Palatka staff proposes tax decrease
The much ballyhooed fire assessment fee implemented a year ago might lead to another city of Palatka millage decrease, according to city documents and Palatka Finance Director Matt Reynolds.
According to Reynolds, city staff has suggested lowering the millage rate from 6.9967 to 6.25 if the city can get the fire assessment fee added to the uniform method of collection. Reynolds said he was confident that would happen, and he’s working with Tax Collector Linda Myers to complete the task.
The fire assessment fee was the biggest reason for the millage decrease, Reynolds said, but an uptick in other economic factors helped lessen the blows from various expense increases.
“Revenue citywide, from what I’m seeing, are trending well,” Reynolds said. “That’s sales tax revenue, state-shared revenue, utility taxes, franchise fees, gas taxes, as well as taxable value. I think it was an increase of about 2.8 percent. … It wasn’t a whole lot … but when all of these different revenue streams are going up by $10,000-$15,000, it all ads up to being enough to assist in lowering the millage rate.”
Reynolds said next year’s budget is still in the works – it changes daily, he said – but during a presentation July 14, he shared with city commissioners a variety of increases.
Under the heading “City-wide Assumptions,” Reynolds suggested a 5 percent cost-of-living increase, as well as a projected 30 percent increase in health insurance costs.
In reviewing the current fiscal year budget, Reynolds had good and bad news. The utility fund, which was projected to lose $9,347 according to budget estimates, is now projected to generate $187,323 in revenue because of various savings and increased revenue.
The golf course, which is on the agenda during Thursday’s regularly scheduled city commission meeting, is projected to lose $122,000 more than originally projected and the city will take a $293,297 loss on the city-owned links.
City commissioners will host their second budget workshop 2 p.m. Thursday. During their 6 p.m. meeting, commissioners vote to approve or reject a tentative millage rate of 6.9967 for the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM notice).
Reynolds said city commissioners can then lower the millage rate after the TRIM notice, before finalizing the budget in September.