Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fort Lauderdale hates affordable housing.

Florida: Remember last month Mayor Jim Naugle and others blasted Fort Lauderdale commissioners for trying to get an affordable housing law where the developers would have to pay to subsidize a certain amount of places thru a trust fund, fees or taxes. Well the Mensa members decided to raise the property taxes on landlords who surprise will past the costs to the renters. Renters are usually the ones who are trying to save to buy a home and hit the most when something this stupid passes.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Renters don't pay property taxes, but some of them may feel the pain of the city's proposed budget increase. Some landlords say they'll raise rents to pass on a 13 percent property tax increase commissioners tentatively agreed to Tuesday night. The increase gets final votes Sept. 6 and 19 at public hearings. The proposed tax rate of $5.23 for every $1,000 of taxable value passed easily, with little discussion. The money would help fund a $503.5 million proposed total budget, one that reflects a much sounder financial house than existed three years ago. Taxes would dip slightly for homesteaded owners, but would rise for others. Mayor Jim Naugle voted against the proposed tax rate, saying it's too high. Commissioner Carlton Moore deliberately missed the vote, walking out of the room and later explaining he opposes it. A little more than half of Fort Lauderdale's property owners use their properties as a primary residence, and thus are protected from dramatic tax increases year to year, under the state Save Our Homes constitutional amendment. The proposed tax increase would affect the other half of the city's property owners, those with commercial buildings, snowbirds who only live here part-time, and landlords with rental apartments or homes. Rental property owners have seen their property tax bills rise year after year in Fort Lauderdale, and some landlords said they're pushing rents as high as they can to recoup the double whammy of taxes and higher insurance bills. "Affordable housing in Broward County? These city people, they don't have a clue, and they don't care, I think," landlord Sidney Pike said. Rental apartments are becoming scarcer, a recent housing study showed, and rents are rising steadily.

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