By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The county budget has once again been snipped and trimmed and reflects what the county can afford for the next fiscal year, county staff said.
County administrator Joe Baird, county budget director Jason Brown and other department and county staff presented the $252.1 million proposed 2012-13 budget, outlining about $6 million in cuts.
During the budget workshop on July 18, commissioners reinstated some funds back into the budget, which Mr. Baird said would need to come out of the fund reserve account.
The Youth Guidance line item was restored about $22,000 and the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce's economic development division was restored about $9,900, thanks to commissioners' votes.
Another $11,000 was set aside to help pay for a citrus agent who would work both in Indian River County and the surrounding counties. The money will be used if St. Lucie County also designates funds to help pay for an agent.
The budget cuts include the elimination of nine full-time positions, four of which are currently filled, the other five are vacant. The anticipated savings are more than $620,000, according to a county report.
In order to meet the $252.1 million budget, Mr. Baird is proposing to use about $1.8 million from general fund reserves and $2.5 million from emergency services reserves. No tax or fee increases are scheduled.
As he has in prior years, Mr. Baird has followed the county commission's direction to adjust the budget to the amount of anticipated revenue, instead of increasing taxes.
In the past six years, property taxes have decreased from $103.3 million to $69.4 million, a report said.
Mr. Baird is anticipating a decrease in property tax revenue this year of about $3.4 million, from about $72.8 million to $69.4 million, which comes to a 4.7 percent decrease in overall property tax revenue.
An Indian River Shores homeowner with a property assessed at $200,000 and with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay about $520 in property taxes, a little more than $8 less than last year.
In other incorporated areas of the county that do rely on the county for emergency services, a homeowner with a similar property value would pay $777, also a little more than an $8 decrease from prior year tax bill.
In the unincorporated areas of the county, which fall under the municipal service taxing unit area where the county provides infrastructure support, the tax bill would be $938, which is approximately $8 lower this fiscal year.
For more information about upcoming county government meetings, or to view full agenda packets, visit www.ircgov.com.