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By Chevon T. Baccus APR
Executive Editor 

Commissioners Meet May 14 to Discuss Budget Priorities


Last updated 5/15/2019 at 9:46am

Williamson Photography of Lake Wales

Lake Wales City Commission

The Lake Wales City Commission will meet Tuesday, May 14 to discuss priorities for the 2019-2020 budget. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the City Administration Building, after the commission meets at 5:30 p.m. serving as the city's Community Redevelopment Agency

According to the budget workshop agenda by Finance Director Dorothy Eklund, "as the City Commission begins the annual budget process, it is customary for the City Commission to first hold 'priority setting workshops' so that the Commissioners may discuss, as a governing board, their priorities relating to community level of service, special projects, and future capital outlay."

The meeting is open to the public, but not designed for citizen input.

To start the discussion, the commissioners were provided with a summary of the 2018-19 budget, which includes about $55 million in revenue and about $42 million in expenditures. They also were given information about the sources of revenue and a summary by department of Capital Improvement Plan projects for 2018-19.

Between now and when the new city budget takes effect on Oct. 1 the Commission will hold at least two budget workshops and two public hearings. Budget workshops are planned for July 9, Aug. 13 and tentatively on Aug. 27. The Polk property appraiser is expected to estimate of the city's taxable value by June 1 and certify the preliminary tax roll by July 1.

City commissioners at their July 16 meeting are expected to adopt an interim property tax millage rate, which they may lower at their first public hearing Sept. 10 or final public hearing Sept. 24. They must notify the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector of their final approved tax rate by Sept. 27.

Fearing a potential loss of state funds last budget year commissioners held to the prior year's rate of just over $7.04 per $1,000 of taxable property value. That meant someone with a home valued at $150,000 with a $25,000 exemption paid $880 in city property taxes for the 2018-19 budget year.

At least two commissioners have indicated they would like to consider lowering the burden this year, possibly to the "rollback rate," which is the rate that would generate the same amount of revenue as the prior year. According to the budget information provided to commissioners, ad valorem property taxes account for about 27 percent of the income for the general fund and less than 13 percent of all funds combined. The city also generates revenue through sales and use taxes, licenses and permits, special assessments, fines and forfeitures and other fees.

Author Bio

Chevon T. Baccus APR, Contributing Writer

After working as a newspaper reporter and editor for eight years, Chevon moved on to a long career in public relations, marketing and business development. After 2 1/2 years as founding publisher of she's happy to still be an occasional contributor.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 8636511065


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