Not-to-exceed Sarasota County millage rate of 3.4381 mills set by commission this week for 2024 fiscal year

Total millage rate down 24%, compared to 2023 fiscal year figure

In keeping with a longstanding pledge not to raise the millage rate, the Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved a slightly lower level for the 2024 fiscal year as its not-to-exceed figure for the annual Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices and for formal advertisements to the public.

The total rate for the 2024 fiscal year is 3.4381, which is 24% lower than the FY 2023 figure of 3.4463 mills.

The adjustment downward by .0082 mills is the result of a lower debt service amount needed for the bonds that the county issued — in the aftermath of a 2018 referendum — to finance the extensions of The Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota and to North Port, Kim Radtke, director of the Office of Financial Management, explained to the commissioners during their regular meeting on July 11.

The final millage rate will be set following public hearings on Sept. 11 and Sept. 26, she noted.

The county millage rate has fallen since the 2003 fiscal year, except for the Legacy Trail debt service, as staff reminded the commissioners during their budget workshops last month.

The formal resolution that the commissioners approved on July 11 included the following figures:

  • Operating millage of 3.2653 for the 2024 fiscal year, which is up 0.48%, compared to the FY 2023 total of 3.2497 mills. (One mill represents $1,000 of the value of a piece of property.)
  • Debt service for the county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP) — 0.0799 mills, which is 12.68% lower than the 2023 fiscal year figure of 0.0915 mills. The ESLPP operates with revenue derived from a 0.25-mill tax that has won voter approval twice, in 1999 and in 2005. That tax is in effect through 2029. The commissioners have agreed to seek a 2026 referendum on its renewal.
  • Legacy Trail debt service millage of 0.0469, which is down 14.88%, compared to the 2023 fiscal year figure of 0.0551.
  • The Mosquito Control District millage of 0.0460, which is 8% lower than the 2023 fiscal year total of 0.05 mills.

The formal resolution also included proposed ad valorem millage rates for districts within the county. For example, the rate for the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District, which encompasses the area that the county beautified in the 2008-09 timeframe, will fall 0.0990 mills, from 3.2618 mills this fiscal year to 3.1628 mills in the 2024 fiscal year.

The owners of property within the district pay a tax every year.

For another example, the millage rate for the Pinecraft Lighting District will rise by 0.0079 mills, to 0.0695 mills in the 2024 fiscal year.

Pinecraft is the traditionally Amish and Mennonite community just east of the limits of the City of Sarasota. Much of Pinecraft borders Bahia Vista Street, both east and west of South Beneva Road.

The tentative county budget for the 2024 fiscal year totals $1,978,291,903, according to a county staff memo included in the June 11 meeting packet.

That memo also pointed out — as The Sarasota News Leader reported in late June — that the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office had certified the final taxable value of county property at $94.2 billion, up 14.1% from the figure of $82.5 billion in the current fiscal year. (The News Leader compared the final taxable value this year, which the state required to be released by July 1, with the certified tax value of the county property in 2023. As a result, the News Leader came up with an increase of 14.3%. Local government bodies use their own methods of calculating the difference between the tax value in the state-mandated June 1 property tax report and the total in the July 1 report.)

The TRIM notices go out in August, showing the maximum millage rates property owners can expect to pay.