Pinellas Park Council talks property tax rate, money to charity during budget workshop
Council members gave the nod toward a lower property tax rate and increased donations to nonprofit organizations during a city budget workshop Tuesday night.
The proposed budget suggests a property tax rate of $5.49 for every $1,000 of assessed, taxable value. That means the owner of a home valued at $150,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $549 in city taxes. This year’s rate is about $5.59 for every $1,000 of assessed, taxable value.
The lower rate plus a 6.4 percent increase in city property values will bring in an additional $445,000 to balance the general fund, which covers the revenues and expenditures for most city departments.
The proposed budget also includes a 3.25 percent raise for nonunion employees and no increase in health insurance premiums until April 1, when they will go up by 15 percent.
Council member Ed Taylor expressed concern about increases in wastewater treatment and water rates but recognized they're pass-throughs from Pinellas County. Residents should expect a wastewater treatment rate of about $4.26 per thousand gallons of wastewater, or a one percent increase from this year. The water rate is also anticipated to increase from $7.04 to $7.11 per thousand gallons.
During a discussion about which community organizations to give money to, council member Patti Johnson requested the city donate more to Vincent House, an organization based in Pinellas Park that serves people with mental illnesses.
“Vincent House is ours. It’s here. It works for us,” she said.
The council decided to up the donation from $10,000 to $15,000. Other organizations included in the list are the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast and the Pinellas Park Historical Society.
The donations account for about $267,000, or half a percent, of the city’s general fund budget.
The city will hold two public meetings regarding the budget on Sept. 8 and Sept. 22, both at 7:30 p.m. at city hall.