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Council OKs new budget, millage rate

By Staff | Oct 1, 2019

Mayor Kevin Ruane

The Sanibel City Council recently adopted a final ad valorem operating millage rate of 1.8922 mills and a budget of $73,266,546 for the upcoming fiscal year at its second and last budget hearing.

On Sept. 23, the council voted unanimously 5-0 for the proposed millage rate which is the same as the rolled back rate of 1.8922, so no increase plus the budget for 2019-2020, which begins on Oct. 1.

A mill is $1 per every $1,000 of taxable valuation. The rolled back rate is the rate it would take to generate the same amount of revenue in the coming fiscal year as was generated in the previous year.

As part of the adoption, the council also set the final sewer millage rate at 0.1373, final land acquisition millage rate at 0.0500 and final Sanibel Recreation Center millage rate at 0.1060 for the coming year.

The Lee County Property Appraiser’s Office has certified that the 2019 “gross taxable value for operating purposes not exempt from taxation within the city of Sanibel” is $5,279,612,650.

The approved 2019-2020 budget includes appropriations and revenue.

“I think this budget includes everything we hoped to achieve,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said.

He pointed out reduced taxes, replenishing of reserves and funds allocated to address the Donax wastewater project, Sanibel Police Department and city’s Center 4 Life, among other things.

“I don’t know what we didn’t get accomplished,” Ruane said. “Everybody got what they wanted.”

He also noted that the millage rate is down 25 percent from its historical peak. Ruane explained that during the recession in 2007, the city’s total debt was high, there were little reserves and more.

“It was some really bleak times,” he said.

In comparison, Ruane pointed to where the city is now 12 years later with lower taxes, replenished reserves, minimal debt that continues to drop off, and funds for large-scale projects like Donax.