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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is it fuzzy math or does it make sense?



In Clearwater, a higher millage rate is going to mean lower city taxes.

In his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, City Manager Bill Horne wants to increase the tax rate from 4.6777 mills to 4.955 mills. But Horne says most residents will end up paying less in city taxes next year than they will this year.

Here's how. Last year, a Clearwater homeowner with a house that’s taxable value is $150,000 - the city’s average - paid $701 in city taxes. However, taking into account Amendment 1, which created an additional homestead exemption of $25,000, and an estimated 3 percent increase under the Save Our Homes cap, that person would pay approximately $638 on their next tax bill.

This proposed rate is still less than the so-called the rollback rate, which is the amount taxpayers paid the city the previous year. The current rate of 4.6777 mills brings in total proceeds of $50.1-million in the current budget. Horne’s proposal of 4.955 mills will bring in $48.5-million for the upcoming year. This amount also reflects receipts from new construction.

One mill is equal to $1 of tax for each $1,000 of taxable property.

City Council members will pick through the budget on Monday.

- Mike Donila, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:30am]


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