DUNEDIN – City commissioners will set a tentative tax rate for the next fiscal year at their regular meeting Thursday, July 24, 6 p.m., at Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St.
The city’s proposed $24.6 million operating budget for the next fiscal year includes no reductions in service to the public and no tax increases.
“Our optimism about the future is highlighted by the estimated 6.29 percent increase in property values within Dunedin,” wrote City Manager Rob DiSpirito in a budget message to city commissioners.
The proposed tax rate remains at 3.73 mills, equal to $3.73 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
The budget includes a 3 percent merit increase for employees authorized by the commission.
The budget includes funding for the equivalent of 338.15 full-time employees in the next fiscal year, down 1.48 percent mainly due to attrition in the solid waste fund of three positions.
Other budget highlights include:
• Some increases in rates for stormwater and commercial solid waste customers, as well as changes in the method and rates for building permits. Some parks and recreation fees also have been increased.
• New residential pickup schedules starting on Jan. 6. The new pickups will be once per week, for all types of waste. The cost savings are expected to allow city officials to avoid a residential rate increase for the next year.
• A 9 percent increase in health insurance costs for both the city, and for the first time in years, employees.
Major capital projects included in the budget are Michigan Boulevard and San Salvador street reconstruction, the municipal services building annex, filters and membrane replacement for water treatment, sewer mains and various equipment for wastewater and vehicle replacement
DiSpirito said while the budget is balanced reserves are not quite at recommended levels, and city officials have not yet achieved the commission goal of sustainability, which is sufficient revenues to cover expenses and allow for recommended reserves.
“I believe that it is important to point out to the City Commission and the public that maintaining current service levels citywide will be difficult unless we see substantial increases in revenues,” DiSpirito wrote.
During the summer budget workshops are held with the City Commission to review the proposed budgets of all city departments and divisions for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
The first public hearing on the budget and tax rate has been set for Thursday, Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m. The second and final hearing has been set for Thursday, Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m.