By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
VOLUSIA COUNTY - County council members went home with about 700 pages of proposed budget to digest.
"We'll be digging through this thing for the next few months," Volusia County Council member Josh Wagner, Port Orange, said.
At its last regular meeting , Thursday, July 12, County Manager Jim Dinneen gave the council his proposed 2012-2013 budget.
"What I'm recommending is the starting point," he said to the council. "The (tentative tax) rates could not go up, but they could go down."
At its next regular meeting, the council will have to adopt an initial property-tax rate.
The manager's proposed operating budget is just more than $582 million, about $7.8 million less than the 2011-2012 operating budget, $590.2 million. About a third of the operating budget will come from property taxes, around $192 million.
Mr. Dinneen is asking to council to tentatively adopt the general-fund rolled-back property-tax rate, $5.89 per $1,000 of assessed non-exempt value. According to the Volusia County Property Appraiser, the average home is just more than $103,000. The current rate for the operating budget is $5.78 per $1,000. The rolled back rate is the tax rate that would generate the same amount of ad valorem taxes as the previous year, minus new construction. Due to reduced property values and slowed construction in recent years, the rolled-back rates have been increasing.
The property appraiser has tentatively valued Volusia at $23.7 billion, the fifth year of decreases. In 2007, the appraiser valued the county at more than 43 billion.
The county council will have to adopt the 2013-2014 budget by Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year. It will have budget adoption hearings at its first and second meetings in September.
To view the proposed budget, and previous budgets, visit www.volusia.org/budget.