The ProcessState law requires that cities have a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30; therefore, the adoption of the millage rate and budget for each new fiscal year takes place in September, at two separate public hearings.
State law also requires that property owners receive a mailed notice of the first of these two meetings, along with what is called the “interim” millage rate. In order to provide adequate time for the mailing of the notices, this year the interim millage rate must be adopted no later than August 4. To add a further complication to the process, state law also requires that the interim millage rate may be reduced later, at the adoption hearings… but it cannot be increased. Therefore, there may be a tendency among cities to adopt a higher interim millage rate and have the opportunity to reduce it at the adoption hearings. The untenable alternative is to set the interim rate too low and not have an opportunity to raise it upon adoption.
Millage RatesIn addition to the “interim” millage rate, there are several other rates that are calculated:
- The “rollback” rate is the rate that will provide the same amount of revenue that was produced last year;
- The “maximum” rate is the highest rate that can be adopted by a simple majority of the City Commission. The rate may be higher with a two-thirds vote.
- Current rate 7.3521
- Rollback rate 7.7459
- Maximum rate 7.3277
City Staff Recommendation for the Interim Millage RateCity staff is recommending that the City Commission adopt the rollback rate as the interim millage rate. The rollback rate is revenue neutral for the City, providing the same amount of revenue that was provided in the current year. If the Commission wishes, this rate can be reduced at final adoption.
Effect of the Fire Assessment FeeCity staff is also recommending adoption of the fire assessment fee and an equivalent reduction in the millage rate. The schedule for the timing of these actions is as follows:
- Second reading of the ordinance to establish the fire assessment fee ordinance August 4
- Final approval of the fire assessment fee rates September 2
- First public hearing of the millage rate (with the equivalent reduction in the millage rate allowing for the fire assessment fee revenue) and the budget September 3
- Second public hearing of the millage rate (with the equivalent reduction in the millage rate allowing for the fire assessment fee) and the budget September 16
ConclusionThe interim millage rate cannot be set assuming that the fire assessment fee and the proposed rates will be approved; therefore, the rollback rate is proposed for the tentative millage rate. If the Fire Assessment Fee and the proposed rates are approved, then City staff recommends a millage rate of 5.7157 be adopted – which is the maximum millage rate with the equivalent reduction provided by the approval of the Fire Assessment Fee and the proposed rate schedule. This would provide the revenue allocated in the proposed budget and reach the goal of significantly reducing the millage rate.