Cape Coral approves tentative budget

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – City Council members approved a tentative budget Thursday for the upcoming fiscal year. The city manager’s proposal includes a nearly 10% reduction in millage rates, or property tax rates, to just under $7 per every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value, the lowest since 2009.

“We compare very favorably with surrounding cities,” said Cape Coral city manager John Szerlag.

Local realtors tell WINK News that the housing market in Cape Coral has gone “berzerk”, with market values of homes increasing about 12% per year since 2013. For example, we found one home in southwest Cape that sold for $487,000 in 2012, but was recently listed for $639,000.

So, even though tax rates look to be going down, could homeowners end up paying more?

“Even though your market value may increase by several thousand dollars, your assessed value can only increase by a pre-determined rate, so you’re not going to see your property value go up for tax purposes by very much at all this year,” said city spokesperson Connie Barron.

Barron says the average homeowner can expect to pay about $75 less in property taxes this winter.

Also included in the budget, millions of dollars are set aside for city-wide improvements. The budget calls for $6.5 million to pave roads, $5.4 million to replace aging city vehicles and equipment, and $1.3 million to maintain parks and facilities.

It also calls for $500,000 for median improvements, $300,000 for alley paving, and $100,000 for street light improvements.

The City Council will vote on a finalized budget September 21.

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