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City of Sarasota budget unanimously approved

Photo by Andrew Warfield
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With no changes made since its first public hearing, the Sarasota City Commission during a Sept. 19 special meeting unanimously approved millage rates for the fiscal year 2024 budget.

Commissioners supported City Manager Marlon Brown’s citywide millage rate of 3.000

Although unchanged from the current fiscal year, the budget increases spending by $33 million, the extra ad valorem revenue thanks to increased property values plus a general fund transfer of nearly $3 million to balance the budget.

With a citywide taxable value of $16.7 billion — up 13.6% over the prior year — general fund revenue is projected at $94.31 million, $2.72 million short of the proposed expenditures of $97.03 million. That’s up 13.04% over the current fiscal year’s adopted general fund spending of $85.83 million. 

The projected general fund spending for the current fiscal year stands at $89.45 million.

The transfer from reserves will leave the city with an estimated $28.9 million in the unassigned fund balance, or 29.8% of operating expenses. The city’s policy is to maintain reserves of 17-25% of general fund expenditures.

Responding to comments during a previous budget hearing about a lack of opportunity for public involvement, Commissioner Erik Arroyo requested next year’s budget calendar include citizen engagement earlier in the process.

“Next year I'd like to have sometime around February some sort of forum where the community can come in and just give us their input on budget matters,” Arroyo said.

“When we develop the budget calendar, we'll include that as part of the discussion,” Brown responded. “Normally I'd meet with you all first in February or March to share where we are and what we're looking at with the budget.”

After that briefing is when Brown suggested meeting with interested citizens about the spending plan.

To view the fiscal year 2024 budget visit the city’s website.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.