Members of the Cutler Bay Town Council and town staff are beginning work on the upcoming Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget a little early and have sought public input from residents and business owners.
In years past, the council has conducted one budget workshop prior to the required two September budget hearings as mandated by state law. The purpose is to discuss priorities for the upcoming fiscal year in a public meeting forum. This year town manager Rafael G. Casals increased that to two.
The first took place on July 23, and the second Council Budget Workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 20.
“The additional two budget workshops will provide the town council and staff an opportunity to have open public dialogue regarding critical expenditures for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2014-15 operating budget,” Casals said
Casals said his proposed budget is based on a millage rate of 2.5702, which is the current rate. Although the town council adopted a higher ceiling rate of 2.7202 mills for TRIM advertisement purposes, Casals said he has been diligently working to hold the rate steady in developing the preliminary budget for next year. Mayor Ed MacDougall agrees with the need for the extra meeting.
“There is a great importance for the public to have the opportunity to be a part of our budget process,” MacDougall said. “In keeping with this, the manager has truly engaged the council’s policy of operating in an open government, resident participation philosophy. Our residents are encouraged to attend these workshops and express their opinions.”
According to by the Property Appraiser’s Office, the 2014 property values of the town increased 8.07 percent from the 2013 values. It is the second consecutive year of increased property values in the town. Last year’s growth rate was 3.8 percent, so even by holding the millage rate steady at 2.5702, the gross ad valorem (property tax) revenues for the town will increase approximately $367,000.
For information on the town’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 Budget process, or to view the proposed budget and accompanying reports, visit the town’s website at www.cutlerbay-fl.gov.