Heading into the budget season, the Islamorada Village Council set a preliminary mileage rate of 3,000 for the 2022-23 fiscal year at its July 14 meeting at the Founders Park Community Center.
Skyrocketing property values in the village could mean more tax revenue. But high fuel and material costs could mean more expense for the village. The podium will meet for two budget workshops next month to work out the details. The council will also have a new village manager, Ted Yates, who will start on August 1.
A proposed mileage rate of 3,000, unanimously approved by board members, represents an increase of 17.88% over the reduction rate of 2.5449. The reduced rate produces the same amount of tax dollars as the previous year, which saw the assessed value in the village at $4.2 billion. This year, property values have increased by $800 million to about $5 billion.
Last year, the board approved a spending plan of $17.9 million with a mileage rate of 3,000. The rate represents tax collections of $300 per $100,000 of assessed value. In the 2021-22 budget, a 3,000 mileage rate brought in $12.3 million in tax revenue. Maintaining this rate for the coming budget year would bring about $15 million to the village.
“Setting a higher rate gives the village council some leeway in determining its final adoption rate,” says a staff analysis provided on the dais.
Maria Bassett, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Village Manager, said the mileage rate of 3,000 is set for discussion purposes only and has no budgetary impact on residents and owners or Village operations for the moment. Budget discussions by the board at workshops in August will lead to a finalized mileage rate and budget for adoption.
The five members on the dais all agreed that a mileage rate of 3,000 was a good starting point.
“There is no benefit to us trying to jump from a lower rate to a higher rate if during the budget process we think or decide that we need the high rate,” adviser David Webb said. .
Budget workshops are scheduled for August 8 and 10 at 3 p.m. at the Founders Park Community Center. Budget hearings are set for September 8 and 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Founders Park Community Center.
Village council members approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for policing services from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 for $2.6 million. This is a 10% increase over the previous year, and this is due to staff costs and benefits and new vehicles patrolling the community.
The stage also approved an amendment to its agreement with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority for reimbursement of credit card charges incurred by Islamorada wastewater customers.
In March 2022, FKAA contacted the village to request an amendment to the 2015 agreement whereby the village would reimburse FKAA for credit card charges incurred for Islamorada wastewater customers. The FKAA explained that it does not wish to pass the charges on to customers using credit and debit cards for payment.
FKAA currently processes 4,986 wastewater customer bills for the village at a cost of $1.45 per bill each month. The total monthly payment to FKAA for billing services is approximately $7,300. Review of billing details indicates that FKAA is currently paying approximately $7,200 in credit card charges. The village’s payment to the FKAA for billing services would double each month starting October 1.
The FKAA would continue to bill village customers on behalf of the village, collect sewage charges from the village, and transfer collected sewage charges to the village.