By DOTTY NIST
The final decision on Walton County’s 2009-10 fiscal year budget will take place on Sept. 28. The proposed budget represents more than a 10-percent decrease as compared with the current year budget.
At a preliminary budget hearing on Sept. 14, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved for the new fiscal year a countywide millage rate of 3.3563 mills and a millage rate of 0.4912 mills for the North Walton Mosquito Control District, representing a 16.56-percent decrease from the rolled-back rate. The rolled-back millage rate is the one calculated to generate the same amount in ad valorem taxes as were generated for the current year.
Between now and the final budget hearing, further millage rate reduction would be possible, but millage cannot be increased over the rates which were approved in a 4-0 vote by the BCC on Sept. 14.
One mill equals one dollar on each $1,000 in assessed property value.
The proposed countywide millage rate is lower than the fiscal year 2008-09 rate, 3.3644 mills. The millage rate being proposed for the North Walton Mosquito Control District is the same as for the current year rate.
Also at the Sept. 14 public hearing, the commissioners approved, with all “yes” votes, a tentative total budget for fiscal year 2009-10 of slightly less than $101 million, based on the proposed millage rates. Almost $98.2 million of the total budget is to go into operations.
Approximately $11 million worth of county expenditures will be cut out for the new fiscal year. In order to balance the budget, funding for numerous items is being eliminated, including county-supplied cars for north-south carpooling of employees and county-supplied coffee, water, soft drinks, and crackers for employees. County employee out-of-town travel is being cut back to necessities, including that associated with job-related certifications, and a reduction in janitorial service is planned. Funding for 30 full-time positions and associated fringe benefits are to be eliminated, the positions involved being currently vacant. As in the current fiscal year, the county will not offer youth summer employment programs.
The final budget hearing is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, at the Walton County Courthouse in DeFuniak Springs. All county budget hearings are open to public attendance and input.
The proposed budget may be viewed in detail on line at the Walton County Web site, www.co.walton.fl.us, by going to the home page and selecting “Your Government,” “Budget,” and then “Budget 2010 (proposed).”
Dotty Nist may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By DOTTY NIST