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Local Government Bradenton City Council Votes to Propose Higher Millage Rate for 2013


BRADENTON -- On Wednesday the Bradenton City Council received its annual budget presentation. The council voted 4-0 to propose a property millage rate that would increase property taxes for 2013 by setting the millage at the rollback rate. They then voted 4-0 on a motion to set meetings for the proposal on the dates of September 5 and September 12. Councilman Bemis Smith was absent from Wednesday's meeting.

During the presentation, City Clerk Carl Callahan discussed a graph showing the taxable property values from 1993 to the current fiscal year. Callahan stated that the city's current taxable value for 2012 is roughly $2,470,000 -- a 3.4 percent decline from last year's value. The graph showed that the decline in the past two years was less steep than the drop during 2007 to 2010. Callahan said that the city is getting closer and closer to having its property value increasing, which would be a welcome reversal, after 5 years in which the city has experienced a decline in taxable property values. Callahan cautioned against too much optimism, however, saying he was doubtful that the city will soon see the kind of revenue increases that it saw in the early part of the last decade.


Councilman Gene Gallo asked Callahan if he was looking for a motion on the millage rate at the meeting. Callahan advised that the millage rate cannot be increased easily, and that many notifications were required in order for that to happen. He explained that the "rollback rate" is the rate that would allow the city to bring in the same revenue as they did before values dropped. If values rose, the rollback rate would creep down to maintain that same level of revenues.


Councilman Harold Byrd spoke up to make a motion that they propose a millage rate. The millage rate proposed for the rollback was 5.4356. The final number for the millage rate will be voted on in meetings later in the year. The Council voted 4-0, with Councilman Smith absent.

Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey then motioned for setting the meeting dates to discuss the millage rate proposal for September 5 and 12. The Council voted 4-0 (Smith absent) approving the motion. Councilman Patrick Roff asked if the meetings are required by the state to take place after 5 p.m., as the Council was criticized before for having meetings at the dinner hour. Callahan confirmed that the state does require that the meetings take place after 5.

Speaking on the phone later in the day, Mr. Callahan advised that the city has traditionally proposed to set the property tax rate to the rollback rate, and that public workshops may be set up before September's final vote on what the millage rate will be.


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