For the third consecutive year, Bradenton Beach commissioners have downsized the city’s spending plan.
The commission and mayor, meeting Sept. 22, also reduced the city’s millage rate for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
The new tax rate was set at 2.1359 mills. The commission earlier had set a tentative rate of 2.539 mills and could have gone as high as the rollback rate of 2.1364 mills without increasing tax revenues. The rollback rate is the tax rate that would bring in the same amount of property tax dollars as the current year.
Bradenton Beach’s budget for 2010-11 was $2,667,114.40 and the 2009-10 budget was $2,847,301. The millage rate for 2010-11, 2009-10 and 2008-09 was 2.1539 mills.
Without factoring in exemptions, a property owner in Bradenton Beach with a home valued at $400,000 can expect to pay $854.36 in ad valorem taxes to the city in the new fiscal year. The current tax on a $400,000 home would be $861.56.
The budget votes last week were unanimous, 3-0. Commissioners Gay Breuler and Ed Straight were absent.
The final budget meeting lasted less than nine minutes, with one citizen seated in the gallery, who did not speak.
But the commission, mayor and city staff spent many hours in a series of meetings over the summer reviewing the spending plan, especially expenses.
“I think it’s phenomenal that we have been able to reduce the millage,” Commissioner Janie Robertson said after her final vote on her final budget. The Ward 3 representative will be term-limited out of office in November.
In the review process, at least 2 percent was trimmed from each department budget, some personnel benefits were scaled back and one position, in the public works department, was eliminated.
The commission also took a hard look at the police department budget, holding two meetings to discuss expenses and priorities. Dozens of people turned out for the second meeting to support the department and the chief.
Robertson, who has said she was not satisfied with the final police budget, said last week it was interesting to “see what the hot-button issues are.”
City officials described the budget process as brutal, difficult and bruising. Robertson’s description was “tough.”
She said the level of scrutiny was much higher than in prior years.
“I hope,” she added, “that next year’s budget will be as scrutinized.”
For the record
2010-11 total budget: $2,667,114
2011-12 total budget: $2,570,318
2010-11 millage rate: 2.1539 mills
2011-12 millage rate: 2.1359 mills
2011-12 rollback rate: 2.1364 mills
2011-12 ad valorem taxes: $845,956