Letter to the Editor: Holmes Beach annual city budget high

Based on the population size (3,017) of Holmes Beach including the number of homes (2,538+), the city’s annual budget is not in proportion. Year over year the city budget goes up, from $15M to $18M. Up to $22M last year and now the commission is asked to approve a budget of over $25M. Keep in mind that the city of Holmes Beach is 1.9 square miles. There has been exhaustive analysis by concerned residents of the “expense per capita” for Holmes Beach and how we compare to similar “like cities.” When it comes to the budget, Holmes Beach is substantially above and significantly out of line from the norm.

I take pride in the job I am elected to do. I use every form of communication to listen to the voters and property owners alike to take a temperature on how people feel about topics of concern, including taxes.

Budgets go up for several reasons:

  • When property values increase.
  • When the city does not reduce the millage rate enough.
  • When the county does not pay its fair share.
  • Grants applied for.

The millage rate and the budget are what the city commission can control. Over the years we have heard promises of tax relief/tax savings and the commitment to lower the millage rate. The millage was reduced from 2.25 to 2.07. Yet, the budget still went from $22.2M to $25.4M. Up $3M, a 14.4% increase. A millage reduction but still a tax increase as our property values continue to go up. I guess that’s good if you are selling. Which is what some long-term residents who are on fixed incomes are doing. Our residents are being replaced by a different type of owner/investor. We are seeing a change in the diversity of our community. The tax increases are pushing people out, which is changing the face of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria Island.

Our property owners need tax relief. Our city can reduce the “nice to have” expenses, which continue to increase year over year. At each budget hearing, I asked for a more significant millage reduction, and I am staying consistent with that message.


Jayne Christenson

Holmes Beach city commissioner