City Budget Talks

City of Tallahassee commissioners and staff spent their morning going through the proposed fiscal year budget. In the proposed budget, the city manager wants to see a cut in property tax.

The budget will be finalized on September 22 and goes into effect October 1. Between now and then there's a lot to be worked out to make those numbers add up.

The City of Tallahassee has more than $500 million to allocate in its 2005 fiscal year budget. Many departments will be getting a piece of the pie, but at the latest budget hearing the commission and staff agreed there are still some unknown variables stopping the numbers all add up.

Allan Katz of the City of Tallahassee Commission says, "The real issue we have to figure out is how much is going to be available for us to spend and what programs do citizens want and what tax levels needs to be to sustain them."

City manager Anita Favors purposed a rollback in the millage rate, but the commission has tentatively voted against it.

Debbie Lightsey of the City of Tallahassee Commission says, "We're not comfortable yet with a rollback on the millage rate because we have some unknown numbers floating around out there that could be millions of dollars."

City Manager Anita Favors says, "We're negotiating the contract with the police. We're also looking into employee pensions and health care cost."

"We would like to reduce the property tax for the citizens. I think we can do it in the end, but we're going to have to make some tough decisions. I'm ready to do that and I think my fellow commissioners are ready to that as well," adds Allan Katz.

Commissioners Lightsey and Katz both say the commission will look closely at the personnel costs. Commissioner Katz says that he's not expecting any jobs to be cut, but some probably won't be filled and some programs won't be available.

Since this budget isn't in stone just quite yet, citizens still have a chance to voice their suggestions and are actually encouraged to attend the last two public meetings on September 8 and 22, both at 6:00.