The city of Oakland Park’s commission voted Wednesday evening to lower its millage rate from 5.8890 to 5.8550, the eighth reduction in nine years.
It also passed a $138 million budget, the city’s largest ever.
Commissioner Matthew Sparks was not present for the meeting; however in earlier readings of the millage rate and budget, they were passed unanimously.
The fire assessment rate will remain at $251 per residential unit. However, the stormwater utility rate was increased from $84 to $114 — the second time in two decades that it has been increased — and the residential solid waste assessment was also increased from $225 to $280.50. The latter was increased based on recommendations from a study conducted earlier this year.
Commissioners noted the concerns of residents that even with a lower millage rate, it might not be enough.
“Part of my reason to support this even though we all will likely pay more is because property values have increased so much that they are becoming flatter,” said Commissioner Mitch Rosenwald. “This may not be my rationale next year.”
Andrew Thompson, Oakland Park’s chief financial officer, said putting the budget together was difficult due to the economic climate. He cited increased maintenance needs, supply chain difficulties, a plateau in revenue, record inflation, increased service costs, and increased interest rates working against the city.
The city is also growing — there are $300 million worth of projects undergoing construction or moving through the permitting process. This includes upgrades throughout the city, including the development of the city’s downtown, the Oakland Park Design Development District, or OP3D. More than half of the Capital Improvements Program spending is funded by grants.
“This is our largest capital improvement ever and I think that speaks to the forward motion of the city and what we are accomplishing. As things grow, budgets are going to grow,” said Commissioner Jane Bolin.