are not without drawbacks.

Moving forward, we are debating keeping our Sanitation Division in-house or privatizing it. I have spoken about the issue in the past and I am not a fan. Frankly, this is one business that makes money that can offset our needs. I believe that cities should be able to provide the service at the same level or better for the same Fee, if not less. I put this in the category of One-Time Revenue. Just like when we sold our City Storage Lot.

While we would receive a large amount of money upfront when we get out of the Business $4.5 Million sounds great, right? The fact is these funds are currently our Assets. This figure is simply for closing the account.

We would also receive a Franchise Fee annually. But we will lose control and still be responsible when something goes wrong. Most importantly, there will be automatic increases in fees charged to our Residents and Businesses. Hollywood's Rates just increased over 40% per month.

Currently we have approved going out and getting more data. Our Consultant actually agreed we could be doing a better management job with routes; trips and our Fees are exceptionally low. At our last Budget Meeting, I stressed that this is one of the few services that we truly have control over. The Mayors that I have spoken with are sorry they got out of the business.

Next week, this will be continued with Part III.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by Phone or Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com.