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Cape Coral budget clears first hearing

Final hearing is Thursday, Sept. 21

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Sep 8, 2023

The Cape Coral City Council approved an overall budget of $1,095,678,549, a 13.25% increase over the fiscal year 2023 budget, during its first budget hearing Thursday night.

Council also approved the operation millage rate at 5.3694 mills, which is 12.99 percent more than the rollback rate, and set the millage rate for the Parks General Obligation Bonds at 0.1675 mills.

One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable property valuation.

Financial Services Director Mark Mason said they have two millage rates for property taxes, with the larger of the two generating funds for the general operations of the city. He said it is not the sole revenue source that they have, but it is the largest funding source for city operations.

The second is a debt service millage rate, which covers the cost of the bonds that were issued fund the city’s voter-approved $60 million Parks Master Plan.

Mason said the tentative millage rate is not to exceed 5.3694 mills, approved by the City Council in July and noticed in the TRIM notice that went to all property owners within the City of Cape Coral.

“The tentative rate is 12.99% increase over the rollback rate of 4.7519 mills,” Mason said.

The rollback rate is the rate at which the city would receive the same amount of revenue from property taxes as the year before. If property value increases on an individual property, taxes increase even if the tax rate remains the same.

The city manager’s tentative budget is based upon the millage rate of 5.3694 mills.

Overall, the General Fund, a 5.41% increase over fiscal year 2023, is $228,269,306.

“This is certainly less than what we have seen from an inflationary rate over the last couple of years,” Mason said.

The 13.25% increase, the majority of the costs included, are associated with capital improvements for utilities, he said.

Mason said the budget included some identified changes discussed during the budget workshops, which was a little more than $4.6 million.

The changes included adding three additional firefighters with funding coming from the General Fund and the fire assessment fund; adding an additional patrol officer; increasing transfers out from the general fund for the fire bay doors, as well as adding additional city beautification funds.

“The total amount of changes was $4.7 million, which arrives at the $1.095 billion budget,” Mason said.

In addition, the budget includes 63 new positions added, although the city eliminated some positions as well.

“We also moved some positions from the General Fund, as well as from other funds throughout the organization,” he said. “Some of the things that we are looking to do with the stormwater, we are looking to add additional crews in order to decrease the overall backlog that we have for stormwater improvements.”

With police, Mason said the city is bringing on a number of police officers, including within the investigative services bureau as well as patrol, which meets the strategic plan for the Cape Coral Police Department. The budget also includes bringing on additional firefighters and engineers to continue to meet minimum staffing for the fire department.

“Overall, we have had 82.5 positions that have been added, 19 and a half of those are in the charter schools. We have an enterprise fund between stormwater, as well as the utilities fund, 22 ½ positions, with 20 positions in the general fund,” Mason said.

The presentation also went included things that the city is going over and above what normal operations would entail, which includes:

Public Safety

• Fire Training Facility phase 2 design and engineering: $530,450

• Emergency Operations Center Expansion: $9,000,000

• North Cape Safety Complex: $1,000,000

• Implementation of new Body Camera contract: $1,187,691

• Fire Alert System: $1,100,000


• Road resurfacing: $7,400,000

• Additional sidewalks – FDOT and CDBG grant sidewalks: $1,329,188

• Intersection improvements – four control devices: $3,090,000

• Planning, Design and Engineering Study for widening and improvements to Pine Island Road – second half of funding: $2,250,000

• NE 24th Ave two-three lane expansion: $20,475,371

• North 1 East and North 3 Utility Extension Project: $169,251,851


• Facility renewal and replacements (Operation Sparkle) Storms Field Turf and additional parks to be determined: $2,260,515

• Caloosahatchee Shoreline Preservation: $2,000,000

• Lake Kennedy Signage: $250,000

• Replace three playgrounds and Jim Jeffers, Joe Stonis & Youth Center: $900,000


• Median beautification and landscape – Cape Coral Parkway between Chiquita to Sands: $1,030,000

• Stormwater System Improvements: $1,030,000

• Surface water management and water quality: $1,200,000

• Additional swale crew: $948,988

• Additional pipe crew: $734,588

• Additional sod crew: $184,060

The second and final budget hearing will be held Thursday, Sept. 21, at 5:05 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.