Apalachicola fees could rise under new budget

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM.

Apalachicola city commissioners got a first look Tuesday night at details of a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, and now must decide whether keeping the millage rate the same as this year will get the job done.

The commissioners last month tentatively adopted the maximum allowable millage rate of 10 mills for next year, and so they have the leeway to raise it to that if they should so choose.

The budget presented Tuesday by City Administrator Betty Taylor-Webb gave figures that kept the millage the same as this year, 9.6852 mills. Because the tax base has grown slightly, that millage rate would generate about $1.14 million, about $60,000 more than this year’s $1.08 million.

Webb said one bright area of the budget has been a proposed switch in health insurance to Capital Health Plan from Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, which could see a drop in benefit costs throughout all departments. She said City Clerk Lee Mathes and staffer Deborah Guillotte have been reviewing CHP’s proposal, and that she will have more specifics on how the plan would work next month.

Highlighting Webb’s proposals for the new budget could be a possible 25 percent hike in the occupational license fee, which she said hasn’t been raised since 1991. In addition, she suggested the fee for grave openings at the cemetery, which hasn’t risen in several years, could rise from $250 to $500.

“It costs $200 a weekend, for two guys with a tractor, and the majority want to have them (funerals) on weekends, not during the week,” Webb said.

She also proposed adding a $25 processing fee for building permits, as well as for applications for cutting down trees. The special exception variance fee could rise from $100 to $500, if approved by the city commissioners. “Right now, it’s costing us money,” Webb said.

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