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Davenport Tightens Budget

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  • Davenport Tightens Budget

    Davenport council faces unpleasant budget surprises
    By STEVEN N. LEVINE
    [email protected]

    DAVENPORT -- Davenport council members received a couple of unpleasant surprises in their first formal workshop on the city's 2003-04 $1.44 million general fund budget.

    The first was a 0.75-mill jump in proposed ad valorem to 7.75 mills, 1.75 mills above the current property tax and just below the 8.0 mill cap set last month. The increase means an $87.50 jump in property taxes over the current $6 per $1,000 of assessed property value on a $75,000 residence with a homestead exemption.

    Another surprise was the scarcity of spots in the proposed spending plan where new cuts could be made. The budget includes a $1,400-per-employee, across-the-board salary increase, two new positions, resurrection of the city's paid fire chief and a $15,000 contractual increase for newly appointed City Manager Richard Reade.

    The city has scheduled budget hearings Sept. 8 and Sept. 22. A second budget workshop is planned for Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

    City officials last saw the proposal with a 7 mill property tax rate. The extra 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value adds about $35,150 to the city's ad valorem revenues, now up $95,150 over the current budget year. The total budget, including enterprise funds, amounts to $3.54 million, $560,955 over the current year.

    "You want to explain why the millage rate increased on a cut budget," Mayor Kim Miller asked Finance Director Paula Munro.

    "You never cut it, sir," Munro responded.

    Part of the increase involved costs associated with streetsweeping, Munro said. Miller offered few suggestions on where to make cuts Thursday except to voice general displeasure with the 7.75 mill property tax plan. Miller said he'd consider a tax rate "just below 7 mills" reasonable. Haines City, where Miller works as a firefighter, has a 6.99 millage.

    Councilman Bobby Lynch suggested waiting until hearing from the public at the first budget hearing.

    The proposed fiscal 2004 budget remains $608,645 under the current $2.054 million general fund. However, that budget also included a one-time $150,000 for a fire truck, a one-time $124,500 recreational improvement grant at Gene Carroll field and $460,000 in reimbursable storm water management funds.

    Also unclear is the future of two proposed service fees covering public safety and storm water sewer. City council has not offered rate structures for either surcharge and, in the case of the fire tax, hasn't formally approved the charge. Combined estimated revenues are $85,000.

    Asked whether council had accepted the fee structure implicit within the proposed revenues, Miller said board members had not objected to the estimate.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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