A closer look at the numbers behind the proposed 27% property tax increase by City Manager Anita Favors Thompson reveals that the increase is not all about public safety.
The City’s public relations apparatus has promoted the increase as a response to public safety needs. The title of the City Manager’s press release was “City Manager Releases Proposed Public Safety Budget.”
In addition the City has added a “Public Safety Millage Rate Calculator” on their website and Police Chief DeLeo has written a op-ed asking citizens to support the property tax increase for public safety.
This approach raises the question, how much of the $10.8 million property tax increase is going to fund public safety?
When answering this question, it is important to understand that the City’s fire service is not funded by any revenue generated by property taxes. Fire services are funded by the fire services fee which is slated to increase on October 1, 2015.
So now the question is how much of the tax increase is going to increase funding at the police department?
Last years approved budget for FY2015 shows that the General Fund provided $50.3 million in resources to the police department.
How much funding does this years proposed provide to the Police Department?
The City Managers proposed General Fund budget for 2016, with the $10.8 tax increase, is slated to provide $53.3 million in funding. This is an increase of $3 million from 2015. This means approximately 28% of the $10.8 million proposed property tax increase is going to fund the police department.
This analysis is consistent with what is published in the City’s own budget document, shown below.
Circled in yellow (emphasis added by TR) is the fiscal impact of of adding new police officers. The total impact is projected to be just over $2 million.
What does the other $7.8 million of the tax increase fund? Tallahassee Reports is analyzing the budget and will have an answer soon.