Do you remember the contentious debate between the Budget Hawks, who claimed a property tax increase was not needed because the City had plenty of money, and the City staff, who argued for the increase because of the lack of revenue?
Well, as of today, it appears the Budget Hawks may have been more right than some thought.
The City of Tallahassee closed out the books for fiscal year 2015 and discovered that they had collected $17.6 million more than was needed to operate the City.
This comes just three months after City staff had argued they were in desperate need for a tax increase to fund essential government services.
In September the City Commission sided with City staff and voted 4 -1 to raise property taxes by 13%. The increase will raise $6.3 million in 2016.
Commissioner Scott Maddox voted against the increase.
Here is the breakdown of the surpluses/overcharges:
General Fund: $1,667,952
Total Surpluses/Overcharges: $17,672,328
The City’s utilities are responsible for the lions share of the surplus/overcharges, which ironically is the most regressive tax and hits the poorest citizens the hardest.
The General Fund surplus came in at $1.6 million, but that number will rise to $4.4 million when the $2.8 million from the Danfoss property sale is collected this year.
City staff is proposing that the City Commission refund $1 million of the $17.6 million surplus through a solid waste rebate for one year.
Did City staff know about the extent of the surpluses before the tax increase vote? Did City Commissioners know about the surpluses? TR is investigating.