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Bal Harbour Village Council will increase tax rate

Bal Harbour’s tax rate will increase in order to offseta dip in property values.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
The Bal Harbour Village Council unanimously approved an 8.6 percent tax rate increase at its final budget hearing Tuesday.

The new rate, which takes effect Oct. 1, is an increase from $2.308 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $2.526.

The village’s tax rate has to go up to offset an 8.38 percent decline in property values, Village Manager Alfred Treppeda said.

Mayor Jean Rosenfield said Bal Harbour has been tightening its belt. “Our city has been prudent on the way we have managed our funds,” said Rosenfield in a phone interview. “We have been able to save money for future expenditures.”

Even with the increase, the village still has one of the lowest property tax rates in Miami-Dade County. Under the proposed rate, the owner of a typical Bal Harbour home assessed at $652,031 taking the $50,000 homestead exemption would pay about $1,520 in annual municipal taxes. Many homeowners may see a drop in their tax bill because of a dip in property values. The village projects that it will take in $13.3 million in taxes and fees for the 2009-10 fiscal year — up from the current year’s $12.5 million.

Big-ticket items for the new budget include a storm-water drainage project and bus shelter replacement, the latter being paid for with $250,000 in federal funding. Treppeda said vacant positions in public works and the solid waste department will be left unfilled, and a police officer position will be eliminated. The village is setting aside $500,000 for reserves, which will be used as revenue for the 2010-11 budget year. The money will come in handy, since funding from the St. Regis hotel and condo project will end in 2010.

For the past few years, Bal Harbour has counted on a development agreement with the St. Regis in helping shore up the village’s bottom line. According to the 2009-10 budget, Bal Harbour will receive $2.25 million from the project.

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