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Dade City budget feels the pinch

DADE CITY — Property values have dropped. State revenue sharing is down. An agreement that generated income is no more.

All that means Dade City is grappling with a $380,000 loss as it prepares its 2008-09 budget.

"It's been a few years since we've seen a decrease like that," said Jim Class, the city's finance director.

The loss shouldn't hit residents. The city doesn't plan to cut any services and hopes to keep its current millage rate at 7.10 mills.

A mill produces $1 in tax for every $1,000 in taxable property value. At 7.10 mills, a person whose home is assessed at $150,000, minus the $50,000 homestead exemption, would pay $710 in city taxes.

Earlier this month, commissioners hoped to lower the rate to 7.03 mills. That changed last week when the city got the news that it would receive $48,000 less from the state, on top of the $163,000 loss already predicted.

Another blow to the city's budget: the county no longer owes Dade City money for the former city fire station. In 2003, the county took over fire services for the city and agreed to pay $500,000 over five years to buy the station. The final $100,000 payment was received last fiscal year.

And on top of that, the taxable value of city property dropped more than $26-million.

To be sure, residents may not feel the loss, but city staff will.

"Almost every department budget is lower than it was this year," Class said. "Everybody made cuts."

Employees shouldn't expect raises. Five positions — four of which were vacant — were cut. Last month, Laura Beagles, the city's administrative services director, received the news that her position would be eliminated in September.

The first public hearing on the budget will be Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Dade City budget feels the pinch 08/29/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2008 7:00pm]

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