Fire Services Gone, Bluffs Budget Shrinks
By Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The City Commission last Thursday at its first public hearing on the fiscal 2010 budget approved an 8.8 percent increase in the millage rate, but almost all property owners will pay less ad valorem taxes.
Though the 2010 millage rate will be 4.35 compared to the current 3.9997, because of sharply decreased property values less will come out of the pockets of residents. The bottom line on taxes is not rates but how much is actually paid.
One option the commission had was to go with the rolled back rate which is 4.5212 mills for Belleair Bluffs. The rolled back rate raises an amount of revenue equal to what was raised in the previous year and would represent, for most property owners, no increase in taxes.
But by using a rate even less than the rolled back figure, property owners will pay less in ad valorem taxes for fiscal 2010.
For example, a property valued at $250,000 in the 2009 tax year would have paid, after the homestead exemption, $799.40. For fiscal 2010, using the rolled back rate and taking into account the diminished value, the tax would be $791, but with the even lower rate adopted, 4.35 mills, the tax bill for the city for 2010 would be $761.
Of course, those figures are approximate, but in any event, almost all taxpayers will fork out less money.
Remarkably, while everything else seems to be going up in cost, Belleair Bluffs' budget for FY2010 is almost 50 percent less than it was last year.
The total proposed budget, also approved last Thursday, is $1,758,330. Last year the outlays totaled $3,488,157.
Elimination of the city's fire department is chiefly responsible for the difference.
A second and final public hearing on the millage rate and budget will be held September 21 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition