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Anna Maria plans tax increase to fund $2.3 million budget

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

A crew from Superior Asphalt repairs the stormwater system at the Anna Maria intersection of North Shore Drive and Palm Avenue as part of the public works department’s ongoing effort to tackle drainage problems as they arise. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Anna Maria commissioners at their July 30 public hearing for the 2012-13 budget set the city’s tentative millage rate at 2.05 to fund a $2.3 million budget.

The commission can lower that rate at future public hearings on the budget, but cannot increase the rate beyond 2.05.

When the commission began its budget work sessions in July, city treasurer Diane Percycoe submitted a tentative budget of $2.287 million at a 2.0 millage rate. That rate would have generated $1.148 million in property taxes. The remainder of city revenue comes from various local, county and state sources.

The rollback rate, the millage needed to generate the same amount of ad valorem tax revenue in the 2011-12 budget, is 2.0214 mills.

Percycoe said the rollback rate is lower because taxable property values in Anna Maria increased for the first time in several years.

One of the adjustments commissioners will see in the 2012-13 budget packet at the 6 p.m. Sept. 11 public hearing is a drop in the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office contract, from $698,000 to $672,000.

Mayor Mike Selby and Sheriff Brad Steube negotiated a contract reduction, but Selby said Steube advised him to start negotiations immediately for the 2013-14 contract.

One of the main issues in the MCSO contract is that Anna Maria pays the salary and retirement benefits of deputies, and many deputies with years of experience with the MCSO apply for openings in Anna Maria. These deputies receive a higher salary than a deputy with just a few years with the MCSO.

The MCSO contract calls for seven deputies, including a sergeant, at the MCSO-Anna Maria substation and 24/7 coverage in the city. Some residents in the past have questioned the need for seven deputies, but Sgt. Dave Turner, current head of the substation, and Sgt. John Kenney, his predecessor, have said that would mean a reduction of coverage and fewer deputies on the road.

Millage primer

One mill equals $1 per $1,000 of taxable property value.

An Anna Maria property owner with a home valued at $500,000 with a millage rate of 2.0 mills — the same as the 2011-12 budget — would pay $1,000 in city property taxes.

At a millage rate of 2.05 mills, the same property owner would pay $1,025 in city taxes.

Were the city to adopt the rollback rate of 2.0214 mills, the same property owner would pay $1,010.70 in city tax.

Of the total annual tax bill a property owner receives from Manatee County, 11 percent goes to the city. The Manatee County School Board receives 50 percent of the total, while 36 percent goes to Manatee County government. The remaining 3 percent goes for taxing districts such as mosquito control and water management.

The fee for the West Manatee Fire District is not a tax, but an assessment collected by the county for WMFR.

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