By Agrippina Fadel
The Tamarac city commission approved a new millage rate and budget for 2022 at the final budget meeting on September 28.
After a short discussion, the commission voted unanimously on both items.
The adopted millage rate of 7.2000 mills exceeds the rolled-back rate of 6.8419 mills by 0.3581 mills —or 5.23%.
Christine Cajuste, financial services director, explained that the millage rate provides funding for general operations of the city, allowing them to maintain current levels of service, with some non-core services eliminated. The rate will also provide funding for four new full-time positions that she said the city desperately needs.
The tentative operating millage was first presented to the city commission on September 13 and, after lengthy deliberations, amended from 7.2899 mills to 7.2000.
Jeff Streder, city budget manager, noted that the increase in total taxable assessed value in Tamarac from 2021 to 2022 is 7.29%. Still, the adjustment of the millage rate brings a percentage change in budgeted revenue between two years to 5.97%.
The tentative budget has been amended to match the new millage rate, said Streder. The total budget is now $220,979,425, with the general fund taking the hit to make up for $405,585 lost in property tax revenue, reduced to $71,388,801.
Streder explained where the cuts are coming from: two philanthropic grants were proposed to be eliminated in 2022: Broward Aging and Disability grant ($62,808) and Family Central ($10,000). Another $75,000 is cut from the future wages of the city manager’s office, with potential salary savings due to changes to the position.
Another $159.835 will be cut from the cost of future events, he said. The cuts do not apply to anything specific but rather the total expenses planned for them. This way, the city has the freedom to decide what to cancel or keep, especially with pandemic concerns still affecting public gatherings.
Independence Day, Turkey Trot, and One Tamarac are safe from cuts, he said.
The last change to the budget is a $94,400 decrease to general fund contingency.
Mayor Michelle Gomez expressed concern about cutting the funds for the Broward Aging and Disability grant. “I think if we are cutting resources to them, we are cutting resources for residents that are in need of help,” she added.
Commissioner Debra Placko agreed, adding that the Area Agency on Aging is always in desperate need of funds. “There are many Tamarac residents who are served by the organization, especially during the pandemic. I really like to see if we can find another way to cut the budget rather than taking their funds away. These grants are going directly to our residents,” she said.
Cajuste said the city can provide the Broward Aging and Disability grant funds and instead reduce the budget contingency by the same amount.
Commissioners voted to support the grant and decrease budget contingency by an additional $62,808.
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