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HIGH SPRINGS – The City of High Springs proposed an increase in ad valorem taxes from 6.15 mills to 6.39 mills after the motion passed 3-2 during the Thursday, Aug. 2, special budget meeting at City Hall.

“We have to find quite a bit of money to meet our budget needs,” Commissioner Sue Weller said during a Tuesday phone interview. “Until we can go through the budget and determine where cuts can be made or how different operations can be handled to come up with the money that we need, I think it’s at least better to have that higher millage rate. We can always go down, but we can’t go up.”

Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas made the motion to raise the tax rate to 6.39 mills after a previous motion failed.  Commissioners Scott Jamison and Weller voted with Barnas to raise the rate, while Mayor Dean Davis and Commissioner Linda Gestrin voted against the increase.

Weller said it is the goal of the commission to keep the rates at the current level.

“I ran on a platform of reduced taxes and listening to the people,” Mayor Dean Davis said. “I haven’t found anyone yet who wants to raise taxes.”

High Springs residents should expect to receive a notice in the mail from the Alachua County Property Appraisers Office informing them of the public hearing set for Sept. 13.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, City Manager Jeri Langman suggested raising the millage rate to 6.9 mills after she planned the 2012-2013 budget with the higher rate.

At the proposed 6.39, the City will see a decrease in the amount of ad valorem taxes it brings in. Due to falling property values, to keep the taxes level with what High Springs received this year, the commission would have to raise millage rates to 6.5849 mills.

At the meeting following the public hearing, the commission can reduce the millage rate from 6.39, but in accordance with state law, they will not be allowed to increase it. At Thursday’s meeting Barnas said he intends to suggest several cuts that would allow the City to return to the 6.15 percent rate.

The decrease in ad valorem taxes is juxtaposed against a substantial increase in City expenses, with much of the increase due to the City’s decision to operate their own emergency dispatch center, and ceasing to contract with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office for those services.  High Springs has increased the High Springs Police Department communications budget from $85,000 to $281,050.

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Email awilliamson@alachuatoday.com

HIGH SPRINGS – The City of High Springs proposed an increase in ad valorem taxes from 6.15 mills to 6.39 mills after the motion passed 3-2 during the Thursday, Aug. 2, special budget meeting at City Hall.

“We have to find quite a bit of money to meet our budget needs,” Commissioner Sue Weller said during a Tuesday phone interview. “Until we can go through the budget and determine where cuts can be made or how different operations can be handled to come up with the money that we need, I think it’s at least better to have that higher millage rate. We can always go down, but we can’t go up.”

Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas made the motion to raise the tax rate to 6.39 mills after a previous motion failed.  Commissioners Scott Jamison and Weller voted with Barnas to raise the rate, while Mayor Dean Davis and Commissioner Linda Gestrin voted against the increase.

Weller said it is the goal of the commission to keep the rates at the current level.

“I ran on a platform of reduced taxes and listening to the people,” Mayor Dean Davis said. “I haven’t found anyone yet who wants to raise taxes.”

High Springs residents should expect to receive a notice in the mail from the Alachua County Property Appraisers Office informing them of the public hearing set for Sept. 13.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, City Manager Jeri Langman suggested raising the millage rate to 6.9 mills after she planned the 2012-2013 budget with the higher rate.

At the proposed 6.39, the City will see a decrease in the amount of ad valorem taxes it brings in. Due to falling property values, to keep the taxes level with what High Springs received this year, the commission would have to raise millage rates to 6.5849 mills.

At the meeting following the public hearing, the commission can reduce the millage rate from 6.39, but in accordance with state law, they will not be allowed to increase it. At Thursday’s meeting Barnas said he intends to suggest several cuts that would allow the City to return to the 6.15 percent rate.

The decrease in ad valorem taxes is juxtaposed against a substantial increase in City expenses, with much of the increase due to the City’s decision to operate their own emergency dispatch center, and ceasing to contract with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office for those services.  High Springs has increased the High Springs Police Department communications budget from $85,000 to $281,050.

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