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Dunedin to increase property tax rate

DUNEDIN — Residents can expect an increase in property tax rates when the 2016 city budget is passed in coming months.

After a long period of downsizing and leaning on reserves to help balance the budget, this is the second rate increase in 12 years. Dunedin has, for years, boasted the lowest property tax rate among comparable cities its size in Pinellas County, City Manager Rob DiSpirito said.

City commissioners are looking to increase the current property tax rate of about $3.73 per $1,000 of assessed, taxable property value to $4.13. So the owner of a home assessed at $150,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $413 in city taxes.

Total revenues for the proposed 2016 budget are projected to be about $72 million.

In addition to the anticipated property tax rate increase, the commissioners are also expected to green light two new city positions: A business development specialist and an IT division director.

"They're going to be there to help attract business and retain business, among other things," Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said.

There is a special emphasis with the implementation of the IT position, Bujalski added. With the introduction of this position, in addition to the oversight of staffers, the city hopes to implement software that would allow for online permitting and payment platforms.

"These kind of programming systems (are) just really out of date," she said. "We needed someone who is visionary … and keep us up to date with technology as we move forward."

Property owners can speak up at two public hearings at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 3 and Sept. 17, at City Hall.

Contact Michael Majchrowicz at (727) 445-4159 or mmajchrowicz@tampabay.com. Follow @mjmajchrowicz.

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