By: Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Parkland will hold their second budget hearing. This time, with a slightly lower millage rate.
With one of the lowest municipal millage rates in the county at 3.978 percent, Parkland raised the rate to 4.8 percent due to increased police and fire staff needs for the upcoming year. However, during their first budget hearing on September 12, the commission voted not to exceed 4.4 percent.
Assistant City Manager Nancy Morando, who led the staff presentation, said on July 11, the commission was asked to determine their maximum proposed millage rate, solid waste assessment and fire assessment. They set the rate at 4.8 percent. On August 1, a public commission workshop was held where they made additional budget adjustments.
Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said the residents’ input wasn’t taken into consideration by city staff through communications. She said that if the rate would have stayed the same, it would have been completely understandable.
“I don’t like like that we haven’t gained resident input early on,” said Hunschofsky, adding, “I don’t believe staff has to convince us, they also have to convince the residents, and that portion has been missing.”
Surveys involving residents, typically sent out during the spring, were not this year due to the school shooting on February 14 which side-tracked the city for several months.
Vice Mayor Stacy Kagan said that nothing was more important than the safety of the residents. She said in regards to the additional police and fire services proposed, she wanted to make sure the city had the best services they could.
“There’s one thing I can’t sway on and that’s public safety,” she said.
Kagan told residents in the commission chambers that by making changes in their daily routine, they could easily afford the added tax increase.
“When I think about $45 a month… once a week, I won’t go to Starbucks. $45 a week? I might not go to Dunkin’ Donuts. I may have one less lunch out. We have to look at this from two different angles. A city is a business, you have to look at things, and look at things very carefully. You have to determine what you absolutely have to have versus what is it you kinda want, and what is it that no matter what, you cannot live without.”
Some of the proposed improvements for 2019:
Eight full-time staff positions
Cost of living increase 2 percent
Merit increase 0-3 percent
Health Insurance Increase 3.7 percent
Proposed Capital Improvement Project funds:
Ranches Drainage Improvement $1.2 million
Library Construction/interior furnishings $990,000
Amphitheater renovation $165,000
Traffic Signal at Nob Hill and Hillsboro $565,000
Building security $500,00
Station 42 Rescue Unit $375,000
Holmberg Road Streetscape $300,000
Pine Trails Park overflow Parking lot hardening $275,000
12 acre Park $250,000
P-REC A/C $250,00
IT Improvements $237,500
Portable license plate readers (2) $100,000
Two Ford Escapes SUV’s $60,000
Webstreaming/ADA Captioning $51,000
Renovation City Hall Activity Room $50,000
Body Worn Camera Room Build-out $43,000
The next meeting is Friday, September 21, at 6:00 p.m. to adopt the annual budget and millage rate.
Update: The City of Parkland has arranged a meeting for residents to have the opportunity to weigh in on Parkland’s millage rate. The meeting is scheduled at Parkland City Hall on Thursday, September 20 from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. The City of Parkland staff will be available to meet with you and answer questions regarding the budget. A formal presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the commission chambers.