DATE: September 13, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
Broward County Commissioners have given tentative approval to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which keeps the tax rate stable. The proposed millage rate, including voted debt service, is 5.553. This is the same as the current Fiscal Year 2012 combined millage rate. The total budget for FY 2013, which includes tax supported as well as non-tax supported funds, is $3.7 billion.
“We were able to keep the tax rate flat by implementing efficiencies that resulted in savings,” said Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry. A flat millage rate results in $3.7 million more in property taxes compared to the current fiscal year budget. Virtually all of this revenue had to be allocated to state mandated Medicaid payments.
The only taxpayers expected to see an increase in the county portion of their tax bill are property owners whose taxable values have increased. An average taxable value of $121,000 would result in an increase of $28 for county services for the year. County taxes consist of less than one-quarter of the overall tax bill, which also includes city taxes, school district taxes and special taxing districts.
“We refused to raise taxes over the years because of the downfall in the economy, people losing their jobs and homes. So we did a lot of belt tightening. All county agencies made budget cuts. We eliminated 1,800 positions in the past five years. Now we are positioned to come out of this economic downturn in a positive way,” said Broward County Mayor John E. Rodstrom, Jr. who praised the County Administrator and staff.
“The prize that we get is reflected in the bond rating of the county, because we have a bond rating that far exceeds that of the federal government,” said Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs.
Commissioners also praised county employees for their willingness to work together as an organization to achieve the number one goal of balanced budgets without tax increases. These efforts included wage freezes and furlough days.
“All too often the public doesn't hear the other side of the story. Our employees have worked with us to reduce the tax burden,” said Commissioner Ilene Lieberman.
“Let me echo that gratitude to the 5,000 employees and the County Administrator for the tremendous work they have done,” said Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness.
“I am very, very proud of our staff’s fiscal expertise and our fiscal responsibility as the Board of County Commissioners,” said Commissioner Lois Wexler.
“I commend the employees because they do the difficult work every day but everybody up here should take some credit for difficult decisions that are not always popular,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
The final public budget hearing will be held on September 27, beginning at 5:01 p.m. at the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 422, in Fort Lauderdale. Public hearings are televised on participating channels and Webcast live on broward.org.