The Marco Island City Council gave approval during its last meeting to a proposed budget for next year and agreed to reduce the property tax rate after land values throughout the city increased during the past year.
The city's budget for the next year, which the council will consider for final approval on Monday, would reduce the property millage by .05 to 1.9966.
With that reduction, property taxes likely would remain about the same for homeowners whose primary residence is on the island.
City Manager Roger Hernstadt told council members a homesteaded property valued at $500,000 would continue to pay city property taxes of about $1,000 a year.
Councilor Larry Honig said the city worked to control what it charges property owners, although some could see a higher tax bill.
"The city's objective is that individual homeowners will not see an increase in their property tax bill for Marco Island," he said.
Property owners pay taxes to a number of entities other than Marco Island that levy their own mills, such as schools and the county, that could result in a higher tax bill. And non-homesteaded property owners are even more likely to see a higher tax bill, Marco Island Finance Director Gil Polanco said.
“The decreased millage is still greater than the rollback rate,” he said, “so non-homestead properties may realize an increase.”
The city's general fund budget, which pays for basic services and funds Hernstadt’s bucket plan, would increase under the proposal to $25.6 million, from the current budget projected to total $23.5 million by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.
Of that $25.6 million, Polanco said, $6.3 million will be transferred to buckets; specifically, $3.8 million will be dedicated to capital projects, $1.2 million will be dedicated to debt service relief and $1.3 million will dedicated to unfunded pension liabilities.
The city-wide budget, which includes utilities, would decrease under the proposal to $64.6 million compared to last year’s $65.6 million.
And only $18 million of that $25.6 million comes from property taxes, Polanco said; the rest comes from other taxes, such as state sales tax and fuel tax.
One of the most hotly contested budget items discussed at the last City Council meeting was the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee’s request of $250,000, which is designated for Veterans Community Park.
Councilor Victor Rios wanted to remove the money from the budget entirely, expressing concern that it will become part of the divisive Veterans Community Park hotel project. The Planning Board discussed the hotel project at its last meeting and decided to continue the discussion at its next meeting, which is Oct. 7.
In other business, there will be a public hearing at the City Council meeting on a resolution approving a site development plan to expand the outdoor seating area at Doreen’s Cup of Joe and to reconfigure and connect the parking lots. Councilmembers will also vote on three resolutions.
The City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m., Monday, in the community room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.