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Budget tops special City Council meeting

September 3, 2014
By JIM LINETTE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral City Council will convene a special meeting at 5:05 p.m. Thursday in the first public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

Council is expected to approve a resolution setting the 2015 Fire Services Assessment and two ordinances dealing with the budget and millage rate.

On July 28 council set the not-go-exceed millage rate at the same figure as the 2014 rate, or 7.7070. That rate will generate 6.91 percent more revenue than the county property appraiser's suggested rollback rate of 7.2089. The rollback rate is the figure that would bring in the same amount of revenue as 2014, taking into account an increase in property values.

Council must adopt a tentative millage rate during the meeting. The tentative rate must be set prior to adoption of the tentative budget in order for any adjustments to be made to the budget during the hearing. The final millage rate to be set on Sept. 18 can not exceed the tentative millage rate that council approves.

Council then will tentatively adopt the city manager's proposed budget of $170 million along with any adjustments made during the public hearing. The second and final public hearing on the two ordinances will be set for Sept. 18.

The Fire Services Assessment resolution sets the rate for 2015 and authorizes a collection method through the county tax collector's real estate property tax billing.

The Florida Supreme Court still has not ruled on the citizens' lawsuit appealing a lower court's approval of the Fire Services Assessment methodology last spring. Because of that, the city billed and collected the 2014 Fire Services Assessment and deposited it in an escrow account so it would be readily available should the court rule in the city's favor. The same would apply to the the revenue collected for 2015.

The 2015 operating budget and millage rate go into effect on Oct. 1.



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