For Hometown News
Although facing fiscal challenges in the budget that finances Volusia County Government's fire/emergency medical services, the County Council on Aug. 7 signaled its intent to reduce the tax rate shown on the notices of proposed taxes sent to rural property owners.
In a unanimous vote, the council decided to back down from a county fire tax rate of 3.9815 mills that's listed on the "TRIM" notices and will go with the 3.6315 rate County Manager Jim Dinneen recommended as part of the manager's proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget. A tax rate of 3.6315 means a property owner would pay $3.63 per $1,000 of taxable property value, 35 cents per $1,000 less than the advertised TRIM rate. County government finances its fire services budget with a separate tax rate paid by unincorporated Volusia property owners.
Last month, the council voted to advertise the fire tax rate higher than the county manager had recommended to deal with a growing imbalance between revenue and expense in the county's fire fund.
However, council members said Aug. 7 the fire budget challenges will require in-depth analysis, considerable property owner input and more time for public awareness. Mr. Dinneen said he felt confident the county could meet service obligations for the next fiscal year with the tax rate he recommended, but stressed the fire budget issues must be addressed prior to the 2015-16 budget.
Final action on the tax rate will be during the council's budget hearings set for 6 p.m. Sept. 4 and 18 in the council's chambers on the second floor of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration Center in DeLand.
For more information, visit volusia.org.