Path to Economic Stability
City of Cape Coral's
Path to Economic Sustainability
The City of Cape Coral had reached a critical point in planning its future. That future could take two paths: A path toward economic sustainability or a path toward blight. For the past several years, the City of Cape Coral artificially balanced its budget to meet a declining revenue line by ignoring capital. As a long-time professional city manager, I can tell you that this is not considered a "best practice" for well-managed municipalities.
City Council chose the path toward economic sustainability. A public service tax of 7% was adopted and became effective October 1. In adopting the tax, Council opted to exempt the first 500 kWh, the franchise fee and gross receipts tax. Council also approved a fire services assessment. The fire assessment was validated by the local Circuit Court but the decision was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court by a small group of residents. The City prevalied at the Florida Supreme Court.
In addition to new revenues, Council reduced the property tax rate in FY2014 by .25 mils. Another reduction of .75 mils is expected for FY 2016. The combination of new revenues and tax reductions will achieve our goal of keeping the additional financial impact to about $150 more each year from the "average" homeowner in Cape Coral.
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John Szerlag, City Manager