BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Following a well established trend, Belleair Shore's millage rate for fiscal year 2007 will go even lower as the Town Commission set a rate of .5164 at its meeting July 19.
To avoid confusion with numbers, decimals, etc., what it means is that the town's ad valorem tax rate is just a shade over one-half mill.
Which means that a property assessed at $1 million will pay, after homestead exemption, a tax to the town of $503.49.
The current year's millage rate is .7204 so the new rate - a shade lower even than the rolled back rate (.5166) - represents a 28.3 percent cut in the rate.
As Mayor John Robertson points out, "We budget a little differently than some other jurisdictions. We first write down what we need to spend and then find the money to pay for those needs. Some other jurisdictions determine what they will raise in taxes and then figure out how to spend it."
At its meeting last Wednesday, the commission also approved a new ordinance on short term rentals. It follows the Pinellas Planning Council rule.
In short, a property owner may lease property three times within a 12-month period, but with a minimum of 30 days. The ordinance is designed to overcome short term rentals.
The commission also gave approval in principle - in another example of careful and prudent money management - to a proposed interlocal agreement that involved planning for the county's beautification plan for Gulf Boulevard.
Where the county plan originally called for an $84,000 expenditure by Belleair Shore in the preliminary study, the commission found a study could be done for $1,142.56.
"We eliminated a lot of things," Robertson said. We don't need or want benches along the sidewalk, don't want the sidewalks widened and we don't want trash cans along the side of the road."
These were among the features the commission knocked out of the county's overblown plan for the beautification project that simply cannot be afforded by the communities along the highway.
In other action, the commission reported that the long-awaited reclaimed water is now flowing and on the question of changing the speed limit on Gulf Boulevard, the limit will remain at 35 miles an hour.
The commission's next meeting is August 16 and public hearings on the millage rate and budget will be held September 6 and 20.
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