DADE CITY - Dade City commissioners set a proposed millage rate of 7.2 mills at the council meeting this week.
That rate could be reduced after a new budget is approved and the amount of tax money needed is determined. State law requires that millage rates be set within 35 days after the property appraiser publishes property values.
Once city officials set a millage rate, they can't raise it. For this reason, municipalities often set a tentative rate higher then reduce it later.
For Dade City, the millage rate last year was 7.1. A new 7.2 mills rate would be equal to $7.20 per $1,000 in assessed property.
Dropping property values and only slightly larger state revenues - combined with rising health care costs and increases in general expenses - are resulting in a tight budget for next year, City Clerk and Finance Director Jim Class said.
City Manager Billy Poe said that the staff had been able to balance a preliminary budget at 7.1325 mills.
Commissioner Bill Dennis had suggested setting the millage rate at 7.6 mills to give the city room to set the budget as needed and knowing that the millage rate can be reduced.
"I'm not convinced we're doing the city a favor by not raising the millage rate," he said.
Class said the millage rate has not been raised from 7.1 mills since 2009.
A commissioner pay increase approved in December will be included in the new budget. The raises would cost the city an additional $15,000. Commissioner salaries would increase from $100 a month to $300 a month and the mayor's salary would rise to $450 a month from $150 a month. So far, a city employee raise has not been added to the budget.
In November, Dennis said he would only be willing to consider a pay raise for commissioners if a pay raise for city employees was also added to the budget.
Commissioner Scott Black was the only dissenting vote against the pay raise in December.