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BEACON FILE PHOTO DeLand City Hall sign

Property taxes will still see an increase

It’s not the rolled-back rate, but the City of DeLand reduced its millage rate and budget for the upcoming fiscal year at the city’s first of two budget hearings, Sept. 8. 

The reduction of the approved budget from the budget originally proposed comes courtesy of a series of small cuts, Finance Director Dan Stauffer told The Beacon.

“It was a bunch of little things,” he said. “Most of it we got through additional revenues from the state.”

The newly approved millage rate of 6.7841 is a reduction from the rate advertised in July of 6.92 mills. 

Much of the budget is spent on adding additional personnel, improving offerings by the city’s emergency services division and increasing the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Personnel additions include a new community-information employee, two new police officers and an information technology security analyst.

“IT security is a big issue these days,” City Manager Michael Pleus said. “We really need to make sure we beef up our systems.”

For emergency services, the city plans to build a reserve garage for Fire Station 81, the new station on West Howry Avenue, and to build a security fence around the DeLand Police Department’s parking lot. The DeLand Fire Department also plans to upgrade emergency services with more supplies and training for staff.

Increasing the minimum-wage and funding capital improvements are the biggest pieces of the budget, Pleus said. Capital improvements are funded by the capital reserve fund, not new taxes, and the minimum wage increase was prompted by passage of an amendment to the Florida Constitution in the 2020 election.

Pleus said he hopes the city can use ECHO grant funds to cover the maintenance of additional sidewalks and trails. But, he said, capital reserves can handle those costs.

The City Commission unanimously approved the budget, praising the budget department’s ability to lower the millage rate.

“Thank you, staff, for your efforts in getting this back down to the millage rate we had assessed last year,” City Commissioner Chris Cloudman said.

City Commissioner Jessica Davis said she was especially happy to see the increased minimum wage, knowing it can make a difference in local households.

The City of DeLand will hold its second budget hearing during the next City Commission meeting, at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, in the City Commission Chambers, DeLand City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave. 

All meetings are open to the public or available to watch live online, HERE.

What will you pay?

A millage rate of 6.7841 would mean property owners will pay approximately $6.78 in City of DeLand taxes for every $1,000 of taxable property value. The owner of a home with a taxable value of $200,000 after any exemptions, for example, would pay $1,357 in city property taxes, along with property taxes imposed by the county, School Board, Hospital Authority, etc.

That same property owner would pay about $1,304 at the rolled-back rate, which is the rate that would give the city the same income as it had last year from property taxes, not counting taxes on new construction or annexations.

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