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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 3 years ago

Longboat keeps tax rate flat

Longboat Key town commissioners have decided to keep the millage rate level as they prepare for the upcoming fiscal year.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

Longboat Key plans to spend $16,551,068 in the coming fiscal year on town business, which will require dipping into its savings account for $42,832 to make ends meet.

The budget process, which began last month with the submission of a preliminary budget and continued this week when commissioners set a maximum property tax rate of 2.1144 mills, will conclude in September with final adoption.

The 2018-19 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

With anticipated revenue of $16,508,236, the town will balance its books with a small withdrawal from its reserve fund. When property values rose 3.99%, more than the 3% expected, the town was able to reduce the amount of reserve fund money needed to balance its budget.

In comparison, the town plans to spend $16,416,107 by the end of this fiscal year with a matching amount of  revenue. 

That required $333,921  from the reserve fund.

With the tax rate set at 2.1144 mills, a Longboat resident who owns a home with a taxable value of $500,000 would pay a municipal property tax of $1,057.20. 

 With values rising, a flat tax rate will lead to a higher tax bill. 

However, because of decreases in the facilities and beach special district taxes, property owners will see a decrease in their total tax rate. 

Town Manager Tom Harmer has suggested the town allocate $1.35 million to the town’s fund balance to account for economic uncertainty, an amount that would add 30 operating days to the town’s rainy day fund.

If approved, the town’s fund balance would have enough to pay for the town’s operating expenses for 153 days; the target is 90.

Among the big ticket items in the budget for this fiscal year are:

  • The most expensive of all capital projects is the one to put all overhead wires underground: a voter approved expenditure that will cost the town $45,891,672. This project has been funded by special assessment, which residents had an option to pay in full or add to their tax bill. It’s not reflected in the operating budget.
  • $40,000 to begin work designing possible replacements for Bayfront Park’s recreation center, something residents spoke about during a wish-list session with the Town Commission.
  • The town has also approved $170,000 for emergency sand replacement at Greer Island — the northernmost part of the island that had been eroded in May.
  • A $400,000 grant from Sarasota County will help with the demolition of the old Amore Restaurant and prepare of the site for the Arts, Cultural and Education Center as part of a partnership with the Ringling College of Art and Design.



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I’m a Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 333.

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