Property tax rate increase proposed by County Commission

Property tax rates to go up 4.76%. Sheriff's budget accounts for about half the increase.
By: 
Jul. 28, 2015

Staff opened dividers to accommodate the crowd of residents, many wearing Police Benevolent Association T-shirts, at the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners budget workshop on Monday, July 27, at the Emergency Operations Center.

Sheriff's Budget

The Flagler County Sheriff's budget was a big part of the proposed budget.

“Commissioner Hanns was right, we worked pretty hard on this one.”

— Flagler County Sheriff James Manfre

“The original request was a $2.3 million increase, and the county didn't want us to increase more than $1.5 million,” Sheriff Jim Manfre said after the meeting.

To compromise, the county came up with $300,000 and the city of Palm Coast, upon approval, is expected to come up with an additional $100,000 to offset some of the difference.

The increase will pay for additional deputies and civilian staff. The Communications Center, which is where the phones are answered when people call 911 in the community, is also understaffed at the Emergency Operations Center. Manfre said the volume of calls has increased 50% in the past two years. There is no known explanation for the increase, but Manfre said the need for more staff is clear.

The T-shirts in the audience were worn to support the sheriff's budget, which is expected to pave the way for salary increases for deputies. PBA officer Mike Scudieri spoke in favor of the budget for that reason, and Manfre said the pay increases would bring Flagler County more in line with salaries for deputies in neighboring counties.

Proposed budget

Property taxes for homeowners are set to rise an average of 4.76% after a special meeting of the Flagler County Board of Commissioners at the Emergency Operations Center on Monday, July 27.

The rate is expected to generate $52,847,961 in property tax revenue, an increase of $3.2 million, up 6% from the current budget.

If approved, an owner of a $150,000 home would pay about $794 in taxes after the $50,000 homestead credit.

The special meeting, a precursor to two public budget hearings required by the state, followed a budget workshop in which County Administrator Craig Coffey explained the process and said meetings with the constitutional officers had been conducted prior to the meeting. Perhaps crediting the amicable atmosphere in the room.

Coffey explained that Flagler County, unlike many in the state, offers unique services to its residents including, but not limited to, an airport, senior services and parks.

The commissioners passed the proposed budget and set the first public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.

Wanted: Airport Director

Roy Sieger, Flagler County Airport director, tendered his resignation, effective Aug. 24, after more than six years on the job. Sieger has accepted the airport director position at Tampa International Airport. Coffey said the administrative staff was “combing the country” for a suitable replacement.

Brian McMillan contributed to this report.