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Holmes Beach mayor presents $9 million spending plan

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Despite several new hires in various Holmes Beach departments, Mayor Carmel Monti announced July 23 that he was comfortable keeping the city’s millage rate for the 2013-14 fiscal year the same as this year — 1.7500.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

Increased revenues may have something to do with the mayor’s comfort level. According to city financial records, Holmes Beach is expecting an increase in overall revenues of more than $500,000.

The 2012-13 revenues are $8,394,950, while expected revenues for the 2013-14 budget are $9,003,727.

Property taxes collected in Holmes Beach for 2012-13 amount to $2,081,305 at the existing millage rate. Increased property values are expected to generate a total of $2,223,156 in property taxes for 2013-14.

The city is projected to increase permit revenues across the board, with the largest increase of $75,000 in building permits. This year, $275,000 was raised from building permits and the city is projecting a revenue increase for permits to $325,000 for 2013-14.

Other bumps in projected revenues are a $5,000 increase in ordinance violation fines, $11,225 increase in dock fees and $21,000 increase in electric franchise fees.

The city’s largest expenditures are in its police department with a budget of almost $2 million, while more than half of that amount is geared toward salaries. More than $448,000 of the police budget is sunk into insurance and more than $352,000 is allocated to retirement contributions.

Public works is the city’s next highest budget with a total of $905,422 in expenses, and $515,623 of the budget is salaries. More than $237,000 of the public works department’s budget covers life and health insurance.

City administration has a proposed budget of $328,587 with $211,490 covering salaries.

Between all city departments, a proposed operating budget of more than $3.3 million is projected with close to $2 million accounting for salaries.

The city is budgeting more than $1.7 million for capital improvement projects.

Property values rose this year 6.8 percent, amounting to a 1.6588 rollback rate — the millage required to produce the same revenue as the current year — and an additional 6.5 percent increase in ad valorem revenues for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

While elected officials sometimes tout maintaining the previous year’s millage rate as holding the line, increased property values result in increased revenue to the city at the current millage and that’s a tax increase. State statutes provide that an increase in revenue is a tax increase.

While the millage will remain the same, Holmes Beach property owners will pay more in property taxes due to higher property values.

The city will hold its first public hearing to adopt the proposed budget and millage rate Sept. 10, followed by a second public hearing Sept. 24. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m., at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5401 Marina Drive.

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