With the city’s property values up slightly for the first time in five years, City Manager Wadie Atallah presented the city council with a budget Monday that would lower the city’s tax rate slightly during the year that begins Oct. 1.
Atallah is proposing a tax rate of $5.46 per $1,000 taxable value — down slightly from $5.65.
Because the taxable value of city property is expected to rise 3.6 percent, to $1.17 billion, the slightly lower tax rate is expected to raise about the same amount of money from city taxpayers — just under $6.2 million — as the existing tax rate.
The city council is scheduled to vote on the tax rate on July 15.
Under the proposed tax rate, the owner of a $150,000 home with a homestead exemption would pay $560 in property tax to the city in the new budget year. That’s $5 less than this year. The example assumes a 1.7 percent increase in the assessed value of the home.
The owner of a Greenacres condominium valued at $40,000 with a homestead exemption would pay about $86 in city taxes — about 90 cents more than this year, assuming the assessed value of the condo increases by 1.7 percent.
The proposed $20.8 million general fund budget includes a 1 percent cost-of-living raise and a 2.5 percent merit raise for the city’s 174 full-time and 22 part-time employees. Employees must have satisfactory job evaluations and have worked for the city for at least a year to receive the 2.5 percent raise.
The proposed general fund budget taps $219,808 from the city’s budget stabilization reserve. But in reality, dipping into the reserves might not be necessary. Atallah said the city is not expected to use reserves budgeted for this budget year.
Spending on capital projects in the proposed budget include $108,000 for improvements at city parks and $560,000 to pay for land and design services for the proposed expansion of the community center on Swain Boulevard.
Another $501,601 is budgeted to renovate Community Hall, a building used for the city’s after-school programs.
Public hearings on the proposed 2014 budget are scheduled for Sept. 10 and Sept. 16 at city hall.