Oviedo mayor considers tax hike

City leaders voted to prevent a proposed fire fee, looking for other ways to raise funds and cut spending

The mayor of Oviedo said Wednesday the city is still looking for ways to fund its next budget.

OVIEDO, Fla. – The mayor of Oviedo said Wednesday the city is still looking for ways to fund its next budget.

The Oviedo City Council plans to host a work session Thursday evening to discuss possible options, like incorporating a potential mileage increase, to help balance the budget.

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“If we want to provide the same level of services we provided last year, the only way we can do that is to collect more money,” Mayor Megan Sladek said.

This comes after Sladek and other city leaders voted to prevent a proposed fire fee from going into effect on Monday. The fee would have added $3.9 million to the city budget.

Sladek said her concern was that owners of large multi-unit properties would have their fees capped at 50 units, even if the property contained more units.

“When you go from $10,600 to $59,000 that doesn’t seem fair. So essentially the proposal was to give them a $50,000 tax break to do a fire fee. That’s what upset people,” Sladek said. “We have never had a fire fee before. In the same way we have a water bill, you have a water fee and a sewer bill with a sewer fee. It would have been a fire fee (in) a similar nature.”

Oviedo residents spoke out about their opposition to the proposed fire fee, claiming the proposal was unfair to single-family homeowners, but Sladek emphasized that something has to be done to compensate for the city budget’s deficiency.

“You collect more money or you cut services. That’s where we are right now,” Sladek said.

Although they are looking at cutting programs and raising taxes, city leaders insist they don’t need the money to balance their 2022-2023 budget.

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A previous version of this story reported that the city's budget was facing a $3.9 million shortfall. That number is the estimated amount the fire fee would have raised. City leaders have not yet announced a number for the amount of cash they would need to balance the budget.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.