by mike byerly, alachua county commissioner
Your county budget is undergoing some serious changes at the hands of the new “conservative” Alachua County Commission majority.
Each year, the Property Appraiser determines the market value of all taxable property in the county and reports this to the County Commission. The County Commission then applies a rate, the millage rate, to this total in order to produce the budget for the coming year. The budget and the millage rate are not the same thing, and can’t be used interchangeably.
If property values decline, but the millage rate stays the same, then the budget will decline by the same percentage as property values. So, it’s possible to increase the millage rate while actually reducing the budget.
This is what happened last year, and the year before.
The budget for the current year’s General Fund (by far the county’s largest fund) is $127,423,057.
Property values are projected to decline by about 3.4 percent this year. To maintain the same actual budget next year, the millage rate would have to be raised 3.4 percent. This is the course I supported. Commissioners Lee Pinkoson, Susan Baird and Winston Bradley voted to keep the millage rate the same, which will now require that the budget be reduced by 3.4 percent, or about $4.4 million.