By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Though a final vote on property tax rates will not be held until Sept. 18, the Vero Beach City Council is unanimous in their desire to make no raises in taxes.
During a Sept. 4 special meeting, the council voted 5-0 to set the 2012-13 tax rate at this year's rate, which is $2.03 per $1,000 of assessed taxable value.
City manager Jim O'Connor's recommendation was the rollback rate, or $2.10 per $1,000 of value, but council was firm in saying they wanted to keep taxes as low as possible for residents.
The rollback rate is a rate calculated to bring in the same amount of revenue to the city as a previous year, taking into consideration the change in property values of the city.
Property values are expected to decrease by 2.6 percent, so keeping the same rate as last year will mean a decrease in revenue to the city.
Individual property owners overall should see a slight decrease in their property taxes due to the decision to stick with the current year rate, instead of going to the rollback rate.
Mr. O'Connor said with the old rate, the city will see about $135,000 less in revenue.
During public comment, Joseph Guffanti, a frequent face at the podium, reminded city council that a big liability of the city is pensions. He suggested the council make the unpopular decision to raise taxes to start taking care of that problem now rather than later.
Former councilman Brian Heady agreed and said the council should stop raiding the reserves and have the taxes go up.
For more information about upcoming city government meetings, visit www.covb.org.