Property tax games
From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune-
SARASOTA -- It was supposed to shrink by $8.8 million.So what happens next? A lawsuit against the Sarasota City Commission. If the legislature mandated a cut, it has to take effect. Right? They city will turn up losing more money defending itself in court, and in the end still have to cut taxes.
But as city commissioners reviewed the budget, they decided they did not want to cut $3.6 million in city jobs, neighborhood grant programs, public art funding and other services. And they suggested trimming in new areas -- employee salaries and health benefits.
Two days of budget workshops ended Wednesday with little consensus among commissioners over what to cut and from where.
They did tentatively agree to override state-mandated property tax cuts.
That would give them about $2 million more to work with and save the average city homeowner with a homestead exemption about $15 a year.
Each commissioner had particular projects and positions he or she wanted to retain.
They tentatively agreed Wednesday to roll back the rate by about 2 percent, to 2.84 from the current 2.9. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in taxable property value.
State legislation set the city's reduction rate at 2.58.
Commissioners said setting the rate higher allows them to approve a final rate somewhere between 2.58 and 2.84 in September after public hearings.
Was the property tax relief that was passed for real? I was luke warm to start with. This story is going to require further watching.
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