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The July Budget Package – What Has Changed?


On Tuesday, July 10, the Commissioners will set the proposed maximum millage rate based on the July budget package prepared by staff, which recommends keeping the county-wide millage flat at 4.7815.

The agenda item will be discussed on Tuesday, July 10, at 2:15pm (time certain) in the county building at 301 N. Olive, WPB.

This rate is an improvement over the small increase in millage that was proposed in June, reflecting increased valuation estimates from the Property Appraiser.

Is this really an improvement over the June package as a whole? What about compared to last year?

We have opposed millage increases in the past as the valuations were decreasing, with the goal of seeing county spending return to levels that are sustainable as measured by population and inflation. Compared to 2003, the ad-valorem equivalent budget has approached the so-called “TABOR” line, but with valuations bottoming out, we begin a new phase where rising valuations should be accompanied by declining millage rates.

The following table compares millage, proposed tax and ad-valorem equivalent spending between the 2012 budget, the June package and this July package:

2012 Budget June Package July Package Net Change from 2012
County-Wide
Millage 4.7815 4.7984 4.7815 0
Proposed Tax $595,388,733 $599,257,607 $599,618,457 + $4.2M (0.7%)
Fire Rescue
Millage 3.4581 3.4581 3.4581 0
Proposed Tax $175,610,575 $176,358,065 $177,006,499 + $1.4M (0.8%)
Ad-Valorem Equivalent
County Wide $280M $283M $284M + $3.9M (+1.4%)
Library & F/R $228M $229M $230M + $1.8M (0.8%)
Judicial & Other $5.1M $4.8M $4.9M – .2M (-4%)
Sheriff & Const. $439M $444M $444M + $5M (1.2%)
Total $952.1M $960.7M $962.6M + $10.5M (1.1%)

As you can see from the table, compared to June, the millage is less but the proposed tax is slightly higher. Compared to 2012, the proposed tax is $4.2M higher county-wide and $1.4M in Fire Rescue. But the biggest difference is on the spending side of the equation, with Ad Valorem Equivalent rising $10.5M over 2012, half of that at PBSO.

So here is our net:

We are thankful that the proposal does not raise the millage this year – that is real progress from past years. We do wish that the spending was not going up $10M though, and given the bottoming of valuations, we expect to see a reduction in the millage in next year’s budget.

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