First tax cut ever on tap for downtown Miami
By Jacquelyn Weiner
For the first time ever, the quasi-independent Miami Downtown Development Authority is lowering its tax rate.
Since 1965, it has collected a half mil — the most it can levy and its sole fund source — on downtown Miami and Brickell properties.
For fiscal 2012, the authority is capping its rate at .478 mils. Miami commissioners last week OK'd that cap, which can be cut but not raised. If the authority goes with that rate, an owner of a $2 million property would pay about $44 less next year.
"In the climate that we're in in this country, people are belt tightening," said Executive Director Alyce Robertson, "and they felt that we at the DDA should be doing the same."
The authority's board initially OK'd a half mil based on June estimates that showed a 3.6% dip in taxable values before new construction. Yet when final numbers were released July 1, the dip was only 2.61%.
Overall, the authority's taxable value rose 12.13% over 2010, including $1.5 billion in new construction — the county's biggest percentage jump other than Sweetwater, which annexed Dolphin Mall last December.
Because values of existing properties fell less than expected, the authority board decided to trim the millage, Ms. Robertson said. It met July 22 to take a second vote, lowering the cap to .478. Miami commissioners then OK'd it.
At .478 mils, the authority would collect $5.3 million, Ms. Robertson said, $250,000 less than projected at a half mil.
To fill the gap, Ms. Robertson said she plans to propose cutting the $250,000 from a $500,000 contingency fund set aside to make up for any changes in property values in the preliminary fiscal 2012 budget, avoiding any impact on services.
Commissioners and the authority's board approve the final budget.
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