MARCO ISLAND — Rob Popoff called his first-ever special meeting as chairman to address the city budget. The primary action to be taken by council is to cut the budget at the meeting, which is scheduled 8:30 a.m., Friday, in the community room.
“We need to address the immediate conditions,” Popoff said. He added that after Monday’s council meeting, which was to be the final budget meeting, he realized that people really wanted to see cuts in city spending. “They want to see ‘are we spending frivolously or are we being conservative?’ ” he said.
Monday, Council needed to cut about $440,000 from the budget to balance a budget based on the new millage rate set that evening of 1.6518 mils, or $1.65 per $1,000 of property value. The plan for Friday is to decide where those cuts, and perhaps others, will come from. Popoff said he hopes the citizens will be sure to understand the importance of amending the city’s spending cap when it hits ballots, likely in January, so the relief he hopes to give taxpayers now won’t cause a burden on city operations and infrastructure in the future.
Marco Island Taxpayers' Association President Fay Biles said Thursday morning that "MITA members are unhappy with the latest millage rate. They want it to be lowered."
Popoff wasn't sure lowering the millage rate would be possible, but did say a discussion could come up. As Vice Chairman Frank Recker had said during Monday's meeting, for many people it's wasn't' the tax rate so much as it was people wanting to see Council be the best possible stewards of their money by looking closely at what they spent.
Even some MITA members Monday said it wasn't the rate, whether it caused them to pay $75 more or a couple hundred dollars more in taxes, so much as it appeared the city wasn't making the cuts that other individuals and organizations are having to make in the current economy.
Check back for live coverage of the meeting in the Marco budget blog.