SAFETY HARBOR — City officials are proposing a higher property tax rate next year, which would bump the budget up and include money for economic development and for the second phase of Waterfront Park.
That proposed rate of $4.20 per $1,000 of assessed, taxable property value is the highest in at least nine years. According to City Manager Matt Spoor, it is still the lowest of the cities in North Pinellas. That means the owner of a home valued at $100,000 after exemptions would pay $420 in city taxes. Even if the rate remains the same, most people will see higher tax bills due to increasing property values.
The City Commission could still lower the rate after two public hearings before next year's rate is finalized.
The proposed budget is for about $71.8 million, 18 percent larger than this year's budget.
Here are some of the proposed new expenditures:
•$400,000 for the second phase of the Waterfront Park project, along the shoreline of Old Tampa Bay from the city marina to Mullet Creek and directly behind Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. The money will be used for new restrooms, parking spaces and potential boat slips and launches. For Phase One, started more than a year ago, the city spent $1.5-million.
•$100,000 for economic development. In the coming weeks, city commissioners will meet to determine how the city should move forward on its effort to bring in new businesses. Two ideas discussed by the commission include adding a community development director and providing financial incentives to new businesses. After the scheduled commission meeting on Monday, a community redevelopment workshop will be held.
•$50,000 for improvements to the $2.7 million Clearwater Countryside Sports Complex. In the next seven years, the city has agreed to provide Clearwater with a total of $350,000 in funding. This will be the first installment. In return, for the next 30 years, Safety Harbor youths will be able to utilize any Clearwater athletic field at the same rate as a Clearwater resident.
Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.