Increased beachside property values have enabled Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach to hold the line on new taxes in their 2019-2020 budgets, with Satellite Beach slightly reducing its property tax rate after a hike last year to build up reserves.
Satellite Beach’s budget for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1 is balanced at a millage rate of 8.7 mills, a decrease from the previous year’s rate of 8.8212 mills. The approved rate, which equates to $8.70 for every $1,000 of taxable value, is greater than the rolled-back rate by 4.93 percent.
“What the state calls the roll-back rate is what you would have to roll the millage back to generate the same revenue you had the year before, but nobody’s going to do that because you have increased costs,” City Manager Courtney Barker said. “You roll it back enough to bring in enough revenue to cover the stuff you need to cover and that’s what we did.”
The taxable property values in Satellite Beach have increased 5 percent over previous-year values. As a result, a millage rate of 8.7 will provide an additional $362,820 in ad valorem revenues with about $66,000 of that amount earmarked for redevelopment projects.
The balance of the additional tax revenues will be used for employee raises, health insurance premium increases and construction cost increases, Barker said.
Last year’s tax hike resulted from trying to replenish emergency reserves depleted by hurricanes Matthew and Irma, which each cost the city about $900,000. Hurricane Dorian’s near miss was a lot less because there was no debris cleanup and the city did not have to meet insurance deductibles, she said.
“We’ve got (reserves) all the way up to $1.2 million already. We need about $2.5 million to make me feel more comfortable and we’ll probably build them to about $5 million,’’ Barker said.
The 2019-2020 Indian Harbour Beach property tax rate, 5.6401, the same millage rate as the prior year, is 6.1 percent above the revenue-neutral rolled-back rate of 5.3118 and generates $319,475 in recurring revenue for city expenses. The budget is balanced at $13,487,547.
Taxes may not have gone up, but the city is seeing increased project activity with $5 million in reserves being used to fund capital-expense needs and road paving. Work also continues toward an already funded $4.5 million police station, said City Manager Mark Ryan.
Even after those planned- and budgeted-for expenditures, the city still has more than $5 million in reserves, he said.