Dunedin approves property tax rate increase
As expected, Dunedin city commissioners on Thursday night approved the 2014 city budget and a property tax rate increase by a 3-1 vote. Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski voted no and Mayor Dave Eggers was absent due to a death in his family.
The $72.5 million budget includes a 10 percent increase in the city property tax rate, from 3.3817 mills to 3.7345. A resident who paid $338 this year will pay $373 next year.
Patricia Emrick of Patricia Avenue was the only resident who spoke during Thursday's public hearing. She said the city's ability to set aside excess risk safety fund reserves for "non-essential" expenditures like an expansion at the Dunedin Fine Art Center made her question the need for the tax rate jump.
Commissioners Ron Barnette, Julie Scales and Heather Gracy said the increase was necessary to maintain the city's level of public services.
Bujalski and Eggers have said they wanted to hold off at least a year to give the economy time to improve and the city's new finance director time to study alternatives.