By Marc Crail Mount Dora Vice Mayor & District 4 Representative
On Monday, July 22 City Council held a 10:00 a.m. Budget Workshop meeting. What follows comes only from me and isn't from City Council as a whole. Coming up with a budget for a public entity is always a drawn out process. We are continuing to work toward formulating our budget for fiscal year 2022-23 that begins on October 1. Nothing is for certain at this point but there are some "Key Drivers" to be aware of. We are in a time of unusually high inflation so it seems very likely that we will see an approximate 10% increase in our Property and Casualty Insurance rates, a 15% uptick in Workers Compensation costs not to mention needed pay raises. Inflation CPI last month was 9.1% which as we all know, is budget wrecking territory. None of this makes our job any easier.
You should receive by mail your proposed property taxes from the Lake County Property Appraiser a "TRIM Notice" in late August. That TRIM Notice will show the highest possible millage rates from each Lake County taxing agency. In the case of the City of Mount Dora, they will be on the high side and should be reduced in the end.
I'm expecting that all of us will see increases on our FY22-23 real estate tax bills averaging in the neighborhood of $7.29 per month or about $87.48 for the year. Please don't think that those numbers are for sure. They are definitely not. They are only my "guesstimates" for an "average" house. As we get closer to final adoption of our new budget the numbers will become more accurate.
Today we reviewed only the operating general fund budget, not our wages/ health insurance costs which are a large part of the tax equation. Those numbers will be forthcoming.
We still don't have several important numbers necessary for completing our budget building task. This is par for the course for this point in time but concerning too because of the inflationary climate we find ourselves in this year. This is one of City Council's most important tasks and from what I've seen, everyone involved is interested in doing the job as well as possible.
Upcoming budget related meetings include August 29th, at 10:00 a.m., September 6th at 6:00 p.m., for setting the Fire Assessment Fee and also adoption of our tentative millage and budget and September 20 at 6:00 p.m. for final millage and budget approval.
I got some flack when I forgot to include a quote in my most recent report. I won't make that mistake today! Our quote comes from Kathleen Casey Theisen. "Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it."
When it comes to local government, there are lots of armchair quarterbacks and second-guessers. In the end, there are only seven elected representatives in Mount Dora serving their community--one mayor and six council members--that have the final say on decisions. City residents can opt to have greater impact because three of those seats will have open elections this year and the qualifying period is just around the corner. In recent elections, many Mount Dora City Council candidates ran without opposition, so there’s no time like the present to throw your hat in the ring. Here’s some timely information for Mount Dora residents interested in serving in their community: 1. What are the requirements to run for City Council? A candidate must be an eligible voter in Mount Dora for no less than 12 consecutive months prior to filing for candidacy. Paperwork must be filed by the end of the qualifying period which is August 12 at noon.
2. What education and experience is required to run for City Council? There is no particular experience or education required. 3. What and when is the qualifying period? The qualifying period is the timeframe to turn in the paperwork, also referred to as “the packet.” The qualifying period for the November 8, 2022 city election begins at noon on August 8 and ends on August 12 at noon. In other words, all of the paperwork must be completed and turned into the City Clerk at City Hall by that date and time. View and download the packet with complete instructions and forms here.
4. What are the three city council seats up for election? Council seats for District 2(includes Country Club of Mount Dora), and District 3 (including Lake Gertrude and Eudora Road areas), plus an at-large council seat (includes entire city). View district map below (click to enlarge) or download PDF.
5. What is the difference between ”district” council members and “at-large” council members? District candidates are elected by voters residing in that defined district (see district map). At-large council members are elected by all the voters throughout the City. Additionally, the at-large city council seat and the mayoral seat allow candidates to live anywhere within the City limits. District council members are required to live in their specific district. (See district below) Mount Dora City Council has five district council members and one at-large, plus the Mayor which is an at-large seat.
6. How long are the terms? All city council terms are four years. 7. How much money do candidates typically raise for a campaign? Historically, that can vary greatly depending on the district, the number of candidates vying for the same seat and the effectiveness of a candidate's campaign strategy. The ballpark range for the specific district seats this year may be $2,000 to $5,000. The mayor seat and at-large council seat require additional money to reach more voters in a larger geographic area, so the ballpark amount is likely $8,000 for a two-person race. 8. How much are the council members and mayor compensated? Approximately $6,000 and $10,000 respectively. 9. Where do I turn in my completed paperwork packet? City Clerk’s office located on the second floor of CIty Hall at 510 N. Baker Street.
10. There is no time like the present to get involved. You can download the candidate packet below.