Final Budget Hearing Tonight
CLEARWATER - At tonight's regular meeting, the City Council will take final action on Clearwater's 2009/10 budget and property tax rate. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6PM, with the budget hearing one of the first items on the agenda.
The city's proposed General Fund budget of $115,453,300, supported largely by property and other taxes, was approved at the first of two required hearings on September 3rd. That number represents a decline of $5,646,630, or 4.66-percent, from the 2008/09 municipal budget.
The proposed property tax rate of 5.155 mills represents a decline of 7.19-percent from the so-called rolled-back rate of 5.5543 mills that would have kept the city's tax revenues flat from last year. One mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 of taxable property value.
But those 5.155 mills can also be viewed as a 9-percent increase over last year's rate. As a result, long-term owners of properties whose taxable values have been capped by the Save Our Homes Amendment will see the city's share of their annual property tax bill increase by about 9-percent. Owners of commercial, non-homesteaded and recently-purchased properties whose taxable values have declined in the last year will likely see a reduction in their city property tax.
While there remain few uncertainties approaching the end of Clearwater's annual budget cycle, Mayor Frank Hibbard and Vice Mayor Paul Gibson made an unsuccessful attempt during the first hearing to reduce the city's 2009/10 budget by an additional $2.5-million. But Councilmembers John Doran, George Cretekos and Carlen Petersen voted against the initiative that would have closed the East Library, reduced road maintenance and eliminated C-VIEW programming.
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