St. Petersburg’s FY2022-23 budget includes property tax cuts

PETERSBURG — The city’s newly approved budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year includes a property tax rate that has been lowered for the first time in decades. It also combines local funds with grants and other funds for approximately $17 million in capital improvements, some of which are earmarked for major projects.

The operating budget adopted by the city is $104,201,022. The general fund represents approximately 71% of the total budget, or $73,856,740. The General Fund is the main source of funding for day-to-day activities and long-term projects in St. Petersburg.

The main revenues of the General Fund come from the general property tax (50%), state revenues (19%) and other local taxes (18.4%).

About 24 cents of every tax dollar goes to public safety, 20 cents to social services, 14 cents to the school system, nine cents to general government uses, seven cents to constitutional officers, and eight cents to public works. Another 18 cents are split between other uses like courts and community affairs.

This year’s budget was finalized by Acting City Manager Kenneth Miller. He was also responsible for the budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year during his previous tenure as a caretaker. Miller wrote in the budget documents that it was compiled to align with the city’s strategic goals for 2021-25.

These strategic goals prioritize economic development, neighborhood vitality, good governance, and the celebration of St. Petersburg through tourism and community pride.

Property tax rate

The 2022-23 fiscal year was calculated using a lower property tax rate than previous years. Petersburg lowered its rate from $1.35 to $1.27 per $100 of assessed value. For several years, it was the second-highest property tax rate in the state, and it hadn’t been lowered since 2006.

The new rate equates to savings of approximately 6% for homeowners. According to the US Census, the average home in Petersburg is valued at $111,800. The amount of taxes owed for a house at this value would be $1,419.86, compared to $1,509.30 at the previous rate.

Despite lowering its tax rate, Petersburg is still expected to collect more than in the 2021-22 fiscal year due to a whopping 13.4% increase in citywide property values. during the pandemic. Property tax revenues are expected to increase from $24.3 million to $26 million in fiscal year 2022-23.

After: St. Petersburg real estate values ​​are on the rise across the city, up 13% last year

Use

Total employment for the city is 645 workers, three more than the number budgeted for last year.

Public safety saw slight fluctuations in both fire and police. The fire and emergency services added three employees in total, including a program coordinator, an assistant fire marshal and a fire captain. The Police Bureau lost four employees, including two sergeants and two policemen.

The police are funded for 100 positions in total, five less than the previous year. Fire and EMS is budgeted for 79 positions, three more than last year.

The utilities department recorded a net loss of three employees. Eliminations were made for an operations manager, a pump station mechanic, two motorized equipment operators and two administrative assistants. A general supervisor and three water service technicians were added. A specialist has been transferred to invoicing and collections.

Local services have been the most reduced, with around 30% of their budgeted positions eliminated. The position of Department Director will be shared between a Fire Marshal and another Neighborhood Services employee. A rental housing inspector, a permit technician and a plan reviewer have been eliminated. Three property maintenance inspector positions have also been eliminated.

Elsewhere, cemeteries and grounds increased by four positions, billings and collections increased by three, planning lost one, tourism gained two positions and a newly created communications department budgeted two employees.

Capital improvements

Petersburg has so far accumulated $17.4 million for capital projects this fiscal year. About $6.8 million of that is being funded by the American Rescue Plan Act’s first round of funds. These ten projects include upgrades such as new radio systems for first responders, rehabilitations for the Southside Depot and the old Social Services building, and a citywide master plan.

Some other notable projects include:

  • Water and stormwater improvements: $6.3 million (multiple funding sources)
  • Patton Park Trailway: $426,895 (funded by VDOT)
  • Street paving: $1,000,000 (funded by VDOT)
  • Renovation of the Town Hall Annex: $400,000 (capital reserve)
  • South Crater Road traffic light upgrades: $497,000 (Federal CMAQ program)

Petersburg says he’s always looking for grants that might meet other needs.

School budget

St. Petersburg City Public Schools again received a $10 million transfer from the city. The city has opted to donate a lump sum of $10 million to schools since the 2019-20 fiscal year. The schools asked for $11 million last year and this year.

Total school revenue for the upcoming school year is approximately $91 million. This includes a hefty dose of federal grants totaling just over $30 million for COVID-19 recovery. Annual pre-COVID school revenues were around $50 million.

Despite the stimulus funds, PCPS said it is still seeking more funding to help fund its capital budget — which includes a new school for at least $26 million — and the ability to fund schools all over the world. year, which is more expensive than the current model. .

Community Development Block Grant

During the budget discussion, Finance Director Stacey Jordan told City Council that Petersburg could lose Community Development Block Grant funds if it doesn’t use all the money it has been given. This year. Jordan said $277,000 was unused in the 2021-22 fiscal year and a repeat could reduce funds.

The CDBG is an annual grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development for the creation of better housing and living environments.

Petersburg’s CDBG funding previously reached $1.6 million in 2021. This year’s amount is $628,399, a decrease of about $3,000 from last year. HUD applies these grants on a formula basis.

The city’s budget document can be viewed here for the most specific information.

You can reach Sean Jones at [email protected] Follow him on @SeanJones_PI. Follow The Progress-Index on Twitter at @ProgressIndex.

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