After extensive review of the proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget, the city commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to reduce the millage rate, approving a rollback rate of 3.1372 mills for the city’s preliminary operating millage. The rollback is a reduction from last year’s rate of 3.2632 mills, and based on an anticipated increase in citywide property values, it holds property taxes steady from the previous year.
The proposed 2021-22 budget fully funds the operations and maintenance of the city’s 62 parks and recreation facilities, despite this being the first year of not receiving an $880,000 subsidy from Sarasota County to aid in the recent transfer of several parks back to the city. It includes funding for at least 12 city-sponsored special events throughout areas of Sarasota, with consideration of adding more at a future date, and funds a new closed-captioning service for broadcasts of all city advisory board meetings. The proposed budget also includes funding the Sarasota Police Department and its 180 officers. The budget projects a healthy ending fund balance of about 30 percent—above the recommended 17-25 percent for local governments—to cover several months of city operations with these excess savings in the event of a disaster or emergency.
The assessed value of property increased citywide by 6.43 percent this year, based on the July 1 estimate by the Sarasota County Property Appraiser. Values in the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area increased 7.54 percent, and the new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for The Bay increased 16.75 percent. When considering a 3.1372 operating millage rate, the annual tax bill for a homesteaded property with a $200,000 taxable value would be about $500.
Two public hearings on the proposed budget are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m., and Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. The proposed budget is available to the public here.