|The mayor included this budget review as the second exhibit to his memorandum.|
The BCC voted in June of 2018 to pass a resolution filled with information compiled most recently in 2016, much of it older than that.
I greatly expected this report to finally provide the rigorous statistical methodology appropriate for the question at hand. After all everyone wants to know whether a city can run on the same level of taxes the residents currently pay to the county. Proponents argue our status as a donor community implies we could get improved services for the same level of taxation. Opponents point to the overwhelming majority of municipalities in the county who raised taxes to pay for maintaining their cities.
Given the general lack of accounting anywhere else in the resolution I prayed that here, in the words of unbiased, objective, third party, private professionals--HERE of all places--I could get some data crunching, but no! Not a bit. What an utter disappointment.
A better familiarity with bureaucratic jargon could have set off emergency alarms with the first sentence of this review. A little further they clarify that they will recommend changes.
|Based on this I hope the MAC budget used REALLY good numbers.|
Therefore moving forward keep in mind that they're using data (but I really think they just mean numbers) provided by the county AND review of comparable municipalities. At no point do any numbers get explained other than in calling them reasonable compared to hand picked cities.
The options with populations closer than these are Sunny Isles Beach (20,000, 1.8 sq mi), Pinecrest (18,223, 7.54 sq mi), and Opa-locka (15,219, 4.48 sq mi), but perhaps they based their comparison on multiple data points.
|Oh nevermind, just population size.|
Returning to the budget review, based on this understanding I find it hard to take document seriously. PMG wasn't hired to determine the viability of the proposed budget in reality, just vaguely in comparison to the chosen cities.
With that in mind I don't think it's important to analyze this document in detail, but let me point a few things out.
About half the question of financial viability depends very how much the residents spend now and how much service they get now. The budget review shows no indication they verified the numbers.
Therefore it seems we cannot likewise double check to make sure the various proposals make sense for our community.
RevenuesDo all tax related line items represent current level of taxes? Doesn't the state determine distribution of sales tax revenue? Aren't things like franchise fees negotiated between cities and businesses?
|NEMAC estimates nearly $1M in franchise fees|
|OMB offered half that amount|
You see the same issue in the next item.
Business Tax Use
Summary of Revenue
In summary PMG rubber stamped the NEMAC numbers based on this review. I again wonder what the original NEMAC budget and draft review said.
As with the revenue, NEMAC seems to have based their numbers for expenditures on best guesses. Since municipal government sets salaries and other expenses, the NEMAC had no choice but to estimate, however this review suggests they did not do a comparison here to other municipalities.
About halfway through the review we get to the elephant in the room: a million dollar increase in cost provides the new city "minimal staffing for police patrol."
Again PMG accepts a discrepancy in numbers without offering explanation.
As I mentioned previously this budget does not account for the mitigation fee demanded by the mayor. And given more recent information about a significantly more expensive cost of minimum police services, I just don't see how anyone can so easily agree with the feasibility conclusion of the new municipality.
Based on the fact that incorporation should increase services at lower cost, I find these words by PMG very sobering. And yet I found nothing critical in this review, just a rubber stamp: