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Council OKs new budget, millage rate

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Oct 6, 2020

The Sanibel City Council recently adopted a final ad valorem operating millage rate of 1.8922 mills and a budget of $67,193,944 for the upcoming fiscal year at its second and last budget hearing.

On Sept. 29, the council voted unanimously 5-0 for the proposed millage rate — which exceeds the rolled-back rate of 1.8515 mills by 2.20 percent — and the budget for 2020-21, 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 0.1351, final land acquisition millage rate at 0.0500 and final Sanibel Recreation Center millage rate at 0.1045 for the coming year.

It also established committed fund balances of $4.5 million for Disaster Reserve, $1 million for Environmental Initiative Reserve and $215,000 for Insurance Deductible Reserve from the general fund’s fund balance.

The Lee County Property Appraiser’s Office recently certified that the “gross taxable value for operating purposes not exempt from taxation within the city of Sanibel” is $5,417,871,020.

The approved budget includes appropriations and revenue estimates.

Also during the hearing, Mayor Kevin Ruane asked the council to consider a one-time bonus of 3 percent for city employees, pointing out that more than 70 positions have been furloughed.

“We have to recognize our staff is doing more than they were,” he said in reference to the council’s actions in recent months to reduce city expenses in response to revenue losses from COVID-19.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the across-the-board bonus, once presented to the unions.