Century Botches Tax Increase, Budget For Next Year

September 14, 2021

The Century Town Council totally botched an attempt Monday to pass a tentative property tax increase and budget for the next fiscal year.

An agenda for the public hearing improperly indicated that property taxes would not increase. Council President Louis Gomez read from agenda, and with a 4-0 vote the council approved no property tax increase. But the resolution required, and signed at the end of the meeting by the council president, sets a different millage rate than discussed and actually includes a tax increase.

Century’s accountant, Robert Hudson, sat through the meeting and did not correct the council’s misguided actions. The mistake was caught by NorthEscambia.com and pointed out to town officials after the meeting. We were the only members of the public to attend the public hearing.

The mistakes invalidate signed resolutions tentatively raising taxes and setting a budget because that was not the council’s actual vote. The percent of the increase as stated in the resolution was also calculated wrong.

It was not clear Monday night what Century’s next required step will be to right their failure, but it seemed that another public hearing will be advertised to redo the resolutions before final public hearing is held. The process needs to be completed before the new budget year begins October 1.

The intended council action last night was the first of two required approvals for a property tax increase with a millage rate of .9204, which is 7.1% greater than the rolled-back rate of .8553 mills. The rolled-back rate is the tax rate that would generate the same amount of property tax revenue as approved for the prior year.

A millage rate higher than the rolled-back rate is defined by Florida law as a tax increase and the town must advertise such, although the council was advised differently by their accountant.

“Y’all are not going up on the taxes,” Hudson advised the council “Even though a person’s real estate tax is going to increase, it’s increasing because the value of their property is going up.”

The town is proposing a $5.7 million budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, up from $4.14 million during the current fiscal year. The increase is mostly due to income from grants.

Mayor Ben Boutwell did not attend Monday’s meeting, and council member Leonard White was absent. White had advised the town clerk that he was unable to get time off from his job as a corrections officer. Council member James Smith, Jr., first spoke during the meeting using Zoom audio about nine minutes after the public hearing started.

Pictured: Century’s accountant Robert Hudson (foreground, right), and council members (L-R) President Luis Gomez, Jr., Sandra McMurray-Jackson and Dynette Lewis. Pictured below: Other than NorthEscambia.com, not member of the public attended the public hearing. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

15 Responses to “Century Botches Tax Increase, Budget For Next Year”

  1. David Huie Green on September 18th, 2021 12:56 pm

    So the complaint is that an accountant wasn’t a lawyer?

    I’m prejudiced, though. I’ve known Robert 55 years and think fairly highly of him.

    David for most Hudsons

  2. Judy on September 16th, 2021 8:15 am

    Why does the state allow this circus called Century to operate on it’s own??? I declare, it is like turning the city over to selfish children! If they have done anything right in the last 10 years, I would like to see it published, but I doubt that has happened!

  3. Hmmm on September 15th, 2021 11:17 am

    The sad part is, they’ll all be mad at NE for catching the error and bringing it to light… instead of thanking them for keeping them out of hot water when it was figured out a year later.

    On a side note, I don’t think I’d let Hudson do a financial report on my kid’s lemonade stand.

  4. Dead from Laughing on September 15th, 2021 10:56 am

    Why wasn’t the mayor there? Why aren’t meetings announced properly? Why aren’t there any competent people in charge?

  5. Scott on September 14th, 2021 2:11 pm

    All this is is an excuse to lead toward Pensacola and maybe chairing the idea of a charter. And if there is anything being said as I observed in one comment about attendance, well I personally quit going when I observed you cannot get anything from the council or Mayor. I have lived here all my life and as also being grown I can say “the whole council and mayor is a disgrace and there continual actions are out right sickening.

  6. Willis on September 14th, 2021 12:34 pm

    As usual I feel we have failed to look for the positive…….

    So……. they all are wearing masks. Hopefully this will prevent whatever they have from spreading !

  7. Yard Dog on September 14th, 2021 10:53 am

    What would have been the outcome of this mistake if North Escambia was not on site to point it out to them? “oops…..I wont say anything if you don’t”

  8. CJ Lewis on September 14th, 2021 10:37 am

    The Town of Century has a website. Monday was September 13. The website does not show a town council meeting scheduled for September 13. Further, almost no town council meeting agendas and no meeting minutes are posted to the website for the period March 14 to present. Is that how they do business in Century? Is that legal? By the way, Escambia County and Pensacola are also raising property taxes.

  9. new to Century on September 14th, 2021 10:27 am

    I am wondering just what does Town of Century pay Mr. Robert Hudson CPA to do.

    Maybe ToC needs to start looking for a new and better person for the job of accounting for municipalities. Or is he related to or best friends with someone important.

    Isn’t he the person that is to arrange an annual audit for Century? Since there has been no mention of negative results in the past couple of years, I am guessing that all the problems noted in past audits have been resolved and no new problems have cropped up. When does the State require these audits done before there are penalties and interest accrued?

  10. Fred on September 14th, 2021 8:54 am

    And no one in Century bothered to attend, except the publisher. That’s just as sad, that apathy among the residents is so pervasive.

  11. tg on September 14th, 2021 7:27 am

    Clown Suits should be required at these meetings.

  12. Anne on September 14th, 2021 5:55 am

    YIKES….we thought only Dee-Cee coud screw things up so Monumentally.

    Would say some folks need to be fired but this is too good for the Citizens of Century as “Council” has dropped the rock on their own foot this time.

    THANK YOU…NorthEscambia for attending and “catching” this just dumb error.
    Corruption and Totally Incompetent is the Century Town Council…..
    An Uncle, Navy Vet, had a favorite term “FUBAR” Fouled Up Beyond Any Repair.

  13. sam on September 14th, 2021 5:52 am

    Really? This town is dysfunctional. we need to fold this mess up.

  14. Bama on September 14th, 2021 4:32 am

    Wow, I see the circus is still in town.

  15. Alan on September 14th, 2021 2:13 am

    This level of incompetence has been on display for years if not decades now. The people should vote to rescind the city charter and just turn it all over to Escambia county and be sone with it.





Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.