Zephyrhills property owners will have to wait a bit longer before finding out the property tax rate for fiscal year 2020-2021.
The Zephyrhills City Council tabled setting a tentative millage rate, until information on projected revenue streams is provided from the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research (EDR).
The consensus decision came during a July 13 regular council meeting.
A memo from city staff recommended setting the tentative millage rate at 6.35 — the rate the city has maintained for several years.
However, Zephyrhills City Manager Billy Poe advised council members to hold off on a decision until more concrete projections are available from the EDR on various revenue sources, including communications services tax, Penny for Pasco, local government half-cent sales tax, local option fuel tax and the municipal revenue sharing program.
Once the council adopts a proposed millage rate, it can be decreased but cannot be increased unless the city mails a notice to each taxpayer.
Poe told the council he’s “pretty positive” the city won’t need to set a millage rate higher than 6.35. But, the city manager warned: “With everything that’s going on, we don’t want to have to set the millage rate too low, if we have to increase.”
A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 worth of a property’s assessed value.
In Zephyrhills, maintaining a rate of 6.35 mills would levy about $5.32 million in property taxes — a revenue increase of almost $380,000, compared to last year, according to the memo.
The figures are based on the total city’s property value of nearly $838 million, an increase of $63.8 million over last year; $28.7 million of that increase is attributable to new construction.
Reports from the EDR are expected in time for the July 27 council meeting, Poe said.
Once the city sets a tentative millage rate, the council will conduct two public hearings in September before adopting a final rate.
The delay in receiving EDR reports won’t have an impact on budget preparations, Poe said, noting that various department heads have been in such discussions.
With that, the city manager outlined considerations and projects that likely will need to be factored into the city’s next budget. Those include:
- 911 Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) agreement with Pasco County
- Funding for the East Pasco Family YMCA
- Payouts for all city fire rescue personnel, as part of a merger with Pasco Fire Rescue
- Funding for a business/job incentive program, in conjunction with the county
- Increased wages for Zephyrhills Police Department officers — negotiated last year through its police union
- Life Scan Physical program for police department
- Stormwater Master Plan funding
- Retirement payouts
- Simons Road Phase II design
- Installing a crosswalk between the subdivisions connecting Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center and Silverado Golf & Country Club, on the east side of Simons Road
- Increased animal control costs
- Increased retirement costs
- Trail System Master Plan funding
- Sidewalk improvements within the city’s Community Redevelopment Area (CRA)
- County Road 54 improvement costs
- Agenda software upgrades
- Renovations to the Hercules Park property
Published July 22, 2020