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Council OKs six resolutions for tax bill

By Staff | Aug 29, 2017

City Council approved all six resolutions Monday night to be put on the Lee County tax bill for collection.

It’s a routine housekeeping measure, the city said, that gives it a higher rate of collection over the individual billing method. The assessments for Fire Services, lot mowing, solid waste removal, stormwater user fees and utilities extension are added to the tax bill under non-ad valorem items and distributed to the city by the county tax collector. Residents can save as much as 4 percent on their tax bill overall by paying it in November when the tax bills arrive in landowners’ mailboxes.

The Fire Service Assessment was approved at the 64 percent recovery rate, but council left the door open to more discussion when the final millage rate is approved at the Sept. 25 public hearing to adopt the 2018 budget. The recovery rate could stay at 64 percent, or be reduced depending on council’s decision on setting the millage rate for the year.

At previous meetings, City Manager John Szerlag had recommended lowering the FSA to 58 percent recovery rate to offset cost increases in other areas of the budget along with reducing in the millage rate to 6.50 mils. A discussion at a subsequent special meeting on the subject proposed keeping the FSA rate at 64 percent while lowering the millage rate even more to the rollback rate of 6.344 mils.

Councilmember Richard Leon made it clear that is where he stands on the issue and, along with Councilmember Rana Erbrick, voted against a motion to hear further discussion on the millage rate at the Sept. 25 public hearing.

The stormwater fee was approved at $111 for 2018 in accordance with a rate study done in 2016 that recommended the increase of $24 over last year’s rate. Staff noted that the increase will be used to make improvements to the stormwater handling system in the North 1 and 2 utilities extension projects in addition to the annual citywide maintenance schedule.

Solid waste removal was approved at the recommended residential rate of $190.19 for 2018 which includes an increase in the disposal fee charged by Lee County, an 8 percent increase in overall tonnage and a 1.4 percent increase to the collection fee by the city’s hauler, Waste Pro. Council also approved the same increases to the commercial rate billed directly by Waste Pro.

Vacant lot mowing charges were approved as recommended for the city’s four mowing districts. District 1 in the southeast section of the city has the highest rate at $65.54 due to the scattered nature of remaining vacant lots. Districts 2 and 3 rates were set at $49.64, a decrease of $1.46 from last year, and District 4 was set at $49.62, also a decrease from this past year.

Lastly, council approved the assessment roll to continue collection for previous water, wastewater and irrigation utility extension projects in the Southwest Cape.

The first mandatory public hearing in approving the 2018 city budget and setting the millage rate is at 5:05 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7, in council chambers. Council has a special meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sept. 11 followed by a regular meeting at 4:30.

There is no meeting scheduled for Monday, Sept. 4, due to the Labor Day holiday.