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City Approves Millage Rates, $175 Million Budget

General fund millage rate will be maintained at 2.9249 mills.

The City of Sarasota will have to go another year with doing more with less. 

Though the budget increased $2.4 million to $175 million, it's a budget of keeping up with increased costs. The City Commission unanimously approved the budget and millage rates at its Monday evening session at City Hall.

Here are some highlights of the budget:

• Property tax rate proposed to remain at 2.9249 mills 

• Sewer and water rates to increase by 4 percent

• Four-month hiring freeze to save about $500,000

• Layoff about 10 employees

• $1 million savings in police retirement reductions

• Uses $164,000 in fees collected from Florida Power and Light for the general fund

• Uses $1.9 million from stabilization fund to balance budget

The hiring freeze would be through attrition, where when someone resigns or retires as of Oct. 1, each position would be left vacant for four months, said the city's finance director, Chris Lyons.

The bulk of the budget is to fund the Sarasota Police Department, and includes a $1.7 million increase in expenses, most from pension cost increase.

The new budget also features funding for the first phases of Main Street improvements, roundabouts on U.S. 41 at 10th and 14th streets, Lido Beach sand replenishment and updated Van Wezel Performing Arts Center restrooms and carpeting.

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