How Much Should It Cost To Live In Tallahassee?

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By James Buechele
July 10, 2013

UPDATE 10:43 p.m.

Tallahassee, FL - The city commission voted unanimously to keep the millage rate at 3.7 Wednesday evening. But leaders say there's still some difficult choices ahead of the budget.

"We're falling into a hole and we will have to make some changes, very, very soon," said city manager Anita Favors.

Despite facing a deficit of $5 million, the city commissioners voted to keep the millage rate the same. A move that many in the audience were happy to see.

With property taxes staying the same, the chance for an expanded budget is non-existent.

"This sort of puts us back at last year's base budget with little to no increases or expansion on the levels of service," said commissioner Andrew Gillum.

The city is holding out hope for a recently passed five cent gas tax by Leon County. If approved in September, the city could split about $4 million with the county to pay only a portion of the debt which also covers StarMetro costs.

If the gas tax doesn't go through, the city would have to look at making millions in budget cuts.

"We're saying we're going to have to, if we don't get this gas tax thing, we're going to be in a big hole," said Mayor John Marks.

The city wouldn't discuss any proposals as to how it would make up the remaining portion of its deficit. Leaders plan to hold two public meetings in September to discuss budgetary concerns. Both meetings will be at 6 p.m. on September 11 and 25 in the commission chambers.

By Matt Galka
July 10, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Is it going to cost more to live in Tallahassee? Some proposals point to "yes."

The budgeting processes of both the city and county have potential tax increases.

Earlier this week the Leon County Commission approved a 5 cents per gallon gas tax for their fiscal year budget. Tonight, the city commission is voting on a potential property tax increase. Right now we're talking dollars and cents, but, as we know, that starts to add up...

"Would you want to pay 5 cents more for gas?"

"No, why would anyone want to do that, maybe if it was a dollar for gas I'd consider it."

"No. that's the reason I didn't go to the BP down the street because it's 8 cents more."

It's not exactly "Read my lips, no new taxes," but folks filling up aren't exactly thrilled about a potential 5 cent gas tax, most recently approved in the Leon County budget this past week.

Scott Maddox, Tallahassee City Commissioner: "Well that's up to the county commission, only the Leon county commission can levy that tax so that's up to their deliberations."

The tax would be split 50-50 between city and county. That's about 2 million bucks to each, which would go towards infrastructure maintenance and repair. City commissioners say this is up to the county, but county commissioners have a different opinion. They thought the tax was dead a couple of months ago.

Bryan Desloge, Leon County Commissioner: "The city had originally said they didn't want to go down this path and we split the fee with them, they have since reconsidered maybe they realized they're in a bigger hole than they thought."

The city's budget hole is a little over 5 million dollars. Another way to plug the hole: Potentially raising property taxes.

City commissioner Nancy Miller says she doesn't want to do that

Nancy Miller, Tallahassee City Commissioner: "I don't like the message it sends on about 10 levels. I think there are a lot of people that don't feel we're out of the recession, they're still hurting."

The property tax has a potential to go from 3 dollars and 70 cents to 3 dollars and 90 cents for every one thousand dollars of taxable value. Commissioners Miller, Maddox, and Ziffer told me they are all opposed to the hike.


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