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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Lake City Approves Budget, Holding the Line on Taxes, Fire and Garbage Assessments

LAKE CITY, FL – On Tuesday night, September 3, the City Council breezed through its budget items, approving the 2020 City fire assessment, the budget, and after a few hiccups, let its prior approval of a renewed contract with Waste Pro for City trash collection and construction and demolition debris stand.

Fire

City fire rates remained unchanged from last year. It took the City Council 1min 27sec to approve them.

Mayor Witt said, just before the vote, "I want to thank the Chief and the staff for coming up with and keeping the fire rates where they were and providing the great service that you do."

The Mayor concluded, "It's good for our community and you all do a great job."


Fire rates from Tindale Oliver rate study.

Budget


Finance Manager Donna Duncan

Next up: approving the millage rate and the budget.

City Finance Director Donna Duncan presented the budget millage rate (4.9000 mils and the capital and operating budget ($51,689,217).

Total general fund revenue is $15,555,982, of which $3,889,275 is property taxes.

No one from the general public addressed the budget during the budget hearing.

Your reporter did.

He inquired of the Council why it was that the City was spending a minimum of $23,000 plus a year with the Lake City Reporter, the County's mainstream print media, and the City Manager, the City Clerk, and the police were spending over $200 in subscription fees to get the newspaper delivered.


Waste Pro's Frank Kramer and Dayna Miller review their notes.

Your reporter noted, "It seems to be that the City shouldn’t be paying anything for those subscriptions, as the out of pocket expense is $23,000."

The Council did not respond.

Mayor Witt commended the staff for keeping "the milage rate what it was for the last few years."

1 mil is equivalent to $1 in taxes per $1,000 of your homes taxable value or its assessment.

4.9000 mils are equal to $4.90 per $1,000 of one's home assessment. If your home is assessed at $50,000, your City taxes would be $4.90 x 50 or $245.

This rate is added to you County taxes, the theory being that folks in the City are paying extra for an enhanced level of service.

Garbage


Glenel Bowden repeated his opposition to higher rates.

The City Council was talked out after the previous meetings regarding the garbage rates.

By this evening's meeting there were seven garbage options besides reverting back to the contract which the board renewed on April 1. There were so many options that just about everyone was confused.

Council persons Jake Hill and Melinda Moses were in favor of opening up roll off business to those other than Waste Pro, the current provider.

Councilman Jefferson said he didn't want garbage rates to go up for the citizens.


Com. Rocky Ford claimed "monopoly."

Glenel Bowden did not want the rates to go up and also spoke for maintaining recycling. He said the most "important people in Lake City are the residents."

Gary "Hambone" Wilson and County Commissioner Rocky Ford spoke in favor of opening up the roll off business.

Commissioner Ford said, "Monopolies have been outlawed in the United States for a long time and this is a monopoly – any way you look at it."

The Council couldn't agree on a new replacement for the existing contract with the result that the Waste Pro contract renewed for another 5 years.

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