Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Village looking at 4 percent tax hike

ISLAMORADA -- The Village Council on Wednesday, Sept. 11, will take a preliminary vote on a $10.6 million daily operating budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The budget, which calls for a 4 percent increase in property tax collections, features only a few changes from the one the council passed on initial review in July.

Namely, said Finance Director Maria Aguilar, the latest draft calls for the use of $800,000 in reserves, up from the $775,000 that was previously proposed. The difference, she said, mainly makes up for errors in the original draft.

The use of that $800,000 from the reserve fund will help pay for a budget that is $1.2 million larger than this year's. Among other things, the increase will go toward 3 percent raises for village staffers, a new fire truck, three additional firefighters, new accounting software and an in-house attorney.

Even after spending $800,000 in reserves, the village would have $2.9 million in its so-called "rainy day" fund, 27 percent of this year's total operating expenditures. The village uses 20 percent as a baseline for a healthy reserve fund.

In one other change from July, the budget for the capital project fund calls for the village to use only $600,000 in sales tax revenues to defray the cost of sewer bills, down from $1.2 million.

Aguilar said she made the change in anticipation of new capital project expenses, including the potential addition of bicycle lanes in Plantation Key.

The new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. The council's final budget hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.


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