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Hollywood Considers Raising Tax Rates And Fire Fees

HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – It may soon become more expensive to live and work in the City of Hollywood which is trying to figure out a way to close a $25 million shortfall in next year's budget.

At a budget workshop Thursday night, commissioners proposed an 11-percent tax increase and fire protection fee increase.

The city declared a financial emergency earlier this year when it learned how severe the budget gap would be for the upcoming year. Commissioners have already laid off 18 general employees, cut salaries 7.5-percent for employees and 12.5-percent for police and firefighters, and accepted the city manager's resignation.

Instead of more cuts, city officials are looking for ways to replenish depleted reserves which currently stand at about $3.78 million, according to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald. That's well below the recommended national standard of 5-percent, which prohibits the city from borrowing any money for any projects, such as road maintenance.

Last year, property owners paid $671 per $100,000 in property value. With the suggested tax hike, residents would be charged $744. So, the owner of an average single-family home, with an assessed value of $157,747 this year before homestead exemptions, would pay about $800 in taxes.

The proposal also calls for increasing the fire assessment fee a total of $30. The fee, paid by property owners for fire services, would increase from $159 to $189.

Other potential sources of new revenue also outlined for commissioners included more aggressive collections of ambulance fees, increasing dock fees, and exploring billboard revenues along Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike.

(©2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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