|Published:||Jul 06, 2012 2:09 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 06, 2012 3:19 PM EDT|
PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Lieutenant Rick Mohaupt has been a police officer for the city of Punta Gorda for more than two decades.
"Not only have I worked for the city for 25 years I have been a resident for 25 years", Mohaupt proudly boasts.
Over the last six years, he has seen the city cut work benefits for himself and other city employees.
"Without a doubt every year insurance goes up and benefits are decreased", said Mohaupt.
With the city facing an $865,000 shortfall this year, Mohaupt faced losing money either through losing benefits or higher property taxes.
This week, Mayor Bill Albers and the rest of the city council decided instead of turning to employees for more cuts, that it was time to raise the millage rate.
"Were done, were not going to do anymore, we have done enough to the employees", said Albers at the idea of cutting employee benefits.
A higher millage rate translates into higher property taxes. An average of about $40 a year per home.
"There will be an increase for everybody but it's different for everybody, it's not 14 percent across the board the message is its $865,000 that will be divided according to your assessed evaluation", said Albers.
Albers admits that he does not want to see his own property taxes go up but with inflation driving costs up and housing values dropping the city council decided that they had little choice but to adjust the millage rate.
"Everything is going up you know what I cant help that our costs are going up as well", said Albers.
But it's a decision that Mohaupt fully supports.
"As a resident I should be paying that increased tax and that will make up for the shortfall and the deficit in the entire cities budget", said Mohaupt.
Before the millage rate can be sent to property owners through trim notices, the millage rate still has to pass two votes from the city council.
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