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Proposed budget holds the line on tax rate

By Staff | Jul 14, 2010

The Cape Coral city manager’s office released the FY 2010 – 2011 preliminary budget on Wednesday.
The budget delivers on city council’s goal not to increase the millage, with projections based on the current millage rate of 7.9702.
The budget is also based on no employee layoffs, and service levels remaining the same.
The proposed budget does require $6.2 in cash to fund operations and the OPEB benefits. There is currently $28,414,883 available in reserves.
The proposed budget for all funds totals $425,723,833, which includes the general fund at $138,008,382.
According to summary of the 242-page document, capital projects will take a nearly 40 percent dip from the 2010 adopted budget, and more than a 65 percent decline from the 2010 amended budget.
Personnel costs represent 20 percent of the total budget and 63 percent of the general fund budget.
The FY 2010 – 2011 budget proposal also keep wage freezes in place, as well as 32 hours of furloughs for “blue, white and supervisory bargaining unit” which will decrease pay by 1.5 percent.
Sixteen hours of furloughs are projected for non-salaried positions and hourly non -bargaining jobs $50,000 to $74,999 and 32 hours for those with an annual salary of $75,000 or greater, decreasing their annual pay by .8 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.
Incoming City Manager Gary King and Mayor John Sullivan said they had not had the time to fully examine the proposal as of Wednesday night.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz, fresh from his town hall meeting at the Tony Rotino Center, said he, too, had not had time to examine the budget, but was pleased that sitting City Manager Carl Schwing had delivered a budget that did not propose to raise the millage, lose jobs or decrease service levels.
“I’m excited Mr. Schwing was able to come in at the same millage without loss of any jobs,” he said. “I’d still like to reduce the millage a little bit through other efforts. It’s a good place to start. Let’s not be satisfied.”
Maintaining the property tax rate at 7.9702 mills could result in a tax decrease in the city portion of the tax bill for some residents. Property owners whose homes are homesteaded and who enjoyed the benefits of the 3 percent Save Our Homes cap during the real estate boom, though, face a tax “recapture” rule and so may not benefit from reduced values.
In addition, both the county and school district are looking at property tax rate increases.
One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 in taxable value.