North Port City Commission adopts $214.4 million budget for 2022-23 fiscal year

The North Port City Commision approved a $214.4 million budget for 2022-23. The fiscal year starts Oct. 1
The North Port City Commision approved a $214.4 million budget for 2022-23. The fiscal year starts Oct. 1

NORTH PORT – The North Port City Commission approved a $214.4 million budget for the coming year on Sept. 22 on a 4-1 vote.

Earlier: North Port approves first reading of 2022-23 fiscal year budget

Just as with the first reading of the budget, City Commissioner Debbie McDowell voted no, saying the commission did not have an opportunity to go through the budget line by line in an attempt to cut back expenses and contending that it did not reflect a plan to address potential leaner years in the future..

“We could have reduced the millage rate, we could have cut things, we could have had a plan,” McDowell said.

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City Manager Jerome Fletcher noted that the commission had already reviewed the budget during public meetings, including a series of workshops held June 14-16.

“This budget was done line item by line time,” Fletcher said. “There was an opportunity to discuss each line item in a workshop or one-on-one meetings."

The commission approved a property tax rate of 3.7667 mills – the same rate as this year – despite the fact that property values in the city rose about 26.2%, which is bringing in $5.4 million in additional revenues. A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable property value.

The current rate is about $3.77 per $1,000 of taxable property value.

The budget includes 47.5 new hires to expand services, which accounts for about $3 million in new spending. That vote passed 5-0.

The bulk of the revenue raised by the increased property values is being earmarked for reserves, in part to guard against a possible decrease in property values, similar to what happened during the Great Recession.

This is Fletcher’s first budget as city manager, as he took over on Oct. 1,2021.

The proposed budgets for the Fire District, Road and Drainage District and Solid Waste District all passed on 5-0 votes.

While there were no increases in the assessment for Road and Drainage and Solid Waste, the Fire District assessment reflects a 14% decrease because of higher building values.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: North Port adopts 2022-23 fiscal year budget