Today, September 23, 2020, the city commission voted 4-1 (Mayor Leary voted “no”) to finalize the millage rate for 2020-2021 at 4.0923, unchanged from last year and below the rate of 4.5623 they voted for in July. Based on increases in taxable valuations from the Orange County Appraiser, homestead property will still see a typical increase of 2.3% and non-homestead property will see a 10% increase in property taxes.
As at the September 9th meeting, Mayor Leary again made the motion to lower the 2020-2021 millage rate to the “roll back” rate which would generate the same property tax revenue as last year, reducing your taxes. His motion failed for lack of a second and no commission member commented.
Mayor Leary then made a motion to lower the 2020-2021 millage rate sufficient to support the budget including employee pay increases approved at the September 9th meeting, but that would not add further to city general fund reserves which are already at the maximum policy level of 30% of general fund spending. This motion also failed for lack of a second and no commission member commented.
The bottom line is that Winter Park residents will see an increase in their property taxes while they fund as much as 3.5% salary increases for city staff at the same time many residents are experiencing material decreases in their income.
While reversing their July vote to increase the millage rate 11.5%, four commission members voted to raise our taxes without need or reasoned justification.
Please thank Bill Sullivan for raising awareness with the yard signs and thanks to all who contacted the commission to urge reversal of their July vote. It would be wise to keep those signs handy for next year.