On Thursday night at 5PM the town of Fort Myers Beach will hold its second and final public hearing on the 2021-2022 budget.
The Town Council is considering a millage rate for fiscal year 2021-2022 of .9900 (which is .9900 for each $1,000 of assessed valuation). If approved, that would generate approximately $3.85 million in tax revenue toward the town operating budget of approximately $14 million. The town also generates $1.4 million in parking revenue, $677,000 from building permits plus other taxes and charges to get the budget to about $14 million. The current operating millage rate is .9500 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The 2021 tax assessment roll for the town shows a total taxable value of real and personal property in the amount of $3.8 billion which is up from $3.7 billion in 2020 and close to the record levels of 2007 ($3.9 billion) and 2006 ($3.8 billion) before the housing market collapsed.
By law the town council must also consider a roll-back rate. The roll-back rate is .9096 per $1,000 which generated about $3.5 million in revenue for the town in the current fiscal year. The roll-back rate is the millage rate a government entity would approve that would generate the same total revenue as the previous year. With property values mostly on the rise on Fort Myers Beach, the town could cut property taxes for next year and still generate the same amount of revenue as it did this year. As it stands now, the town is considering adopting a millage rate that is 3.67% greater than the rolled-back rate. At the first budget public hearing last week there was no opposition to the higher tax rate.
The town council is also considering an increase in parking fees on the island from $3.00 to $5.00 per hour (Lee County charges $2.00 per hour for the spots the county owns). If approved the higher parking rates would generate another $600,000 in revenue.
The council is also considering an increase in the vacation rental registration fee from $50 to $300, which would generate an additional $500,000 in revenue.
There is also the issue of public safety. Hiring two community police officers at a cost of over $200,000 per year is being considered as well as adding cameras all around town.