Thursday, September 4, 2008

What is Millage? Why the Budget is so important!

Each property owners’ ad valorem property taxes are determined by the millage multiplied by the appraised taxable value. This equals the property tax revenue part of the budget.

To determine the millage rate, you divide the "A" – the portion of the budget to be funded by tax dollars – by the second number, "B"-- the net tax digest. The product of this equation is "C," the millage rate.

A divided by B equals C

One "mill" represents one dollar of tax on every thousand dollars of taxable property value.

Actually, the product is the tax on each dollar of taxable value. To determine the tax rate on every $1,000 of taxable value, multiply by 1,000 or just move the decimal point to the right three spaces.

But a tax hike might not prove popular, and could mean political suicide for the local politicians who back it. The alternative will be cuts to services and personnel.

For example, the city council is thinking of cutting important services like the Mayport Corridor Program (Dale Hatfield, Det. Swims and Cassidy). This would be a mistake because the program with the help of the other city staff has proven its success in the short time that it has been active. They are also looking into cutting crossing guards at school crossings, and other important jobs that are currently implemented in the cities organization.

Times are tough and it will be a tough balancing act for the City Of Atlantic Beach. It is very important that us residents watch our commissioners very carefully, and let them know our concerns with the budget. While they are thinking about cutting positions and making the city employees pay more for benefits, they are also going to consider adding the new position of Assistant City Manager at $109,000 a year plus benefits.

It might not be the best time to create a position in the city. Property values are dropping, inflation is higher, people are suffering foreclosures. Insurance rates are higher due to disasters. Energy and transportation are up. The major issue is the that the local govt. is not running like a business. When business is tough, business people make tough decisions. Some of those decisions are hard on people and families. Business owners do not hire or create new positions during hard times, they make cuts and require employees to work other positions or they do layoffs.

With this being said it is very important that we send our letters and concerns to the commissioners and Mayor about the budget. The meeting is at 2:00 PM today in the commissioners chambers and is open to the public. It is a difficult time to meet but if possible send someone in your place. If you do attend please email what was discussed and I will make an effort to post your overview on the blog.

No comments: