PINELLAS PARK – The City Council Aug. 25 was to vote after a first public hearing on the adoption of the $111 million fiscal budget, with a second and final public hearing scheduled for Sept. 8.
The overall city taxable property value has increased by $278.6 million. The city annually receives about one half of one percent in property tax revenue for every dollar in taxable property value.
Dan Katsiyiannis, management and budget administrator, said although the millage rate remains the same, the city’s property taxes will increase by 8.7 percent or about 1.7 percent of the total tax bill due to the increased cost of doing business.
The city will maintain the same millage rate of 5.07 per $1,000 for the eighth year in a row.
It’s no secret that property values have escalated dramatically in the last two years. Homes that sold for $75,000 in 2002 today exceed $110,000 and more.
“This is a solid budget without frills,” Katsiyiannis said. “The budget rose primarily due to employee merit, health insurance, workers’ compensation, property insurance, fuel costs, electric and water and other increases.”
The $278.6 million expected increase in taxable property value brings the overall taxable property value to about $2.8 billion. A major component of the increase in taxable property value is new construction and annexed properties, which were in total $55.8 million or 2.2 percent of the 2004 total taxable valuations.
Katsiyiannis said a typical total property tax bill of $2,579 is based on a home assessed at $125,000, less a $25,000 homestead exemption.
“The city doesn’t get all the tax revenues indicated on the property appraiser’s TRIM notice,” Katsiyiannis said. ”We get only 20 percent with the county, school system, water management, juvenile welfare, transit authority and others getting the other 80 percent.”
Katsiyiannis said actual overall expenditures for such things as water and sewer, community redevelopment and other expenditures increased by 5.9 percent over the current year.
“The city’s share of the property tax revenue estimated at $13.732,246 is not sufficient to pay for the costs of police and fire services of $18,452,824,” Katsiyiannis said. “The remaining $4,720,570 will be funded by other revenues such as code enforcement fines, licenses, liquor taxes and recreational fees.”
Commercial and industrial taxpayers pay about 52 percent of the total property taxes in the city.
“That is why it’s so important to attract new business to the city,” Katsiyiannis said. “Otherwise residential taxpayers would be paying more.”
On the top of the list of the 10 largest taxpayers is Verizon with taxable property value of $31.1 million. The second and third largest, respectively, are Transitions Optical, Inc. with taxable property values of $19.8 million and Progress Energy at $19.1 million.
The remaining largest taxpayers are SP-Port Chester Apartments, Cardinal Health Care 409 Inc., Wal-Mart, Scherer Corp., Gateway Business Centre, HKH-1 Ltd. and Shoppes at Park Place, city officials said.
Katsiyiannis said the proposed budget will pay for the costs for employee raises in accordance with the union agreements, health insurance, workmen’s compensation, fuel costs and other expenses.