Orlando will patch budget hole with tax hike

If you own property in Orlando, expect your 2015 tax bill to be higher.

The Orlando City Council voted unanimously Monday to increase the property tax rate by $1, to $6.65 per $1,000 of taxable value. The owner of a home with a taxable value of $200,000 and a homestead exemption would pay $997.50 in city taxes, $150 more than under the current tax rate.

"Even with this adjustment, we'll still be collecting less revenue than we did in 2009," said Mayor Buddy Dyer, citing the peak year when municipal budgets were fueled by a high home values. "But it will be enough to prevent drastic reductions in core city services."

Orlando officials blame the Legislature, saying tax reforms adopted by lawmakers in 2008 have made it difficult for city revenues to keep pace with rising costs.

The tax increase will bring in another $17 million, and administrators also plan to trim departmental budgets by another $15 million through the coming year.

Commissioners took a preliminary vote but won't finalize the tax rate until it holds two public hearings in September.

mschlueb@tribune.com or 407-420-5417

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