Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo's tax rate could go up, but tax bills would go down

LARGO — City property owners may see a tax rate increase next year.

Three commissioners — Mayor Pat Gerard, Vice Mayor Harriet Crozier and Commissioner Gigi Arntzen — were leaning in that direction at budget talks last week.

Last month, a commission majority approved a preliminary tax rate of $3.84 for every $1,000 of taxable assessed value. That would bring in about $15.8-million. That's close to the money generated by this year's tax rate of $3.65 for every $1,000.

But next year, if the city were to keep the same rate, revenues would drop by about $1-million, largely because taxable property values have been reduced.

Largo's budget this year totals $133-million. Next year, a $143-million budget is proposed by city staff. City property taxes finance a portion of the total budget, often referred to as the general fund, which this year is about $61.5-million.

City operations will be squeezed in future years if the current tax rate is not increased, the staff said. The general fund would have to trim by about $5-million in fiscal years 2010 to 2013 if the current tax rate stays the same.

The higher rate of $3.84 would give the city $1.3-million more leeway in those years, staff said.

"I'd just like to see us give ourselves some breathing room," Gerard said on Thursday.

If the city doesn't think ahead, "a bunch of people or services are going to have to go," Crozier said.

But commissioners Rodney Woods and Mary Gray Black said they want to keep the current rate. Black, though, initially said she wanted to follow staff's recommendation, which called for the higher rate. Fellow commissioners reminded her that would be an increase. She then amended her stance, settling on the lower figure.

Even with a rate increase, the typical Largo homeowner would pay less in city taxes next year because of reductions in taxable value. For example, the owner of a home valued at $133,000, before a $25,000 homestead exemption, is paying $394 in city taxes this year. Next year, that homeowner's tax would be about $60 less.

Black and Woods also offered new proposals during budget talks.

Black suggested somehow merging the Community Center with the Cultural Center at Largo Central Park. The city is exploring relocating the Community Center at two other alternate sites.

Largo would have to renegotiate a contract with an architect if the city were to explore yet another site.

And Woods suggested putting off long-delayed plans to renovate the Highland Recreation Complex and instead use that money to rebuild and repair the city's sewer system, which needs a major overhaul.


Want to weigh in on city spending?

Public hearings on Largo's proposed budget are scheduled Sept. 11 and 23 at City Hall, 201 Highland Ave.

Largo's tax rate could go up, but tax bills would go down 08/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senate ponders health care bill it doesn't want to be law


    Buoyed by a signal from House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a pared-down health care bill late Thursday that he hoped would keep alive Republican ambitions to repeal Obamacare.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expressed concerns about passing the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare without assurances of further negotiations.
  2. Arrest made in shooting death of 19-year-old found in lot


    A 20-year-old Tampa man was arrested Thursday night for the shooting death of a 19-year-old whose body was discovered in a vacant lot on Tuesday.

  3. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the roster in a push for the playoffs. But the Rays didn't follow up in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge stands on the mound and can only watch as the Yankees’ Brett Gardner starts to circle the bases after his walkoff home run leading off the 11th inning.
  4. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda
  5. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard, left, the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.