ALACHUA – The City of Alachua adopted a budget of $33,663,115 for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This figure represents an 8.76 percent reduction over last year’s budget of $36,897,118.

At Monday night’s regularly scheduled commission meeting, commissioners also approved keeping the property tax rate the same as the last two years.

The final millage rate, which will be used to calculate city property taxes in the 2011 tax year, will be 5.5000 mills. At 5.5000 mills, taxes for a property worth $100,000 would be $550.

The ad valorem taxable value has decreased for properties in the city, meaning the commission would have to adopt a roll-back rate of 6.0242 mills to generate the same revenue as last year. Instead, in maintaining the 5.5000 mills rate, there will be a $368,582 decrease in property tax revenue coming into City coffers.

The commission expressed a desire to maintain the 5.5000 mills rate to provide tax relief for residents. Resident Donna Hope, who was attending the meeting, thanked the commission, saying, “We all need this break.”

The city expects the public service tax revenue, which increased by almost 26 percent, to offset the hit from the millage rate, bringing in about $300,000 in additional income.

Although the FY 2011/12 budget is $3.2 million less than the FY 2010/11 budget, city officials expect similar operating costs in the coming year.  The primary reason for the budget decrease is the completion of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, a $20 million facility.  With the construction finalized it will no longer be an additional expense to the budget.

The City will be funding two new programs this year to help alleviate the disrepair of city-owned roads.  A road resurfacing program budgeted at $152,000 will be used to repair crumbling roads that need asphalt.

An additional $45,000 was budgeted for a “chip-seal” program to surface some unpaved roads with a gravel-type asphalt mix, reducing the maintenance of those roads.