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Cape Coral’s proposed FY 2020 budget would lower property tax rate

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Published: Updated:

Cape Coral City Manager John Szerlag has released his fiscal year 2020 Proposed Budget, which includes a recommendation to lower the property tax rate to 6.55 mils.

This would be the fourth reduction to the property tax rate since FY2014 with the current property tax rate at 6.75 mils.

“We continue to meet the increased level of service needs required by a growing community,” said City Manager John Szerlag. “This proposed budget allows us to do so at a competitive rate compared to other municipalities.”

City Council will adopt the final FY2020 Operating Budget following two public hearings that will be held in September.

The proposed budget includes:

  • $6.5 million for local road paving
  • $100,000 for new streetlight fixtures
  • $312,000 for median improvements
  • $520,000 for alley paving.

The City of Cape Coral’s taxable values increased 7.96 percent this year and the total taxable value for the city increased from $14.3 billion in 2018 to almost $15.4 billion in 2019.

New construction represents about 41 percent of the total increased taxable value.

The City says the proposed rate of 6.55 will generate about $96.2 million in property tax revenue. The budget also keeps the public service tax rate at 7 percent.

The fire services assessment cost recovery rate will return to its original rate of 64 percent as planned by the City. These two revenue sources will produce an estimated revenue of $33.7 million.

The recommendation to lower the current rate is based on the higher than expected increase in property values, the rejection of Amendment 1, and a reduction of pension costs.

Reimbursements from FEMA related to Hurricane Irma were not included in the FY2020 Proposed Budget. While it was recently announced that Cape Coral was awarded $5.6 million in FEMA grant dollars, the timeframe for receipt of these funds is unknown.