Naples $98 million budgets approaches final approval by Oct. 1

The budget is nearly set.

Naples City Council on Wednesday voted 4-3 to approve the fiscal 2010 budget. The $98 million budget — $35 million of which is in the general fund, the city’s main operating fund — needs to be finalized by Oct. 1 when it would go into effect.

Councilwoman Teresa Heitmann and councilmen Gary Price and Bill Willkomm cast the dissenting votes.

The budget is several million dollars thinner than this year’s budget.

The city of Naples this year has a budget of $106 million, $37 million of which is dedicated to the general fund.

The tax rate in fiscal 2010 will be 1.18 mils, or $1.18 on every $1,000 of taxable property value. While that rate is higher than this year’s tax rate – currently set at 1.1315 mils, or $1.13 on every $1,000 of taxable property value – it is slightly lower than the rollback rate.

The rollback rate brings in the same revenues as the previous year, and is not considered a tax increase.

The millage rate represents the same millage rate of about a decade ago.

Finance Director Ann Marie Ricardi said council made the decision earlier this year not to set the rate at the rollback rate because they wanted to keep it as low as possible for taxpayers.

The city made cuts across the board to balance the budget, including staffing changes.

The 2010 budget has 451 positions in it – 250 of which will be paid out of the general fund – compared to 481 positions this year. The change, Ricardi has said, brings staffing levels to the same as they were in 1988.

While a preliminary draft of the budget used about $3,000 from the reserves to help balance the budget, that has changed in the final version. In a memo to Naples City Council, Ricardi said that occurred because the city reduced its projected sales tax revenue “consistent with the revised revenue estimates of the Florida Revenue Estimating Conference.”

Ricardi said the change meant the city did not have to dip into the reserves to balance the budget.

Naples City Council will meet at 5:05 p.m. Sept. 16 to vote on the second, and final, reading of the budget.

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