The town of Windermere set its 2019-20 budget and millage rate at a final hearing Monday, Sept. 23.
Town Manager Robert Smith said the most significant difference from last year’s budget is the $5.2 million in tax revenue that will be used for the town’s new police department and administration building. That money will come from ancillary taxes such as the communication service tax and the half-cent sales tax and pay for temporary facilities and the loan the town is taking out for the cost of the project, Smith said
The referendum for the new police department and administration building was approved in March, with construction set to start in June 2020, Smith said.
“Every time we go into a budget session, our main goals are always to maintain the quality of life and the level of service — and also making sure that we’re maintaining the financial viability of the town,” Smith said. “Specifically, you try to control what goes out before you try to ask for more money coming in. I think we’ve done a great job in doing that. It shows in how we build our reserves and how we spend our reserves.”
Windermere’s tentative millage rate was set at 3.7425 mills — the same rate approved for the last fiscal year.
That rate would bring in $2,591,469 in ad valorem tax revenue.
“We increased (the rate) last fiscal year, and the reason for that was we had a lot of things that we wanted to fund: a water master plan, a multi-modal path, we wanted to fix the sidewalks and put money toward Parks and Recreation,” Smith said. “(This year) we maintained our millage rate, but it’s seen as a tax increase, because we didn’t change it to the rolled-back rate.”