The Bradenton City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the city’s $115 million budget and millage rate at a final public hearing.
The vote was 4-0 for both measures. Ward 4 Councilman Bemis Smith, who was absent from the hearing, on Sept. 7 during the first hearing described it as “the highest budget we’ve had since 2009 and the third largest in city history.”
“This year, we’re moving forward with a proposed rate of 5.8976 as the millage rate, and that millage rate is 4.75 percent over the rollback rate of 5.6302, so that’s the key item that we need to know. It is above the rollback rate,” City Administrator Carl Callahan said.
The millage rate is the same as last year. However, the rollback rate is 5.6302, which means the city would have to lower the millage rate by 4.75 percent in order for it not be considered a tax increase, according to state statute. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of appraised property value.
“It’s actually showing a tax increase because you’re not bringing in the same amount of taxes as last year, you’re bringing in more taxes than you did last year and, for that reason, you need to indicate the primary reasons on what you’re going to do with those additional taxes,” Callahan said. “This particular year is pretty easy — it’s mostly our capital projects that are causing us to utilize that. We have several new positions in the police department that are part-time in order to help cover the front desk.”
Callahan also mentioned $620,000 that would be used for new public safety radios. Public safety was a top priority for this year’s budget and includes a new $585,000 firetruck to replace an existing 28-year-old vehicle.
After approving the budget, Ward 1 Councilman Gene Gallo thanked Callahan and his staff, who he said spent a tremendous amount of time on the budget. Gallo also thanked the department heads who worked with Callahan on their budgets.
The councilman added that there hasn’t been anyone from the city of Bradenton come in to complain about the city’s budget.
“I’m thankful for the people that we have on this board that are keeping the train on time. You’re doing a good job,” Gallo said. “And the mayor.”
Mark Young contributed to this report.