At the Public Hearing on September 25, 2018, the County Commission Adopted the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Budget. The General Fund Millage Rate was set at the Rollback Rate for the second year in a row.
“I am very happy that this rollback was successful,” said Commission Chair Lee Pinkoson. “As property values rise, the Commission was mindful of the financial impact on our citizens and their tax bills. We always need to remind ourselves that we are spending other people’s money.”
The Rollback millage rate is defined as:
The millage rate which, exclusive of new construction, additions to structure, deletions, and property added due to geographic boundary changes, will provide the same ad valorem tax revenue for each taxing authority as was levied during the prior year.
This rate determines the largest part of the countywide property tax. The countywide millage rate was decreased from 8.4648 mills to 8.2829 mills for a 0.1829 reduction. Since FY 2017, the General Fund millage rate has been reduced from 8.9290 mills to the current 8.2829 mills for a 0.6461 mill reduction. This represents a 7.2% reduction in the millage rate over the two-year period.
Sheriff’s Budget - The Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU) Millage Rate is Unchanged at 3.724 mills.
The Law Enforcement MSTU millage rate pays for critical public safety issues including School Resource Officers. Demonstrating their continued commitment to the safety of our citizens, the Commission increased the Sheriff’s budget by $4.1 million, to a total of $81.4 million (a 5% increase). The Commission also entered into a new 10-year contract with the Sheriff for the continued operation of the County Jail.
Fire and Stormwater Assessments Unchanged
The Stormwater Assessment remains at $30 per year and the Fire Assessment rate is unchanged.
Children’s Services Council (CSC)
Continuing their longtime commitment to children, the Commission budgeted $1.25 million for the continuation of the Children’s Services Council. With the advice and recommendation of the Council, the Board will continue to fund innovative programs to address the needs of children ranging from prenatal to age five. The Commission placed the Alachua County Children’s Trust initiative on the November 6th ballot. If voters approve this, it will create a dedicated funding source for future programs to benefit children.
Three major roads projects, Tower Road, N.W. 43rd Street, and S.W. 8th Avenue will be completed in the upcoming year. In addition to the Gas Tax revenue of $12.7 million, the Commission has budgeted $3.6 million in General Fund dollars to fund transportation projects. The County entered into a 10-year Gas Tax distribution agreement with the City of Gainesville and the other municipalities.
Increase in Employee Minimum Wage
In a concerted effort to continue the movement towards a Living Wage for all employees, the Commission raised the minimum wage for County employees from $13 per hour to $13.50. This change will also affect certain employees of some vendors doing business with the County.
Hague Fire Station
To build on their commitment to public safety, the Commission approved a new fire station in this area. They budgeted $1.5 million for staffing, operations, and equipment.
Ambulance Stationed in the City of Newberry
To better serve this area of the County, this new unit is being added at the cost of $705,000 for staffing, operations, and equipment.
“The budget is how Commissioners communicate their priorities,” County Manager Michelle Lieberman said. “With the passage of this budget, the Commission has clearly demonstrated their commitment to the well-being of our community’s children, public safety, roads, and many other critical needs. My staff and I look forward to fulfilling the objectives of the Board.”
For more information, contact Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton at 352-374-5204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.