During the recent Children’s Services Council (CSC) of Leon County meeting on June 16th, many citizens voiced concerns regarding next year’s millage rate. Due the recent increases in inflation, citizens suggested keeping the current millage rate or even reducing it.
“You need to think about what’s going on in the lives of the people who have to pay this tax. If you’ve been to the gas station or the grocery store recently, you know that inflation is really eating up everybody’s income,” said Emily Fritz, who opposed the tax when it was on the ballot in 2020.
Last year, the council approved a property tax rate of 0.375%, meaning Leon County’s residents paid $37.50 per $100,000 in taxable property value. The tax generated approximately $7 million in revenue for the CSC.
The maximum tax the CSC is allowed to levy is 0.5.
Treasurer Paul Mitchell recommended that the council reduce the millage rate to accommodate the rising property values. If the council agreed to Mitchell’s suggestion, the millage rate would lower from .375 to .343.
However, not all members agreed with the treasurer. Liza McFadden and Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna had the same idea to keep the millage rate the same. McFadden said she wanted to remain consistent with taxpayers. At the same time, Hanna argued to keep it the same and is against an increase.
The millage rate will officially be set at a future meeting.
At their previous meeting, the CSC allocated funds to priority groups for summer programs. However, some in the community criticized the council stating the first funding cycle by the CSC didn’t look good.
Cecka Green, the council’s executive director, said the funding was approved to close gaps during the summer and expand existing programs. She also said the allocations are projected to impact 13,000 youth and families.
TR has requested the anticipated number of children each organization will impact directly, the story will be updated when the information is available.
The first funding cycle by the CSC allocated approximately $1.6 million for more than 50 summer programs.
The top five most significant allocations are listed below with the organization’s stated goals.
The Young Engineers Tallahassee received $180,038. Their listed mission is to bring STEM resources to communities lacking access and those with learning disabilities—specifically, grades K-8 in zip codes: 32301, 32303, 32304, 32305, and 32310.
The Mount Olive Affordable Housing and Community Development received $150,000. Their mission is raise the health standards, economic, educational, and social levels of the substantially unemployed residents of the community or those whose income is below federal poverty guidelines.
The Leon County Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning
received $139,004. The free programs sponsored by this organization provides opportunities during afterschool and summer hours for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services, particularly for students who attend low-performing schools.
The Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Inc. received $122,709. Second Harvest’s immediate overall goal is to increase targeted food distribution and food cost savings for food-insecure North Floridians. The Summer 2022 Child Nutrition Programming will provide interactive education sheets for various age groups and “Mommy and Me” recipe cards to encourage nutrition-based activities.
The Divine Healthcare Consulting, LLC received $101,737 to reduce the negative stigmas associated with mental illness by empowering, educating, and providing mental health wellness. The group will provide high-quality, low-cost mental health counseling to underserved Black and Indigenous communities and people of color.