County staff pointed out that even as they lowered taxes, they were still able to fund all budget requests by elected officials.
The Volusia County Council voted unanimously at the county's first budget hearing to adopt the roll-back rate for the next fiscal year budget.
If approved at the second budget hearing on Sept. 18, the millage will be set at the roll-back rate of 5.6944 mils (generating the same amount of property taxes as last fiscal year). The county's taxable property values hover just under $34 million, a 9.1% increase from last fiscal year. The operating budget is set for $786,755,651, with $20.5 million remaining in the general fund.
Tammy Bong, the county's director of management and budget, said that all budget requests by elected officials were fully-funded, even as the county made the decision to go to roll-back. This was a point later highlighted by County Councilwoman Deb Denys as she discussed that the sheriff's budget was increased by over $7 million, or 16.4%.
Denys said she wanted to discuss this because it is an example of some of the "behind-the-scene" work the county is doing.
"This council has really stepped up and listened and worked hard to do what we can do. Even with complete roll-back, we're still taking care of employees and working on other issues," Denys said. "I just didn't want that to go unnoticed."
The increase in the sheriff's budget will go toward improving the pay scale of deputies to make the job more competitive and decrease turnover in staff.
County Council Chair Ed Kelley, who expressed hesitation at adopting the roll-back rate at the council's meeting on July 24, congratulated staff on the budget proposal.
"I think it was a great effort, as well as funding adequately those departments that needed it, and providing for, I think, a very good complete look at our personnel and making sure we take care of them," he said.
At the hearing, the council also unanimously voted to reduce $2.8 million from the 2019 fiscal year budget which had been previously allocated to the construction of a boardwalk in Daytona Beach.