The tentative millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year is set at 5.75 mils, but it is expected to be lowered later in the budget process.
The budget process for the upcoming fiscal year has begun in Ocoee.
City leaders voted during the July 16 City Commission meeting to set the proposed tentative millage rate for Fiscal Year 2019-20 at 5.75. Commissioners also voted to set budget workshops for 6 p.m. Aug. 8 and 14 and set budget hearings for 6 p.m. Sept. 11 and 25.
The current millage rate is 5.5. With a tentative millage rate set at 5.75, commissioners can set the millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year at that rate or below it. At the start of the budget process, the commission typically sets a tentative millage rate higher than what the final rate will end up being, City Manager Robert Frank said.
“Historically, in the past probably 10 or 15 years, we’ve set this (tentative millage rate) higher just to give the commission all kinds of leeway when we actually work on the budget,” Smith said. “We actually looked at what kind of flexibility we would need this year, and instead of (setting a tentative rate at) 6.5, which we’ve done for years and years, we figured we’d bring it down to 5.75. … We just left a little flexibility if there’s additional things you wanted to leave in there.”
City documents show the current millage rate of 5.5 generates $15,951,221 in ad valorem revenues. A millage rate of 5.75 would generate $16,676,276 in ad valorem revenues.
Frank said that he’s planning to present a budget balanced at 5.5 mills or lower, and he expects the commission to lower the millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year.
Mayor Rusty Johnson said the city has been able to lower the millage rate over the last few years because of recent economic development.
“This is what we’ve tried to do the last three years,” Johnson said. “We’ve lowered the tax base … because economic development is happening in the city and we can afford to do that. This helps the citizens out.”