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PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DELAND
PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DELAND

It’s budget season — Late nights and difficult math are the name of the game.

The City of DeLand began its budget-setting July 12 with budget propositions and information from some of the city’s departments.

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22 will be higher than last year’s budget.

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22 is $110,538,921, higher by some $25 million than the 2020-21 budget of $85,418,091.

Increases are due to a number of factors, including capital projects and higher wages for city employees.

One factor leading to the increase, Assistant City Manager Mike Grebosz said of his department, is personnel costs.

“The budgets generally were up,” he said. “It has to do with the personnel; it has to do with operating costs, and travel.”

Grebosz continued, “Last year, with COVID, we didn’t do a lot of travel and training.”

The increase in personnel costs is in part due to raising the minimum wage for city employees to $15 and giving raises to all other employees not affected by the wage hike.

Much of the increases come from capital spending; from vehicles needing replacement, to facilities needing repairs, to new projects, capital projects can be costly.

The proposed millage rate for the 2021-22 budget is 6.9841 mills, an increase from last year’s millage of 6.7841.

A millage increase will translate to an increase in the cost of ad valorem property taxes paid by DeLandites.

“It’s an interesting battle each year. We heard from our clerk how staffing levels have pretty much been the same for the better part of half a century in the clerk’s office, and yet we’ve grown from 10,000 … to almost 40,000 people,” City Commissioner Chris Cloudman said. “We’ve held the line, we’ve not added positions as we’ve grown, and now we’re at a point where we’re seeing a lot of rooftops that are coming through.”

Budget meetings will continue throughout the rest of the week, ending on Friday, July 16, if all budget matters are not wrapped up the night before. As items are added to and deleted from the budget, these proposed numbers may shift. The series of budget-related meetings will culminate in the City Commission voting on next year’s budget, which will go into effect Oct. 1.

When budget hearings are finished, The Beacon will publish a news story digging into the city’s newly approved budget.

These meetings are open to the public and begin at 5:30 p.m., July 12-16, in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave.

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