Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills tax rate likely won't change

ZEPHYRHILLS — City officials are holding the line on the property tax rate for next year with a proposed budget that includes about a half-million dollars in spending cuts.

The City Council tentatively set the tax rate Monday night at 5.57 mills, or $5.57 of tax per $1,000 of taxable property, the same rate as this past year. In a memo to council members, City Manager Steve Spina wrote that rate will generate a little more than $3.48 million.

That's about $500,000 less than the same tax rate generated this past year, because property values have declined.

The proposed budget includes various spending cuts, including the elimination of vacant code inspector and museum curator positions, the reduction of overtime pay budgeted for the Police Department, and the elimination of four truck purchases for the parks and water and sewer departments.

Mayor Cliff McDuffie urged the council to adopt a higher tax rate now, because they could always lower it later. He said the council was being too cautious in keeping the rate the same.

"Nobody likes to raise taxes, nobody likes to talk about taxes, but we're obligated to do what's right for the community," McDuffie said.

Council president Jodi Wilkeson said she would rather raise fees than taxes, but she did not give specifics. She said the expectations of residents was for the tax rate to stay the same.

Council members Lance Smith and Kenneth Compton agreed with Wilkeson.

Council member Luis Lopez said he would rather see a slight increase to a 5.7 millage rate, or $5.70 of tax for every $1,000 in taxable property. For a home valued at $136,000, that would mean an $11 increase in property taxes for the year.

Lopez argued that higher fees could end up costing taxpayers more in the long run. Council member Manny Funes agreed.

The council will have a couple of budget hearings before voting on the final tax rate. The budget year begins Oct. 1.

In other news, the council ranked Collman & Karsky as the top architectural firm to work on the flood-damaged fire station downtown.

Collman's plans include replacing the north side doors with a wall to keep water from seeping in, and other upgrades so the building will be able to survive a Category 3 hurricane. The team plans to complete the project by May 2010.

The council also approved a license for Gerald Rubino to sell hot dogs, soft drinks, and chips at the Times Square Park downtown. Rubino plans to sell the refreshments from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday. Rubino said he is starting the venture after retiring from car sales.

Lopez said the cart might bring more people to the park.

"I have noticed it attracts people to a location if it's done professionally," Lopez said. "I think it's a good idea."

Zephyrhills tax rate likely won't change 07/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 7:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun


    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive


    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.