Saturday, June 2, 2012

Time for Palmetto Bay Property Tax Reduction? Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia issues June 1, 2012 Estimates of Taxable Value

The gainers:

  1.25   Coral Gables
  1.15   South Miami
  2.52   Pinecrest
  2.18   Palmetto Bay
  0.01   Cutler Bay

  1.48   Countywide (will affect your countywide portion of your tax bill)
  2.24   School Board

Those who saw reduction:

 (0.78)  Unincorporated Miami-Dade (UMSA)
 (3.71)  Homestead 

Reasons for increase in value:
The recent property assessments are a result of a stabilizing real estate market and, according to the County Property appraiser; “Coastal municipalities with a concentration of high-end properties experienced the most growth in property values, while others had only negligible changes. Other areas continued to experience declines, but at a significantly lower rate than in the previous four years, indicating that those areas too ‘may have turned the corner and property values are stabilizing…”’  

So it looks like the usual rule of real estate applies as to the credit for the areas that saw an increase – “location, location, location.”  Palmetto Bay does enjoy its unique access to the water in city and county parks as well as the location within the Palmetto High School feeder pattern.  The assigned schools significantly add to the value of area homes. 

Time to reduce the millage rate?
It may be time for the Palmetto Bay Council to reduce the property tax rate to all its property tax payers.  It is not symbolic.  We heard for years that the $5 to $20 rebate means nothing to a typical homeowner.  That is one argument, but it is far from the entirety of the arguments to be considered. Even after years of dropping values, which brought some equity between those recent purchasers and long standing homeowners who were shielded by Save Our Homes, businesses are still suffering and the local business stand much more to gain that $5 to $20 in rebates. 

Besides, businesses don’t look as to the amount reduced as the determining factor as to whether they can afford to relocate to or stay in a certain municipality.  The first indicator is what is the property tax millage rate and whether it goes up, down or stays the same. 

This is not an issue of “drinking the kool aid.” It is all about making a rational determination of when you have enough money and not incentivizing waste to spend what you have to prevent reducing revenues.  Palmetto Bay operated the first eight years under the theory of “government lite” and currently has benefit of an outstanding manager, finance director and the team of department directors who do so well on a relatively light budget. 

The policy for the current council should not be to stray and go for big city, big costs model. 

Capital improvement program is complete/too much money can be tempting to misspend:
This current village council has to be mindful that they need to properly budget annual operating recurring revenue to properly maintain what was/is built out of savings or grants. 

The capital program has been completed.  The current Mayor’s recent ill-advised Thalatta expansion plan is off the table and the Parking Garage appears to have met the same fate, so it appears time to adjust down the annual tax bill.  The reserves and contingency funds are far above that is required or even recommended.  There have been no significant efforts to upgrade services in the last two years by the current council.  The availability of this money appeared to be too much a temptation for project mischief.  Let’s remove the incentive to spend due to huge pools of money being available to the present and future councils. 

Thank you again to Council Members  Howard Tendrich and Patrick Fiore who have been very judicious, very conservative, in their spending of our tax dollars. 

There are areas of the budget that could use enhancements:
This is not to say that there are not areas where services need to be improved.  There are.  Palmetto Bay could use additional officers for the policing unit and funding for more anti-burglary and youth programs.  Parks could use additional funding to maintain what we have, rather than simply replacing every few years.  Parks could also use additional funding for increasing park hours for Thalatta, so we, the little people who don’t rent, can have more opportunity to enjoy what puts “the bay back in Palmetto Bay.”  The first eight years of Palmetto Bay saw a tremendous improvement in facilities.  It is time for real effort being made on the next step, keep up those improvements as well as taking a real next step in better programing to maximize the use of those improved facilities. And of course, one of my personal favorites: how about funding for a few more family movie nights!

There are many items of suggested funding.  Priorities are ever-changing:
The above is merely a partial list, not an exhaustive list.  What are your ideas for improvements? More funding to keep the drainage construction program flowing?  Do we need more or less code enforcement? Reduce building permit fees?  How about construction of bike paths or bike lanes (or golf cart) for village controlled roadways or additional bike safety programs and bike safety/awareness street signage?

Initial estimate released June 1:
The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser issued the June 1, 2012 Estimates of Taxable Value to Miami-Dade County's Taxing Authorities.  This allows the County, School Board, and local governments such as Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, and Homestead to proceed with the preparation of their 2012-2013 budgets.

Final Property Roll to be released July 1.
July 1st the Property Appraiser’s Office will publish the 2012 Preliminary Assessment Roll, which provides the taxing authorities with their official numbers to set their millage (tax) rates.

Per the official release: The countywide estimate of taxable value for 2012 is $189,731,000,000 which is 1.48 percent more than the 2011 figure of $186,962,023,337. A breakdown of the data by municipality Description: PDF shows that some areas have experienced increases in property values, others have remained statistically flat, and a few have seen values decline, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years.

Overall the data points to a real estate market that is stabilizing Mr. Garcia said in a news release.


  1. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    Property taxes could drop like a rock if common sense could even bring about an end to the litigation.

  2. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    More money to open Thalatta park full hours.

  3. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    How about free summer camp for Palmetto Bay residents?

  4. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    When will the fountain be replaced at the dog park?

  5. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    No more legal expenses!

  6. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    We need property tax relief.

  7. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    How about an end to park user fees? Why should I have to pay to use the tennis courts? My tax dollars paid for the courts and Jane Forman is not longer there. It is time to eliminate park fees. It probably costs the village more in salaries for the employees per hour than they collect in fees anyone. The tennis courts can be open for whoever wants to use it, whenever they want to use it, first come, first serve.

    1. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

      I like this comment. Why should we have to pay. Why does the Palmetto Bay government think they have to make a profit on everything. Just like that stupid Thalatta Park wedding plan. What is next, a fee to fly a kite?

  8. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    Why did Palmetto Bay take the pool out of the bayfront park? It should have been a community pool where all our Palmetto Bay youth or seniors could have gathered for different water related activities. There could have been community swimming or water safety lessons there. Waterareobics for the seniors. What a shame. I guess that Shelley Stanczyk thinks only about the money she wanted to make on weddings, and cares little for the kids and seniors of our area.

  9. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    I am hoping that Mayor Stanczyk follows through on the promise of cutting the building permit fees as recommended by the Building and Permitting Committee. Then you will see some real economic development when people can afford to build. Residential and commercial construction throughout Palmetto Bay will take off like never seen before.

  10. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    We need more movie nights.It is almost like this current Mayor and Council hate kids.

  11. AnonymousJune 05, 2012

    The village needs to spend for drainage on 87th avenue between 184 and 168 streets. It always floods in heavy rains.

  12. AnonymousJuly 13, 2013

    Is the Palmetto Bay real estate tax an add-on to the Miami-Dade County real estate tax, or is the Miami-Dade tax reduced because of the additional Palmetto Bay tax? Hopefully, the total real estate tax payable by a Palmetto Bay resident is about the same or less than what would have been payable if Palmetto Bay had never been created.

    1. All areas pay multiple property taxes - Library, fire, Countywide, SFWMD. etc. Even the unincorporated area, known as UMSA. Palmetto Bay taxpayers would still be paying the UMSA tax if not incorporated.

    2. Yes, but are the total property taxes payable by a Palmetto Bay taxpayer less now than if there had been no incorporation? The two stated goals of incorporation were reduced taxes and increased services. Whether services have increased is an arguable point, but I will assume they have increased for purposes of this question only, leaving the only issue being whether taxes have been in fact reduced.

  13. Yes, but are the total property taxes payable by a Palmetto Bay taxpayer less now than if there had been no incorporation? The two stated goals of incorporation were reduced taxes and increased services. Whether services have increased is an arguable point, but I will assume they have increased for purposes of this question only, leaving the only issue being whether taxes have been in fact reduced.