Tentative budget has lower general fund millage rate, more reserves

Putnam County commissioners unanimously approved the 2018-2019 tentative budget and tax millage rate earlier this week.

The first of two Board of County Commissioners budget hearings was Monday evening, where the budget and tax millage rate was approved 4-0. Commissioner Buddy Goddard was absent.

Commissioners OK’d a tentative budget of $133,810,165, a 14.5 percent increase from the current year’s budget. During a budget workshop in July, county budget officials presented a tentative budget $121.8 million.

On Tuesday, Stacie Poppell, Office of Management and Budget director, said the tentative budget is always more in September than when its first presented in July.

“We add all the projects that Public Works won’t be able to finish (this fiscal year) and the grant-funded capital projects,” Poppell said.

The county is required to have two public hearings on its budget and millage rate in September every year before the new budget year begins. The county’s budget year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30.

Commissioners on Monday also approved a 9.5946 general fund millage rate and 1.1 tentative fire taxing unit millage rate.

Under that general fund millage rate, the amount of taxes a person would pay on his or her property – before any homestead or other exemptions – would be the value of the property multiplied by 0.0095946, Property Appraiser Tim Parker said. If someone’s property is worth $100,000, the person would pay $959.46.

The general fund millage rate approved this week is lower than the 9.6622 tentative millage rate commissioners approved in July. In Monday’s budget presentation, the county was listed as having $7.2 million in reserves, up from the $6.3 million listed in July

Poppell said constitutional officers have worked hard to find excess in their budgets, which allowed for the tax millage rate to decrease even lower than the current fiscal year’s 9.8892 millage rate.

The constitutional officers finding more money to return to the county is also the reason the reserves are as high as they are, she said.

“The sheriff lowered his request, and we found a few other efficiencies,” Poppell said. “Several constitutional officers were instrumental in us keeping (the millage rate) down.”

Poppell credits the improved economy and increased property values for improvement in the county’s tentative 2018-2019 budget and millage rate from the current fiscal year’s millage rate and budget.

She also lauded commissioners and county staff for putting in long hours and meticulously reviewing budgets.

County Attorney Stacey Manning spoke as a private resident during Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting and echoed Poppell’s praise of county staff.

County leaders have been working on the budget since spring, and all they could to put the county in a better financial position, Manning said.

“I personally saw a lot of people – a lot of people – go above and beyond the call of duty,” he said.

The second budget hearing is 5:05 p.m. Sept. 25 at the commission chambers, 2509 Crill Ave., Suite 100, in Palatka.

Palatka Daily News

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Palatka, FL 32177
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