Largo's City Charter requires the city manager to submit a proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) by March 1 each year. The report focuses on projects and expenditures, which are more than $100,000 but it looks at all of the city's budgets.
In that report City Manager Norton Craig gave residents a very, preliminary preview of next year’s possible city tax rate. (Note: the city commission has not yet discussed next year's budget and no millage rate decisions have been made by the commission).
The report gives a preliminary estimate of Largo’s tax rate at the rolled-back rate of 4.7440 mills for Fiscal Year 2013, which starts Oct. 1 of this year. This would be an increase from the current property tax rate of 4.5594 mills. The budget scenario presented in the report includes a $2.5 million general fund budget reduction. The commission could present other scenarios when it discusses the budget, the report said.
"While any millage rate increase may be viewed as a tax increase, millage rate increases are required in the current era of low or no growth in property values just to maintain property tax revenue at existing levels. Millage rates can be reduced if property values increase above projected levels. While it is understandable for taxpayers to desire lower taxes, this desire cannot be attained responsibly without decreasing service levels," according to the budget report.
The rolled-back millage is the rate at which property tax revenue for the city will be equal to the prior year, plus credit for new construction and annexation, according to the budget report.
Property values in Largo are expected to decrease 4 1/2 percent in Fiscal Year 2013, according to projections in the budget report.
The City Commission finalized at its March 6 meeting, a community values survey, which the city plans to use to get resident input to possible budget cuts. The online survey will be available as of March 15. The city also plans to hold at least three community roundtables to get citizen input on the budget.
• If you would like to read the Largo Capital Improvement Program.
• Here is an overview of the 2012 budget from the City of Largo.