Citizens Group Details Path To No Property Tax Increase, Proposes $9.5 Million in Adjustments

Citizens Group Details Path To No Property Tax Increase, Proposes $9.5 Million in Adjustments

The Citizens for Responsible Spending  held a press conference today to address the City’s proposed 23% increase in property taxes. The purpose of the conference was to provide recommendations for new sources of revenue and spending cuts that would balance the budget and not require a tax increase.

The speakers were business owner Barney Bishop, President of Florida TaxWatch Dominic Calabro and former Senator Al Lawson. They were joined by approximately 17 other interested citizens.

Tallahassee Reports was joined by other representatives of the media that included WFSU, the Tallahassee Democrat, and Rick Flagg of the Florida News Network.

Mr. Bishop said that he was disappointed that a “no tax increase” budget option was not provided to the Commission, even though it was requested by Mayor Gillum back on August 19, 2015.

Mr. Bishop said the he hopes the detailed recommendations by the group will give the City Commissioners a path to balancing the budget without a tax increase.

The group offered approximately $9.5 million in adjustments (see below).



The group’s recommendations included $1.5 million in revenue from the BP settlement money and a $3 million transfer from the solid waste reserve which has increased to over $9 million over the last five years.

The recommendations also included approximately $5 million in spending cuts.

Bishop concluded by saying that even after this budget is settled “we are going to keep the pressure on the City to provide an accountable and transparent budget process.”

Dominic Calabro, President of TaxWatch, began his remarks by saying we live in an all-american city, but the “current budget system is archaic and disconnected.” Citizens have stepped forward to offer good alternatives but the “city is absolutely out of touch.”

Former state Senator Al Lawson said the tax increase is a “very critical issue, as a business owner I know what happens when property taxes increase.” He implored the City to “look at alternatives before you raise taxes.”

Mr. Lawson stated that he believed that the staff was driving the need for the tax increase.

11 Responses to "Citizens Group Details Path To No Property Tax Increase, Proposes $9.5 Million in Adjustments"

  1. From a proposed 27% property tax millage hike down to 23% and now 13%. Moving in the right direction but hardly any real “spending” cuts, given the $2MM of found $$$ from the one time BP settlement.
    While I favor the approach outlined by Scott Maddox, starting with a zero based budgeting approach— it looks like doing that at this point is unfortunately not likely to happen at this point. So how about much more modest millage rate/property take hike from 3.7% to 3.9%. That’s a far more reasonable increase of 5.4% with the rest coming from real budget cuts including more than a short term fix such as a one year “freeze” in budgetary spending. This way the police can hire new patrol and investigative officers wearing body cameras. I would favor “merit” pay increases for city employees of 1.5%, not the 3% across the board pay increases in the original proposal. This also provides for the property maintenance of our parks and recreation centers and a safety net of social and essential health services for the very poor that would otherwise die on our streets. While I would prefer that the latter be addressed by the private citizens and our houses of worship— the fact is that these institutions are simply not doing enough for the disabled and those with serious mental health challenges.
    Closing note— I wish the time and support on the city commission was there to do the analysis that Commissioner Maddox has called for. It is shameful that the City Manager and her staff have tried to push through that 27% property tax increase!
    Had that budget passed this community during the next economic downturn will find out how close to impossible it will be to attract the kind of businesses that will hire and pay our college and vocational graduates a living wage.

  2. I just want to commend Mayor Gilliam for the stance he took to make sure City Manager Favors provided the requested materials before this meeting commenced.

    Oh, wait…

  3. City of TLH: There is a serious problem with your police force. These guys need more training, not more of the same robots with no education and too proud to ask for help from anyone.


    2. INVESTIGATE WATER QUALITY. Some tests suggest that the water contains 26 x more Fluoride than recommended. Fluoride process can be eliminated and TLH can use Dallas Texas Water Quality model. They are saving millions annually.

    These things were brought to the attention of the current Mayor, Chief of Police and the City within a couple of years ago. I am ashamed to say no calls were ever returned after Mayor asked my advice on Police Training. Water quality issues in TLH. do not even matter apparently.

    1. Amen!

      We can say from our experiences over the last 7 weeks of coordination with both TPD (& LCSO), that the vast majority of our LEO’s truly do mean extremely well and actually do extremely well every day. They are also employed from our own community, however. If our own community is abysmally uneducated (and “We The People” certainly are) in the science of government; specifically as to the Declaration of Independence and constitutions (and our solemn oaths), then how can we honestly expect one group to be much more educated in government protecting our God-given rights (or those rights themselves) than their own uneducated community, all, more or less by default? There needs to be much more Liberty/constitutional education and awareness, both in the citizenry (restored in schools, much as it was before our lifetimes) and LE (also specifically as to their oaths).

      Much of what we think we know simply isn’t true. For instance, why did our founding fathers believe “Democracy is the most vile form of government”? How is “a republic, if you can keep it” defined and different from collectivist totalitarianism?

      Thank you for addressing some cause, effect and perspective. Tallahassee adds fluoride (a toxic industrial waste) at 26.2 TIMES (that’s 2,620%) the level of naturally occurring fluoride in rivers, lakes and streams (base line: Ottowa, Canada 1968). Nazi Germany was the first to fluoridate (the camps), with our govt beginning in 1945 (in Grand Rapids, MI). Our govt “Supports 70 Years of Fluoridation” ( WAKE UP and stop drinking the kool-aide, Tallahassee. WAKE UP. You’re losing, fast; and most don’t even know it. We must become physically and inconveniently involved… together.

      “If ye love wealth better than Liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
      ? Samuel Adams

  4. They can consider their jobs gone if they raise property taxes. A sleeping giant has been awaken. People are loosing their jobs, living from pay check to pay check as it is. They have no business disregarding the hardship of the citizens. We the citizens will rise up and vote in new commissioners. Enough is enough.

  5. At least Push may finally come to Shove with Ms. Anita, Mayor Gillum, and the rest of the embedded city hall insiders trying to push Tallahassee into the red. If city hall wins now, it will likely win from this point on – Then the cycle of ever-increasing taxes and decreasing economic growth will be the established pattern. Businesses and high-paying jobs will pass Tally by in favor of better managed, more fiscally responsible cities. Once damaged, a city’s reputation and economy can take decades to turn around – is this what we want for Tallahassee’s future?

    Either stop city hall now, or they will continue to raise taxes and play shell games with the budget as they have for a decade or more. The future of Tallahassee and the quality of life for its citizens is at stake.

  6. I certainly appreciate the efforts of Mr. Bishop and the Citizens for Responsible Spending, but our Commission ers are tone-deaf.

  7. Agree completely with Hope & Change. Thank you Barney and all the other concerned business owners and citizens for taking this step.

  8. Great work, and thank you from all citizens of Tallahassee for doing what the elected and paid Commissioners and their well paid staff could not or would not do.
    The Mayor should hold the City Manager accountable for her actions or lack of action and fire her immediately.

  9. Finally, a group of concerned citizens come to the rescue. Now we will see if the “know it all” administration/commissioners will listen. Great job by the Citizens for Responsible Spending!

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