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At the special city commission meeting on Sept. 13, commissioners unanimously approved fire assessment fees and moved towards final approval of the budget. The final budget and millage hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at City Hall.

The proposed operating millage rate is 5.9837, the debt service rate for the 1999 parks bond is 0.1672 the debt service rate for the city hall bond is 0.3345. The total proposed millage rate is

6.4854, a reduction of 0.0693 from the 2016-2017 millage rate. This year’s proposed budget is $35,059,978. The budget for 2016-2017 was $35,832,593.

If the proposed millage rate holds, the average single-family home covered under Save Our Homes [SOH] will pay an annual increase of $13.14 in ad valorem taxes. Those not covered under SOH will pay an increase of $229.21. The average condo covered by SOH will pay an annual increase of $5.93. Condos not under SOH will pay an increase of $121. By law, commissioners can lower the proposed millage rate but they can’t increase it.

Commissioners are positive about an increase in property values but are wary of a proposal by the legislature that would allow homeowners to take an additional $25,000 off the taxable value of their homes. If passed by voters in November 2018, it would result in the city losing $330,000 in revenue in the subsequent budget year.

Commissioners held the final vote on fire assessments. The assessments are broken up into six categories and each category is assessed a fee based on its usage from the previous year. If a certain usage experiences a higher volume of calls, the cost goes up. If the number of calls goes down, the cost goes down. The fees are used to pay for the cost of fire services.

Single family homeowners will pay $214.72, a $4.54 increase over last year. Commercial owners will pay $41.59, a reduction of $1.06 from last year. Industrial owners will pay $8.02, an increase of $5.12 from last year. Institutional will pay $27.28, an increase of 0.86 cents. Government will pay $30.55, an increase of $4.34. Nursing homes will pay $76.48, an increase of .38 cents.