Mexico Beach City Council Votes to Decrease Millage Rate

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The debate Thursday night wasn't if the millage rate should be lowered; everyone was in agreement on that. Instead both city council and community members discussed how cutting the rate would effect their budget, and in turn the day to day operations of their city.

Council members call the rollback a "healthy cut." It will save homeowners $200 for every $200,000 in property value.

Many said they were pleased with the new 3.35 millage rate, which will be in effect for the 2006-2007 fiscal year that begins at the end of this month.

The rollback will cost the city about $886,000 in revenue each year, but council members think they can operate the city with the proposed revenues, and most homeowners think the cut was a positive conclusion to a frustrating and devisive issue.

Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey said, "We think a mil reduction is a major reduction considering that's almost a 22 percent reduction in millage rate, and whether or not we can make it, we'll do the best we can, and we're dedicated to doing that."

Gary Gibbs, a Mexico beach resident, added, "I'm about as happy as we can be. The city council members have done a great job of pulling out every expenditure and reducing every expenditure to a bare bones minimum. If we don't have any disasters, we'll make it through."

There's no doubt some of the city council members see the rollback as a gambler. They won't be able to set aside as much money as they would like into the city's emergency reserve fund, nor will they be able to repay a half million dollar deficit next year like they'd hoped to do, but apparently they felt it's a gamble worth taking.