- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By JENNIFER JENSEN
The anticipated decrease in revenue from this current fiscal year to the next is 1.49 percent, if the millage rate remains at 8.50 mills. This equates to $130,241.
Deputy Administrator Tim Barden said the current proposed budget is perfectly balanced with the Wakulla County Commission keeping the millage rate 8.50 mills.
The budget will be turned over to the commission on July 15 who will then tweak it before approving it.
County Commissioner Mike Stewart said he would like to see other options for the millage rate, such as 8.25 mills.
“I’d like for us to push for us to lower it,” Stewart said.
Stewart said the only reason he voted to levy the Public Services Tax last year was because the commission said it would make an effort to reduce the millage rate.
“We owe it to the people to lower it,” Stewart said.
Commissioner Alan Brock said the county has reduced expenditures and with the current millage rate, it is also able to continue to put money into reserves.
County Administrator David Edwards said at the current millage rate, he and his staff have compiled a balanced budget.
“We are far from healthy,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to have a healthy government.”
Edwards said there are no raises in the proposed budget or tax increases and the plan is to keep the millage rate at 8.50 until 2017 to build up the reserves. The county can start rolling back the millage later in 2017, he said. He is working on a five year plan for the county so increases or decreases in millage and taxes are controlled and planned, as opposed to decreasing the millage rate one year and increasing it the next.
“We’re living within our means,” Edwards said.
“We’re paying for sins of the past,” Commissioner Randy Merritt said.
Commissioner Alan Brock said four years ago the county commission lowered taxes when the economy was good and know the current commission is trying to clean it up.
Commissioner Jerry Moore was in favor of lowering the millage rate to 8.25 mills and said people can’t afford to pay more taxes.
“We’re running a business,” Moore said.
Brock interjected and said, “We’re running a government.”
Moore rephrased his comment and said, “Government should run like a business.”
He said he would not vote for any new programs, consultants or visioning.
Edwards said the county is holding the lines on expenses.
In the proposed budget, general fund expenditures have increased by 4.46 percent, or $882,092. This is due to an increase in the sheriff’s budget because of a new medical contract with Armour and an increase in health insurance; an increase in the planning department because it had a full year salary for the planning director; an increase in the emergency medical services department because of an additional third shift supervisor position and two EMT positions; increase in the extension office department because of adjustments in the director’s salary; parks and recreation department budget increased because of a parks and recreation director position; an increase in the county administration’s budget because of a full year of a county administrator’s salary; and an increase in the facilities management budget for emergency repairs and preventative maintenance.