property taxes

Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, the City Commissioners and City Staff met yesterday in a marathon session to balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Budget Workshop #3 lasted more than 6 hours.  At the end Finance Director Pam Barclay announced the result, “We are $1,391,123 out of balance.”

How did this happen?

The Budget Workshops began last week with a budget that balanced approved expenditure requests with expected revenues.  To get to that point many requests for personnel and equipment were cut during the City Administrator’s review.  Only 18 of the 54 new personnel requests were allowed.  Only $5.5 Million in capital expenditures were allowed vs. $14 Million requested.

Two workshops were held last week. During Workshop #1 additional cuts were made. The biggest adjustment came during Workshop #2 when the Council agreed to restore Chief McKinley’s request for five new police officers, two civilian traffic citation specialists and several police vehicles.  During Workshop #3 there were more adjustments, but in the end the additional expenditures outweighed the cuts that were found.

No one on the Council was happy with the results.

“We are building things on debt, not on growth,” said Commissioner Doug Bankson.  He was referencing the need to borrow $4.6 Million and use $2.6 Million of reserves to fill part of the gap.

Commissioner Kyle Becker had similar thoughts, “There is a dire resource issue in the City.”

Kilsheimer expressed his frustration with, “People (residents) are tired of hearing “No, you can’t have what you want because…”

Barclay advised the Council that a 0.5 increase in the property tax mill levy would generate $1,263,000 in revenue.

At 7:12 PM the Budget Workshop was adjourned and a Meeting of the City Council was called to order.  After several minutes of discussion the Mayor asked if anyone was going to make a motion.  Clearly none of the Council members wanted to say what needed to be said.  In the end Bankson made the motion to increase the mill levy by 0.5 mills.

During the public comment period Suzanne Kidd, the only tax payer present at the meeting, told the Council they were doing the right thing.  “Last year I did an analysis on the effect of a o.5 mill increase,” Kidd said. “It would have cost the average, the median homeowner in Apopka $60 per year.  That’s only $5 per month.  People spend more than that at Starbucks.”

The Council voted unanimously to tentatively approve the increase in property taxes.  The Mayor advised everyone that there would be “some heavy lifting” during the month of August, meaning that the budget was still open to review and adjustment.

The final decision on the 2017 Budget is expected to be made on September 7th at the 1:30 PM City Council meeting after public input is heard.


Correction:  An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that the budget approved by the City Administrator contained 12 new employees.  The correct number was 18 which included 12 new firefighters.


 

15 COMMENTS

  1. I didn’t even know they were having the council meeting to officially vote on it. I guess you all are laughing about it! I knew about the workshop, but had no idea afterwards that the council meeting was to be held. Really sneeky. It didn’t matter anyway, because I knew you all were going to increase the property taxes because you all spend like you won the powerball lottery for the city’s general funds. Bad decisions on taking in other city’s dirty water, private industry’s dirty water, and bad city center decisions. Oh, we are in such dire trouble financially, so let’s have a wine festival, let’s have a gospel festival, let’s hire more assistants for assistants, let’s build that really needed skate park, that no resident in the city can live without! I’m not surprised that there were no other residents to speak out other than Sue. Everyone else DID’NT KNOW ABOUT THE COUNCIL MEETING! Just as Channel 9 reported right on tv a day or so ago, the city’s taxpayers are having to foot the costs of the dirty human waste water that the city processes for Zellwood’s fertilizer company, Anuvia, a private company, and it is costing the Apopka taxpayers BIG TIME! Also remember that the city lowered the impact fees on developers recently on some homes, over $ 800 dollars per home, and they are flying around the country spending money needlessly for conferences that don’t amount to a hill of beans. Plus remember you water and sewer rates are going up each and every month annually for the next 5 years, an increase each year. The rate hasn’t even gone up yet but will in Oct. and our current bill we got is already $ 19.99 more than last month, and that is because it has been so hot and I try my best to use as little water as possible, but god knows what our bill will be each of the next five years as it compounds. Will probably be more than the power bill! Doesn’t like too much now as being as much as our power in the summer!!!!

  2. Why do you need two civilian traffic citation specialists for……..??? Your stinking red light cameras make the photos and Attorney General Pam Bondi is more than ready, willing and able to stick her two cents in to deter your challenge to the ticket. Only state law officers are suppose to write them, or they can be challenged in court is what I understand, not civilians. Are ya’ll gonna LIE about who wrote them up??????????

  3. You council members are very deceitful to the public. I hope the public remembers that come the next election. I wish I could find the last Apopka Chief, but I guess I used it for the dog’s paper training. I do have the Apopka Chief’s July 15, 2016 newspaper and on the front cover it gives the article about the budget workshops, and it stated that there would be 4 budget workshops, and that the 4th budget workshop would be on July 27, which is today. I am reading the story above, here on the Apopka Voice, and I see that you all have not only already had the final workshop, but also had the city council meeting afterwards, and voted on the millage rate increase YESTERDAY, July 26. Was the change to deceive the public? Looks that way to me……..

  4. Looks like the city has gone alcohol crazy. Family festivals with beer gardens, the hiring of city bartender and now a wine festival. Let me know when ya’ll decide to go bigtime, and hit the hard stuff, and have a moonshine festival during the fall harvest moon………..

  5. And here is a fact when you think about your city property taxes going up to pay for Anuvia’s human waste water that is pouring into our city’s wastewater plants overloading them…….that reuse water that is channeled to your lawns is in part coming from Anuvia, the human waste fertilizer company……and.the processing that is done at the COA’s wastewater plant, DOES NOT remove all of the viruses that may, or may not be, in the re-use water. Remember this is the water that is watering your lawns, if you have access to the re-use water system, so it makes you wonder if your kids playing on the wet grass barefooted is safe, or not. I would urge caution about that, and at least keep them off of it, if it is wet, or make them wear shoes, at least.

  6. I decided to check the agenda for the scheduled two meetings listed on the city’s website about the budget for today, July 27, 2016…….great big red cancelled across the notices. Like you all didn’t know whether you were going to meeting yesterday or today? What you all couldn’t make up your minds about when to meet? This is a very bad way to run the government! Whoever is responsible should be ashamed! What is that called, bait and switch? The bait was in the Apopka Chief, that the taxes were not going to go up, and then the switch came when you all switched the meetings, and decided to up them.

  7. And……….there is ONE council member who CERTAINLY doesn’t have a problem raising the property taxes at all!

  8. I have located part of the Apopka Chief Newspaper, last Friday’s July 22, 2016. In that part on page 7A in the article about the City Council news it states: Since the workshop did not get to community development part due to the time constraints, that meeting is slated to take place on Wednesday July 27, budget workshop. Plus there is no mention of a city council to follow. Then you all had it yesterday. This is what makes the citizens mad. You cut the citizens out of the workshop being able to speak about the things in the city. Now you all are getting downright sneaky switching meetings days, and not letting people know about an unexpected city council meetings, where they could speak if they chose to. If you all think that was a good move on your parts, I assure you it was not. This is why citizens do not trust government, pure deception.

  9. Did I plan on attending the budget workshop that was scheduled for July 27th? You mean to give the council members my entertainment services free, as a performing artist, Mama Mia, the Mime, for over six hours? No way, Dale.

  10. Wow, I listened so far to the end of the budget workshop meeting audio, July 26, 2016, and the city council had a vote to raise the millage rate, THEN the public comment was called for? OPPS, back up, …….in too big of a hurry to get her done, huh? I don’t go to Starbucks, either, too high priced, for my daily coffee needs, so I don’t relate at all, to Sue’s theory about comparing the Starbuck’s expenditures monthly, to the our proposed rising property taxes here in the city.

  11. Sue’s talk and research she did last year about determining the average median household in Apopka means nothing to me, as I don’t live in an average median value home. Most of the other homeowners in Apopka aren’t in that range either, as they are higher or lower, in value. The argument is useless. Remember, we as homeowners, who pay the property taxes in this town, all pay the same rate, it is whether your home is more valuable, or less valuable, that determines what you pay on your tax bill. I am talking about the homes, and not other property that is not applicable to the homestead exception. Plus whatever break you are given by the property appraiser, such as widow, blind, etc. deducted from your tax bill.

  12. Oh if I were rich, I would go live down around Holmes Beach on the west coast of Florida with the wonderful amenities, but would I go to somewhere like say Bithlo, and expect the same amenities of the Holmes Beach area? No. People that want high brow amenities and can afford them, should move to high-brow areas, rather than try to force their wants onto others who cannot afford such luxuries.

  13. Why can’t the city cut out the skate park and splash pad and take some of that money and buy a new school bus to use for the kids program or senior citizens trips? Put the rest of the money back. Is that allowed? It isn’t something that is truly needed, just desired. The kids at the new splash pad in Eustis are falling and slipping……….and the skate park will be a major liability if someone there gets hurt badly here. Could buy an additional garbage truck or two also, even though the additional one dollar per month, per customer was already tacked on to the garbage bills for that, purpose.

  14. I listened to the entire audio of Wednesday’s budget workshop. Now let’s get real here. The department heads put in everything they can possibly think of plus lots of wish lists. This drives up the total needed budget, but in no way is indicative of what actually will be allowed. It is a city council driven negotiation process. You always ask for more, but in reality settle for what is the true needs not wants. Otherwise the taxes would spiral out of control, then developers would not even want to come to your city, to build because a new home owner would inquire about the tax rates in the city, and it would not be a magnet to attract new home buyers. There is a reason Apopka’s tax base stays low, and it is a plus, not a negative, as some would have you believe. There is still plenty that can be cut out of this budget, and you all know it. Don’t be deceived. I think you all will work it out in the long run.

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