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Bal Harbour residents might see their tax rate increase slightly

Bal Harbour will hold a public hearing Tuesday to discuss its proposed budget and new tax rate.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
To offset a dip in property values, Bal Harbour is proposing a slight increase to the village tax rate.

Village Manager Alfred Treppeda has proposed a tax rate of $2.861 per $1,000 of taxable value, up from last year’s $2.526.

A hearing on the 2010-11 budget takes place at 5 p.m. Tuesday at village hall, 655 96 St. A second budget hearing will be Sept. 21.

The average of all Miami-Dade County property values declined by 13.4 percent in 2009. Properties in Bal Harbour decreased by 6.1 percent.

Homeowners who have seen the assessed values of their homes drop may see a decrease in their municipal taxes.

But not all of them may — notably longtime homeowners who have benefited from Save Our Homes, which capped assessment increases at 3 percent a year, and could see their taxes rise. Save Our Homes stipulates that increases must continue annually until they are equal to the market value of the home.

Overall taxes also could increase, as taxes for other government entities, such as county and school board, also are included in the tax bill.

The village projects that it will take in $13 million in taxes and fees for the 2010-11 fiscal year — down from the current year’s $13.3 million.

Treppeda is proposing to use $1 million from the $9 million reserve fund to balance the 2010-11 budget.

Big-ticket items for the new budget include a water and sewer infrastructure maintenance and improvement projects, which will cost the village about $7 million.

“The water and sewer infrastructure is very old and, in most areas, is still the original pipes that were installed in the 1940s,” he said. “It is very important to repair and/or replace the system in order to prevent inefficient operation which can drive up the costs of water and sewer services.”

In the Public Works department, three employees will retire, and the positions will not be filled, said Treppeda. The departures leave the department with 15 workers.

Despite the economic setback, Treppeda said the village vows to keep the budget healthy.

“It is understood that we all must do more with less in these tough economic times,” he said.

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