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Council proposes 7.976 millage rate by cutting budget

By Staff | Sep 18, 2009

As the Cape Coral City Council prepares to set the 2009-10 fiscal year budget Wednesday, it will present citizens with a millage rate that is reduced from the tentative rate set over a month ago.
During the last budget workshop Thursday, council brought the millage rate down to 7.976, or $7.98 for every $1,000 in taxable assessed value. Council originally set the tentative rate at 8.824.
Lowering the millage rate to 7.976 means residents will pay $797.60 for every $100,000 in taxable assessed value. If the rate had remained at 8.824, residents would have paid $882.40.
The current millage rate for the city is 4.768.
To reach a millage rate of 7.976, council has had to trim the budgets of nearly every city department. Thursday was no different as several items found their way to the chopping block.
Council decided to cut three firefighters, two patrol cars and eight police officer positions that are vacant, adjust the dredging program and reduce IT equipment.
The Public Works Department removed an additional $600,000 from its budget, and Parks and Recreation took out more than $400,000 from its budget.
One item that made its way back into the budget was one code enforcement manager, a position that Councilmember Gloria Tate felt was absolutely necessary.
“I think any resident would be happy to pay that to keep their neighborhood up,” she said.
Though the council has worked to reduce the millage rate, Councilmember Derrick Donnell still expects opposition from residents during Wednesday’s final budget hearing.
Donnell said he welcomes all comments during public input, but added that he wishes positive comments and suggestions outweighed the detractors.
While he is “looking for fresh ideas” from the public, Donnell said he knows there are some citizens who understand the complexities of the budget process.
“Those who have been following the process, they will appreciate the work we’ve put in,” he said. “Anyone who’s really been following it, they’ll appreciate it.”
Council seemed to be on the same page regarding the proposed budget, which now sits at $119,805,000.
Councilmember Tim Day was absent during the workshop, but the council shared a general consensus that the budget process is difficult and they feel comfortable enough to move forward.
Councilmember Pete Brandt described his feeling toward the budget as “acceptable discomfort.”
Council will set the budget at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers at City Hall.