PARKER, Fla. (WMBB) — Up until now, City of Parker residents never had to worry about an ad valorem tax, but Wednesday night, Parker city council members approved a property tax by a 4-to-1 vote.

They approved a 3.8 millage rate to begin sometime next year. Parker Mayor Andrew Kelly said the money will help the city provide residents with services they deserve.

“We’ve never been able to hire more than three firemen, we’ve never been able to hire more than nine policemen, we’ve got nine or 11 public works, four or five admin, 30 employees, and we were able to scrape by every year,” Mayor Kelly said. “Been the mayor almost two years and in the last year, the Public Works Director, along with others from the Florida Rural Water, have shown and convinced me the failure of the infrastructure in the city.”

The majority of residents who spoke were in favor of the new property tax.

“I’m an anti-tax guy,” resident Chuck Tindel said. “I do support it. It’s going to cost me some money and I realize that.”

“We want to save the city, we have to keep looking forward,” resident Kimberly Rega said.

But, at least one resident is concerned about the tax’s impact on senior citizens.

“We can’t take no more, we’re not making any more work,” resident Steven Youngblood said. “We can’t take our grocery store and everything else. We can’t take no more.”

Mayor Kelly said raising taxes is better than the alternative.

“I’m not real big on borrowing, I’m not real big on spending what we don’t have,” Mayor Kelly said. “The vast majority of the people of Parker want to keep this Parker. They did not want it to be another city and so if I’m their mayor, I’m going to do the best I can for them every day.”

The new tax will generate an estimated $800,000 a year. Kelly said they hope to put some of the money into an emergency reserves account.