GULFPORT — For the seventh year in a row, the city will not increase its property tax rate.
The City Council recently unanimously approved a tentative property tax rate of about $4.04 for each $1,000 of assessed, taxable value. A home valued at $100,000 after homestead exemptions would pay $404 in city property taxes.
A proposed constitutional amendment that will be on Florida’s general election ballot in November would expand the homestead exemption, resulting in some savings to homeowners while significantly reducing revenues to local governments.
If the expanded homestead exemption goes into effect, the projected direct annual revenue loss to the city beginning in 2020 is estimated to be $176,000, wrote City Manager James O’Reilly to council members last month.
Revenues will increase by an estimated $270,000 in 2019 by maintaining the current property tax rate due to an 8.25 percent increase in assessed property values, he wrote.
Council members also unanimously approved a $1 per month stormwater utility rate increase, to be effective the first full billing period after Sept. 30. The current monthly rate for single family and commercial customers is $3.95. Mobile home, duplex, school and other customers are included in the increase.
The list of proposed capital improvement projects in next year’s budget using Penny for Pinellas money includes approximately $500,000 for street, alley and sidewalk improvements; about $450,000 for police and fire vehicles and equipment; and $62,468 for beach playground shade sails.
Other projects include $25,000 for "the first improvements in over 20 years" to the sound and lighting at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater, said O’Reilly, and $25,000 for a feasibility study to determine the potential for funding the proposed renovation of the Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center.
Public hearings on the proposed property tax rate and budget are scheduled for Sept. 4 and Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.