City Council caps tax rate for next year | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA


TOWN OF SANIBEL

Sanibel City Council reviewed the city’s proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year and approved an interim operating mileage rate of 1.9750 — higher than the current rate — at its recent meeting.

On July 19, the council voted 4 to 1 on a resolution to advise the Lee County real estate appraiser of the proposed mileage rate, along with a reduction rate of 1.6792 and a proposed overall mileage rate of 2.1523. It included mileage taken of 0.0858 for sewer voted debt service and 0.0915 for recreation center voted debt service. Excluding the voted levies for debt service, the proposed overall levies levied are approximately $12,556,302.

The operating mileage rate may be lowered but not increased as part of the upcoming budget process.

Prior to the board discussion and vote, Chief Financial Officer Steve Chaipel provided an overview of the draft budget as it was prepared using an operating mileage rate of 1.8922 – the current 2021 rate – 22. He also provided comparisons using the canceled rate of 1.6792 and a higher rate of 1.9750 for review.

“They each show city funds at very high levels,” Chaipel said of the three rates.

The proposed budget for next year is $83,265,755 and includes the General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, Capital Projects Funds, Enterprise Funds, Interfund Transfers, Reserves and opening fund balances.

He explained that the reduced rate would yield the same tax dollars and noted the decrease in closing fund balances with reserves, while expenses remain constant. By comparison, the rate of 1.9750 would provide an additional $500,000 to the general fund – which translates to a net amount of approximately $134,000 – to begin restoring the cuts that were used to balance the budget over the past few years. last years.

Chaipel reported the property value to be around $6.35 billion, which is used to fix the mileage.

“Which is again an all-time record for Sanibel,” he said.

Chaipel added that the rate may be refined over the next few months as part of the budget process.

“The mileage rate at this point may drop. It simply cannot be increased,” he said of the provisional exploitation rate. “This is the maximum mileage rate the board is willing to accept for discussion purposes.”

In the ensuing discussion, many on the dais pointed out that the draft budget did not take into account salary increases still under discussion, while some expressed concern about the level of reservations. Staff were asked about the average tax increase per household when using the 1.8922 rate versus the 1.9750 rate.

Chaipel and City Manager Dana Souza said it would be a $162 increase for a property estimated to have an average value of $758,928 and would be around $231 with the highest rate. .

Board member John Henshaw shared his thoughts on the higher rate of 1.9750, explaining that he doesn’t think 17% is enough for reserves and the board can backtrack in September.

“I wish I could analyze it” he said. “We can always bring it down, but we can’t bring it back up.”

Council member Dr. Scott Crater echoed that sentiment.

“We want to give ourselves the leeway” he said, adding that if the council did not reduce certain areas, it could eat away at reserves. “Also, we don’t know what our labor budget will be.”

Council member Mike Miller didn’t think it was necessary to go higher, but didn’t mind.

Vice Mayor Richard Johnson expressed his agreement.

“This is the number that we cannot exceed. We can always go down”, he said, adding that they still have to go through the budget, the debt of which falls on the books, but the final labor costs are unknown.

An early motion to approve the maximum operating mileage rate at 1.8922, which allowed the board to engage in discussion, failed on a 1-4 vote; Mayor Holly Smith voted in favor.

A second motion to set the rate at 1.9750 passed 4 to 1; Smith was the only dissenter.

A third motion to approve a resolution with the set rate passed 4-1; Smith again dissented.

A workshop will be held for the board to review the proposed budget.

The first budget hearing is set for September 12 at 5:01 p.m., the second and last on September 28.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The board voted 5-0 to approve an 8.77% increase in its solid waste management contract with Waste Management as part of a one-year extension. The company requested a rate increase of 12.48%.

– Council voted 5-0 on the annual assessment to fund the collection and disposal of solid waste, recyclables and horticultural waste for 2022-23, and held a public hearing to consider its adoption. It also voted 5-0 on a solid waste rate structure, established solid waste, recyclables and horticultural waste rates for the city’s residential, commercial and multi-family properties, and approved a franchise fee. for solid waste and a surcharge for the disposal of solid waste.

– The board directed staff to continue with a proposed one-year pilot program at the Sanibel boat launch, including increasing daily fees from $20 to $40, increasing fees for violations of parking from $150 to $250 and limiting parking on weekends and holidays to AC and BC Parking Permits, with no collection of fees. Staff offered to provide the board with program updates at six and ten months.

–Council voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance amending Sanibel’s sign code to establish content-neutral sign regulations. A few minimal revisions were approved upon adoption.

–Council held its first reading of an ordinance amending Sanibel’s code relating to the prohibition of non-human powered vehicles on the beach or dune system. The second reading is scheduled for August 16.

– Council discussed smoking on beaches and in parks. A motion to order the city attorney to prepare a draft ordinance prohibiting this in the context of litter and second-hand smoke failed 2-3.

–Council discussed the operation of low-speed vehicles in the city, with particular emphasis on the Sanibel-Captiva highway, and debated whether to ask staff to write an order prohibiting them. No action was taken from the dais on this. However, he asked staff to consider how to improve safety on the San-Cap road and to follow up on five proposals raised by Henshaw: limiting the speed limit to 30 mph, stopping low-speed vehicles not permitted, explore widening the road to provide a shoulder. or cycle lanes or areas where vehicles can stop, increase rental instructions and increase signage on the road split.

– Council discussed the recent digging of deep holes on city beaches and debated whether to ask staff to write an order prohibiting such activity. No action was taken from the dais on this.

– The board voted 5-0 to approve the summary of the vision statement, mission statement and core values, with a change of “Sanibel Cares” at “Sanibel Values” within the framework of core values, as proposed by staff for Sanibel’s strategic plan. He voted 5-0 to approve the proposed strategic goals, with a change in the language of the term “housing below market price” at “affordable housing.”

– The Lee County Sheriff’s Office provided an update on its Sanibel Causeway operations.

Law Enforcement Bureau Chief James Rankine and West District Captain Tim Lalo said that since the city’s request for additional support, the LCSO is working with Lee County Park Wardens, signage has been installed and four to two additional deputies were assigned. for weekend patrols.

On the weekends of May 21 and 30, MPs issued 119 open container warnings, 29 parking warnings and five loud music warnings. On the 4th of July weekend, they issued seven open container warnings and 30 loud music warnings. The park service has since committed to funding two LCSO assistants per weekend.

–The council presented a proclamation recognizing Sanibel Building Manager Harold Law for his July 1 retirement. the structural safety inspector program which is activated in the event of an emergency. Law is a past president of the Building Officials Association of Florida and has been recognized by the Association as a Building Official of the Year on several occasions.

– The Board recognized Jocelyn Upchurch, Director of Accounting Operations, for having obtained the Certified Government Finance Officer designation from the Florida Government Finance Officer’s Association.


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