Inverness City Council held a workshop on Thursday July 22nd that outlined a 2021-2022 city budget slightly larger than last year but with a reduced millage rate for property owners.
The city’s 2021-2022 budget is focused on a millage rate of 7.8211 which will help create a general fund of $ 7,889,335. The previous year’s general fund was $ 8,255,297.
Ad Valorem property tax revenue is expected to raise $ 3,968,740. That’s an increase of $ 3,883,787 in fiscal 2020-2021. Total city revenue, including fees, charges, and transfers, is $ 44,304,147 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. That’s an increase of $ 43,603,897. The expenses correspond to the income according to the budget proposal by City Manager Eric Williams.
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A grinder of real estate or value taxes is equal to $ 1 for every $ 1,000 of the taxable value of the property. So if a property is worth $ 75,000, the property owner’s city property tax is $ 586.58. This does not include either community or school taxes.
Some of the changes from a year ago, Williams told the Chronicle, are that the city will keep at least $ 5 million in its general fund in the event of a disaster or emergency spending.
Williams also stated that there have been many rationalizations within the city’s departments and services.
Eric Williams, Inverness City Manager
This also included the amalgamation of three parks and leisure facilities as well as the Valerie Theater and the city’s marketing and event activities. It also included facility folding and landscaping in public works. It also involved doing the landscaping of the city’s Depot District in-house rather than putting that work out to tender.
This is also part of the city’s new strategy of shifting the costs of city events to city companies and, in turn, allocating resources and space to the city. In the past, the city exerted greater control over events but had to pay most of the cost, Williams said.
Now the approach is: “Let us invite you to your event,” said Williams.
But the main approach is “Consolidation is key,” Williams told the council. “When you’ve distributed so many things, you will … be abusing resources.”
The savings allowed the city to request an additional resource officer from the sheriff’s office. The city now has a deputy as part of its increased law enforcement presence. The city’s public safety fund will increase from $ 872,511 to $ 1.02 million.
Williams said the additional law enforcement presence is needed given increased use of the depot district and the renovated parks and new construction planned for the city to include a new downtown hotel and the Wyld Palms subdivision.
An increase in funding is also planned for the city’s culture and leisure, from $ 1,256,403 last year to the 2021-2022 fund of $ 1,530,143.
The proposed reduced millage will bring in even more cash as the city’s taxable value is up $ 21.4 million year over year, according to the Citrus County Property Appraiser’s office. Of that $ 21.4 million, $ 4.3 million came from new and improved developments. The city’s full taxable value is $ 534,147,532. The difference to the previous year is 4.2%.
The city is also focusing more on projects that will show the city a financial return in the form of property taxes and other income, he told the Chronicle.
Another new feature is that the city provides money every year for the city’s property, for example money for the replacement of buildings and equipment as well as for repairs. So far, the city has usually invested reserves in a single, non-earmarked fund.
Williams also told city council members that he will begin using what remains of the Inverness City Community Redevelopment Agency’s money raised from the sale of bonds to renovate the city’s depot district. The city sold about $ 16 million and used about $ 12 million of that.
Williams said state law doesn’t allow the money to go idle, so he suggests using it on projects like downtown parking, the train station, and traffic studies.
“We’re not going into reserves. That’s not what happens, ”Williams said.
Williams’ proposed budget was warmly received by his councilors.
“It’s so impressive. We achieve more with less, ”said City Councilor Jacquie Hepfer after the presentation. “This seems streamlined and more is being done.”
“We don’t have a choice because we can’t afford to stick with our current business model,” Williams replied.
The next Millage Council hearing is on September 8th.