MADEIRA BEACH — The city’s tax rate of 2.20 mills likely will be raised for the next fiscal year.
In discussion that included Budget Review Committee members at a July 22 workshop, Madeira Beach Finance Director Walter Pierce said the city needs the money to repay its $15 million bank loan for stormwater and road improvements. The amount due will rise from $372,000 next year to $1 million annually from 2021 until 2039.
A projected property value increase of 5.8 percent for 2020 will not provide enough added revenue to make the loan payment, Pierce said.
The city has two millage rate options for 2020, Pierce said at the city commission joint workshop:
• Raise the 2020 rate to 2.75 mills, which is the rate that will be needed starting in 2021 to cover the $1 million yearly debt payment.
• Increase the rate to 2.5 mills next year, which would fund the lower debt payment due in the first year, and go up to 2.75 mills in 2021.
The surplus generated next year at the 2.75 rate would be used to replenish funds spent this year for a new generator for City Hall and repairs to the Crystal Island Bridge, Pierce said.
One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
The Budget Review Committee recommended raising the millage rate to 2.75 beginning next year, Pierce said. Once the rate is raised to 2.75, another increase likely would not be needed for a number of years, Pierce added.
Commissioner Nancy Hodges wanted to know if grant money had been sought to help pay for the stormwater and road improvements. Pierce said grants available from the Southwest Florida Mitigation Fund were being looked at. Also, the county had contributed some money to help pay for road projects on Rex Place and Boca Ciega Drive, and that would be a potential source again.
Pierce also said the $15 million loan covers only the most critical stormwater control and road improvement needs. Three other areas covered by the $15 million are Crystal Island, Parsley Drive, and John’s Pass Avenue.
“This is only taking half a bite of the whole problem,” Pierce said.
“There are stormwater projects remaining. After another four years, something else will have to be done to tackle that. What lies ahead is another $15 million of approaching this problem,” he said. “Taking care of all the stormwater problems will take about $35 million.”
Meanwhile, the city is concentrating on Crystal Island. Pierce said that after several meetings with residents, the commission approved funding for that area, mandating that the city find a way to get the Crystal Island roads done.
The tentative millage rate was set to be determined at a budget meeting July 30. Once that rate is set, the final rate cannot be increased, but can be lowered during the budgeting process.