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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2011 8 years ago

Sarasota raises millage rate

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Commissioners approved a budget that calls for a 5% millage rate increase.
by: Kurt Schultheis Longboat Observer

The Sarasota City Commission approved a 2012 fiscal year budget on first reading at its regular meeting Tuesday that calls for a 5.3% millage rate increase.

The millage rate, if approved on second reading at the end of the month, would rise from 2.7771 mills to 2.9249 mills.

One mill equals $1 in property tax for every $1,000 of assessed value.

If the commission officially approves the higher millage rate on second reading, it will generate an additional $842,617 and only require the city to use $1,155,909 in reserves to balance an overall 2012 budget that increased $11 million from the current fiscal year budget.

City staff's previous suggestion was to keep the millage rate at 2.7771 mills and take $2 million out of reserves to cover a budget shortfall that was $6 million when it was first presented in June.

The increase in millage would also pay for $459,490 worth of expenses and operations costs for the Lido Pool and Robert L. Taylor community center.

Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Willie Shaw approved the millage rate and recommendations proposed by staff.

Vice Mayor Terry Turner and Commissioner Shannon Snyder voted against the motion that was made by Shaw.

“It's not fair to our citizens to allow the millage rate to rise when we move to protect the government's revenue and not the revenue of our citizens,” said Turner, who warned that the millage rate needs to fall with declining assessed property values.

The commission also approved the suspension of city water and sewer impact fees for 10 years to help stimulate growth.

Also at its meeting, the commission:

Reviewed:
• A status report of the North Sarasota Business Program Initiative.
• A presentation concerning Sarasota Bayfront activities.
• A presentation from Sarasota County's Smart Growth/Urban Planning Department.
• An internal audit of the city's summer youth programs.

Amended:
• The infrastructure sales surtax 10-year extension expenditure project detail list in accordance with a county ordinance.

Approved:
• A proposal by Sarasota City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo to reorganize the Information Technology Department.

Rejected:
• A proposal that would have installed two sea horses from the former Quay site to the Chidsey Building.
• An appeal by downtown business owner Harry Walia, which disagreed with the Planning Board's decision to deny a request for additional height for his property at 1400-1420 Main Street.

Adopted:
• A table of organization for city government as required by the city's charter.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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