Volusia County Council Locks In Tax Rate Reductions For Next Fiscal Year

Nine of the 10 tax-supported funds controlled by the Volusia County Council will be rolled back in the next fiscal year and the tenth fund also will see a reduction as well.

Those were among the decisions that came out of the County Council meeting held on Tuesday, July 21. The council took preliminary steps to set the county’s budget and tax rates for the 2020-21 fiscal year that starts Oct 1. The rate reductions equate to more than $18 million in tax savings for Volusia County taxpayers.

In the general fund, the county’s primary, tax-supported countywide fund, the council voted to reduce the tax from 5.59 mills to 5.45 mills – an approximately 2.5% reduction. And the rates are going down even more in the other nine funds – between 6%-11%.

Tuesday’s actions were the preliminary steps in setting next year’s proposed $805.9 million operating budget and the various tax rates that help fund county services. The preliminary tax rates set by the council on Tuesday were for the general fund, fire rescue fund, library fund, municipal service district (MSD), Silver Sands-Bethune Beach MSD, Volusia Forever operating and debt service, ECHO, Ponce De Leon Inlet Port Authority fund and East Volusia Mosquito Control District.

“It’s, I think, a very fiscally responsible budget that recognizes the uncertain times that we’re in,” County Manager George Recktenwald told council members.

While no residents pay into all 10 of the county’s tax funds, combining them for comparison purposes reflects a 5.9% reduction – from the current 13.1593 mills to the 12.3809 combined rates tentatively approved for the next fiscal year. A mill equates to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in taxable value. The ECHO and Volusia Forever taxes were approved by voters in 2000 to fund land preservation efforts and environmental, cultural, recreational and historic facilities. Both programs are scheduled to sunset next year, and Volusia County voters will be asked in November whether they want the programs and their associated taxes to continue for another 20 years.

With Tuesday’s decisions, the proposed tax rates that were set will be listed on the Truth In Millage (TRIM) notices that the Property Appraiser’s Office will mail to taxpayers on Aug. 17. The next step is two public hearings before the budget and tax rates are finalized. The first budget hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Source: Volusia County, Florida

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