Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
September 22, 2021
At a Special Meeting on September 21, 2021 that lasted barely 5 minutes, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) adopted a millage rate and approved a budget for the 2021/22 Fiscal Year. During the Second Public Hearing on both items, nether of the two citizens who attended the meeting spoke.
During its Regular Meeting which followed the Special Meeting, the FBCC adopted the Master Fee Schedule in connection with the budget by approving Ordinance 2021-26 at Second Reading on a 5-0 vote following an amendment.
As required by law, City Attorney Tammi Bach read the TRIM statement:
TRUTH IN MILLAGE STATEMENT FISCAL YEAR 2021/2022
Prior to adoption of Resolution 2021-148, which sets the property tax millage rate for operating expenditures, and sets the millage rate for voter approved debt, Chapter 200.065 (4)(d), Florida Statutes, requires that the following statement be publicly announced.
- The taxing authority levying this property tax is the City Commission of the City of Fernandina Beach.
- The rolled back rate is 5.1068 mills per $1,000 of assessed value.
- The percentage increase is 4.43% over the rollback millage rate.
- The operating millage rate to be levied is 5.3330 mills per $1,000 of assessed value.
The voter debt millage rate is .0000.
The millage rate — the adjusted rollback rate — was adopted on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Bradley Bean voting in opposition.
FY2021/22 Budget adopted
On a unanimous vote, the FBCC next adopted the budget for the new fiscal year which begins October 1, 2021. Again, there was no public input during the required public hearing.
The adopted budget of $15,409,650 is 3.96 percent higher than the current year and based upon a millage rate which is 5.17 percent lower than the current year. The taxable value of property in the City for the coming fiscal year is $3,009,887,290, as determined by the Nassau County Property Appraiser.
The entire budget may be viewed on the City website.
Master Fee Schedule
With the development of the annual City budget, all departments are required to evaluate the fees charged for each service. The City sets the fees based on the cost to provide the services and facility rentals. The state requires that all fees, whether for general funds or enterprise funds, be set by ordinance.
Commissioners continued to debate how to best set fees for the City Golf Course, and to a lesser extent, the City Marina. There was interest expressed in allowing managers of both these enterprise funds to have flexibility in setting fees for peak times, special events and slow seasons. Attorney Bach advised that state law would not permit such a practice.
With an expressed intent to revisit this topic along with fees for Parks and Recreation, Commissioners amended the proposed ordinance to allow the Golf Course to impose a 25 percent differential for non-City residents. This percent is consistent with the existing policy of charging an additional 25 percent to non-City users of Parks and Recreation facilities and programs.
The amended Ordinance passed on a 5-0 vote.