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Hillsborough County budget passes without rebates

TAMPA — Hillsborough County residents will not get a tax rebate this year.

Attorneys told County Commissioner Jim Norman that his proposal to send savings from cheaper-than-expected road building projects back to residents can't be done. So commissioners voted Thursday to ask the Legislature to give them the means to offer rebates in the future.

But county commissioners did approve a slight tax rate cut in passing their budget for next year.

How slight? A homeowner whose house is valued at $250,000 who claims a $50,000 homestead exemption will save about $10, provided the value of that home has stayed about the same.

In a series of unanimous votes, commissioners passed a roughly $4-billion budget, about the same as last year's. They lowered the millage to 10.7630 mills for residents of unincorporated Hillsborough, down from 10.8147 mills last year.

One mill equals a dollar in tax on each $1,000 of taxable property value.

The vote affects only that portion of your tax bill that pays for county government and doesn't include school district taxes or taxes paid by city residents.

It caps a year in which the county eliminated nearly 400 jobs, most by cutting vacant positions, but about 50 through layoffs. It was the second year in a row of job cutbacks, thanks to state- and voter-mandated property tax spending reductions.

Norman had proposed giving a property owners a rebate. But he wanted to do it with road-building savings. Roads are primarily built using sales and gas tax money, and attorneys said giving that savings back to property owners couldn't be done.

Hillsborough County budget passes without rebates 09/18/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 5:54pm]
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