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Punta Gorda’s five-year financial plan will be discussed during a Feb. 21 City Council meeting, including damages from Hurricane Ian and increasing costs for infrastructure due to continued growth.

The millage rate, dollars assessed for each $1,000 of value, for fiscal year 2024 is 3.95 mills. Although the rate hasn’t changed since 2022, rising property values has increased tax collections.

A notable exception is properties that were destroyed or sustained significant damages from Hurricane Ian and have either been taken off the tax rolls or had their values significantly reduced.

Included in the millage rate is $709,000 earmarked for a road resurfacing program and $300,000 for the citywide drainage improvement program.

The current millage rate, according to city officials, is necessary due to continued outstanding infrastructure needs, the need to maintain and enhance current service levels and to maintain revenues to cover ongoing expenditures.

Residents will see rate increases in collection services. The city’s recycling program will increase by 36 cents per month, or $4.32 per year, and refuse and yard waste pickup costs will increase by $1 per month, or $12 a year.

Some of the additional expenditures approved by City Council for fiscal year 2024 include increasing costs of commodities and contracted services due to supply-chain problems and higher labor costs, new software, a playground fountain maintenance technician and a maintenance worker to support parks and grounds.

Other increases have been approved for supplies and communication services and additional janitorial services and personnel.

A school resource officer was added in mid-fiscal year 2023 and other personnel factored in are an administrative support supervisor, four police officers, a fire prevention clerk/public information officer and six firefighter/EMTs with associated equipment.

At a recent gathering with Burnt Store Corridor Coalition representatives, Punta Gorda Mayor Lynne Matthews and Capt. Norman Nahra of the Punta Gorda Police Department cited the need for more police officers.

The police department increased maintenance costs for its various vehicles, boats and equipment, an urban design manager position added in mid-fiscal year 2023, and an overall increase of 33% for information technology for citywide projects are also in the plan.

For the city’s workers, budgeted are a 4% merit wage increase, a 5% increase to cover pensions and general liability insurance, a 6% increase for health insurance and a 10% increase for workers’ compensation.

The City Council meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Military Heritage Museum, 900 W. Marion Ave.

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