Friday, August 26, 2011

The 2% Solution

So you got your TRIM notice. Did you see that for the city to continuing operating exactly as it is today, your millage rate went up a lot? Now there's a lot of math and tricks involved but the bottom line is:

If your Market Value is higher than your Assessed Value, and you live in your house, your city taxes are going up 23.4%. Your total millage goes from 5.27 in 2011 to 6.25 in 2012. Anyone get a raise like that this year?

Now, if you bought in the last 3 or 4 years and your Market and Assessed Value match, you may be paying lower taxes, but for the bulk of us, our city taxes are going up, dramatically.

How did this happen? Well, let's use a simple example,

If you bought a house say in 1993 on North Bay Island and paid $155,000, you're protected by Save Our Homes.

In 2011, the market value is $214,294 but your assessed value is $187,467, you are paying taxes on the second number, the assessed value minus your homestead.

In 2012, the same house has a market value of $199,293. Your assessed value is still going to go up by 3% so you have $193,031 minus your homestead.

In 2011, you paid $726 to the city.

In 2012, for exactly the same services, you are paying $895. That's 23.4% more.

Well, you say, the city is surely trying everything to bring the budget down. Nope.

The working budget has 2% in savings. 2% is all the city could find. Because the budget needs to include another $190,000 to cover the various lawsuits for labor disputes, bonus payments for doing their routine jobs to executive staff, funding for 5 week vacations, and well, you get the picture.

Remember the police promotions with consequent salary raises so the NBV PD could go to 12 hour shifts? Well, the promotions still stand but the 12 hour shifts are gone. No savings there.

On top of all of that, our reserves, that pittance we save to keep the city running is a mystery. Well, not really.

Remember how the city of Miami lost its credit? They mixed the Reserve and the Utility Fund, which is not just a bad practice, it's illegal. People went to jail. It's what we seem to be doing now. How can the finance director not know our reserve? But he couldn't at the last meeting. That's weird.

The whole finance situation is so cynical, so badly executed that you can't trust a single thing you see on this budget. Two of the commissioners, Eddie and Connie Lim Kreps will continue their lie that this is not a tax hike since some (about 22%)properties will see a tax decrease, but for those of us who have lived here, been through the bad times, we pay 23.4% more and don't let them kid you.

The meeting for this week was postponed because we didn't have a hurricane and is tentatively set for August 30 at 7PM.

Go ahead, watch them pee on your leg and then tell you it's raining.

Kevin Vericker
August 26, 2011

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