Orlando faces possible property tax hike amid budget shortfall

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

Expenses are more than income right now for the city of Orlando, according to city officials.
 
City leaders are trying to figure out how to get out of the red.
 
Property tax increases for Orlando homeowners in one of the options commissioners are looking at.
 
"I don't think anyone ever wants to raise taxes, but the question is, 'Do we balance reducing services versus raising additional revenues?'" said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Monday.
 
City homeowners haven't seen a property tax rate hike in six years.
 
Last year, the city tapped into $29 million of its reserves to break even.
 
Orlando city financial officer Rebecca Sutton said they won't be doing that this time around. She said the city has already made $41 million in cuts.
 
"So if we would have done nothing over the last six years the problem here would be $41 million worse," said Sutton.
 
Homeowner Richard Williams has been in his home 50 years. He said his budget is maxed out too.
 
'It's disturbing. Every time you turn around rates are going up for something. It's hard enough to get by," said Williams.
 
Mia Borcky said she has lived in several states. She said she believes Florida has one of the country's lowest property tax rates and said she would rather pay more taxes than lose city services.
 
"It's part of our duty. We have to allow these people to work, and they're serving us. So if the rates go up we need to pay it," said Borcky.
 
City officials said if they don't raise property taxes they will have to look at other areas like cutting services or raising service fees.

"We've been doing less with more. We've been getting grants to offset these shortfalls that we've had, and we just don't have a whole lot of options," said Orlando city commissioner Patty Sheehan.