Council takes initial steps to set budget, tax rates for next year.
Written by Anthony Bicy
Belden Communications News
The Volusia County Council adopted a new budget and tax structure for the next fiscal year, Tuesday, during their regularly scheduled council meeting. The county council took preliminary votes to roll back the Ponce de Leon Port Authority tax rate and leave the remaining tax rates unchanged, except for ECHO and Volusia Forever.
The voters of Volusia County approved continuing the programs for another 20 years along with a small annual property tax rate to finance them, up to 0.20 mills.
According to a release, the only exceptions were for the two voter-approved land preservation and environmental, cultural, historic, and recreation programs – ECHO and Volusia Forever.
For the average homeowner with a homestead exemption, the rates will go up no more than $46.71 in property taxes to support county government operations.
The proposed budget encompasses thirty-four new full-time positions, twenty-six of them being public protection like firefighters, paramedics, correction officers, and more. There will also be money for several projects like high-priority capital improvement projects including, E911 technology upgrades in the Sheriff’s Office, network and security upgrades for corrections, construction of Fire Station 47, to name a few.
The operating budget for the County for the next fiscal year will be $963.9 million, a third of it going to the general fund. Property taxes will fund the $224.4 million of the general fund, the tax rate still being at 5.45 mills. The rest would come from other revenue sources and the fund balance remaining from the current budget.
However, council members agreed to discuss the new budget and tax rates further. There will be two public hearings, the first being September 7. The 2021-22 fiscal year begins October 1.