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Port Orange Observer Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2019 3 weeks ago

Volusia County Council slashes budget by $3.6 million, votes on 4.83% tax increase

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The tentative millage is 0.1044 mills less than the one proposed back in July.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

While Volusia residents will still see a tax increase, it won't be as high as anticipated due to $3.6 million in county budget cuts.

The County Council voted 6-0 to approve a general fund ad valorem tax rate of 5.59 mills, which will increase taxes for residents by 4.83%. Councilman Fred Lowry was out sick with pneumonia.

Back in July, the council had voted 5-2 to adopt a millage rate of 5.6944, with Council members Lowry and Heather Post voted against. 

County Budget Administrative Services Director Tammy Bong said the reduction included the change in the Volusia County Sheriff's Office budget and the rejection of two new deputy positions, as well as emergency reserves lowered by $233,000. However, Bong said this still kept reserves at 9.3%, and moves the county in the direction of its 10% goal.

Several people attended the budget hearing to thank the council for funding, including county library representatives, the ECHO board chairman, and Easter Seals. 

Carol Johnson of the Friends of the Ormond Beach Library said libraries are one of the places residents can visibly see where tax money is spent, and how that benefits a community. People come for events, hold organizational meetings 

"It’s the center of our community," Johnson said. "We say that a lot — We say libraries are a lot more than books."

Johnson said libraries are doing more today on a smaller budget, and asked that the council consider granting libraries more money in the future.

Council Chair Ed Kelley thanked the speakers for their thoughts. Aside from that, there was no other council discussion on the budget.

"We so appreciate you participating in this part of government," Kelley said.

Here is a run-down of the other millage budget millages:

  • Library Fund: 0.5520 mills, 7.04% above rollback 
  • Volusia Forever Operating Fund: 0.1122 mills, 20.78% above rollback
  • Volusia Forever Fund: 0.0878 mills
  • Volusia ECHO Fund: 0.2 mills, 6.95% above rollback
  • Mosquito Control Fund: 0.1880 mills, 6.7% above rollback
  • Ponce Inlet and Port Authority Fund: 0.0929 mills, 6.66% above rollback
  • Municipal Service District Fund: 2.2399 mills, 6.52% above rollback
  • Silver Sands-Bethune Beach MSD Fund: 0.015 mills, 7.14% above rollback
  • Fire Rescue District Fund: 4.0815 mills, 6.52% above rollback
  • Tentative Operating Budget: $809,626,376
  • Non-operating Budget: $170,122,460.

The next budget hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. in the County Council Chambers in the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Building in DeLand.

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