The Venice City Council Monday night unanimously approved the first reading of the 2019-20 property tax rate.

Members of the council also focused their ire on Mike Rafferty, the coordinator of Venice Tax Watch, for spreading what they said were false portrayals of the city’s fiscal health.

The board approved the 2019-20 millage rate of 3.7 mills as well as a reduction in the debt service millage rate to 0.6200 mils. The council also approved the first reading of what City Manager Ed Lavalle said is now a $129 million overall budget.

Both the tax rate and budget are scheduled for a second and final hearing at 5:01 p.m. Sept. 24.