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Zephyrhills tax revenue, impact fees declining

ZEPHYRHILLS — The city's tax revenue is down across the board.

So are impact fees, with one notable exception: Zephyrhills has collected $215,000 more than expected this year for transportation improvements.

City Manager Steve Spina told City Council on Monday evening that the budget remains balanced for this year because the original budget was conservative. But if revenues keep dropping, he said, the situation may soon turn dire.

"When you look at all the negative figures, it's scary," Spina said.

Council President Jodi Wilkeson said the city would have to create a way to educate residents on the cost of public services.

"If, in fact, cuts are required, we have to spell it out for our residents on the impact those cuts would have," Wilkeson said.

Wilkeson also said it was important to present residents with options, including an increase in taxes, so they could have a voice in the decision.

In other news Monday, Spina presented the findings of the city's satisfaction survey, conducted by students at the University of South Florida.

The survey touched on several topics, including the possibility of moving city elections from April to November, to coincide with the general election. About 73 percent of the respondents liked that idea.

Wilkeson said the city should look into the procedure for making that change, due to respondents' interest in that issue. She said there have been reservations about the move in the past.

She said a lot of people she had talked to "specifically mentioned the voting days, that the municipal election may lose significance if it's lumped in with the national election," Wilkeson said.

Council member Kenneth Compton said he was interested in seeing the issue move forward.

"With two-thirds of the city supporting that decision, I would like us to start taking a step in that direction," Compton said.

In other matters:

• The City Council canceled the May 25 council meeting, because it falls on Memorial Day. The next meeting will be June 8.

• The children's section of the Zephyrhills library was renamed the Kathleen Burnside Children's Library. Burnside, the city's library and museum services director, is retiring after 33 years of service.

"I'm starting a new chapter of my life," Burnside said. "I'm going to have fun and not have to set my alarm clock."

Zephyrhills tax revenue, impact fees declining 05/11/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 8:55pm]
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