The millage rate for the new fiscal year will be a touch lower than the existing rate, but Parkland residents will still end up paying more as property values have risen in the city by 12.8 percent. No other city in the county has had such a large increase.
The city’s gross taxable value increased from $3.4 billion last year to $3.8 billion this year. The increase in total taxable value is primarily due to the construction of new homes in the city, mainly in the wedge.
The value of existing homes increased only 5.5 percent, the fifth-smallest among cities in the county. “With the economy coming back, the value of commercial property has picked up in many cities,” Finance Director Nancy Morando told city officials at a recent City Commission meeting.
“The city does not have a lot of commercial property. That is why we believe our value was lower than the norm.”
The city’s new construction value is up by $246 million. “That is significant,” Morando said. “Our total taxable value increased by $433 million.”
City staff recommended maintaining the existing millage rate of 3.9890 mills, but the City Commission decided to lower it to 3.9870. The fire assessment fee will remain at $210 for a single-family home, $0.4965 per square foot of commercial property, and $0.2646 for every square foot of institutional property. The solid-waste assessment fee will be $354.72 for each home, an increase of $4.92 or 1.4 percent.
The city will add a police officer next year, as part of its plans to create a fifth police zone. Four other new positions will be added, including that of a park ranger and a employees who would offer training on computers, iPads and smart phones to city residents. Employees will get cost-of-living and merit raises, of 2 percent and 0 to 3 percent, respectively.
It was Commissioner Mark Weissman who recommended that the city lower its millage rate, as it has done the last four years. “Our revenue is going to be up. One of our major expenses — our cost for fire rescue — is going to be down. There is no reason not to pass some of the saving along to our residents.”
Mayor Michael Udine was happy to see that the city’s reserve fund is at 25 percent of general fund revenues. “That is almost unheard of in a city; 20 percent is really the number that cities strive for. We didn’t have a reserve the last time a hurricane came through here… Other cities have a lot more financial problems. We have no pension issues to speak of. Our employees are compensated fairly. I think it is a great budget.”
The city will have two public budget hearings, the first at 6 p.m., Sept. 11, and the other at 7 p.m., Sept. 21. The City Commission can lower the millage rate further when it formally adopts the budget but cannot increase it beyond 3.9870 mills.
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