By Mayor Josh Levy
Summertime is an important time of the year. Kids are on break before matriculating to the new school year. High school grads are getting ready for college, technical school, or joining the workforce. Families are hosting reunions and taking trips. Businesses are using the time to reinvest in themselves before the high season returns.
Just like a business or household, much of what city government can aspire to deliver to its residents depends on the income or “revenue” that we have to work with. The source of most of the revenue that makes up the city’s “general fund” is property tax revenue, which is calculated by multiplying the taxable value of all of Hollywood’s residential, commercial and industrial properties by the city’s millage rate.
The good news for us in Hollywood is that due to the strong economy and the continuing personal, public and private investment that we are all making in our city, our total taxable value has grown from $13.2 billion at the start of 2016 to $17.4 billion at the start of 2019. A 32% rise in property value in such a short number of years is exceptional, and we see the upward trajectory continuing in the years ahead as we continue to usher our city through a needed period of reinvestment.
The point of it all is to ensure that city government has the revenue necessary to continue to fund and improve city operations, including police, fire-rescue, public works, code enforcement, parks and more – with the city’s millage/tax rate staying the same. About a third of your total property taxes go to fund city operations, with the other thirds going to fund the county school system and county government, respectively.
City staff, led by the City Manager, are beginning to organize the general obligation bond investments that voters approved in March to improve city parks, sports fields, golf courses, arts education facilities, a new police headquarters, fire/rescue equipment, neighborhood traffic calming measures, corridor landscaping, seawalls to protect against sea-level rise, sound walls and more.
Another effort is the Inter-local Agreement with Broward County. Programs to help qualifying residents with repairing older homes, first-time home-buyer assistance, resident work-skills programs, neighborhood infrastructure improvements for sidewalk repair and more are included. Please visit our city’s website, go to the “Community Development” page and click “Neighborhood Pride Programs (ILA)” on the top left. If you qualify for one of the grants, we and the county have set aside significant dollars to invest in you and your home.
Additional things to look forward to are “free little libraries” at city parks, a guide to the beautiful coral reefs just offshore at Hollywood Beach, events at the Young Circle ArtsPark, and completion of the FDOT road projects on A1A and Hollywood Blvd. Last but not least, please make sure to be prepared for hurricane season.
I hope everyone’s family is doing well, and that you have a great rest of the summer.