Bradenton Beach approves tax increase, considers library future

The fiscal year 2018-19 budget for Bradenton Beach is almost completed.

Commissioners and staff met July 10 in a work session to wrap up the proposed budget and approve the maximum millage rate for the DR-420, the form used by the state to assess the city’s tax base.

Mayor John Chappie, as executive head of the city, proposed the same rate as the current year, 2.3329, and the commission unanimously voted July 10 to retain the rate — which amounts to a tax increase for property owners.

Millage is $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value. At 2.3329 mills, the ad valorem tax on a property valued at $600,000 will be $1,398.

To avoid raising property taxes, the city would need to adopt the 2.14 rollback rate. The rollback rate is the millage needed to produce the same revenue as the current budget year.

State law defines a tax increase as any rate higher than the rollback rate.

In other matters, the commission discussed the budget for the Tingley Memorial Library, which is owned by the city and funded through a private bequeath.

The proposed library expenditures for 2018-19 are $39,304 and come from the bequeath, which will eventually be depleted, according to city treasurer Shayne Thompson.

In July 2017, city attorney Ricinda Perry suggested the commission meet with the library board after Perry said she found no city records of the trust that established the library. “Legal documents are nonexistent,” she said.

At the July 10 budget meeting, Commissioner Jake Spooner said he is unclear on how the library fund operates and how much money is in the library account.

Thompson said the bequeath should sustain the library expenditures for about 10 more years.

The city is considering making changes to the use of the city infrastructure — structural improvements or new buildings — and the library, built in 1994, would be included in those plans.

Bradenton Beach Lt. John Cosby, who attended the meeting for BBPD Chief Sam Speciale, said the bequeath specifies the city must provide a library, which could be a room in city hall.

“Our requirement is that we provide some type of library in order to have that property,” Cosby said. “As long as we have something that is a library, we should be OK.”

Building official Steve Gilbert said the city can’t plan for the next five-10 years until it knows how to address any structural issues.

“We need to get a better understanding of the way the library board and the city need to work together, because the way it’s written is very difficult,” Chappie said.

Cosby suggested a workshop with Perry to discuss the bequeath.

Chappie, who is the commission liaison to the library board, said he has been trying to set the “long overdue” meeting, and should be able to meet with board members in the fall.

The budget is assimilated into an ordinance that will require two public hearings and two votes for adoption.

The first public hearing for the 2018-19 budget will be at 5:25 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

Beulah Rebecca Hooks Hannah Tingley (August 24, 1893 – April 7, 1986)[1][2] was born in Clermont, Florida. She was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Hooks, who served in the Florida Legislature Clermont, from 1893 to 1895. Tingley was a member of the Democratic National Committee and Chair of the Democratic Party of Florida. She championed women’s causes throughout her life. She seconded the nomination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the 1944

Democratic National Convention, becoming the first woman to address a Democratic National Convention. She was an activist and it was said, “She had a loud clear voice and wore broad brimmed hats that created a presence on the campaign trail.” She was a confidant of the late Claude Pepper.

A resident of Bradenton Beach in her later life, after becoming a member of the Bradenton Beach Library Board and noting the lack of space for a public library, she bequeathed more than $600,000 for the construction and operation of a permanent library in Bradenton Beach.

She was an avid reader, citing a need for “a quiet place where books could be enjoyed.” The library serves residents and visitors with the aid of volunteers and without tax dollars.

Beulah Tingley’s Great Floridian plaque is located above the front door of the Tingley Memorial Library.

One thought on “Bradenton Beach approves tax increase, considers library future

  1. Kent Armstrong

    The Tingley library is a gem, and the City of Bradenton Beach should do whatever is necessary to sustain it.

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