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Palm Coast Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 1 week ago

County predicts slight millage rate decrease, tax increase

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The rate is expected to go down slightly next year, but county staff expect actual bills to increase.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Don’t expect a break in your county taxes next year: Although the rate may go down a bit, property value rise is expected to push bills higher, meaning that residents will see an increase in their bills even as the rate decreases. That is, the rate will be higher than the rollback rate — the rate that would bring in the same overall amount of tax revenue as the current year.

"We are behind the curve on a lot of things. But it was very apparent to me from the beginning that this board is very interested in tax conservation."

 

— JOHN BROWER, Flagler County financial services director

County staff are expecting to decrease the millage rate by 0.1 mill next year, Flagler County Financial Services Director John Brower said a County Commission workshop Jan. 13. The current, fiscal year 2020 operating millage rate, 8.2547 mills ($8.2547 per $1,000 of taxable value), was also a rate decrease but tax increase, over the rollback rate, from the previous year.

“Realistically, I think another 10th of a mill is about all we can anticipate doing and still meeting some of the essential requirements of government,” Brower told commissioners during the workshop. “We are behind the curve on a lot of things. But it was very apparent to me from the beginning that this board is very interested in tax conservation and minimizing the impact on our citizens.”

The county’s financial services department is expecting a property value increase of about 5%, which would bring in about $2.6 million in additional tax revenue, he said.

Major funding considerations for the coming year, he said, include a salary study which will be conduced by consulting firm Evergreen Solutions; creating a master plan for constitutional officers’ space needs; longterm sustainable funding for the fire service; and a sustainability and funding plan for the coastline.

Constitutional officers — the sheriff, clerk of court, supervisor of elections, tax collector and property appraiser — are expected to submit their budgets May 1.

County administrator Jerry Cameron said that he does not expect that the county, given recent impacts by hurricanes, will likely be back at the rollback rate in the next few years.

“But we do want to continue in the right direction, and that's what the 10th of a mill represents,” Cameron said.

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