by Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
DAYTONA BEACH SHORES - City leaders voted to approve a tax rate that would produce the same amount in revenues as last year.
The City Council unanimously approved a property tax rate of $5.88 per $1,000 of assessed value, which would generate the same money the city makes through taxes, minus new construction, as last year's property tax rate of $6.09. Council members also approved the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Finance director Steve Whitmer said this is the sixth consecutive year Daytona Beach Shores has been at or below the rolled-back rate.
He said the city has been able to maintain a low tax rate by department heads' efficient handling of city operations without affecting services, such as public safety, or cutting city workers' salaries and benefits.
"It's very difficult to go six consecutive years without any new money (raised by taxes)," Mr. Whitmer said. "It takes a lot of work to do that. We should be very proud of the city manager and staff for making this happen."
City Manager Mike Booker said he expects the new year's millage rate will result in $6.4 million of non-delinquent property tax revenue.
Residents will also pay a voter-approved general obligation debt service millage rate of $2.58 per $1,000 of assessed value, which will generate an additional $2,821,300, Mr. Booker said. Citizens voted in 2006 to approve a general obligation debt issuance to fund an A1A streetscape beautification project that included relocating utility lines underground.
In the city's $13.3 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, there is no funding in the budget for the Community Redevelopment Agency because the district's valuation is currently 17 percent below the baseline increment required to produce tax-increment funding for the district. Mr. Booker attributed the drop in the CRA's value to the continuing decline in the real estate market.
While most areas of the budget saw a decrease, there were some increases, with the greatest increase a $517,000 jump in the public safety department's budget, mostly in equipment costs so the department can fund the purchase of a new fire truck.
Mr. Booker said in his annual budget letter that the city's budget is designed as an "annual fiscal plan" that plans for long-term management of the city's finances, not just the year's spending.
"This budget is a reliable plan to simultaneously maintain service levels, provide the residents of Daytona Beach Shores with a high value environment and support the long-term financial stability of their government," Mr. Booker said.