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HB commissioners preview budget

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

With local property tax revenues declining, Holmes Beach treasurer Rick Ashley is expected to propose a reduced city budget July 24.

“They’re no big changes,” said Ashley, who met last week individually with commissioners to preview the budget.

One reason for the reduced budget — $800,000-$900,000 less than last year — is because the current budget includes a $1.1 million stormwater project, he said. While that project is nearly complete, $227,905 is budgeted for other projects aimed at improving drainage near 34th Street and Sunbow Bay.

Local revenue sources are expected to drop from $3,778,664 to $3,294,710 and carryover/reserves to drop from $4,067,027 to $3,742,098, according to the proposed budget.

State revenue sources, which have declined in the past six years, are expected to rise slightly to $823,046 from $819,408.

According to preliminary figures, budget changes include an expected $61,218 decrease in general government salaries, and a $31,567 decrease in police department retirement contributions.

The proposed budget also reflects a 16.67 percent increase in city-paid employee life and health insurance costs. The costs are rising $99,450, from $596,420 to $695,870, according to preliminary budget figures.

Unlike the cities of Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria, which hold a number of commission workshops to review the budget, Holmes Beach historically “never had more than one work session” before setting the required public hearings in September for public input, Ashley said.

He said Holmes Beach commissioners generally haven’t wanted “to count pencils” in the process.

“The plan is to have the hearings in September on the regular meeting dates,” he said.

Holmes Beach, like other taxing bodies, must first set a maximum millage rate — the percent at which properties are taxed.

And, according to support documents for the city’s July 24 meeting, the rate is expected to hold steady at the 1.75 millage rate the city has imposed since 2010.

The millage will be applied to the Manatee County property assessor’s determinations of market value, less exemptions. The assessor then sends Truth in Millage notices to property owners, according to Manatee County Property Appraiser director of assessments Debra Lentz.

The anticipated mail date for TRIM notices is Aug. 16, she said.

The TRIM notice will provide the time, date and place for each taxing body “allowing for public input” into the budget process.

The mail date of the TRIM notice also provides the period in which property owners may petition for a property tax assessment adjustment to the county’s value adjustment board. Property owners have 25 days to petition from the date the TRIM notice is mailed.

By mid-October, the appraiser certifies the tax for collection by the tax collector.

After the public hearings, “sometimes there’re some adjustments and that’s what goes into the final notices mailed out in November,” she said.

Ashley is expected to present the mayor’s millage recommendation during the 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, meeting of the Holmes Beach commission and the budget at the work session that follows.

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