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Miami-Dade County Board approves its first property tax cut in 10 years

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted to enact Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s proposal to lower the property tax by 1%, the first cut in over 10 years.

The board voted on Tuesday to cut the countywide, unincorporated municipal service area, library and fire levies, bringing the combined millage rates to their lowest levels since 1982-1983.

“We owe it to all our residents struggling with the rising costs of living to provide immediate relief,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

“Miami-Dade is facing a true affordability crisis,” Levine Cava said in a statement after the vote. “That’s why my proposed budget reduces the millage rate for the first time in a decade — a nearly $25 million cut — while at the same time investing in the future by funding targeted relief and solutions to the housing crisis.”

Last Friday, the mayor unveiled her proposed $9.3 billion fiscal 2022-2023 budget.

Despite the tax cut, the mayor’s administration says the budget will safeguard fiscal stability and maintain critical services.

“Our budget is balanced, fiscally responsible, compassionate, reflecting our community’s values and priorities,” Levine Cava said in a Tweet.

More than $500 million will go toward the retention and expansion of affordable housing, a historic number for the county, the mayor’s office said.

Key housing investments include expanding programs such as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Building Blocks Workforce Incentive Program, which incentivizes owners to convert existing housing into affordable or work units.   

“This budget proposal offers immediate relief and takes on the most urgent crisis facing our residents — housing — while also safeguarding our county’s budget for the future, so we can continue to deliver critical public safety and other services like police and fire rescue that our vibrant, growing community relies on,” the mayor said.

The budget totals $9.302 billion, broken down into an operating budget of $5.818 billion and a capital plan of $3.484 billion.

Revenues for the operating budget come from proprietary taxes (44%), property taxes (37%), federal aid and state grants (6%), sales taxes (5%), miscellaneous sources (5%), miscellaneous state revenues (5%), and gas taxes (5%).

Since 2011, the county has sold about $20 billion of bonds, with the most issuance occurring in 2020 when it offered almost $3 billion of debt.

In 2020, Miami-Dade County Seaport Department won The Bond Buyer’s 20th annual Deal of the Year award for PortMiami’s $1.24 billion seaport revenue refunding bonds.

PortMiami is the largest cruise port in the world and a large container cargo port. Wells Fargo Securities underwrote the bonds, just over $800 million of which were insured by Assured Guaranty. HilltopSecurities was municipal advisor on the deal. Hogan Lovells US LLP was bond counsel.

In March, the county released an update on its sea level rise strategy and the progress it has made. The county has been investing in adaptation to reduce flood risks and the report summarized its implementation of the “Sea Level Rise Strategy.”

One of the successes the county pointed to included prioritizing septic to sewer projects that will protect Biscayne Bay and the public health of county residents.

Separately, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will be hosting a meeting of the Biscayne Bay Commission on Wednesday, July 27.

At the meeting the commission will hear presentations on the draft of Miami-Dade’s Reasonable Assurance Plan, water quality trends in the RAP’s proposed focus area, and funding and projects to improve the water quality in Biscayne Bay.

The commission is composed of state and local stakeholders tasked with strengthening ongoing efforts to protect the bay.

In Miami Beach, the city on Thursday launched the Fight the Flood Private Property Adaptation Program.

The city will give up to $20,000 in matching funds to property owners who want to conduct flood risk assessments and undertake flood mitigation projects.

The program is open to owners of single- and multi-family residential residences and commercial property owners. These properties may also qualify to apply for FEMA home elevation funding. 

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