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Commissioners narrowly approved a millage increase and a budget for next year at a public hearing Thursday — one that saw no input from the public on the city's fiscal blueprint for 2014.
Sarasota Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 4 years ago

City approves millage rate increase, budget

by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The City Commission approved the city's proposed millage rate and budget without public comment Thursday night at the first of two public hearings before the two are officially adopted.

By a 3-2 vote, the commission approved a millage rate of 3.1728 mills, an 8.5% increase from last year's rate of 2.9249. The millage rate increase was adopted to help cover a budget deficit of more than $3 million, and represents a $49.58 tax increase on a property with $200,000 in taxable value.

Changes in the budget since a July workshop, which included the allocation of an additional $211,000 for homelessness services, necessitated the use of an additional $86,000 in revenue stabilization funds to balance the budget.

Earlier, the city had committed just over $1 million in revenue stabilization funds to help cover the budget deficit. About $1.9 million was allocated from the revenue stabilization fund towards the FY2013 budget, but city finance director John Lege said none of those funds would be used.

Vice Mayor Willie Shaw proposed using $1 million in revenue stabilization funds to go toward sidewalk and landscape management in an attempt to return to 2007 service levels. No commissioners supported that allocation of money. Lege said about $1.6 million would be left in the city's revenue stabilization fund after this year.

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and Mayor Shannon Snyder, both of whom voted against the preliminary millage rate in July, voted against the budget and the millage rate Thursday.

The next and final public hearing before the formal adaptation of the millage rate and budget will take place Sept. 24.

Contact David Conway at [email protected].

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