SARASOTA – In a 3-2 split vote Wednesday, the Sarasota County Commission approved incorporating a tenth of a thousand increase to fund mental health programs into the property tax rate not to exceed.
County Commissioners Ron Cutsinger and Christian Ziegler both voted against the increase.
An increase of 0.0083 million in the operating budget of the ecologically sensitive land purchase program was offset by a corresponding reduction in the debt service rate.
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A decrease in debt service on the bond issued to purchase the Legacy Trail means county taxpayers are considering an increase of 0.0961 thousandths from the current property tax rate of 3.46 thousandths.
If the commission does not make further reductions or offset the new spending with other funds, the proposed tax rate for 2021-2022 would be 3.5561 vintages.
A factory collects $ 1 for every $ 1,000 of assessed value.
Cutsinger and Ziegler both stressed that they were in favor of the mental health initiative but opposed to raising taxes.
Zielger noted that his vote is in line with his long-standing commitment not to raise taxes.
“I have been very clear and I am against it,” he said.
Cutsinger said he believes other sources of funding, ranging from clawback law funds and opioid settlement money, should be considered as an alternative to raising taxes.
A tenth of a factory would bring in about $ 4 million. For the owner of a $ 350,000 home, that works out to $ 35 per year.
Sarasota County already spends about $ 9 million per year out of the general fund for mental health services.
The dedicated mileage would be an additional source of funding, intended both to increase services and to fill gaps.
Chuck Henry, head of health for the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, and an expert task force are working to identify gaps in services and the cost to address them.
The commission will meet twice in September for public hearings on the 2021-2022 draft budget and may change the way it wishes to fund the Mental Health District in each session. Or he can make cuts elsewhere to compensate for the increased mileage.
In other actions
Also on Wednesday, the Sarasota County Commission:
• Denied after the fact a coastal override removal request for 7816 Sanderling Road, Siesta Key, which would allow 3,318 square feet of impervious surface pavers to remain in place. The applicant was also seeking approval for other work. The commission rejected the petition in part because the owners had already gone through the after-the-fact waiver process in 2015.
• Approval of an amendment to the critical area plan to allow self-storage in the critical area plan of Bee Ridge Road, I-75.
• Approval of an amendment to the global small area plan to change the designation of the land from commercial to large employment center. The property, north of Bee Ridge Road and along Mauna Loa Boulevard, will enable development of the Enclave at Bee Ridge Park of Commerce, which would include five-story multi-family residential buildings that would contain a maximum of 233 residential units. .
Earle Kimel primarily covers southern Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be contacted at [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.