Volusia County’s Fiscal Year 2020-21 gets Preliminary Approval.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
According to a release from the County, the budget and tax rates to fund county government’s operations for the next fiscal year are one step closer to final adoption following a public hearing Tuesday evening in front of the Volusia County Council.
This preliminary action approved by the council includes an $821 million operating budget that is going to the rolled-back rate or even lower for nine out of the 10 property taxes that help fund the county’s services
The General Fund, one of the largest portions of the proposed budget, at $309.2 Million funds services that the county provides for all of Volusia.
The millage rate for countywide General Fund property tax rate for the next fiscal year has lowered from 5.59 mills to 5.45 mills. This reduction in the other county tax rates, which include the 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, the result will be a decrease in the portion of residents’ tax bills that support county government.
Even with fiscal challenges associated with the downturn in sales tax and gas tax revenues due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and implementation of Amendment 10, the county was able to reduce tax rates.
“To have all but one item at rolled back or lower, out of the ten items where we set the tax rate, is phenomenal,” said County Chair Ed Kelley.
The budget plan is set to include funding for pay-as-you-go capital improvements projects, such as a new medical examiner’s facility and money to remodel and expand Fire Station 15 at Tiger Bay Road in Daytona Beach and renovate Fire Station 22 in Oak Hill. There’s also money in the new budget to increase the number of hours for the county’s innovative E-911 nurse triage re-direct program, which has helped improve EMS service in the county. Funds also are being budgeted for next year for various transportation projects, dune walkovers, and off-beach parking in anticipation of the completion of Dahlia Park as well as planned upgrades to the beach ramps at International Speedway Boulevard and Silver Beach Avenue, according to the release.
A total of five new positions are being proposed including an added position in Veterans Services to assist with clients as well as an additional position for Environmental Management.
The second public hearing and final vote on the budget are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.