Florida Keys News
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Key Colony Beach sees tax increase

KEY COLONY BEACH -- Local officials in this small town raised property taxes last month by 8.6 percent for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

In the 2012-13 budget, Key Colony Beach officials anticipated raising $1,128,900 in property taxes, though the latest projections show the intake to be about $100,000 less.

During the new fiscal year, which began Tuesday, Oct. 1, the city is expecting to generate $1,234,820 in tax revenue. Consequently, the town effectively raised the property tax rate from $230 per $100,000 of taxable property to $242.

Despite last year's tax shortfall, the city was still able to carry a surplus of about $100,000 into the new fiscal year. Most of that money will be used for infrastructure projects and for hiring a city lobbyist.

"We're through dipping into our reserves," said City Commissioner John Deneale.

At the beginning of the budget process, the city was preparing for a 24 percent tax increase. When that rate was tentatively approved, many residents pushed the board to get the number lower.

"I'm happy with the increase as it is," Deneale said. "In this town, we're only talking about $100,000."

Deneale said he initially felt Key Colony Beach would not need a lobbyist, but he has realized the town can't depend on the county to secure state sewer money.

"Apparently, we have to go up there and schmooze them to get our money," he added.

Key Colony Beach has a working sewer system but is seeking funds for system maintenance. The budget also includes a $100,000 state grant for improvement to city parks.

jgore@keysnews.com

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