The Leon County Board of County Commissioners held a workshop on June 14, 2016 and County staff presented the fiscal year 2017 proposed budget.
The staff reported that “the preliminary FY 2017 budget totals $246,254,510 which reflects a 3.2 percent increase from FY 2016. As a point of comparison, the recently passed State of Florida budget increased 4.8 percent.”
The proposed budget includes an estimated $5.58 million in new revenues and expenses.
Also, the budget, for the second consecutive year, provides relief from the City’s 27% increase in fire service fees for those who live in the unincorporated area. In order to maintain the fee at lower levels, the County Commission reduced the fees for the unincorporated area by 15% for FY16 and FY17. The County Commission approved $1.2 million from the general revenue fund to be used for this reduction. The full rate will become effective October 1, 2017 (FY18) without further action.
Based on the current millage rate of 8.3144 and the preliminary information provided by the Property Appraiser on June 1, 2016, the property tax will raise $3.125 million more than last year.
The Public Service Tax (PST) will raise an additional $2.25 million. This is in part due to the end of a 3 year repayment schedule to the City of Tallahassee of $2.1 million for over payment of the PST to the County from FY 2010 – FY2013.
Sales taxes are anticipated to generate additional revenue of approximately $823,650 and the gas tax revenue is expected to increase by $549,100.
On the negative side of the ledger, the Communications Tax will bring in approximately $316,000 less than last year.
The Sheriff’s Law Enforcement and Correction budget will receive the largest portion of the new spending with an increase of $2.33 million. The new expenses will pay for four new deputies and four non-sworn positions in the jail. This also includes increases in salary and benefits (including health insurance).
Staff is recommending increasing the recurring transfer to the County capital program in the amount of $1.0 million. During the recession, the County suspended the transfer of recurring dollars to the capital program. The goal is for the County to reach $4.0 to $5.0 million in recurring funds which will be used for capital expenses.
The next largest category is the $941,00 that will be allocated to Leon County employee salaries and benefits. This category includes raises and increases in healthcare costs.
TR’s next report will identify new priorities adopted by the County Commission and the projects to be funded by the County’s capital budget.