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City staff predicting budget shortfall if millage remains the same

By Staff | Jun 8, 2010

Cape Coral city staff is predicting a $13.1 million ad valorem shortfall if the current millage rate of 7.9702 remains the same for FY 2011.
With the city facing a 16.28 percent overall decrease in property values, City Council is tasked with making tough decisions as the budget process begins heating up.
Will it cut jobs? Service levels? Raise the millage?
Budget administrator Sheena Milken told council during its workshop Monday the board would have to find $7 million in additional revenue or additional cuts to keep the millage the same.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell warned the rest on the dais that slicing the budget was not a means to an end.
“At 16.8 percent decreased value, we will not cut our way out of this,” he said. “We’re at a difficult juncture.”
Councilmember Bill Deile said he’d like to identify, specifically, what positions and people need to be cut as a bargaining tool during union negotiations.
“It gives us the ability to quantify the concessions,” Deile said. “We can go back to bargaining units and say these are the people that have to be let go, by name and position.”
Councilmember Erick Kuehn said he’d rather see benefits cut over people losing their jobs.
He cited cutting back on vacations, insurance benefits, overtime and take-home cars to save the city money, and hopefully save jobs.
“Would you rather cut the perks, or the people?” Kuehn asked. “I think we ought to look realistically at the perks … I know there’s more fat out there, it’s just a matter of knowing where to cut.”
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he would not entertain raising the millage over 7.9702.
Milken said with the given data, the calculated roll back rate is 9.5839.
Milken said in a memo to council that the certified preliminary tax roll will be slightly higher when released on July 1.