County eyes millage rate drop

Assistant Finance Director Erin Griffith, left, and Finance Director Linda Phillips

Assistant Finance Director Erin Griffith, left, and Finance Director Linda Phillips

David Adlerstein
Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM.

After securing a 2 percent budget cut from nearly all county departments, county commissioners are looking to adopt the roll-back rate and trim the millage slightly next year.

After a daylong budget workshop July 17 that went so smoothly the commissioners chose to cancel a second day on Friday, it was tentatively decided to go with a millage rate for the next fiscal year of 6.4296 mills, just about four-tenths of 1 mill below the current rate of 6.4706, and a drop of about six-tenths of 1 percent.

The commissioners are able to drop the millage rate for the first time since the 2008-09 fiscal year because, for the first time since the 2007-08 fiscal year, the county’s taxable value for operating purposes has increased.

The county’s tax base rose by a tad more than 1.1 percent this year, from $1.63 billion to $1.65 billion, so that each mill next year will generate $1.65 million, about $18,000 more than one mill generated last year.

If adopted by the commissioners in September, the proposed millage rate will generate about $10.61 million in ad valorem taxes, an increase in property tax proceeds of just $51,225 over the current year’s $10.56 million.

In reading prepared opening remarks, Assistant Finance Officer Erin Griffith said the county commission’s mandate of a 2 percent budget cut to all departments, constitutional and non-governmental requests had decreased the budgets by approximately $212,114.

But, she said, this cost savings had been partially offset by a hike in the retirement contribution rates set by the Florida Legislature, which increased the county budget by $80,712.

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