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Council OKs tentative millage rate of 8.8241

By Staff | Aug 4, 2009

Cape Coral City Council adopted a tentative millage rate of 8.8241 at Monday’s regular meeting, following the advice of the city’s Financial Advisory Committee.
The figure is higher than the 7.776 rate recommended by City Manager Terry Stewart, or approximately $7.78 per $1,000 in taxable assessed property.
Council also voted 7-1 Monday against instituting a public service tax of 10 percent, which would have appeared on electric bills.
The tentative rate, which represents more than a 85 percent increase from the current rate of 4.769, can be lowered by city council but cannot be raised.
Stewart presented the 7.776 millage rate — a 63 percent increase from the current rate — in his budget proposal to meet the council’s target operating budget of $116.4 million.
The tentative rate will meet, if not exceed, the targeted budget, which stands at $13.5 million less than this year’s budget.
With the city facing major cuts in order to meet the target operating budget, council members now have a little wiggle room to reduce some of the proposed changes.
Councilmember Pete Brandt said he expects the targeted budget to “grow a little bit,” and tried to rework some of his own figures Monday in hopes of addressing proposed cuts to the city’s parks and recreation and public works.
Brandt proposed a tentative millage rate of 8.2 and 8.38. Both were shot down by his fellow council members.
“I’m probably not going to vote for a millage rate over 8.2,” he said. “Even 8.3 is ample to do most of the things we think we’re going to need to do, and maybe even trim it back a little.”
Councilmember Gloria Tate supported Brandt’s work, but wondered if his figures were truly enough to make sure that certain programs or amenities were not ultimately cut.
“As a council we have not had a budget hearing yet,” she said. “And we won’t know until we sit with each department as a council and have discussions.”
The tentative rate passed 6-2, with Councilmembers Brandt and Bill Deile dissenting.
There will be two public hearings before city council votes on the final millage rate.
A public hearing will be held Sept. 9, and another will be held Sept. 23 before council votes that evening.