JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown and his staff are busy crunching budget numbers, knowing the city's property tax base is still falling.
Brown and his staff met for several hours Wednesday afternoon to size up department budgets and put together a city spending plan.Last year, the city held the line on a millage rate increase.
Chief Financial Officer Ronnie Belton,speaking for the Mayor, says aproperty tax increase isnot in the plans.
"No increase in taxes, no increase in fees," said Belton outside city hall after the long budget meeting.
Belton says the numbers on the revenue side might not be as bad as people think, even though property assessments are down.
The city's budget is being preparedduring a timewhenproperty values for tax purposes have dropped for the fifth year in a row.
Lastyear, the city budgeted its spending based on a taxable property value of $50.4 billion.This year, the number is expected to drop to around $50 billion.
"The market is not accelerating down like it was two years ago," said Property Appraiser Jim Overton. "It is still falling. It is falling to what it looks like a bottom,may be this year."
In 2007, the city had a property tax base that topped$61 billion, but has dropped every year since then.
Property taxes in Duval Countyare a big source -- roughly 33%of the city's revenue.The local option -- sales taxes -- is the next big generator of money for the city.
The administrationwill submita preliminary budget to the council next week, withMayor Brown presenting his official spending plan in July.