Dunedin again holds the line on property tax rate

The chart above provides a summary of the city’s millage rate and property tax revenue over the past 10 years. Even though millage rates stayed relatively flat, property values decreased significantly during and after the Great Recession, with property tax revenue following suit, city officials say.

DUNEDIN — City officials plan to maintain the same property tax rate that has been in effect since fiscal year 2016.

Under the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, Dunedin’s tax rate remains at 4.13 mills, equivalent to $4.13 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The city and the community redevelopment district exceeded growth rates seen in most cities and the county as a whole, the city’s budget highlights said.

The budget of $140.7 million reflects a 5% increase in spending over the fiscal year 2019 level.

For fiscal year 2020, the estimated total taxable value is $2.82 billion, a 10.75 percent increase over the previous year’s figure. The community redevelopment district’s total taxable value is estimated at $168.8 million, a 24.62 percent increase.

Property taxes in the general fund are projected to increase $945,500, a 10% increase over fiscal year 2019.

Development activity is continuing throughout Dunedin, the budget said, with several major residential projects coming onto the tax rolls and boosting property tax revenue. The value of new construction remains relatively steady as redevelopment and new construction projects begin, but city officials expect the trend to slowly begin tapering off in the next several years.

The proposed budget includes the equivalent of 373 full-time employees, up 2.95% from the current fiscal year, with an impact of $242,000.

Some budget highlights follow:

• In fiscal year 2020, the city will continue to move forward with planning and construction of a new municipal services complex which will relocate facilities at City Hall, the Technical Services Building, and the Municipal Services Building, at a projected cost of $25 million to be funded by the building fund, utility funds, CRA funds and the Penny for Pinellas sale tax.

• The city’s Economic and Housing Development department’s initiatives include a Downtown East plan, Complete Streets design plan for Skinner Boulevard, Gateway unified development plan and the first phase of paving replacement for Main Street sidewalks and undergrounding of utilities on Douglas Avenue.

Also in the next fiscal year, $1 million is budgeted in the CRA fund to begin construction of a parking structure in conjunction with the City Hall complex.

• The fiscal year 2020 proposed budget for fire rescue services includes a large increase in capital expenditures for the $1.99 million construction of the Emergency Operations Center, with the majority of funding coming from Penny for Pinellas.

• Cost estimates are being finalized for two major marina projects, including sediment removal at $1.5 million and dock renovations at $350,000 scheduled for fiscal year 2020.

• Capital expenditures for the Parks and Recreation Department include the relocation of the parks operation from the Jones building to the Englebert Complex, $1.2 million; Highlander Pool first phase design, $600,000; Fern Trail boardwalk, $300,000; and athletic field renovations, $125,000.

• Revenue in enterprise funds will increase due to rate increases for fiscal year 2020. They include stormwater, an increase in equivalent residential unit rate of 3.5%; solid waste, an increase in residential and commercial rates of 2.0%; and water/wastewater, an increase in unit charge of 4.75%.

• Several minor changes in personnel, such as title changes and reclassification of positions, will occur with the adoption of the budget. Two full-time positions have been added and two part-time positions have been reclassified to full-time.

• The budget includes a pay-for-performance program, with a maximum 3.5 percent overall annual increase in base pay for employees.

A City Commission meeting on tentative adoption of the budget and tax rate for the next fiscal year is set for Monday, Sept. 9. The commission’s final approval of the budget and tax rate is set for Thursday, Sept. 19.

The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.