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City Manager Recommends Maintaining Tax Rate in FY 2019 Proposed Budget

Cape Coral City Manager John Szerlag has released his FY 2019 Proposed Budget, which includes a recommendation to leave the property tax rate unchanged at 6.75 mils. The budget includes $6.5 million for local road paving, $100,000 for new streetlight fixtures, $312,000 for median improvements and $520,000 for alley paving.

The recommendation to maintain the current rate is based on the financial impact Hurricane Irma had on the City’s fund balance and emergency reserves. The City used $9 million of emergency reserves and $8.6 million in unassigned reserves. The City expects reimbursement for some of these expenditures from FEMA, however, it could take years for these funds to be reimbursed. 

“While Hurricane Irma has impacted our FY 2019 budget, we will still be able to maintain a good level of service and keep Cape Coral one of the most affordable cities in Florida,” said City Manager John Szerlag.

The City of Cape Coral’s taxable values increased 8.49 percent this year. The proposed rate of 6.75 will generate about $92.7 million in property tax revenue. The budget also keeps the public service tax rate at 7 percent and sets the fire services assessment cost recovery rate from 59 percent to 62 percent. These two revenue sources will produce an estimated revenue of $33.4 million. These revenues will help address some of the City’s financial challenges in the FY 2019 budget.

One of these challenges required funding for School Resource Officers in all schools for the upcoming school year. While the City partnered with the Lee County School District to share these costs,  the net annual impact is $1.3 million to the City’s General Fund.

“Even with the challenges presented by Hurricane Irma and hiring more than 20 school resource officers, we have managed to craft a budget that allows Cape Coral to move the City forward and remain economically sustainable,” said Szerlag.

To view the City Manager’s FY 2019 Proposed Budget, please visit: https://bit.ly/2LDbd9u