INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- How low can you go?
That is the theme with Commissioners Jim Palamara, Bill Ockunzzi and Jeremiah Carmody, who run the Indian Rocks Beach City Commission.
Mayor Bob DiNicola -- who was actually absent when the September 14 millage vote took place -- and Commissioner R.B. Johnson show up for meetings, but it is the above named trio who rule the roost.
Johnson fought a losing battle in trying to combat a cut on a cut as the commission established a millage rate of 2.1533, almost six cents (on $1,000 assessed value) below the rate set last July which John Coffey, the city manager had recommended.
That rate, 2.2132 mills, represented a 7.5 percent reduction from 2004. The rate voted last week brings the total reduction from 2004 to 10 percent.
A final vote will be held tonight on that latest millage rate and the budget itself. DiNicola is expected to be in attendance, but the vote is still expected to be in favor of the millage rate cut.
What is ironic is that both sides of the taxation issue represent conservative viewpoints. The triumvirate wants to return tax money to Indian Rocks Beach citizens immediately and let the budget concentrate on immediate needs with lower reserves.
Johnson, on the other hand, cautions that emergencies might leave the city in need of tax revenue. DiNicola most likely would have joined him, but it was Johnson who cast the only no vote on the millage rate and budget for 2005.
The development came as no surprise to those who have followed city politics in the past several years. Ockunzzi and Carmody came to office as tax cutters, joining Palamara who already was of that mind.
With the cuts, the city's budgetary fund balances will be reduced from the 25 percent range to 20 percent, a target that Palamara, Ockunzzi and Carmody seemed to be aiming for.
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