By JOE POTTER
Two cities in eastern Pasco County both face property tax increases this year if ways can’t be found to trim their budgets for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Zephyrhills and Dade City officials have notified the Pasco County Property Appraiser’s Office of increased proposed millage rates.
The Property Appraiser uses the rates the cities and other taxing authorities provide to prepare the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices that will be mailed to property owners Aug. 23.
Zephyrhills is considering using a rolled back rate of 6.1437 mills.
A mill equals $1 per $1,000 of taxable value. Zephyrhills’ millage rate for the current fiscal year – ending Sept. 30 – is 5.57. The proposed rate would be an increase of 57 cents per $1,000 in taxable value, so a person paying taxes on a $100,000 property would face a $57 tax hike.
A rolled back rate is defined as that millage rate which provides the same ad valorem tax revenue for each taxing authority as was levied during the previous year.
The millage rate has not been increased in Zephyrhills for several years.
Dade City officials notified the Property Appraiser’s Office the city’s millage rate could be as high as 7.635 compared to the current rate of 7.1. Dade City City Clerk Jim Class said Dade City’s proposed maximum rate is lower than a rolled back rate.
Zephyrhills or Dade City may lower the proposed rates they have reported to the Property Appraiser’s Office. However, if either city needs to raise its millage rates, every affected property owner would need to be individually notified by mail.
Zephyrhills City Manager Steve Spina has prepared a budget report that is scheduled be presented at the Monday, Aug. 9, City Council meeting.
The report says the city has been able to realize some savings in the past two weeks in the amount it will have to pay for health insurance, animal control services and other budget items. The report also recommends using some of the “rainy day” fund Zephyrhills has from its sale of a city-owned nursing home several years ago.
Also, the elimination of three city staff positions is being considered.
If all these steps are taken, the millage rate could likely be reduced from 6.1437 to 5.999, Spina’s report said.
Meanwhile, Jim Class, Dade City’s Clerk, said City Commissioners have instructed staff to try and find ways to keep the millage rate at 7.1.
Both Zephyrhills and Dade City will hold public hearings in September before adopting their budgets.
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