LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — For the eighth year in a row, Leon County commissioners have balanced the county's tentative 2020 budget without raising the millage rate.
In an unanimous vote Tuesday, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners approved a proposed fiscal year 2020 budget of $274.3 million, which reflects a 4.06 percent increase from last year’s budget.
County commissioners managed to balance the county’s tentative budget while leaving the general property tax rate at the current $8.3144 for every $1,000 of property value.
"I am proud of the Board's hard work at today's budget workshop," said Leon County Commission Chairman Jimbo Jackson. "By balancing the tentative budget and specifically eliminating fees at the rural waste collection centers, the County has demonstrated how we remain focused on providing the highest quality services our community expects and deserves.”
Some actions taken to balance the budget include:
- No change in either the Countywide Millage Rate of 8.3144 mills or the 0.5 EMS MSTU with an increase in property values of 5.74% Countywide;
- Implementing the first year of the multi-year fiscal plan to avoid tax and fee increases totaling $4.6 million annually by aggressively paying down debt, reallocating homestead exemption reserves, and eliminating the need for future tax and assessment increases of the EMS MSTU ($2.0 million), Solid Waste non-ad valorem assessment ($1.0 million) and the fire services fee ($1.6 million);
- Eliminating Rural Waste Collection Center fees (effective October 1, 2019) to save users more than $200,000 annually;
- Funding completion of the 60/90 ballfield project at Daniel B. Chaires Park;
- Supporting the Leon County Sheriff’s Office by funding the third year of a three-year staffing plan for enhanced law enforcement efforts in the community, including an additional four deputies, three technical positions for the Real Time Crime Center, and a Property Evidence Supervisor;
- Adding $292,000 in additional tourism development tax funding to bring additional national performers and concerts to the Amphitheater and the establishment of a “Legacy Events” grant program to ensure the continued success and financial support of long-standing community festivals;
- Realizing more than $1.49 million this year alone ($28.9 million total since 2013) in cost avoidance and budget reductions through employee innovations, competitive procurements, innovative approaches to facility capital maintenance, and leveraging financial markets to reduce debt costs; and
- Maintaining level funding for Primary Healthcare and Community Human Services Partnerships programs.
Based on the results of Tuesday’s workshop, the board will establish the tentative countywide millage and Emergency Medical Services Municipal Services Taxing Unit rates at a July 9 meeting.
Residents will also have the opportunity to provide input on the budget before it is finalized in September.
The first public hearing will be on Tuesday, September 17, at 6 p.m. in the Commission Chambers on the fifth floor of the Leon County Courthouse, located at 301 S. Monroe St. The second public hearing will be at the same location on Tuesday, September 24, at 6 p.m., at which time the board is scheduled to adopt the final budget and millage rates.