Without dissent from the public or County Council, Volusia County’s budget for the new fiscal year was adopted Oct. 6.
The vote was supposed to come at a meeting Sept. 29, but an error in a legal advertisement forced a postponement.
In addition to approving an $821 million operating budget, the County Council also set new rates for 10 property taxes that help fund the county’s services.
With nearly all of the 10 property-tax rates going to the rolled-back rate or even lower for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the result for many taxpayers will be a reduction in the taxes they pay to county government, although taxpayers whose property has risen significantly in value could still see an increase.
No one from the public spoke in opposition at either of the budget hearings, and the County Council’s votes on the budget and tax rates were unanimous.
County Manager George Recktenwald noted the challenges of developing a spending plan in the middle of a revenue downturn caused by the pandemic, as well as a major restructuring of county government prompted by Amendment 10.
The budget, Recktenwald said, funds essential services in a conservative way and provides tax relief for residents.
“I’m proud to say that what’s before you today for final adoption is a very responsible and fiscally prudent budget that holds the line on taxes and is responsive to the needs of the community,” Recktenwald said. “This budget we have before us, I think, does a very good job of balancing needed programs and services with available revenues.”
One of the largest portions of the proposed budget is the general fund. At $311.3 million, it finances services that the county provides for all of Volusia County. It’s funded in part by a countywide property-tax rate of 5.45 mills, or $5.45 per $1,000 of taxable property value.
Fiscal year 2020-21 millage rates for all taxing funds are at the rolled-back rate, with the exception of the general fund which is a partial rolled-back. The rolled-back rate is the rate that would produce the same amount of tax income as the previous year.
The County Council also set property-tax rates for the fire rescue fund, library fund, municipal services 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.
Separately, authorities other than Volusia County government levy property taxes across the county, including the Volusia County School Board, the Florida Inland Navigation District and the St. Johns River Water Management District.
The West Volusia Hospital Authority levies taxes in West Volusia to fund health care for the poor. Two other hospital authorities — Halifax Hospital Authority and the Southeast Volusia Hospital District — provide similar services in their respective areas of the county.