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Commissioner Sue Gunzburger

Broward County Commission, District 6

August 2013 - soon school will be back in session, but I want to assure you all summer the County Commission and staff have been sharpening their pencils as we continue to craft a new County budget for Fiscal Year 2014 which begins October 1st.   At this writing, we are hopeful the modest increase in the total value of the property tax roll will help us get to our target amount of a little more than $760 million for the FY 2014 General Fund budget.

Getting to the $760M target amount is important because we know we will be increasing the County millage slightly by .17 mills, or less than 20 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, to begin the transition to the County fully funding the new Consolidated Countywide E-911 Communications and Dispatch System. The lion share of the money needed to operate and maintain these vital public safety services comes from property tax.

At this writing our constitutional officer partners for budgetary purposes; the Sheriff, Property Appraiser, and Supervisor of Elections, and the Inspector General’s Office, are collectively some $35M over their combined target amounts.  So that is why pencils will have been hitting the paper during the so-called summer recess.  I am hopeful we will all be on target by the time you receive your Truth-In-Millage (TRIM) property tax notice later this month.

However, even with the modest increase in general fund revenues for FY 2014, we cannot afford to go on a spending spree.   Instead, we must continue to be vigilant and live within our means. As you know from your own household, that is a challenge.  The County’s fixed costs such as utilities, health insurance premiums, hazard and casualty coverages; added to employee benefit costs and unfunded mandates from the state/federal governments; continue to escalate at, or in excess of, the increase in additional revenue.

Accordingly, aside from transitioning to fully funding the Consolidated Countywide E-911 System I previously mentioned, there is no significant spending for new programs or projects in the County’s proposed FY 2014 Budget. However, I am also happy to report there are no service cuts in terms of our libraries, parks, mass transit, and human services/health & safety net programming and there are a few sorely need enhancements in transportation, the environment, and animal care.

I hope and trust this summer is going well for you and yours.  As always, if you have a question or concern you would like to share with me, please contact my office at 954-357-7006 or e-mail me at sgunzburger@broward.org.   Until next month, I am off now to further sharpen my County pencil.