The City Council approved a millage rate of 6.15 mills and a budget of $47.2 million for fiscal year 2011-12.
After hearing no public comment on either item at their Sept. 20 meeting, council members unanimously adopted each.
“I want to thank our citizens for having the confidence in this council,” said Mayor Joe Affronti after the vote. “When I tell other municipalities that we raised our millage rate and have had no real negative comments, they can’t believe it. But I think our citizens realize that this council … and our staff, of course, is doing everything possible to keep our expenses as low as we can keep them and still operate our city and provide the services that we do. So, I want to thank our citizens for having the confidence in us because it’s very important to us to know that you realize that we’re doing everything we can do to make sure that we operate as lean as we can, and at the same time, provide the services that you need.”
The is an increase from the current 5.95 mills. However, residents shouldn’t see an increase in their property taxes because property values have decreased.
The budget represents a decrease of $4,876,781 compared to the 2010-11 budget. The city’s operating budget expenditures are 2.38 percent more than last year’s total operating expenditures.
The City has money that it has set aside in its reserves. In order to balance the budget, it needs to use $398,000 from reserves, which will leave $3.6 million in reserve.
Before the vote, Councilmember Alison Fernandez said she would like city staff to continue to look for from the budget throughout the year. Councilmember Mary Jane Neale said she would approve the budget, however she still has reservations about a 3 percent mandate for Florida Retirement System (FRS) employees.
Although the city opted out of FRS 15 years ago, employees who participated before 1996 were grandfathered. There are currently 29 FRS employees on city staff.
In the past, FRS employees did not put any money into their own retirement. Earlier this year however, Gov. Rick Scott required employees in this program to contribute 3 percent of their salaries, a deduction that comes out of their paychecks.
FRS differs from a 401(k) in that employees who now contribute 3 percent don’t receive any more money out of the program than they would have prior to the required contribution. In effect, they are losing 3 percent of their salaries.
The council decided it would not make up that difference.
Also during the meeting:
- the council recognized Marjorie “Margie” Schine for her involvement over the years with the Woodmont Clubhouse Association;
- Affronti proclaimed the month of October Crime Prevention Month, and Community Service Officer Tracy Mishler with the reminded the council that will take place Oct. 4; and
- Police Chief Kenneth Albano mentioned that the department is still taking applications for its .