By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
PIERSON - The town council tentatively adopted its 2012-2013 budget at a special meeting, Monday, Sept. 10. The final adoption will be at its next regular meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 25.
"There's no (tax) increase," council member James Peterson said in an interview after the meeting. "People are always happy to hear that."
The council is poised to adopt the rollback property-tax rate: $6.01 per $1,000 of non-except, assessed value. Rollback is the tax rate that would generate the same amount of ad valorem taxes as the previous year, minus new construction and annexation.
Debbie Bass, town clerk, said that at its next meeting the council could go lower.
"I did my (budget) figures on a millage rate less than rollback," she said.
Ms. Bass said at the council's request, she's prepared a budget based on a property-tax rate of $5.80 per $1,000 of non-exempt, assessed value. If the council goes with the rollback rate, it'll raise about $250,000 in ad valorem taxes. If instead it approves the lower rate, it'll raise about $242,000.
The current property-tax rate is $5.80 per $1,000. The rollback rate is higher because property values in Volusia County continue to drop. Even at the higher tax rate, a Pierson property owner will most likely end up paying the same amount or less than this fiscal year.
The council tentatively adopted a 2012-2013 general fund budget of about $692,000, almost $26,000 less than this fiscal year's budget. Ms. Bass said the town has completed its comprehensive land-use plan, accounting for the largest part of the reduction.
"We're pretty much done with our comp plan amendments and such, so that went down considerably," she said.
The council also tentatively adopted a 2012-2013 utilities budget of about $255,000.
The meeting was moved to Sept. 10 from its regularly-scheduled time of Sept. 11, because the Volusia County School Board was adopting its fiscal year 2012-2013 budget that day. The state prohibits cities from taking budget votes on the same day as their counties' school boards.