By: Sharon Aron Baron
After adopting their new budget, Mayor Christine Hunschofsky is weighing in after the City of Parkland had their first millage rate increase in eight years.
In August, when residents received their TRIM notices in the mail, many were shocked to see a proposed tax increase of more than 20 percent. Currently at 3.978, a 4.8 millage rate was placed on the 2019 TRIM Notice but was intended to be the maximum – not for approval. A rate of 4.6 was eventually recommended by city manager at the July 11 meeting, and then lowered to 4.4 percent in September.
After the city manager proposed the budget and tax increase, Hunschofsky could not support it making it clear at the budget meetings that she did not approve.
“If we needed additional funds to address the needs of our community, we needed to have a robust community outreach process to get resident feedback before the vote.”
She said that with the shortened budget season, and because staff was so focused on the aftermath of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, they did not have this outreach.
The 2019 $48 million Fiscal Year budget will provide six additional school resource officers to the existing five at Parkland’s Broward County Public Schools. It provides for full staffing of a new rescue unit for Parkland Fire Station 42 funded by the developer of Allegro Senior Living as part of an agreement to build a senior facility. There will be increased staff for better customer service at the Parkland Recreation and Enrichment Center at Pine Trails Park as well as funds to enhance field maintenance for Parkland’s baseball and multi-purpose fields at Pine Trails and Terramar parks.
In addition to the millage rate, the fire assessment fee also increased to $250 and, consistent with the city’s contract with Waste Management, the solid waste assessment fee increased $6.72 over the 2018 rate.
Hunschofsky said in the future, the city will keep residents informed. “Next year, I expect a re-evaluation of this millage rate and that staff will start the process of getting community input early in the year.”