Lauderdale-by-the-Sea tax bills expected to rise

Property tax bills will rise slightly in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, under a proposed budget tentatively accepted by commissioners Tuesday night.

The tax rate, third lowest out of Broward’s 31 cities, will remain at about $3.69 for every $1,000 of taxable property value. (Lauderdale Lakes has the highest tax rate in Broward.)

Maintaining the rate will generate an extra $488,940 in property taxes. Town Manager Bud Bentley proposes using all of the tax increase on capital projects such as the El Mar Drive Greenway, a new path for pedestrians and cyclists, and Palm Club sewer improvements.

The total budget is proposed at $17.6 million, a 23 percent decrease from the current budget.

The number of town employees is proposed to remain at 37.

The fire assessment, which appears on annual property tax bills, is proposed to remain the same, at $129.85, the second lowest in Broward, Bentley said. (Southwest Ranches has the highest at $448.13, and Lighthouse Point the lowest at $90.34.)

Among other items in the budget is $12,340 for city elections in the spring. Also: $25,000 to plant Staghorn coral offshore, $75,000 for a new sidewalk on Hibiscus Avenue, $116,667 as the second of three payments to the county for the beach renourishment project, and funds to pay for employee raises, increased pension and insurance costs, higher costs for policing, emergency medical services and code enforcement.

Bentley also recommends 5 percent raises for elected officials. The mayor currently makes $15,513, and the commissioners $12,410.

With the proposed tax rate, for the owner of a $500,000 house that grew in value this year by the average 6.25 percent, the increase in the city portion of the property tax bill would be about $115, with the bill at $1,959.

For the owner of a $500,000 house that’s a primary residence and protected by state homestead laws, the value would increase only 2.1 percent, and $50,000 in value would be exempt from taxation. The increase would be about $39 and the bill $1,698.

The city portion of the property tax bill, which also includes a tax to repay city debt, is about 20 percent of the total. The county, school board, hospital district and other entities make up the rest.

The public budget hearings are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 13 and Sept. 25.

In other action, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea commissioners Tuesday:

— Postponed to Aug. 15 a vote to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. State law allows cities to ban them, but if they choose to allow them, they must be treated the same as pharmacies.

Brittany Wallman can be reached at or 954-356-4541. Find her on Twitter @BrittanyWallman.

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