NORTH PORT — North Port property values are ticking up at 13% over last year, allowing city officials to keep the tax rate the same, while collecting more revenue to run the city.
City commissioners will keep the property tax rate of 3.77 mills when final budget hearings commence in September. The hearings allow the community to provide feedback before renewed spending begins on Oct. 1.
That’s the same tax rate commissioners approved in September for the 2020-21 budget. A mill raises $1 for every $1,000 in taxable value. North Port’s proposed budget is nearly $193 million. The city has some 705 workers.
Commissioners can lower the millage rate as they work on the budget over the summer, but they can’t raise it beyond the 3.77 mills. If the rate stays at that number, it would mean a home valued at $200,000 would pay $735 in city property taxes, minus exemptions. That does not include assessments or taxes levied by other governments, like the Sarasota County School District or the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
North Port commissioners had held two community input budget meetings in May, a sort of City Finances 101. It allowed residents to understand the budgeting process, as well as providing feedback to the city, or “what’s meant to be a conversation,” spokesperson Josh Taylor had said of the public hearings in commission chambers.
Like most government agencies or households, North Port balances its budget based on expenses and anticipated income. That revenue comes from dozens of sources, not all consistent. COVID-19 had ransacked countywide shared surtaxes in 2020, for instance. But that scenario recovered this cycle with some $2.3 million with the same property tax rate.
North Port’s $22 million police budget for 2021-2022 will gobble about 40% of the $54.17 million general fund, fire services another $9.6 million.
City parks and recreation accounts for another $5.7 million in spending. That includes more than $1 million in costs for parks and services that Sarasota County had maintained for decades. Police this cycle had also requested more staff, including a conservation officer to investigate illegal dumping, for instance.