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Shores 2012 budget to be aired Friday

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER, (Week of September 8, 2011)

The Indian River Shores Town Council will meet at 5 p.m. Friday for the first public hearing on its proposed 2011-12 operating budget.

The regular August Town Council meeting, which was postponed, will take place immediately after the budget workshop.

The council voted in late July to set the maximum property tax rate at $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed, taxable value. That is a 10.93 per cent increase over the “rollback rate” as adjusted for the 2.5 per cent decline in property values and a 13 per cent increase over the current rate. That was the rate which went out on TRIM statements.

At the end of the budget process, the council can always reduce that millage rate, but it cannot exceed it. In fact, the Shores Town Council approved a preliminary budget of $4.69 million, which is based on a lower tax rate.

At the time, Mayor Tom Cadden said he very much expected to end up with a much lower rate than the $1.60 per $1,000 approved in July.  The two tax rate options listed on Friday’s agenda are $1.47 or $1.53 per $1,000.

Councilman Richard “Dick” Haverland had pressed his fellow councilmen to leave the option open of using additional revenues to pay down some of the $2.8 million the town owes in unfunded pension liabilities to its employee pension fund. He said he felt the town should start digging itself out of the problem in the coming year.

Near the end of the July meeting, Cadden suggested a compromise. “If you’re going to send a message to the people in the town that the Council wants to lower the number, then maybe do half and half – half out of the hurricane reserves and half out of ad valorem,” he said.

The final proposed budget was not available prior to the Labor Day weekend.

Meetings are not televised, but are audio recorded.