St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster concurs with city council members in the assertion that this budget shortfall cannot be met by cuts alone. A realistic solution includes a combination of strategic cuts matched with increasing revenue streams for the city via property taxes and assessments.
Only about $3 million is being recommended in cuts within the city budget. Increased revenue is the central plan for addressing the shortfall. According to Foster, without increased revenues St. Petersburg would be a city “no one up here would support or recognize.”
As reported by Old Northeast-Downtown St. Pete Patch, here are the details outlined by Foster and city staff, presented to the City Council:
Ad Valorem By the Numbers
- Ad valorem covers 60 percent of the public safety costs
- Compared to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, St. Petersburg brings in the lowest amount of property taxes at $69.6 million
- St. Pete’s property taxes have not covered the police budget since fiscal year 2009. The police budget for fiscal year 2012 is $86.2 million and property tax revenues were $69.6 million
- The millage rate has gone unchanged since 2008 at 5.195 mils. Since that time the average homeowner pays almost $300 less in city property taxes
Millage Increase Impact
- Should the city keep the millage rate the same next year, the average property tax change on a $100,000 home is St. Pete would decrease by $18.29.
- A .15 mil increase would result in a decrease of $3.29. That mil increase, according to city documents, would still bring in less property taxes than the year before because of declining property values.
- A .50 mil increase over the current millage would result in an increase of $31.71 on a $100,000 home.
Mayor Foster expressed that he is fully encouraging public input on the budget process. To this end, Foster will host a city budget summit at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 25 at the J.W. Cate Recreation Center at 5801 22nd Ave. N. The purpose of the summit is to provide a platform for the public to vopice their opinions, concerns and help set priorities.
Via Daphne Street, contributing correspondent. Daphne can be reached at email@example.com.