Seminole residents again will see little or no difference in their tax bills this fall following action Sept. 13 by the City Council.
Councilors voted unanimously to pass a pair of ordinances on first reading that set the city’s tax millage rate for fiscal 2013 at 2.4793 mills and the city’s general budget at $14.86 million.
The millage rate has stayed steady for six years and represents the 18th consecutive year the city has lowered or maintained the tax rate.
The millage rate, which is 4.09 percent less than the rollback rate, will produce $2.36 million for the general operation of the city.
“Many people think when they write their (property tax) check to the city of Seminole, the city gets all of that money,” said Harry Kyne, director of administration for the city. “The reality is we get 13 cents on the dollar.”
He said the breakdown shows the school tax bill is 45 percent, the county is 31 percent, the transit authority is 4 percent and the Juvenile Welfare Board is 5 percent.”
For the average $150,000 home in Seminole valued at $100,000 after homestead exemptions, homeowners will pay $248 or 68-cents per day, Kyne said.
“For that,” Kyne said, “they get police protection, fire protection, library services, street lights and drainage and recycling. That’s the value you get from the city dollars we receive.”
Kyne went on to explain that the city’s revenue stream has been hit hard the past five years, but the city has been able to maintain services without increasing taxes.
“The city is trying to diversify its cash stream so that if one area is hit you can typically absorb that without too much of a problem,” Kyne said. “This has been a unique situation (in recent years) where we have had three different areas hit and they’re in the recovery stage now. We’re still running negative on property tax, sales tax and licensing numbers are still down but they’re beginning to improve.”
The 2013 budget represents an 8 percent decrease in spending from the current budget.
A total of 54 percent, or $8.1 million, is ticketed for the fire department, which is a 1.8 percent decrease from the current budget.
The biggest cuts in the new budget will come in Public Works (down $396,081) and the city administration (down $650,311).
Councilors also passed a special events fund budget of $89,150; the debt services fund of $713,659; and a tree/landscape mitigation fund budget of $50,000.
A copy of the budget is available online on the city’s website at www.myseminole.com. Hard copies are available at the front desk of city hall and at the city library in the general reference section.
In other action, councilors:
• Passed an ordinance on second reading authorizing a budget amendment to increase the Administration Land Acquisition Account for the purpose of purchasing the 8-acre Jesse’s Landing site for a future city park. The funding source is from CIP, Penny for Pinellas and $400,000 from the city unreserved fund balance.
• Approved spending up to $21,000 for the replacement of two mini-split air conditioning systems. One system services the city hall audio-visual equipment room and the other cools the city hall server room. Royal Aire Mechanical Services provided the lowest overall bid at $18,890.
• Approved spending up to $270,000 from the fire department operating fund and city Capital Improvement Plan fund to purchase 45 self-contained breathing devices.