Needing more firefighters and police, Lakeland may raise property taxes

LAKELAND — Lakeland officials unanimously voted Monday to advertise a potential increase in the city’s tax rate to pay for public safety measures. 

Commissioners face a decision on whether to raise Lakeland’s property tax rate from $5.43 to $5.76 per $1,000 of assessed value. It would provide the city with nearly $3 million more in revenue to add more firefighters and police officers.  

To raise taxes, a super majority — or five out of seven commissioners — will have to vote in favor. 

“If the vote were today, I wouldn’t vote for that,” Commissioner Chad McLeod said. “I’m not convinced you can’t do this under the current millage rate.”

McLeod pointed out the city’s property tax roll has grown by more than 14% since last year. The rollback rate, or $4.9865 per $1,000 of assessed value, would allow the city to collect the same amount of tax revenue. 

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