Interlachen to lower town’s millage rate, gives employees pay raise

Town of Interlachen officials voted to decrease the town’s millage rate and give town employees raises next fiscal year.

Earlier this month, the Interlachen Town Council had a budget hearing, where council members set a tentative millage rate of 8.8354 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Next year’s millage rate is this fiscal year’s rollback millage rate – a rate that would yield the same taxable revenue as the previous millage rate. The current millage rate is 8.8821.

Council member Judi Costanzo said decreasing the millage rate is a service the town wants to provide residents, but she acknowledged the savings for residents wouldn’t be large.

“It is the same taxable value,” Costanzo said of the rollback millage rate. “And if it can give our residents a break, then that’s good. It’s only a tiny amount, but it’s not going to kill us.”

According to town documents, the tentative total revenues and other financing sources for next fiscal year is $4.2 million, while the estimated total expenditures and expenses is $4.7 million.

The town’s tentative total estimated revenues and balances is $7.6 million, according to town documents.

The council had a budget hearing July 10, where it took less than an hour to approve the millage rate and review the tentative budget for next fiscal year. According to the town’s website, the council canceled its July 13 and won’t have other budget hearings until 5:05 p.m. Sept. 11 and 25.

The summer budget session was relatively simple compared to that of Putnam County, which had numerous emergency meetings to finalize its tentative budget.

Interlachen Deputy Town Clerk Pamela Glover said the millage rate approved at the final September hearing could be different from the tentative rate approved earlier this month. But the rate won’t be higher, she said.

“Once you set the millage rate, you can go lower, but you can’t go higher,” Glover said. “(Our budget process) was pretty simple. We’re happy we got raises.”

The council approved 50-cent raises for town of Interlachen employees.

Glover said the council gives Town Clerk Pamela Wilburn direction on whether they want to give employees raises, and Wilburn checks the town’s finances to see how much of a raise can be given.

But town administrators are never the first ones to propose pay increases, Glover said.

“It’s always up to the council,” she said.

Costanzo said pay raises for employees aren’t uncommon, but the amount depends on the budget process every year.

Town employees work hard – and many of them work in the heat – so the council wants to reward employees’ efforts if they have the chance, Costanzo said.

“They’ve been getting raises every year,” she said. “Our employees work very hard.”

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