Mount Dora City Council held its second in a series of budget workshops on May 23rd.
We build our city's budget following several guiding principles. These include; Maintaining our City's infrastructure, Maintaining the public's safety, Compliance with all federal, state and local laws, and Retaining employees by providing competitive pay and benefits.
Two increased service levels will be considered for the upcoming budget year.
1. There is a proposal to hire a part time arborist at the cost of about $30,000 to continue to improve our efforts to take down dangerous or diseased trees on city property and to properly replace them.
2. There is a proposal to add a street sweeping machine dedicated to the downtown CRA area at a cost of about $210,000 and hiring a 20 hour per week street sweeper operator to run it. This new street sweeper would be paid for by the CRA and not included in the general fund budget.
FYI, our millage rate for the city over the past 10 years has ranged from a low of 5.6667 mills in 2013 and 2014 to a high of 6.3000 mills in 2018. For the past 2 years our millage has been set at 5.9603 partially because of our receiving supplemental Federal Cares Act Funds in 2020 and America Rescue Plan funds in 2021.
We don't yet have figures from Lake County for this year but we think that our Gross Taxable Values will increase by about 5%. We should have the actual increase figure within the next month.
The elephant in the room this year is inflation. Through April, the CPI, or inflation rate is up 8.3% year over year. We expect that trend to continue.
Due to growth we may need to add a Senior Planner and possibly 3 part time police dispatchers but nothing has been decided yet.
We will continue to meet over the next several months to develop a budget that will meet our guiding principles mentioned above while at the same time protecting our citizens from big tax increases. It's always a juggling act. You can count on lots of discussion of the data moving forward.
I forgot to include a quote to my last report and I apologize. To make it up to you, I've got 2 budget related quotes today.
The first is by Phil Gramm. "Balancing the budget is like going to heaven. Everybody wants to do it, but nobody wants to do what you need to to get there."
The second quote is from Dave Ramsey. "A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went."