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The City has strategically used its reserves to fund capital projects and one-time capital expenses for items that were deferred during the economic downturn, such as roadway maintenance, replacement of public safety vehicles and equipment, and investment in community infrastructure. However, the City cannot use reserves to fund on-going expenses to balance it's budget as either a short or long-term strategy because the reserves would be depleted in approximately 5 years.
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The Public Service Tax (PST) is a 10% tax on water utility customers inside the City of Cocoa limits beginning October 1, 2017 that was first approved by Council on August 8, 2017 with a second reading and final adoption on August 22, 2017. The Public Service Tax is only calculated on water base fee and consumption, not the entire utility bill which could include sewer and reuse. Customers can expect to see the first billing of the PST on their November 2017 utility bill.
Considered and evaluated as part of the City’s Strategic Plan, and in an effort to diversify revenue sources and maintain essential and critical public services, the City of Cocoa City Council has determined that a 10% Public Service tax (PST) on the sale of water to inside City of Cocoa customers was needed effective October 1, 2017. This PST (allowed by s. 166.231, Florida Statutes), is a common revenue source levied by other communities throughout the State and within Brevard County. The PST was initially identified during the City’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget workshops, and has subsequently been evaluated each fiscal year during budget development based on the need to maintain municipal services, such as public safety and infrastructure operations and maintenance, at existing levels. During the June 29, 2017 FY2018 Budget Priorities workshop and at its August 9th Budget Workshop, City Council, in lieu of increasing the property tax rate to cover revenue shortfall, supported levying the Public Service Tax on the sale of water to inside City of Cocoa customers. This will enable the City to further attain its goals of maintaining essential and critical public services and remaining fiscally sustainable long-term. The PST will be implemented along with targeted reductions in operating costs (12% decrease compared to the current year’s budget). The average increase per month to our residents will be about $2.73, and customers can expect to see the first billing of the PST on their November 2017 utility bill.
The Public Service Tax is a 10% tax on water utility customers inside the City of Cocoa limits beginning October 1, 2017 that was first approved by Council on August 8, 2017 with a second reading and final adoption on August 22, 2017. The Public Service Tax is only calculated on water base fee and consumption, not the entire utility bill which could include sewer and reuse.
As part of the City’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, the objective to evaluate and consider alternate and new revenue sources was identified. The diversification of City revenue sources allows for reduced reliance on volatile property values; prevents a disproportionate shift of the tax burden to higher valued residential and or non-residential property; and it promotes greater equity and fairness in that all residents and consumers of municipal services are sharing in the costs for the services.
The City has reduced expenses. There have been targeted reductions in the operating budget as well including approximately 12% for the upcoming fiscal year.
Increases in insurance including health, auto and general liability, as well as salary increases pursuant to collective bargaining agreements and to retain employees at competitive salaries. The City has worked with our public safety unions to better manage the costs of pensions but there have been increases in this most recent year. It should be noted that the proposed FY2018 operating budget was decreased by approximately 12% from the current fiscal year budget.
The State allows certain County and Municipal governments to levy up to a 10% Public Service Tax on the sale of water, electric and gas utilities within the municipality.
This is a common revenue source levied by other communities throughout the State and within Brevard County.
The average resident (4,000 gallon/mo consumption) will see an increase of approximately $2.73 on their monthly water bill. Customers can expect to see the first billing of the PST on their November 2017 utility bill.
In order to make up the revenue shortfall, after deliberate review and consideration, the City would be forced to reduce critical staffing, including Economic Development and Public Safety as well as funding for local organizations that support our community and our youth.