FY 2020 Proposed Budget Message
As the Southwest Florida region recovers from economic adversity, the City continues to make great strides. This budget message provides a narrative explanation that summarizes the philosophy driving our recommendations. There are several important factors that aid in our efforts to evaluate the proposed service delivery plan and reach sound decisions to guide the City’s future:
- The Charlotte County Property Appraiser reported that taxable property values increased Citywide by 7.1%, which is the seventh straight year of increasing property values, reversing a previous trend of six straight decreases in overall value.
- The Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) experienced a 10.1% increase from previous year property values, the fifth straight year of value increases.
- Increased value from new construction, annexations and other adjustments in the City is $54.2 million, down from $60.1 million the previous year.
- The proposed FY 2020 General Fund Budget, net of ending reserve and an $8.2 million transfer for a line of credit draw for the PGI Canal Maintenance Fund, totals $23.2 million, which is $1.6 million or 7.4% more than the original FY 2019 budget. The cumulative increase in the general fund since FY 2008 is 12.9%, which averages to an approximate 1.1% increase per year.
- The proposed millage rate is 3.4337, up from the 3.1969, which was held constant since FY 2014. The City’s portion of a residential tax bill, excluding non-ad valorem assessments, is generally 20% or less. The majority of ad-valorem taxes paid are for services provided to Charlotte County government and Charlotte County School system. 2.01
- Incorporated in the overall budget is a proposed 4% merit increase for non-bargaining unit employees, implementation of the second year of the approved fire bargaining unit contract and a reserve for a pending agreement with the police bargaining unit.
- To assist you in measuring our performance, City Council approves an annual Strategic Plan. Action items to be undertaken during FY 2020 as part of the five strategic priority areas identified in the Plan are incorporated into the annual budget and the City’s five-year capital improvements program
- The Long Range Financial Plan has been updated for the City’s major fund groups. The Plan highlights revenue and expenditure trends over a five-year timeframe and recommends strategies to minimize projected budgetary gaps, tax and/or fee increases. Information gleaned from the Plan was used to formulate guidelines for FY 2020 budget preparation.
- Also included in the Long Range Plan was an assessment of the City’s financial management policies and recommended revisions that would lead toward future compliance with nationally recognized standards. Council recognized the desire to implement these changes during FY 2018, and they are carried forward into FY 2019 and FY 2020 budget development.
- The change in Consumer Price Index (CPI) as reflected in the State “Save Our Homes” Legislation is 1.9%. This means that no matter how high the market value of a homestead property increases, the assessed value can only rise 1.9%.
The gradual economic turnaround undoubtedly challenges our community’s ability to forecast, plan for, and provide services that meet public needs. Along with those challenges comes the additional necessity of prudent and sensible funding for needed services. This proposed budget carefully balances available resources to continue moving the community along the path to an excellent quality of life at a reasonable level of cost.