Property owners in Jacksonville Beach are facing the prospect of paying 3 percent higher property taxes starting in October.
A property tax increase is included in the city's new proposed budget. The plan calls for a 3-percent boost in the tax rate.
City leaders say it's necessary to make up for lost revenue due to declining property values.
Jacksonville Beach's city budget is about $1 million less now than it was in 2007. City Manager George Forbes said that while the millage rate would increase in this proposed plan, the budget would be down about $387,700 from this year to next.
It's still an idea not taken too well by some homeowners.
"Oh, gosh no," homeowner Skip Smith said. "Especially if you can't really justify it on paper, and you really can't sell it to me when I'm already putting out more money than I should living close to the beach anyway."
"Take that 3 percent and use it for drainage, put it where we need it, and then use your volunteer Fire Department to back up your professionals," homeowner Richard Nadeau said.
The median home value in the city of Jacksonville Beach is $187,500. So with this 3 percent millage rate increase, residents with homes in that price range would be paying about $17 more next year than they did this year.
Forbes, who released the budget plan, said the city has recently sliced its spending, but it's still not enough. With the current economy, home values have dropped, so the government brings in less money from property taxes.
Forbes points out much of the money collected goes to the school system and the city of Jacksonville. Only about a fifth of the money goes to Jacksonville Beach.
"We're doing this millage rate to maintain the level of services we have, because 64 percent of our costs are in public safety, you know," Forbes said. "If we want to keep things at the current levels, then we pretty much need to do this."
City leaders are going over the budget.
Mayor Fland Sharp did not return a call requesting his comment.
Others weren't available for comment Thursday, but council member Jeanell Wilson said from what she's seen so far, the plan's not one she supports. Council member Lee Buck said he wanted to take a closer look at the plan and talk with city leaders before making up his mind.
"The city should run more like a household has to do," Wilson said. "If they get less money, then they should cut their spending. And I have the philosophy that Jax Beach needs to seriously look at the spending and see where we can make more cuts so we do not have to increase the millage rate."
It's up to the City Council members to vote on the plan. They have to do it before Oct. 1, when the city's budget is due.