Broward County Commissioners gave final approval to the fiscal year 2017 budget, reducing the property tax rate by one-percent from the year before. The reduction in the property tax rate sets the FY17 millage rate at 5.669. Homeowners with a homestead exemption should see no increase in the county portion of their property tax bill. County taxes consist of less than one-quarter of the overall tax bill, which also includes city taxes, school district taxes and special taxing districts. “This one-percent property tax rate reduction is a long time in coming. I appreciate your work on this,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca as the Commission finalized the budget at Tuesday’s meeting. For some homeowners, the market value change in their properties coupled with the reduced millage rate will determine the amount of property taxes they will pay. The FY17 budget totals $4.7 billion, which includes all tax supported and non-tax supported funds. Overall the total budget increases by $505 million primarily due to key projects at Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and Water and Wastewater services. These projects create jobs and economic development opportunities using enterprise funds that do not rely on taxpayer dollars for support. Fiscal Year 2017 Capital Fund investments include $286 million to modernize and improve airport terminals and other infrastructure at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. Port Everglades moves forward with $55-million for projects to improve cargo and cruise passenger operations as Broward County continues its tradition as a world class seaport and airport. Infrastructure improvements in County water and sewer systems move forward with an $82-million dollar boost in FY 2017 funding. The fiscal year ahead welcomes the opening of the new 40-thousand square foot Animal Care and Adoption facility and the new Pompano Beach Library, providing services for residents and visitors in state of the art buildings. Money is also earmarked for Broward County’s new public safety radio system.’
Innovative programs to address homelessness such as rapid rehousing and supportive, permanent housing and homeless assistance centers will benefit from an approved increase of $1.9 million. The FY2017 budget earmarks a total of $13 million for homelessness services. The Broward Sheriff’s Office will receive $460.2 million in FY2017, approximately half of all county property tax dollars received and a $24.2-million increase from the year before. Overall budgets for the Constitutional Offices and County Agencies (excluding the Property Appraiser’s Office) increase by 5.5 percent.