- September 25, 2014
On July 19, the Ocoee City Commission approved a tentative millage rate — the rate of tax per $1,000 of taxable property values — at 6.500 mills. This means that when the budget hearings scheduled for September come around, commissioners will not be able to set the final rate any higher than 6.500 mills.
The millage rate is used to calculate how much the city will make the following year with ad valorem tax revenue, which goes toward paying public libraries, the Orange County Public School Board, the City of Ocoee, St. Johns River Water Management District and more.
“With this rate, if something comes up, we have some room to make some changes, especially with us wanting to improve
the downtown area,” District 2 Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said. “So you always put a little more room in there to work with because we do not want to incur the expense of re-noticing all of our residents.”
The tentative 6.500 rate is an increase from the current millage rate, which is 5.9104 mills. However, the millage rate can be kept at 6.500 or adjusted to a lower rate in September’s budget hearings.
During the hearings, commissioners also will have the option to set the rate to the rollback tax rate of 5.6808. Although, such a rate is only feasible if there’s an increase in property values that can compensate for the lost revenue that comes with establishing a low millage rate.
“If the (budget remains the same), but there’s an increase in property values, the 5.9104 (rate), in reality would be 5.6808 because we could do the same amount that we did with the 5.9104 rate with the rollback rate of 5.6808, because we’ve got more money in — more (property) taxes came in,” Wilsen said.
Wilsen hopes the future brings more businesses to Ocoee so they can generate commercial taxes, which might allow residential property taxes to be reduced.
“My goal is to set the millage rate at a reasonable figure to allow our residents to get the extras they want — within reason,” Wilsen said. “We have to be prudent. We have to look at the downtown areas because our residents have told us now for many years that they want the downtown area developed. Well, that’s going to require budgeting, that’s going to require us to make some changes. ... The goal is to be prudent and get the most we can out of our tax dollars this year.”
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]