Coral Springs Residents Could See a 35% Tax Increase

By: Howard Melamed

Remember the article we posted a few weeks ago that said if you own a home or commercial property in Coral Springs, expect your tax to increase 26 percent?  Well, we were way off the mark.  According to new data, expect a 35 percent increase in city property taxes. That is, unless of course you can convince the city commissioners to vote no at a special budget meeting on September 19.

The city commissioners want you to believe that the increase is needed for positive requirements of the city. Check out the proposed budget here and see for yourself  2018 Proposed Annual Budget. They want to tell you how our taxes are lower than other cities and we should be thankful that they are not asking us to pay more. “See how bad other cities have it and be thankful that we don’t tax you more.” Doesn’t that sound like government thinking we work for them and not the other way around?

What they are really doing is leaving out the real reason why they need us to fork over more money:

1. The City Hall is costing a lot more than they told us.  As a matter of fact it is more than 33 percent over budget – costing us a scandalous $38 million. Consider that Commissioner Vignola and the bunch  were on record three years ago saying it won’t cost more than  $28 million 

2. They have decided to increase their operating budget by $18.5 million – or 10.6 percent compared to 2017 along with adding more than 28 more staff members. (see Page 16 of the budget).

Focus on the above two points. If they decided to save some money, just a little, no tax increase would be needed.

The city wants you to believe they need the extra money for enhancing staffing levels in public safety, improving median maintenance and the condition of streets and street lighting, replacing walking/biking paths, addressing aging infrastructure, refreshing our parks and maintenance plans and increasing events for all segments of our community.  They want to also continue the city’s commitment to attracting and retaining a well-qualified, highly regarded workforce. This is straight out of their 2018 budget documents. See for yourself in the link above.

To think that we could have simply bought the multi-story ‘Darth Vader’ building just south of the library for $11 million which was double the size of the new city hall, had all the parking needed and would have saved us more than $29 million must make a lot of citizens in this city sick.” – Howard Melamed.

What they don’t make obvious is that this budget also increases rates on single family owners for 3.5 percent for water and garbage and 16 percent for single-family fire assessment with no increase to apartment buildings.  It is apartments that have forced this city in increase its staffing in greater proportion than single family housing. The city needs to get the equivalent taxes of a $255,000 home  from each apartment to break even, which they don’t get now.

They also don’t want you to focus on the increase to service the new City Hall debt approaching $40 million as the real reason why they need more money.

Add to that, the cost of running the “Taj Mahal” City Hall: moving expenses of $200,000 that they did not expect (not sure why they did not know this) and running a $40 million building makes us wonder what were they thinking when they all voted to build the city hall in 2014.

Our property tax bill is divided into three portions: city, county and public schools. Most of the tax increase in your tax bill is from the City of Coral Springs.  Broward County had small amounts of increase inline with cost of living percentages.  Last year the city had a surplus. Where did all the money go? Towards their incredible thirst for spending taxpayer’s money.

Our city commissioners approved the construction of this Taj Mahal, a building that is two stories too high and has an $8 million parking garage that no one will use.  It does not matter to them that they are over budget since this is not their money. Never has been. In fact, there is no reason for them to save money on anything.

How did this happen?

Simply put, you elected commissioners Daley, Vignola and Cimaglia, who all ran on making sure the city hall was to be built.  Mayor Campbell, and Joy Carter ran on the other platform – that the city hall was too expensive at $28 million.

Now that it is approaching $40 million, no one is screaming for an investigation.  

When did they know they would be 30 percent over budget? Did they approve the project knowing this without telling the citizens? How could they simply spend our money with out a vote?  

All of these points are never going to be answered as long as everyone lets them get away with this. That is because you keep voting them in. Maybe they are friends of yours. If so, ask them to pay your increase in taxes.  They have their hands in our pockets and yet, you keep voting them in.  It’s not their fault.

See for yourself on page 34 of the budget which shows the Municipal Bonds + Capital note repayment. There are three lines that total $47 million dollars. A 2014 Municipal Complex Loan Ph. 1 $10 million, 2015 Municipal Complex Bond Ph. 2 $27.3 million and a Capital Revenue Note at $12 million over 10 years.  This is money borrowed that totals $1.7 million in expenses every year. Worse, the 2014 Municipal Complex note is interest only and is due six years from now which means in 2023 we will need to fork up $10 million. That is why they are predicting further deficits.  

This City Hall has cost us dearly and we are paying the price of the poor decisions and mistakes by city commissioners over the past several years.  To think that we could have simply bought the multi-story ‘Darth Vader’ building just south of the library for $11 million which was double the size of the new city hall, had all the parking needed and would have saved us more than $29 million must make a lot of citizens in this city sick.

So now, cash-strapped Coral Springs needs more money, and you and I are the suckers that they are going after to pay for their bad spending habits.

If you think this is the end of it,  think again. Page 81 of the proposed budget  shows that even increasing taxes at 4 percent per year, we still are $7 million in the hole in 2021.  What if they are wrong on this too?  That means you can expect increases to our taxes greater than 4 percent every year unless they stop the money burn rate they are on now.  However, there is absolutely no incentive for anyone of the city commissioners or city staff to reduce taxes to us.

No doubt when they sell the old city hall and land estimated to be worth more than $5 million, they will simply put it into the general fund or worse, will increase the reserves again.  Page 8 Additional Points – Dedicating resources to fund additional reserves – means stashing away more while increasing our taxes and not spending the money.  If you and I buy a new home and sell the old one, don’t you take the money and put it down to lower the mortgage of the new home? Don’t expect it in this city.  There is no incentive for anyone to do differently.

With a city that cannot control their spending, increases like these will hurt our city that has to compete with other cities for business to come here. Increases in business taxes, service charges and higher property taxes will have to come about to pay for this city’s spending habits.

What can you do about it? 

Attend the Public Budget Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 5:15 p.m. in the city commission chambers – that’s the old city hall building that is $40 million less money than the new one they built across the street.

Unless of course your really really really believe that having increased taxes and a spend spend spend commission makes ‘Coral Springs Great Again’.

 

About Howard Melamed

avatar Howard Melamed is a long-time resident of Coral Springs. He is a civil engineer and CEO of CellAntenna Corporation which has been located in Coral Springs since 1992. He serves on the City of Coral Springs Economic Development Advisory Committee and is the editor of Coralsprings.com.

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  • Yongo

    I have been telling anyone who would listen that Dan daily is a bad guy and because of his political agenda will not stop until he hurts every resident of coral springs . They don’t call him two face around city hall for nothing . During his time as commissioner he has accomplished nothing but get his name in the paper to promote his political future at the residents expense.
    Larry vignola just doesn’t know any better an empty trash can making a lot of noise. Check out what he has accomplished. The mayor who seemed to have a grasp on matters seems to be hiding under a rock letting two face lead the gang. The other two commissioner just on a leash being led around jus saying yes. Well you got it flinging to meetings may help but that’s risky. A total recall will not hurt the city residents at all no one can do worse get the petition out and it will be singed. As I said before boycott their businesses call them where they are employed and at home if you can.call city hall is a waist of time.remember freeze the spending no new hires ECT.
    They have no shame they aren’t embarrassed they will not go away with dignity because they don’t have any.what about the guy who quit leaving the city in great shape as he stated in last words to the residents.call picket city hall and their businesses get the recall petition going before it’s to late step up and drop the robbery where is our money and why isn’t there the beginning of a criminal investigation concerning the new city hall which will be 40 million dollars before completion when we were told by these same politicos that it would cost 28 million that is a large miss and should be looked into by the state attorney. Maybe they are not thieves and just very dumb. There is a possibility that the maintenance of this building could easily be a million a year or more. Take your city back and stop this spending madness.for those that think I am bashing the politicians or just moaning you will pay and pay and pay.

  • yongo

    Along with mismanagement comes a theory out of city hall that another reason for this giant tax hike is the remarks from two commissioners that they want to clean up the city. What they really meant was raise the taxes high enough that people in certain neighborhoods will be forced to move thus allowing a change in the diversity of the city. They know that with everything increasing in price that that certain people will not be able to afford to stay in coral springs. That is what is really meant when they say they want to improve the city and clean it up. Don’t forget rents will also increase so not only will the tax increase affect home owners but will also effect renters. Elitist don’t care who they hurt or displace. Coral springs never had these problems until the current administration and previous city manager took control. Sad commentary if this is true.

  • yongo

    Who cares if your auto insurance ,medical insurance ,home insurance is increasing if you can’t afford to live in coral springs that’s your problem Seniors on social security, Walmart, target , Publix , mc Donald, car wash ,landscapers, and other lower paying jobs get out . if you are a struggling young family there is no room for you either. City workers don’t worry you will see another increase at a rate double the inflation rate to get you through the tax hike. Oh and all you teachers making 38000.00 to 42000.00 dollars get a third job or get out. The politicians will always survive they seem to be like vampires they live off of other peoples blood.

  • Lesley123

    This is outrageous! No, no and no. People need to lose their jobs over this.

    • yongo

      40% over budget and no one gets fired or goes to jail. A so called error in costs of this magnitude usually is caused by complete stupidity or out right corruption. The residents of coral springs are owed answers. An outside independent auditor should come in and provide these answers, or maybe some one from the state attorneys office should take a look. While they are at it they should also look into the leasing arrangement between the city and the downtown developer, this arrangement cost the taxpayers large sums of money and I do not believe that bids were put out. Since then the developer quit the city manager quit and everyone else collects six figure salaries. The commissioners remain yet they are responsible for all the extravagant spending that has gone on over the past years , they vote in a follow the leader fashion all for one and one for all. Unchecked uncontrolled spending of the hard working tax payers money. Again I say reorganize the city managers office look into what the two deputy managers actually do for their high salaries. The mayor should take control of all of this and ask no tell Dan Daly and Larry Vignola to resign . Worst of all we have no idea what has been going on at city hall and where our money has gone. Freeze the spending, no salary increases and no new hires for a year. Get out of the school business . Maybe after this matter is looked into and we get people who are honest and knowledgeable to run our city we can get back to better times. Time to investigate. Call and go to the meetings show your concern and discuss with this commission. No tax increase no borrowing until this is settled. The city will get along on the added revenue it will receive from the new construction and increased value of the homes.

  • yongo

    Your right there was a time when coral springs seemed a better place to live than the surrounding cities of coconut creek or tamarac it was never on a par with parkland or Boca however since the current gang was elected in coral springs things have changed and coral springs has fallen below most of the surrounding cities . Coral springs is on its way back city officials want to hire an event coordinated to solve its tax problems and its failing infrastructure. Again you are correct keep this gang out of coconut creek and don’t forget when Dan Daley tries to run for a county post or state position vote him down stop him from doing further damage to our communities.

  • IraRat

    The author of this article should’ve won his seat as City Commissioner, but instead, you guys voted in a flunky for Daley and Vignolia.

    I supported Melamed big time, but for some nutty reason, Cimaglia had enough personal friends in this city to give him a narrow victory. It’s when I stopped caring about politics in this city–it’s a losing battle.

    This city needs an ombudsman, because there’s no one to make city officials look over their shoulder. The county and state provide no oversight, and these guys get away with murder. And you always have to follow the money, every dollar:

    Where there’s big money involved, someone is doing something corrupt. Every single time.

    I wanted Melamed to make an INDEPENDENT ombudsman a key issue in his campaign, but my plea fell on deaf ears.

    This city is a disgrace and laughing stock now, and no one…NO one…thinks we’re moving in the right direction.

    • Yongo

      Amen

  • Howard Melamed

    Talking Points for City Commission Meeting on Tuesday:

    To help with the discussion on Tuesday @ 5:15 I decided to provide Talking Points to both the city commissioners and to the citizens. I have already thought of what each would be saying anyways. Let’s see how many of these points actually come out.

    City Commissioners Talking Points :
    1. Howard is a disgruntled losing candidate. His article is a bunch of lies. All lies. That is not our budget he has a link to. He has manipulated the internet to phish the article from another city. ( pause for laughter). Don’t pay any attention. We are not really raising your taxes. It is all an illusion.
    2. Be happy that we did not hike you more. We could have ..you know. We are KINGS. But we like to think of ourselves as one of you guys. So Shut up and take the medicine. You have no choice anyways.
    3. It’s not our fault. It is the city manager that wants the extra money. Not us.
    4. I wasn’t even there for the vote on the city hall. I was in the bathroom ( Commish Vignola made sure to walk out of the meeting during the vote.)
    5. The city hall isn’t costing $40,000,000 as Howard says. He doesn’t know how to count. It is an $8,000,000 garage and a $30,000,000 building and we paid the Architect $2 million. He should learn how to add.

    Citizens Talking Points for Tuesday’s meeting:
    1. Have any of you actually read the budget you are voting for?
    2. If you knew our revenues were coming down, then why did you agree to build a $40M building ?
    3. If the reason you need to raise taxes is that revenues are coming down…then why are you hiring more people?
    4. How about some BELT TIGHTENING ? Is there any place in this budget that we can save some money so we don’t have to increase taxpayers by more than the cost of living index?
    5. How much increase in our taxes are you projecting will happen each year for the next 5 years and are you willing to resign if you are wrong?

  • Monika Kaiser

    I was very upset when I first heard about the outrageously expensive plans to built a new city hall, too big and too expensive for Coral Springs. I am also one of the few people voting in city elections and I voted against those who tried to sell us this expensive city hall. It is shameful how few people vote in our city’s election. Aside from an increase in the original proposal hardly anyone addressed the cost of the yearly maintenance of this monstrosity which could go into the millions. And what bothers me most is that not more citizens of Coral Springs are upset about this.

    • guest

      Monika, Unfortunately, the residents of Coral Springs are just too busy working — husbands and wives with kids must work just to pay the current taxes. Some people are working 2 jobs. The City is taking advantage of this fact and they hope that the turnout tomorrow night will be small. Holding this meeting at 5:15pm is an indication of this as well. They know that most people are working, commuting home from work, or feeding their families and can’t come. Shame on them!!! Let’s prove them wrong and show up in great numbers. They have simply gone too far this time …

  • yongo

    Parkland is the place to go to. If you can’t afford parkland go to coconut creek or tamarac. Those you don’t have to stay close Boca and Weston is a much better destination. When residents flee this once good place to live work and raise a family the current pocket ghettos in the city will grow and you know the rest (Dan Daley’s dream ).Larry Vignola who doesn’t know any better will continue to think he is doing a good (little in the brain department and no shame). The others are just robots and go where they are pointed to. Sad but true if you don’t believe this just look at where we are. As a great tenor said time to say goodbye.

    • Tamarac has a higher millage rate than any of these places.

      • Yongo

        Just wait.

  • yongo

    My agenda is to protect the residents of coral springs.my agenda is to stop the excessive spending of the current administration My agenda is to get the over paid staff who recommended this excessive spending fired. my agenda is to bring honesty and integrity to the commission. I don’t know what you have in your mind when you suggest that I have an agenda. It is very obvious that the entire commission is at fault however the personalities involved show which commissioners were leading the charge. Just read the statements of certain commissioners who said how badly they wanted these buildings at any cost and that the residents wanted them. Added to my agenda is a budget returned to the staff and replaced with a budget that requires no tax hike or a reduction in taxes and no future borrowing. My agenda is to get the city out of the school business. If this agenda is contrary to yours that is what makes America great.

    • Barb

      I agree with that part of your agenda, just have a problem with you going after individuals when there are 5 commissioners. I can’t agree with your comments about how they are trying to get rid of a certain population, I don’t think it’s fair and it is what is wrong with the country right now, everything gets blown way out of bounds.

  • yongo

    I now understand you position an article sent to me shows your support for the 8.1 million and climbing plus undisclosed amount for maintenance parking garage. The article on was dated April 2015.

  • guest

    This city is way out of control. If this tax increase passes, the Mayor and the Commissioners better be looking for other work because they will be voted out of their current positions. I don’t normally get involved in such issues but I will definitely be at this meeting. Two questions though: (1) Where is the OLD city hall located? and (2) Who can we (and I mean any and all of us) notify at the local news stations so we can assure their presence at this budget meeting? I think the City/Budget Manager changed the location of the meeting so there would be less residents there. Also, I believe they feel that we are just too busy now after the hurricane to give this meeting any thought. Let’s all prove them wrong and show up in great numbers. So glad we have this (and other) sites now so we don’t feel outnumbered by the City!

  • miffed at springs

    Things I don’t understand about the budget –
    HEADCOUNT INCREASES:
    1. What cost savings have been received to date from purchasing division? they are claiming that this position will pay for its self. ($98k per budget)
    2. Why do we need a Horticultural services specialist, it sounds like they will be participating in a RFP and then managing a “Master plan”, is that really a FTE, or more of a FTE type role?
    3. an ERP implementation is a 1 time event, yet they are upgrading an accounting position from FT to PT. the implementation of an ERP should reduce headcount not increase it.
    4. PAssport service rep headcount increase – Are fees covering this? if not, shouldn’t the city increase the fees to cover this headcount cost? per the budget part time positions are converting to full time, does that mean the elimination of part time employees?
    Building permit fee study – $15k – Seriously, we need a consultant to tell us what our fees should be. Cant they just pull the fees from 3 or 4 neighboring cities and look at what they are charging and do some type of average? maybe that new accountant could put that together in 1-2 days and save $15k from the budget.
    Mini Asphalt paver $47k…
    Um… why are we buying this machine instead of renting it as needed?
    Charging stations – $15k – Unless these are being paid for by a 3rd party or the city is charging for their use… this seems like nothing more than a money suck on the cities end… why not have a 3rd party set them up with a fee schedule… if you can afford an electric car, you can afford to charge it.
    Recruitment bonuses – $10.5k – Heck no.
    IT- Staffing agency charges – $97k – Really… that is nuts…
    and I don’t know what the raises are, but I assume they are between 3-5% which is much higher than most people I know are getting.

    • Barb

      12 million for charter school?

      • yongo

        This tax payer money is going to a private corporation making millions of dollars profit and to a principle making millions in salary. Questionable at least. Coral springs must get out of the school business and leave it to the county. We are sinking fast and must begin to plug the holes that a our politicians created. Just part of my agenda.

  • Roberto Baptista

    We need to tell the public administrators that to do more with more is easy. What we need in office are people that can do more with less. The need for more taxes only shows that we are in need of a new team committed to the very best interested of the community – higher taxes is NOT one of them.

  • Roberto Baptista

    Higher taxes may also create a side effect on the property value, bringing prices down.
    It may create a placebo effect in year one, but as prices of realstate goes down it is gone.

    The solution for bad public management is easy. Let’s say NO! And when the turn is over lets make a change for the better it it keep going against the will of the community.

  • dontvoteforbums

    Howard, I’ve watched Coral Springs politics for decades, conversed with many of the City employees and I agree with your assessments and much of what a person name yongo has posted. The problems leading to the current tax increase are directly related to the actions of Tom Powers when he fist became a Commissioner. Last night, I posted details in several separate post. I told it just as I personally observed it first hand…and..then…CORAL SPRINGS TALK DELETED ALL OF MY POST. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM, including the one that links Tom Powers to Micheal Hughes, Tom Powers Sunshine Law arrest and explained why, because of Tom Powers, we may be forced to pay Hughes over a quarter of a million dollars in back pay, further increasing our taxes. So, there appears to be heavy censorship of opinions that are critical of Tom Powers and the events that followed his City Hall Massacre that occurred when he forced out Mike Levinson, the City Manager and several others. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THESE POST ARE HEAVILY CENSORED and residents will never truly understand, confront or control the current situation if they aren’t aware of the past. Coral Springs Talk may be supporting Tom Powers, a person that in my opinion is personally responsible for many of the Cities current problems.

  • dontvoteforbums

    Why are you deleting my post?

  • dontvoteforbums

    Howard, I’ve watched Coral Springs politics for decades, conversed with many of the City employees and I agree with your assessments and much of those that a person name yongo has posted. The problems leading to the current tax increase are directly related to the actions of Tom Powers when he fist became a Commissioner. I posted details in several separate post I told it just as I personally observed it first hand…and..then…Coral Springs Talk deleted ALL of my post including the one that links Tom Powers to Micheal Hughes, Tom Powers Sunshine Law arrest and explained why, because of Tom Powers, we may be forced to pay Hughes over a quarter of a million dollars in back pay, further increasing our taxes. So, there appears to be heavy censorship of opinions that are critical of Tom Powers and the events that followed his City Hall Massacre that occurred after he forced out Mike Levinson City Manager and several others. Please be aware that these post are heavily censured and residents will never truly understand or confront the current situation if they aren’t aware of the past. Coral Springs Talk may be supporting Tom Powers, a person that in my opinion is personally responsible for many of the Cities current problems.

  • yongo

    Don’t be fooled FEMA will reimburse the city end of story.

  • yongo

    Are there any figures available disclosing what multi family properties, commercial properties and businesses will pay under the new giant tax hike. Maybe staff doesn’t know or doesn’t want to know.. I think all tax payers should have this information before the next budget meeting. Just maybe there will be no tax increase for these entities. Remember down with Daley get him out restore dignity to our city.

  • yongo

    FEMA will reimburse the city end of story don’t be fooled or lied to.

  • yongo

    Should the city postpone installing 400 thousand dollars of fake grass just as they postponed resurfacing neighborhood streets , streets that haven’t be resurfaced in over 30 years. How about the medians when asked for information on what medians how many and their location that information is unavailable how can you put a price on something that has unavailable information? I guess they plan to dig up the entire city. Another clue on how a 28 million dollar city hall is approaching 40million and with maintenance and other building costs will total 50 million in just 10 years and starts the million in upkeep and replacement costs as the building ages.