COVID-19 Impacts Budget
Heading into the new fiscal year, revenues from the gas tax, municipal revenue sharing and the half-cent sales tax all are projected to be down from the prior year. Local taxes and fees also may continue to be impacted by COVID-19. In total, capital project funds have fallen about $1.8 million short of the 2019-2020 estimated (pre-COVID) budget.
Taxes to Remain Low
Although revenues for the coming year are expected to be negatively impacted by the continuing COVID-19 crisis, Village Council has voted not to increase taxes. Strong operating reserves provide a “safety net” of more than 12 months of operating expenses. The Estero tax rate will not go above its current level of 0.7726, ensuring that Estero will continue to have the lowest tax rate in Southwest Florida.
Looking ahead to FY 2020-2021
Total revenues for the coming year are tentatively projected to be $16.8 million, which is about $3.5 million less than the previous year’s budget. Despite reductions in revenue, the Village of Estero anticipates maintaining strong fiscal health in the year ahead. Capital projects funding is budgeted at $6.3 million.
Roadway and landscaping improvements will continue along Estero Parkway, and Lee County plans to widen Corkscrew Road east of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, with supplemental landscaping to be provided by the Village. River Ranch Road will get a bike/pedestrian path, and street lights will be added to sections of Via Coconut Point, Williams Road, River Ranch Road, Broadway Avenue and Sandy Lane. Several intersection improvements are planned in the coming year.
The impacts of COVID-19 may continue to have negative effects on the economy. Taxable property values are anticipated to decline, and persistent unemployment would lower future sales and gas tax collections and may lead to foreclosures.
The Village of Estero has formed a contingency plan to counteract these potential economic impacts. Strong operating reserves of $5.9 million are available to offset future revenue reductions. Village Council could also choose to delay non-time-sensitive capital projects or discontinue its annual debt prepayment funding of $1.1 million.
Upcoming Budget Meetings:
- 9 at 5:30 pm — Tentative budget hearing including tax rate vote
- 23 at 5:30 pm — Final budget hearing including tax rate vote
Attend live: Village Council Chambers, 9401 Corkscrew Palms Circle. A Mask will be required to enter the building and seating will be limited.
Attend virtually: www.estero-fl.gov. Virtual comment cards are available on our website, so your voice can still be heard.