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Advertising Error Forces Miami-Dade To Re-Approve Budget, Tax Rate

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A state agency is forcing the Miami-Dade County government to redo its property-tax budget for 2015.

CBS4's news partner the Miami Herald reported a mess up on a single number in newspaper advertisement from mid-September – which detailed the proposed taxes – resulted in the Florida Department of Revenue asking the county to hold a new budget vote.

Though the advertisement had a wrong number, commissioners were given the correct numbers during their vote, the county said. Notices mailed out to taxpayers about their 2015 bill also contained the correct numbers, so they won't be sent out again.

The Florida Department of Revenue, which polices local government tax notices, noticed the discrepancy in the advertisement for the total amount of property-tax revenue the county expected to collect in 2015. They felt the one number was enough to mislead the public and have given Miami-Dade County 15 days to rectify the problem. Otherwise, Florida could withhold tax revenues from Miami-Dade.

In addition to holding a new budget hearing and final vote, Miami-Dade will have to reissue its "Notice of Proposed Tax Increase" advertisement in the Miami Herald, which published the original notice on page 6B on Sunday, Sept. 14. The ad wasn't just run-of-the-mill publicity for the county: Under state law, all local governments are required to formally notice budget hearings in a local newspaper, and to lay out taxes for the next year.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said while there was malicious intent for the error, it is unacceptable. He also said he suspended three high-ranking budget employees without pay.

Budget Director Jennifer Moon, who was a part of the suspended trio, will have to pay approximately $12,000 from her own pocket for the new advertisement.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)



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