Fort Lauderdale tax rate holds steady, but you may pay more
FORT LAUDERDALE — No one’s saying it’s cheap to live in Fort Lauderdale.
But if you own a home here, you’ll be paying one of the lowest tax rates in Broward County.
For the 16th year in a row, Fort Lauderdale’s base tax rate is holding steady at $412 per $100,000 in assessed property value — the only city in Broward that has maintained the same tax rate since 2008.
Commissioners gave final approval Monday night to the city’s $985 million budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Homeowners will see their fire fee increase by $10 to $321, boosting city coffers by $50 million.
Fort Lauderdale’s total tax rate will increase to $440 per $100,000 in assessed property value to help pay off two 30-year bonds for parks and a new police headquarters approved by voters in March 2019.
Most property owners, even those with homestead exemptions, will end up paying slightly more than the year before due to rising property values.
Fort Lauderdale saw an increase of 12.94% in property values between 2021 and 2022. During the same period, Broward County’s property tax base grew 10.66%. The estimated assessed value of taxable property in Fort Lauderdale reached $48.8 billion as of June, according to the Broward County Property Appraiser.
Fort Lauderdale expects to collect $193 million in property taxes next year — enough to cover nearly 44 percent of the city’s $440 million operating budget. The fire fee will bring in another $50 million. Various other taxes will boost the city’s general fund by $76 million.
Next year, it will cost an estimated $150 million to run the Fort Lauderdale Police Department; another $110 million a year to run Fort Lauderdale’s Fire-Rescue Department; and $56.6 million to run the Parks and Recreation Department.
A year ago, city officials agreed to boost staffing in the fire department by 16 to help serve a rapidly growing city. In mid-2023, they plan to hire another 16 firefighters to help staff a new rescue station near downtown.
The police department is also getting a boost in manpower. The department plans to hire 22 more people next fiscal year, including 17 sworn police officers.
Fort Lauderdale will also hire four more code enforcement officers to work evenings, in a nod to all those noise complaints that come in after 5 p.m.
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Days before the final budget hearing, Fort Lauderdale made headlines for spending $500,000 on a summer concert at Mills Pond Park.
Mayor Dean Trantalis and most of the commission say they had no idea that kind of money was being spent.
Truth be told, they weren’t the ones who approved it. It was former City Manager Chris Lagerbloom who signed off on the expense days before he left for a new job.
In recent days, newly appointed City Manager Greg Chavarria slashed the budget for next year’s Summer Jamz concert to $100,000. This year’s Aug. 19 event cost five times that, drawing somewhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people, according to unofficial estimates.
Longtime resident Kevin Bell was furious after reading all about in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“I’m pretty outraged about this waste of taxpayers’ money,” he said. “You’d like to think they’re doing the right thing for the general public. Now I’m worried there might be some other things we did not find out about.”
Susannah Bryan can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Susannah_Bryan