Budget Includes 5.4323 Millage Rate & Law Enforcement Body-Worn Cameras
LAKELAND, FL (September 24, 2021) – The Lakeland City Commission finalized the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget on Thursday, September 23rd in a 4-2 vote with Commissioner Read and Commissioner Musick opposing the budget based on the cost of law enforcement body-worn cameras. Mayor Mutz was not present at the budget hearing due to a family commitment. The Commission also voted 5-1 to establish a 5.4323 millage rate for FY22 with Commissioner Read opposing. During the meeting, he asked to see a rollback rate of 5.2020 based on additional monies the City of Lakeland received from the State of Florida from cigarette tax and half-cent sales tax. The adopted 5.4323 millage rate is .0321 mills less than the City’s FY21 millage rate of 5.4644.
The City Commission listened to an overview of the budget presented by City Manager Shawn Sherrouse before they voted on the millage rate and adopted the budget that includes law enforcement body-worn cameras, in-car video systems, and new tasers for the Lakeland Police Department. Both Commissioner Read and Commissioner Musick opposed body-worn cameras in the FY22 budget based on the cost of the system.
Sherrouse stated, “The FY22 budget is built on the following assumptions: General Fund revenues and surplus reserves will maintain 45-60 days cash-on-hand going forward to Fiscal Year 2024; the budget establishes the 5.4323 millage rate tentatively set by the City Commission at the first budget hearing on September 9th and controllable expenditures would be held below 1.5%.” Total revenue for FY22 is set at $763,380,405 with equaled expenses. The State of Florida has a balanced budget requirement. A balanced budget occurs when total expenses do not exceed total revenues.
A 5.5644 millage rate was established in 2016 and was reduced to 5.4644 mills in 2019. The millage rate has been the same for the past few years. The Lakeland City Commission voted to tentatively accept a 5.4323 millage rate at the first budget hearing on September 9th in a 7-0 vote. A millage rate is the tax rate used to calculate local property taxes. The millage rate represents the amount per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. Assigned millage rates are applied to the total taxable value of the property to arrive at the property tax amount.
The FY22 General Fund budget is set at $136,473,582 for FY22 and includes the following City Commission initiatives:
- $1.1M for in-car video, taser and body worn camera systems package, plus two personnel and required cloud and hardware storage.
- $75k to expand the City’s Internship Program.
- $25k in additional Cultural Arts Funding, increased from$250k to $275k.
The General Fund is comprised of those City Departments and services that don’t pay for themselves and are supported by tax dollars. The General Fund includes the primary governmental functions that are not completely supported by dedicated resources. These services include administration, public safety, parks, community development, accounting, and computer/server maintenance. Enterprise funds are those municipal services that pay for themselves with user fees, rates, and charges. Examples of enterprise funds services include utilities and the airport.