Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava prepared a 2023 budget with a 1% cut in property-tax rates, which was less than the 3% reduction sought by other elected officials as property values boom and inflation puts pressure on tax bills.
“We owe it to residents struggling with the rising costs of living to provide immediate relief,” Levine Cava said in an introductory message for her 2023 budget that’s available on the county’s website. “That’s why our proposed budget is offering relief to homeowners by reducing the millage rate for the first time in a decade.”
Levine Cava’s $10.3 billion spending plan for the budget year that starts Oct. 1 has a countywide property tax rate of $462 per $100,000 of taxable value. That’s compared to the current rate of $467.
But with inflation at record highs, homeowners would still face higher taxes under her proposed lower rates. Florida caps the increases that counties can assign to primary residences at 3% or the inflation rate, whichever is lower at the start of the year. At the start of 2022, inflation was at 7%, so the 3% cap will apply on estimated tax bills sent out this summer. In 2021, the cap was 1.4% due to low inflation.
Under county rules, Levine Cava has until Friday to propose her final budget plan. The full proposed budget is not yet posted on the county’s budget website. A 12-page summary of the spending plan is available elsewhere on the county website. Levine Cava was not immediately available for comment on the document.
Other elected leaders have been calling for a steeper rate cut as Levine Cava prepared the 2023 budget. The latest numbers from the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s Office show the total value of properties countywide increased 12% this year to nearly $380 billion. County budget forecasts only predicted a 3% increase.
Pedro Garcia, the elected property appraiser, urged the county and other taxing authorities in Miami-Dade to reduce tax rates by 3% to compensate for the higher valuations homeowners face on their bills.
“This is a great opportunity to reduce the millage, and help a lot of people,” he said.
Small cuts in tax rates amount to modest changes in property taxes charged. For a house worth $150,000, the county tax bill under the current countywide rate would be $7 more than it would be under the proposed Levine Cava rate.
Add in a 3% increase in the assessed value in 2023, and a $150,000 house would still be paying about $14 more in countywide taxes under the Levine Cava rate.
Commissioners Joe Martinez and Raquel Regalado also are calling for millage cuts. Martinez said he wanted a 3% rate cut. “Right now people are paying a lot for gas. Inflation is killing them,” Martinez said. He called a 1% cut a “feel-good” move. “I don’t think it’s really going to help a lot of people,” he said.
The Levine Cava budget proposal also includes 1% cuts in the rate for other county property taxes that aren’t charged countywide:
▪ Municipal services tax charged on properties outside city limits that rely on county government for trash pickup, police patrols and other local services. The Unincorporated Municipal Services Area tax rate drops from $193 per $100,000 of taxable value to $191 in the Levine Cava proposal.
▪ Fire and rescue tax charged outside city limits and in municipalities without their own fire departments. It drops from $242 per $100,000 to $240.
▪ Library tax charged everywhere in Miami-Dade except in those municipalities with their own library systems. Remains at $28 per $100,000 when rounding, but is also dropping 1% in the Levine Cava proposal.
For properties on which all four county property taxes apply, along with a countywide debt tax tied to the county’s yearly bond obligations, the 2023 tax bill under the Levine Cava proposal for a $150,000 house would result in $1,453 in county property taxes. This year, the total was $1,471. That’s a savings of about $18.
Miami-Dade commissioners set the final property tax rates in September, but must establish a maximum rate before tax estimates, known as TRIM notices, are sent to property owners in August.
Regalado hasn’t called for a specific rate cut yet, and said Wednesday she was glad to see Levine Cava wasn’t resisting a lower tax rate. “It’s a start,” Regalado said.
This story was originally published July 13, 2022 6:47 PM.