The days of taxable values dropping on Longboat Key are becoming a distant memory. For the second consecutive year, Longboat Key property values are on the rise.
Key-wide, Town Budget Analyst Sandi Henley reported May 30 that the property appraiser offices in Manatee and Sarasota counties are estimating a 5.4% increase in island property values.
Town staff had only expected a 3% increase in property values this year.
In Sarasota County, Property Appraiser Bill Furst estimated a 2014 Longboat Key tax roll of $3,578,477,472, compared with a 2013 taxable value certified tax roll of $3,400,203,897, for a 5.24% increase.
In Manatee County, Property Appraiser Charles Hackney estimated a 2014 town tax roll of $1,374,806,397, compared with a 2013 taxable value certified tax roll of $1,299,500,326, for a 5.8% increase.
The town’s total preliminary taxable value for the coming year is estimated at $4.9 billion. The taxable value last year town-wide was approximately $4.6 billion.
Both counties will reveal official assessed taxable values July 1.
Based on the town’s current millage rate of 2.0760 mills that the Longboat Key Town Commission doesn’t want to raise, the tax roll increase would result in an increase of approximately $467,816 in the 2014-15 fiscal year budget compared to a year ago, according to Henley.
The increase in taxable value revenue, Henley said, means the preliminary budget that was presented to the Longboat Key Town Commission May 30 has reduced an estimated $650,000 deficit in the 2014-15 fiscal year to approximately $307,000.
Town staff will continue to find ways to cut expenses to address the remaining deficit before the next scheduled budget workshop June 16.
Bullock told the commission last week that rising “uncontrollable expenditures,” which include a $412,000 increase to pay for frozen pension plans, are issues that have created a deficit that needs to be addressed.
In total, the town intends to put $1,610,075 aside to pay for pension costs this year alone to begin to pay off the more than $27 million in unfunded pension liabilities.
Other cost increases include an estimated $100,000 increase in town health and property insurance policies and a $307,285 price tag this past year to begin the process of rewriting the town’s codes and Comprehensive Plan.
Commissioners have stated their goal is not to raise the millage rate. Bullock announced in May that all department expenditures will remain flat, the town won’t hire any new employees and there won’t be any wage increases except those offered to Longboat Key Police Department officers as part of a collective bargaining contract.
The recommended budget will be presented to the commission by Aug. 1 and the budget will be adopted on second reading at a special meeting in late September.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].
2015: BUDGET DIRECTION
• Keep department operations expenditures flat
• No wage increases except for police bargaining unit
• No new positions proposed
• Assumes 5.4% increase in ad valorem taxable values
• Millage rate of 2.0760 to remain flat
• Maintain publically visible service levels
2015: BUDGET CHALLENGES
• Maintaining an adequate General Fund balance
• Revenue reductions
• Unknown health care and insurance increases
• Funding the process of rewriting the town’s codes