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South Pasadena molds a budget

A preliminary plan holds the line on taxes while targeting some capital projects.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 28, 2000


SOUTH PASADENA -- City property taxes at worst will remain the same next year, according to a tentative budget informally approved in a workshop Tuesday.

Among the new projects planned for the next fiscal year are:

new curbing, paving and drainage work on Pasadena Isle;

completion of a new public works building;

an addition on the fire station to accommodate training classrooms;

and several "Visioning" projects, including plantings and signs at the city's gateways, plantings along Pasadena Avenue's center islands, and putting some utility line underground.

The proposed property tax rate of 1.5409 mills, or $1.5409 per $1,000 of taxable property value, is actually lower than the current rate of 1.5964 mills. The effective total tax on residential and commercial property owners likely will remain unchanged, due to property appreciation.

The commission completed its review of department budgets Tuesday. The final budget may be adjusted slightly once contract negotiations are completed with the city's firefighters and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, which provides police service for the city.

Finance director Jim Graham said the budget is now between $32,000 and $70,000 out of balance and recommended that the shortfall be covered by withdrawing funds from the city's contingency account. South Pasadena has enough in the account to cover 11 months of operating expenses. The proposed withdrawal would reduce that contingency fund by one month.

"We will have enough money in our fund to handle emergencies," said Mayor Fred Held.

The commission is scheduled to vote on a tentative millage rate at its July 11 meeting. By law, the city cannot exceed that rate when it approves the final budget and property tax rate in September.

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