BRADENTON -- As the Bradenton City Council prepares to enter into its summer budget work sessions, the first order of business is to fulfill the requirement of setting a tentative millage rate -- a mill being $1 for every $1,000 assessed on a property appraisal.
The council voted Wednesday to keep the 2014-15 fiscal year millage the rate the same as this fiscal year, which is 5.8976. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
At first glance, it might appear that means no new taxes.
But, with property values increasing by an average of 7 percent across Manatee County, property owners can expect to see higher tax bills under the existing millage rate if their property increased in value.
That could change, even with Wednesday's vote, according to City Clerk Carl Callahan, who has been preparing council members for the upcoming budget sessions planned through August.
Public hearings on the final budget, about $35 million, are set for Sept. 10 and Sept. 24.
Once the tentative millage rate is set, the council retains the authority to lower it through the budget process, but cannot raise
it once established.
"We have had some informal budget discussions up to this point, and I'm comfortable that the millage rate remains the same," Callahan said, at the same time acknowledging the 7 percent property value increase. "That's what we will address as we go through the budget in August."
Ward 3 Councilman Patrick Roff said the 2014-15 fiscal year budget is the first "normal" budget the city has had since he took office in 2006 just prior to the economic downturn.
"This is the first year we've had a normal budget and I look forward to continuing down this path," Roff said.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.