The City held a Special City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, July 24, in which the Commission adopted the Fiscal Year 2013 Business Plan. The 2013 Business Plan outlines numerous initiatives to help meet the community's needs despite a slower than forecast economic recovery.
At its May 10, June 5, July 10, and July 24 public Workshops, the City Commission discussed the proper balance between keeping the property tax millage rate as low as possible with the need to attract businesses and home buyers by investing in the community’s appearance, safety, and infrastructure. Therefore, to provide the time necessary to hear from citizens regarding this balance, the Commission decided to set the proposed property tax millage at a rate higher than the current rate of $4.3939. The Commission ultimately decided to propose a millage rate of $4.5697, which is 4% above the current millage rate. The impact to the average single-family homeowner would be $42.62 a year in additional property taxes to the City if the 4% increase were adopted.
This proposed millage rate is not final. The Commission will discuss the proposed millage rate at the first public budget hearing on September 12. The budget hearing will be broadcast on CityTV. The Commission is using the time to gather information regarding the potential use of any additional tax dollars. Staff has suggested using additional tax revenues on a number of projects including restoring reserves, hiring three additional police officers, beginning the design work for a new Safety Town, and renovating Sartory Hall.
The Commission also lowered the voter-approved debt service millage rate from $0.2915 to $0.2906. The annual solid waste special assessment will drop this year from $233.64 to $227.16. The fire assessment fee will go up from $128.77 to $138.10 for single-family homeowners.
Key Initiatives for the Coming Year
While the Business Plan includes economic data as well as the City’s budget process and methodology, most essentially it includes staff’s proposals for initiatives geared toward addressing our residents’ needs and enhancing our community’s look, feel and overall appeal. These initiatives will serve as the guiding force behind the City’s Fiscal Year 2013 activities.
Highlights of the 34 new initiatives, as well as 32 ongoing initiatives, contained within the Business Plan include:
- Continuing to invest in our vital information technology infrastructure.
- Encouraging business development and redevelopment by redesigning the Economic Development Foundation web site, create an economic development strategic plan, and establish an economic incentive account. We will also continue to work closely with the EDF, Community Redevelopment Agency, Chamber of Commerce, and the Retail Coalition to diversify the tax base and absorb vacant commercial space.
- Continuing to support educational excellence by fostering our alliance with Broward College and ensuring the Coral Springs Charter School remains highly rated.
- Addressing the aesthetic appeal of our neighborhoods under the “Community Pride” umbrella. This initiative will enhance the appearance of our medians, rights-of-way and public buildings and will also invest heavily in our parks. We will hire a full-time park maintenance crew to perform repairs and maintenance quickly.
- Improvements intended to revitalize Mullins Park will take shape. Projects include improving the appearance, safety, and ease of movement in Mullins Park as well as replacing the tackle football, flag football, and soccer buildings.
- Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the code enforcement process by automating a number of outdated and manual systems. We intend to add two positions to our Code Enforcement staff to support our neighborhoods.
- Capitalizing on proceeds from a low-interest Economic Recovery Zone Redevelopment Bond, infrastructure improvements slated as part of the downtown development plan—including burying power lines, installing turn lanes, erecting mast arms, and installing sidewalks—will get underway. Once these infrastructure improvements are completed, downtown Coral Springs will become more economically viable for investors as the economy begins to improve.
- Maintaining a safe community will remain a top priority. Not only will the high-visibility “Make a Call, Make a Difference” campaign continue, but we have created a special Burglary Enforcement and Reduction Unit (BEAR) to proactively tackle residential and vehicle burglaries. The City will also add three firefighters to its ranks.
- Finally, we will celebrate the City’s 50th anniversary.
Additional City initiatives for the next fiscal year will focus on continued improvement of City workforce productivity and continued investment in technology and capital improvements. For more information on these and other initiatives in the City’s proposed 2013 Business Plan, visit www.coralsprings.org.