By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
ORMOND BEACH - The City Commission moved one step closer to approving the city's property tax rate and budget in its most recent meeting.
The first reading of the proposed property tax rate of $4.32 per $1,000 of taxable value of homes was passed unanimously. The tax rate includes three debt service items totaling just more than 18 cents. Although the previous property tax rate was $3.89, this is not considered a tax increase under state law, as it is a "rolled back" rate. This is expected to create the same revenue as collected last fiscal year, based on new assessments of the existing properties.
Two citizens spoke their concern over the increase. Mayor Ed Kelley explained the average rate would be about a dollar a day, and there would be no decrease in service. At this proposed rate, a homeowner with a $150,000 home and a $50,000 homestead exemption would be paying about $432 in property taxes.
The first reading of the ordinance adopting the annual budget was also approved unanimously. Two citizens spoke regarding the ordinance. The mayor reported that about 65 percent of the city's revenue comes from home/property owners and 35 percent from business taxes.
The next public hearing on the second reading and adoption of the budget and the property tax rate will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 in commission chambers at City Hall, 22 S. Beach St.
In other business, the commission accepted a proposal from Florida Health Care Plans to provide health insurance for city workers as well as accepted a proposal from Standard Insurance Company for dental benefits.
Also approved was an agreement between Volusia County and the city of Ormond Beach, transferring property from the county to the city in the Pineland Trail jurisdiction.
Near the end of the meeting, Commissioner Troy Kent raised the question about the fluoridation of city water. He expressed concern about the actual chemical make-up of the product the city was buying in comparison with what is delivered "on the truck." Mayor Kelly responded that there would be a workshop to cover those concerns.