The strategy in creating the Inverness 2022-23 budget is straightforward: do more with less and no higher tax rate.
That’s the thinking that’s behind proposing the city’s next tentative millage rate during Tuesday’s city council meeting, City Manager Eric Williams told the Chronicle.
Williams said he will propose to his council bosses a tentative millage rate of 7.8211 for fiscal year 2022-23, the same as the current rate.
Florida law requires local governments set a tentative millage rate that the council may later lower but not increase as it settles on its next budget.
“For the ensuing fiscal year, the city will incur increases from multiple areas: the Florida Retirement System, medical benefit program, electric/utility consumption, (public safety) increases and program/maintenance increases to support events, the depot district and enhanced parks that are driven by greater usage,” Williams wrote the council. “The hard push has been to build a budget that provides the expected levels of service and did not find the need to adjust the current millage rate of 7.8211 for the ensuing year.”
Williams told the Chronicle that now was not the time to consider raising the ad valorem rate.
He said the city was a “recession susceptible community” and raising the tax rate would do more harm than good.
Williams said he will work in city employee salary raises for the coming budget, but hasn’t yet determined the amount.
Meanwhile, the city will still see revenues grow.
That’s because the city’s overall worth has increased.
“The Citrus County property appraiser has certified an amount of $566,955,723 in total taxable value of nonexempt property to be used for budget planning purposes,” Williams said.
“This estimate includes a value of taxable net new construction/improvement of $1,817,885 and a total increase in value from the previous year of some $32,808,191 or 6.1 percent,” he said.
At the current millage of 7.8211 levied against an estimated $566,955,723 at 95 percent collection the city would collect an estimated $4,212,507 in property tax, he said.
That’s about $210,000 more than a year ago.
At the rollback millage rate of 7.4300 levied against an estimated $566,955,723 at 95 percent collection the city would collect an estimated $4,001,857 in property tax.
The rollback rate is the millage rate which would generate the same amount of property tax as the previous year. So if the value of taxable property in the city increases, the rollback rate decreases.
And this is how the proposed millage rate effects property owners.
One mill in property, or ad valorem taxes, is equal to $1 for each $1,000 of the property’s taxable value. So if a property is worth $75,000, after homestead exemptions, the property owner’s city property taxes would be $586.58 if the millage rate remains at 7.8211. That does not include county or school taxes.
But while the tax rate may remain the same, many property owners could end up paying more.
That’s because if a property increases in value, the same 7.8211 millage will mean a higher tax bill to the homeowner.
The city council will meet 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, at city hall, 212 W. Main St., Inverness.