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Belleair expects to maintain tax rate
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BELLEAIR – Town officials are expecting to keep the millage rate at 5.94 mills for the next fiscal year.

If the issues that town officials view as positive come through, “we expect no millage rate increase this year,” said Belleair Manager Micah Maxwell during a preliminary budget discussion at the Town Commission’s Aug. 6. meeting.

The rate of 5.94 mills is equivalent to $5.94 for every $1,000 of assessed property values.

Among the revenue challenges are a reduction in building permit revenue, estimated at $25,000. Assistant Town Manager J.P. Murphy said that permit values are lagging behind the rest of the area, but he expects the number to increase in the next couple of years.

Increases to insurance, effects of cost of living adjustments from prior year, capital equipment replacements and park and tree enhancements were listed as expenditure challenges on a town budget report.

Among the areas of savings is in the building department. Staff is analyzing alternative methods of delivering service, resulting in a projected saving of $37,000. Stemming from the retirement of a building official, the town has been contracting with the county for services through October. Officials are considering the extension of the contract along with other options, such as contracting with other cities or third party providers. The town also could establish the position in-house, Murphy said.

In law enforcement, town officials expect a decrease in the contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and an increase in insurance, protective equipment and uniforms. They are seeking a purchase of an administrative vehicle and replacing a full depreciated detective vehicle.

In public works, a salary increase is proposed to convert a part time building maintenance worker to full time.

Special events are expected to generate an additional $26,000 in revenue because of the success of recent concerts through VIP services that generated more sponsorships, Murphy said.

In recreation, providing tree-trimming services in house through two additional part-time employees and staff adjustments are expected to save $30,000.

Two required public hearings on the budget and tax rate will be held in September.
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