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Gulf Breeze residents will soon pay more for property taxes

GULF BREEZE   --  Paying more property tax.
That will soon be reality for Gulf Breeze residents.
Many are asking why, and wondering how the city's purchase of the Tiger Point golf course affects the equation.

The Gulf Breeze city council voted this week to increase the property tax rate by 6.9 percent.
The 2014 budget is up by $2.62 million over last year, in large part to pay for the increased costs of operating the new, expanded recreation center, Tiger Point golf club and several sorely needed road paving projects.

The golf course expenses, budgeted at two million this year, are paid for by south santa rosa utility customers, customers who could some see rate increases in the future.

"It's going to cost a couple million dollars a year to operate it. We'll have to take the difference between operating revenue and operating expenses out of the utility fund. Because ultimately it's going to save the utility fund millions of dollars over the next 10-15 years," says Buz Eddy, Gulf Breeze City Manager.

The savings come from expanding the current wastewater treatment plant next to the course, and not having to build a new facility elsewhere.

"I do feel that the logic is right. That you have to spend the money to get rid of the water somehow. Why not have an opportunity to possibly use the water for good use, and possibly down the line be cheaper in the long run? I know there's going to be an investment involved, but I think that in the long run it will probably be better for Gulf Breeze," says Pete Waschenko.

So the proposed property tax bump is not for the golf course. That money goes to roads and the rec center.

"Most of the input that they got from citizens was 'my streets in bad shape, you need to resurface the street...we need to have more activities at the community center'. So the city council is just responding to what they hear from the citizens," says Eddy.

"You'd rather pay a little bit more and get more, than to not pay and then you have nothing," says Waschenko.

"I think that's understandable. I think it needs to be done, really. No I have no problem with raising out taxes," says Muriel Cormier, who lives in Tiger Point.

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