City Manager Jim Anderson announced the city has received the property appraiser’s numbers and that it was time to begin the budget season.

 

At last week’s bi-monthly meeting of the Port St. Joe City Commission, City Manager Jim Anderson announced the city has received the property appraiser’s numbers and that it was time to begin the budget season.

Anderson announced that the city would see an increase of $47,000 into the city’s coffers if the city maintained its 3.5914 millage rate, the increase coming from an increase in property values.

Under the recommendation of the city manager, the commission voted to increase the preliminary millage rate by 1 mill.

The increase has been standard practice in recent years during the budgetary prep season; once a tentative millage rate is set it cannot be raised, only lowered.

The city has long used the additional mill only for planning purposes and to the commission to hash out a final spending plan before a final rate is set.

According to Commissioner Rex Buzzett, the city’s ad valorem tax rate hasn’t increased in at least 10 years.

The city will host budget workshops beginning Aug. 8, with follow-up workshops on Aug. 22 and 29, before hosting two public hearings in September.

Knowles Avenue lot rezoning

The commission voted unanimously in favor of Ordinance 533, which switches a lot on Knowles Avenue from R-1 (low-density residential) to R-3(high-density residential).

The lot in question is owned by Kelli Newman, who hopes to turn the property into a townhome development one day.

During a June commission meeting, a number of local residents appeared to voice concerns over the development.

The city’s planning consultant, Marina Pennington, was on hand that evening to assuage those fears.

According to Pennington, Newman has agreed to limit the development to 24 units instead of the allowable 37.

Pennington also stated that Newman agreed to restrict the height of the buildings to 35 feet and keep an additional vegetative buffer to the property that would exceed regulations.

The developer’s husband, Steve Newman, was also at that June meeting and stated that development is still years away and that he and his wife haven’t even had plans drawn yet.

Impact fees

In an effort to increase funds in the water and sewer fund, Anderson recommended that the city eliminate its 30 percent reduction it placed on water and sewer impact fees.

The reduction was implemented during the recent downturn in the economy in an effort to boost construction in the city.

After speaking with the city’s finance director, Mike Lacour, Anderson stated that he believed that the economy has recovered enough to return the impact fees to their original level.

The commission agreed unanimously, and placed a date of Oct. 1, on a return to the initial fee.