'We are actually saving as much as we can,' Vice Mayor Eddie Branqhuino said during the special budget meeting Wednesday.
The Palm Coast City Council passed the city's 2023 fiscal year budget and property tax rate with a 4-1 vote at its Sept. 21 special budget meeting. Councilman Ed Danko was the dissenting vote.
The 2023 budget totals $328,187,636, around 29% higher than the 2022 fiscal year budget. The property tax rate, or millage rate, of 4.6100 accounts for $5.3 million of the budget's general fund, according to city staff.
"I'm glad to see that we're going to be giving our Fire Department a few helping hands, and I certainly support the five hires for our sheriff," Danko said, "However I do not support this increase in the millage rate."
The millage rate is the same rate as 2022's fiscal year budget, however, property value increases across the county mean residents will be paying more in taxes by keeping this rate. Over the previous few meetings, residents of Palm Coast turned out in force asking the council to adopt the rolled-back rate of 4.0138.
The supporting council members have previously pointed out that inflation has raised costs for the city as well as residents. Palm Coast's recent growth also costs money — Vice Mayor Eddie Branquinho pointed said in Wednesday's meeting that the budget also pays for the new positions posted on the city's website.
"I don't think that these departments are actually hurting the finances of the city by the new hires they're getting," Branquinho said. "We are actually saving as much as we can."