Winter Haven City Commission Adopts More Than $260 Million City Budget, Retains Tax Rate
by James Coulter
Winter Haven City Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt for next fiscal year its city budget, which totals more than $260 million while retaining its current tax rate.
At their regular meeting on Monday evening, city commissioners approved the city budget during its second reading. The budget includes a proposed millage rate of 6.59 with a rolled-back rate of 6.06.
The millage rate remains the same as the current fiscal year and places Winter Haven in ninth place in terms of millage rates across the county. The ad valorem rate is expected to generate more than $25 million for the city general fund, explained City Attorney Frederick John Murphy, Jr.
The city’s budget totals more than $260 million. The budget was balanced following the city’s six primary “pillars of service,” including quality of life, community safety, infrastructure, responsible government, environmental stewardship, and economic sustainability.
Ad valorem proceeds in the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) total $3,209,855 and $1,107,287 for the Downtown District and Florence Villa District for a combined increase of 576,192 over the prior fiscal year, a slide in the budget presentation stated.
The funds to be appropriated increased by $44 million, with major items including more than $19 million for transportation fund capital projects and more than $59 million for construction projects.
Many other significant projects and programs include $250,000 allocated to affordable housing including a residential infill affordable housing program, and several five-year major projects, which total more than $273 million and include renovations to wastewater treatment, new water treatment plants, and water distribution system expansion.