The answer to that question should start to become more clear next Thursday night when the Fort Myers Beach Town Council holds its first budget public hearing at 5PM. There is a millage increase on the table as of today.
There’s a possibility the millage rate could be increased from where it stands now at .95 per $1,000 of assessed property value to .99. The final number could come down, but it cannot go higher than the .99. State law requires municipalities to set a millage rate ceiling when they start their budget process so taxpayers know from the start of the process how high their taxes might go.
It gives taxpayers the opportunity to provide feedback to their elected officials about how they plan to spend their tax dollars.
The Town Manager has been clear that there’s not enough money in the budget to complete all of its wish-list projects which include the new Bay Oaks building, Community Policing, lights on Estero Boulevard and the Times Square rehabilitation.
If the council votes in the millage rate increase it will bring in an additional $660,000.
The town is already expected to see a windfall of money thanks to the meteoric rise in property taxes on the island. Lee County Property Appraiser Matt Caldwell estimates that town’s tax base will be about $4.42 million, an increase of 14% from 2021. The tax base figure the town based its current budget on was $3.9 billion. The town is expected to lose money from the gas tax due to a new distribution formula from Lee County.
The second public hearing is Thursday, September 22nd at 5PM. The next fiscal year begins October 1st.
They will take your consideration and raise you. Next move is yours. November get out and vote. The town is in fiscal trouble. Evident by what the town manager has said. They are probably at best at a multi million dollar shortage. Unless they cancel or revise certain projects. Time to shorten the wish list.
My assessed value changed year-over-year by nearly 50%. I hope the Town of FMB will take that into consideration before they also consider raising the millage rate another 4.2%.