It’s that time of year again, folks! The time of year when the goals of local journalists and local government employees come together, as we all try to figure out how to get people to care about the budgeting process.
This is probably the most consequential routine decision made by local governing bodies, and yet it seems like an uphill battle every year to get people to engage, share their input and talk about what matters the most to them.
For example: Did you know that Wellington’s council on July 11 set the preliminary tax rate for the coming year? This is the tax rate the county will use to calculate Wellington’s portion of your tax bill for the coming year.
So how did it shake out?
The council voted unanimously to hold the preliminary tax rate steady at $2.47 per $1,000 of assessed value. The final approved rate may be lower than that, but it can’t go above that number.
For an average Wellington home valued at $400,000, that would be an increase from last year of $33 for Wellington on your tax bill for a homesteaded property, and $99 for non-homestead property.
Thanks to an increase in property values countywide, Wellington is set to see about a 12% increase in its overall taxable value to $11.6 billion, which for the coming year would bring in $27.1 million — about $2.7 million than the current year.
Essentially, yes, you most likely will see a higher
Each year, Wellington rolls out its Budget Challenge, an engagement tool to get people interested and thinking about how local government spends tax dollars.
This year, Wellington released two new budget tools: Balancing Act and Taxpayer Receipt.
Balancing Act lets users move money in the general fund budget to see how even small changes can affect the overall budget and get a feel for the decisions made in the budgeting process. Taxpayer Receipt “offers a transparent breakdown of programs and services supported by residents’ tax contributions, ensuring transparency and accountability to public spending,” the village said in a news release.
Both tools are available through Aug. 21.
“These tools not only provide residents with a deeper understanding of how their tax dollars are spent, but also offer them the opportunity to actively shape the future of our community by sharing their perspectives and recommendations,” Village Manager Jim Barnes said.
Here are a few highlights from the preliminary budget presented to the council July 11:
- $5.1 million is budgeted for the new aquatics center at Village Park.
- $3.5 million is budgeted for improvements to public works facilities.
- $600,000 is budgeted for Wellington’s athletic fields improvement program.
- $7.4 million is budgeted for utilities projects, including about $1.6 million in work at the water reclamation facility and $2.1 million in work on the village’s water treatment system.
- $550,000 is budgeted for bike lanes on Greenview Shores Boulevard.
- $330,000 is budgeted for improvements to Wellington’s neighborhood parks.
- PBSO requested a 3% contract increase, which would be $317,000 more than the current year.
- Utility rates are proposed to rise by about 10%, with the average user seeing an increase of $6.74 per monthly bill.
Wellington’s will have its first public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget on Sept. 5. A second public hearing and final adoption will be on Sept. 20. The budget takes effect Oct. 1.
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