BRADENTON -- At 5:01 p.m. Wednesday, the gavel fell to open the final public hearing to adopt an $88.4 million Bradenton budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. With no public comment, the gavel fell again at 5:10 to finalize a budget that includes a $37.75 million general-fund operating budget.
The city council did not raise the millage rate, which stands at 5.897. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
However, since property values rose about 7 percent throughout the city, property taxes for many will be high
er than the previous year, which equates to a rollback rate of 5.6154, or 5.02 percent, meaning city officials could have lowered the millage rate by that percentage in order to collect the same amount of taxes.
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Although the millage rate remained the same, more taxes will be collected because of higher property values and by Florida statute, is considered a tax increase.
Callahan said the budget is similar to previous budgets with the one exception being that the city could meet its primary goals of ensuring that public safety needs are met in order to continue at a high level of consistency "without having to cut other areas of the budget. I'm pleased with this year's budget. It's a good budget and allows us to do things you as a council said you wanted to do and sets us up well for next year ... for what citizens deserve from (the council) and from us."
The council established, as a high priority, additional funding for repaving projects and Callahan was able to increase a $400,000 paving budget to $983,000. City employees also will receive a 2.5 percent to 3 percent raise.
Callahan said it is the first budget since the recession hit the nation to be presented without the city having to dip into its reserve fund. The property value increase now puts overall valuations near where they were since 2005, still well below the peak of the 2007-08 fiscal year and an ensuing six-year tumble in value.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.