Sebastian leaders to discuss taxes, budget shortfalls Wednesday

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

SEBASTIAN — Sebastian city leaders will consider pulling $260,000 from its general fund to make up for budget shortfalls at their Wednesday council meeting. The deficit is expected after the budget committee agreed with City Manager Al Minner to hold the city’s millage rate to what was charged last year.

The Sebastian City Council will discuss the millage rate and options for trimming the budget by more than $1 million. Such options include laying off the city engineer and two employees in accounting, along with not filling a vacancy expected in the public works department after an employee retires. The city’s budget committee report, provided to Sebastian City Council, recommends considering an increase to the city’s millage rate for fiscal year 2011.

“We believe that the finances of Sebastian are in good condition. We reiterate again that the city council must be aware and prepared for a millage rate increase in 2011 so that the city can continue the same level of services to its citizens,” the committee wrote in its report.

The millage rate is currently 3.3456 and is expected to stay the same. Millage is the amount per $1,000 that is used to calculate property taxes. On a home valued at $150,000 – millage would equate to $518.40.

City leaders have already discussed implementing 12 furlough days, which are essentially forced unpaid city holidays. City Hall and government is expected to shut down once a month for the furloughs. Emergency services, too, would have the furloughs, though the employees’ time off would be staggered.

The furloughs are expected to impact more than 180 full- and part-time employees and trim about 4.6 percent from the city payroll.

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