CRESTVIEW — It took less than 15 minutes, but with a 3-1 vote, Crestview has joined other taxing districts in raising residents' taxes for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The city council met in a second public hearing Tuesday evening for a final vote on the new millage rate and proposed budget.
The 5.8466 millage rate is expected to generate some $300,000 more than the current year's rate, with a forecast tax levy of $5,380,692.
The millage rate passed 3-1 with minimal discussion. Councilmen Joe Blocker, Shannon Hayes and Mickey Rytman voted in favor of the tax increase. Council President Robyn Helt, who throughout the budget process adamantly opposed raising the city's property tax rate, cast the lone "nay" vote. Councilman Tom Gordon was traveling abroad and did not vote, but also has steadfastly opposed raising taxes.
Before the budget passed, Capt. James Poirrier, representing the Crestview Firefighters Association, expressed his union's concern that members would be subject to furlough, or unpaid leave, during the upcoming year along with the city's other employees.
"We were not aware that the 32 (furlough) hours were going to affect everybody, including our firefighters," Poirrier said.
Poirrier also expressed concern that while most firefighters were "taking a pay reduction," one of the union's members, the department's staff assistant, received a pay raise when her position was reclassified to a higher level.
Following Hayes’ motion, a resolution to approve the $29.1 million budget passed 3-1, with Helt voting “nay.” The new budget goes into effect Oct. 1.
Crestview's city tax increase joins increases in Okaloosa County property taxes, Okaloosa School District tax and county gasoline tax.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.