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Date of Issue: October 01, 2008

New fiscal year arrives

Oct. 1 starts a new year in Florida, with municipalities operating under new 2008-09 budgets.

Bradenton Beach city commissioners adopted a new budget Sept. 24, as well as set the city’s tax rate at 2.1539 mills.

Holmes Beach and Anna Maria city commissions also adopted new budgets last week.

The Bradenton Beach votes took place in less than 15 minutes at city hall, with Commissioners John Chappie, Janie Robertson, Bob Connors and John Shaughnessy in attendance, and Mayor Michael Pierce absent.

City Clerk Nora Idso and press attended, but no members of the public spoke during the hearings on the budget or the millage rate.

The city’s new budget is $3.56 million, down from $3.68 million in 2007-08. To balance the budget and meet citizens’ mandates for tax reform, the city shifted money from two capital projects and dipped into reserves to meet an anticipated $171,224 drop in revenue over the next year.

The resolution the commission adopted last week stated, “The computed proposed tentative millage rate exceeds the rolled-back rate by minus 16 percent.” The current year roll-back rate was 2.6880.

The roll-back rate “would have made our millage rate 2.2579,” Idso said. “However, after Amendment 1 calculations and subtractions, our millage rate is 2.1539 to balance the current budget. The minus 16 percent over the rolled-back rate is the percentage that would have come into effect before the Amendment 1 requirements.”

The 2008-09 millage rate approved by the commission is 2.1539 mills compared to last year’s millage rate of 2.2579 mills.

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

For a house valued at $525,000 in Bradenton Beach, minus $25,000 homestead, the property tax bill from the city for the new year will be $1,076.95.

The budget projects $1,278,766 in revenue from the ad valorem taxes.     

The commission began reviewing a draft budget in July.

Idso said the budgeting process for 2009-10 would begin in the spring, with city staff working on department needs.

“Next April we start talking about it,” Idso said. “This year we didn’t have a wish list. This year was easy. There’s not a lot of money.”

A number of officials around Florida also expect money to be tighter in 2009-10 for municipalities and the state.