Governor's oversight board gives speedy OK to latest Miami budget
that Miami's financial crisis has eased and new controls are in place,
members of the Governor's Financial Oversight Board Tuesday started
planning their exit with a speedy approval of the city's proposed
$510 million budget for 2001.
the four fiscal years since 1997, oversight board members and city
officials spent months negotiating tax rates, fees and reserve amounts.
Tuesday oversight members approved the proposed budget for 2001 at
first presentation, commending what could become the lowest property
tax rate for Miami in at least 50 years.
chair Mar°a Camila Leiva commended the mayor and commissioners for
setting aside political interests to reach an agreement, recalling
last year's mayoral veto of the budget.
really showing some leadership and some teamwork," Ms. Leiva
plans call for city millage rates to dip slightly in 2001 to 10.275
points, down from the 10.78 points originally scheduled. One millage
point equals $1 for every $1,000 of property valuation.
$61 residential fire fee paying for fire services would remain unchanged
property tax cut offsets a significantly higher solid waste fee projected
to rise from $234 last year to $325 in 2001. The average resident
with a home valued at $100,000, officials say, would see a $72 overall
increase in fees and taxes.
taxes were cut to help offset higher fire fees on commercial properties.
The fire fee would more than double next year from $58 to $124 for
properties under 2,000 square feet.
said higher fees reflect the cost of delivering services such as garbage
collection, fire and rescue.
services have to be paid for," Ms. Leiva said.
think they've done a phenomenal job," said Sheldon Schneider,
an oversight board member. "My concern is that we not get too
overjoyed over this. We must remain vigilant."
said that city expenditures are growing faster than revenues and that
by 2004 the city will need to add revenues to avoid another financial
1996 financial emergency led then-governor Lawton Chiles to create
the oversight board to enforce fiscal restraints and help the city
reduce mounting debts.
Leiva said the board's mission will end after the 2001 audit is complete.
The board is to meet next in November to discuss the city's five-year
city projects a surplus of at least $6 million in 2001, adding to
an $8 million surplus expected from the current fiscal year, said
Bertha Henry, outgoing assistant city manager.
Nachlinger, new assistant city manager for finance and administration
replacing Ms. Henry, who left the city for a job in Broward County,
said he last worked for the Miami in 1996 when the city ended the
year with a $21.8 million deficit.
contrast, Mr. Nachlinger said, the 1999 budget included $43 million
differences," he said, "are night and day."
Nachlinger said that by 1996 the city had for several years spent
more annually than it took in. Over four years, he said, the city's
long-term debts were reduced from $589.9 million in 1996 to $482.9
million last fall.
trend has been broken," he said. "The system is now fixed."