At the end of the article “An Analysis of the County Budget Proposal – Part 1”, the TAB cuts were applied against a “starting point” of the rollback county-wide taxes of $612,486,522. To this figure we applied the “green page” cuts ($22.5M), and TAB modified “blue page” cuts ($30.6M), and the “Sheriff’s Challenge” of $3M, totaling $56.1M, and providing for $556M in taxes. We then calculated an effective millage rate of 4.381.

County Budget Director Joe Doucette pointed out to us that this is not a correct computation, since the county adjustments used to compute the 4.75 millage took into account other factors besides spending – specifically the “budget hole” that had to be filled due to lower non-tax revenue in some areas, and the “statutory reserve” requirement that requires $1 of taxes for each $.95 of budgeted requirement.

In the July county calculation for 4.80 millage, all the green pages are assumed ($22.5M) and the tax amount is $609.6M – so in effect, about $3M in tax reduction cost $22.5M in spending reductions due to factors mentioned. To then get to the 4.75 millage, another $6M in cuts were necessary, and that came from the Sheriff ($3M) to be provided by a return of unspent funds, and a county match of ($3M) that Administrator Weisman was able to find revenue to cover.

Joe then calculates the effect of our additional $30.6M cuts (blue pages) as follows:

Millage Ad Valorem
4.75 603,303,606 a 9.3% tax rate increase
(32,185,431) Sum of TAB blue cuts net of statutory reserve
4.4966 571,118,175 a 3.5% tax rate increase

So, in order to keep the millage flat at 3.44, we would need an addtional $20M in cuts.

This was an interesting discussion and I would like to thank Joe for taking the time to talk me through it. There was one thing that I was still unclear about however – weren’t the blue page cuts designed for flat millage if all were taken? It would seem that we would still be short. Joe explained the missing piece – county staff offered the additional blue page cuts on the condition that PBSO would cut an equivalent amount to “share the pain”. Our calculation did not take that into account.

Therefore – we need to amend the TAB proposal to request that in addition to the $30.6M in blue page cuts that TAB recommends, PBSO should absorb a similar amount (which would be about 6.6% of their budget). Alternatively, a $20M cut by the Sheriff would allow a flat millage under these assumptions.

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