BRADENTON -- Bradenton officials are expected to freeze the millage rate at 5.8976 for the 2014-15 fiscal year at 5:01 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall during a final public hearing on a proposed $88.4 million budget.
A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.The new fiscal year kicks off Oct. 1.
City Clerk Carl Callahan said the $37.75 million general operating budget includes two priorities set by the Bradenton City Council: Funding public safety "in a manner that will allow operations to be maintained at a consistently high level;" and boosting the city's street-paving budget from $400,000 to $983,000.
Also in the final budget are employee raises of between 2.5 percent and 3 percent.
Even though the council is freezing the millage rate, a 7 percent increase in property values citywide will lead to higher revenues from property taxes. The rollback rate is 5.02 percent, meaning the council does have the opportunity to reduce the millage rate by almost 0.9 mills in order to keep the amount of revenue the same as last year.
If the rollback rate is higher than the millage rate and the city adopts the budget as is, by Florida statute, it is a tax increase.
As municipalities emerge from a long recession, Callahan said this is the first balanced budget presented to the council in years. The city will not have to pull from its reserves to balance the budget.
While property values have risen this year, they remain, on average, about where they were in 2005, just two years before a six-year tumble in valuations.
The public has one final opportunity Wednesday to provide input before the budget is finalized and the millage rate is set.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.