By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY -- The economy has started to make a comeback, but the county is still feeling the affects of the last few years, and the recently released tentative budget reflects it.
For the upcoming year through 2014, the county's tentative budget is approximately $361 million, and also shows a tax increase of three and a half percent for homeowners.
The budget information was released to the Board of County Commissioners on June 28.
"The board has done everything to hold down expenditures for the past few years," said Taryn Kryzda, Martin County Administrator. "But residents have expressed their concerns with the conditions of our roads, and without a larger increase in the tax base, a slight tax increase will be necessary."
According to a press release, the budget "provides a sound financial plan to provide the best possible services to county residents with limited available resources.
At the moment, it's the relatively flat revenues that remain a significant challenge for the county. As a result, the focus is the prioritization of services within the limits of existing resources. In addition, the board of county commissioners has shown a desire in addressing maintenance on county roads, parks and buildings. During the previous years, maintenance on these items had been deferred as a cost-saving measure.
At this time, the budget is only tentative. The board of county commissioners has already begun workshops to address the many details that make up the annual budget.
The workshops will not only be open to the public, but also be televised live on Martin County Television.
Any changes the commissioners agree to will not take place until after Oct. 1, when the fiscal year begins.
Last year, Martin County residents saw a tax rate decrease when the 2012-13 budget was approved at $337 million, about $24 million dollars less than this year's proposed budget. For a homeowner, it figures to approximately $8.72 per $1,000 of assessed value.
For those who wish to look over the budget, an electronic copy of the tentative budget will be available on the county website at www.martin.fl.us.