Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Indian Rocks Beach property tax rate won't change

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — The city will keep the property tax rate flat for the sixth consecutive year, but will need to dip into reserve funds to fill a budget gap.

Despite a 4.3 percent increase in property values, the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 is slightly smaller than the current year's budget: $3.08 million compared to $3.20 million.

Over the last four years the city's general revenue and reserve funds had been bolstered by debt repayments from an intracity loan to the sewer and solid waste utilities. Rates were then adjusted to better reflect the operating cost of the services.

Over the last four years, the repayments added more than $1.2 million to the city's general revenue with the majority filtering into the reserve fund. The last of those payments was made this year, leaving a budget shortfall.

In order to balance the 2014 budget, the city plans to draw approximately $169,000 from the city's reserve account.

Former City Manager Chuck Coward said he believed the city could maintain services and staffing levels by relying on the reserve fund until property values increase further. Finance staffers expect this to take three years, leaving more than $1 million in reserves. The reserve fund by the end of this fiscal year is expected to be slightly less than $2 million.

In a letter to the commission, Coward called it a "very doable three-year plan to return to full financial health and complete a nice recovery from the days of 2008."

In the fiscal year starting in 2006, the city's taxable assessed value hit a high of $1.2 billion. It bottomed out at $743 million in 2012. As property values rapidly increased as much as 30 percent in one year during the real estate bubble, the city reduced the property tax rate to a low of $1.47 per $1,000 of assessed, taxable property value in 2006. It was increased to $2 in the fiscal year starting in 2008 where it has remained since.

After setting the tentative rate, the city can lower, but not raise, the rate prior to final approval in September.

Comments
Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Q: I strongly suspect that my boss is stealing from our employer. As the property manager for this apartment complex, she handles all payments, deposits and other financial matters.A few weeks ago, I accidentally discovered some suspicious discrepanc...
Updated: 1 hour ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG ó A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nationís first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nationís first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Updated: 2 hours ago
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG ó Teamwork wins games, they say. And basketball can bridge gaps.Thatís what makes the Facebook video of three St. Petersburg police officers playing a game of pickup in the street against three kids so compelling. The officers, who wer...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA ó The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

PORT RICHEY ó The casino boat operator whose shuttle caught fire Sunday, leaving one passenger dead, says it does not know what could have caused the blaze.But federal records show the company, now called Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, had another boat...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Did everyone enjoy the cool, sunny weather? Because itís over now.Itís about to get very chilly, Tampa Bay. A rush of arctic air is headed our way, bringing another cold spell. Daytime temperatures will be in the low 60s on Wednesday, but overnight t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Jackpot winner and Florida man Shane Missler wants to leave behind a legacy with his winnings.But he wonít be doing that by doling out cash to Twitter followers.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpotAn account cunningl...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

TAMPA ó Hillsborough County officials fired a Fire Rescue medic Tuesday after an internal investigation concluded he had "unwavering loyalty" to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club ó the stateís dominant biker gang.Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton is th...
Updated: 4 hours ago