City Adopts New Budget With Slight Tax Cut, $89M Five-Year CIP


Last updated 9/10/2021 at 11:54am

The Lake Wales City Commission voted Wednesday evening to adopt a $68,780 budget based upon the "roll-back" property tax rate. The move continues a slow trend toward lower property taxes in recent years.

Property tax receipts are expected to increase by $240,613 due to growth within the city limits. Several other funds are also expected to grow significantly from 2020, including sales and use taxes, which will jump by $355,200 on the back of increased economic activity.

Licenses and permit fees are expected to increase by $30,000 due primarily to a significant housing construction boom within the city. The new budget provides for the hiring of an additional Senior Planner to help handle the demand.

Intergovernmental receipts are expected to rise by $146,000, "mainly due to the local ½ cent sales tax," according to the budget memo prepared by the City's Finance Department. That tax is a county-imposed tax that must be shared with municipalities.

The new budget will fund all City operations from October 1 through September 2022.

The new millage rate of 6.7697 is the lowest since the City encountered a financial crisis more than a decade ago. Those deficits have swelled into reserves exceeding the recommended 20% in recent years.

The Commission also adopted a new five-year Capital Improvement Program that outlines $89,200,072 in expected expenditures. It includes $275,000 in land acquisition, $4,613,981 in building improvements/acquisitions, $67,968,768 in infrastructure and recreation improvements, $10,612,000 in equipment acquisition, and $5,730,323 in other capital outlay.

According to the City's Finance Department, funding of the CIP will be achieved "through utilization of existing cash surpluses and current year operating revenues, future grants, private contributions, leases/debt service issuances, and impact fees.

Growth related improvements will be funded by impact fees."


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