By: Carly Levy
Staff increases, park improvements, more artwork events and a roadway resurfacing program. Those are just a few of the reasons the City of Coral Springs is proposing a 26 percent tax increase for the next year.
By increasing the proposed millage rate from 4.80 to 6.05, this would provide the city with $11.5 million to fund capital said Catherine Givens, Director of Budget and Strategy. This would also allow city operations to maintain and fund increased services provided to residents and businesses.
If the commission votes to approve the proposed tax increase at their budget hearings, homeowners with a $250k home will see an increase of $282 more next year and homeowners with a $500k home would see an increase of $613. With only 24.6 percent of a residents current tax bill going towards the city, this increase doesn’t take into account if Broward County or Broward County Public Schools taxes increase, which would be reflected on their overall tax bill.
The city has spoken to the commission about the many unfunded mandates and is trying to rebalance and relook their budget.
“We need to look at the current level of service that we offer our residents and businesses,” said Givens. “If we need to keep this level of service, then we’ll have to ask our residents and businesses to help pay a bit more for it.”
According to Givens, when the economy was at its downturn back in 2008, the city felt they needed to look at their capital. When they wanted to make improvements on the city’s streets and parks, staff decided to hold off another year until times got better, but the process has been very slow.
“We tried holding on for as long as we could,” explained Givens. “We really need to play catch up with our capital…we haven’t been staying up to the level that we know that our residents and our businesses would want us to, so this is one of those areas that we just need to pump in some money and some resources to be able to do things that people can see and also for city operations.”
With this proposed millage increase, there will be major improvements in the city’s parks such as artificial turf replacement in Mullins Park, changing out the field lighting to LED, and tot lot maintenance.
Staff is also looking to fund their roadways resurfacing program, additional art walk events, a city day of service and more senior programming. There will also be a staff increase in the police and fire department as well as a new event coordinator to plan more events in the city.
“We have plans for several things and we just don’t have a plan to fund them,” said Givens. “People talk about wanting to have more events in the city so we’re listening to our residents saying ‘yes, we’ll fund more events for you.”
UPDATE since Hurricane Irma:
The first budget hearing will now take place on September 19 at 5:15 p.m. and the second budget hearing will be on September 27 at 6:00 p.m. at city hall. The public is welcome to attend.