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Village proposes lower tax rate, plus garbage fees

A lower tax rate and a new garbage fee are part of Bal Harbour’s proposed 2011-12 budget.

Rodolfo Roman

Bal Harbour residents will see a slight tax rate decrease next year, but will be charged a fee for solid waste services for the first time, if the villages proposed budget gets approved by the council this month.

The village also will eliminate four positions, said Chris Wallace, village finance director.

More positions could be eliminated if the village contracts out its solid waste operations to save money. For the first time, Bal Harbour will propose to charge solid waste services through a non-ad valorem assessment.

Fees for a single family-home is $505.60 and for a multi-family unit is $236.57.

Bal Harbour’s budget also includes $10 million on water and sewer improvements, mostly to replace lines that are more than 50 years old. The village plans to borrow funds for the project, said Wallace, noting that the proposed budget also includes debt service payments.

The village also has $5.6 million in unreserved fund balance in the general fund, which represents about six months of operating expenditures.

Village manager Alfred Treppeda said lowering the tax rate was a priority. The village saw a relatively small dip in property values in 2010: a little over 1 percent, according to the county property appraiser’s office.

“As all governments are doing, we are striving to find ways to minimize expenses and maximize revenues,” he said. “Privatization of landscaping maintenance and possibly of solid waste, as well as working to reduce the cost of employee benefits, such as pensions, are all currently being pursued by the Village Council.”

The proposed tax rate is $2.45 per $1,000 of taxable property value compared to the current rate of $2.56.

The projected total spending for this coming budget is $11 million, down from $12.5 million.

Bal Harbour’s new tax rate still needs to go before the council before taking effect Oct. 1, the start of the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Budget hearings take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Sept. 20 at Village Hall, 655 – 96th St.

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