DADE CITY — City commissioners approved a proposed 7.6082 millage rate for Dade City Tuesday night, an increase from the current rate of 7.10.
But commissioners can decrease that amount during the next few meetings until the 2008-09 budget is finalized. The proposed millage rate, a 7.2 percent increase, will be advertised and public hearings will be held based on that figure.
Commissioners said they didn't want to set the rate so high that it will hurt residents, but they also didn't want to hurt the city and city employees as well.
A 7.6082 millage rate equates to this: A mill produces $1 in tax for every $1,000 in taxable property value. If a person has a $150,000 house, minus the $25,000 homestead exemption, the homeowner would pay about $950 in city taxes.
Commissioners said that if the current rate is kept, the general fund would show a net decline of $143,000.
The longest discussion of the meeting was whether the Dade City Youth Council, partnered with the First Baptist Church, could run a Sunday soup kitchen — called Love One Another — out of the American Legion building, which is owned by the city.
The Youth Council wanted to use the facility for free or for a reduced rate. The building generally is rented for $50 an hour, and the soup kitchen would be open at least four hours each Sunday.
Commissioner Eunice Penix became weepy when talking of the people of Dade City who have nothing to eat.
"We should want to do good deeds and to be godly people," she said.
Commissioner Camille Hernandez said many residents don't want to get out of their comfort zone and don't realize how many people are in need. "They don't want to open their eyes," she said.
Mayor Scott Black acknowledged the idea's merit but said the commission shouldn't break its rule on how much to charge groups for renting the facility.
Allowing the group to use it for free would amount to a loss of about $13,000 a year — which would be hard to forfeit when the city is scraping every penny out of the budget. The commission agreed that the plan is a good one, but did not vote to give it financial support.
In other news, groups will be charged to use Main Street's stage, which the commission had been lending for free. At least two people and a crane are needed to put up and take down the stage. Now, groups wanting to use the stage will pay $150 for each trip to set up and take down.
Or, groups can haul materials in and set them up on their own for free.