Released By Osceola County Public Information Office
For the 10th consecutive year, the county’s general fund millage rate will not increase under the county manager’s recommended budget presented to County Commissioners on July 15, 2019. The overall proposed tax rate also remains the same as last year – at 8.2540 mils* for the general fund, EMS, library and environmental lands.
“It is important to address the many needs of a growing and dynamic county, while continuing to adhere to the fiscally sound policies that have allowed us to endure previous financial fluctuations,” said Commission Chairwoman Cheryl Grieb. “As our economy continues to rebound, we must be creative in using available resources in a way that meets the needs of our diverse community, which is why this budget focuses on public safety and transportation.”
While property valuations have finally exceeded FY08’s valuation (from $26.3 billion to $28.4 billion), the increase in population also results in more demand for services – especially for public safety and transportation. During the same time, the County’s staffing levels have remained below pre-recession levels as property values were slowly recovering.
Whether it is being at capacity for responding to rescue calls, capacity in our inmate population at the jail or the more than $1B in needs to expand our existing road network…the Recommended Budget attempts to address these needs in accordance with the Board’s priorities. As a result, the Recommended Budget is a balancing act between available resources and the demand of mandated and core responsibilities, including the above public safety and transportation needs, alongside concentrated efforts to grow and strengthen the County with desired quality of life amenities, County Manager Don Fisher wrote in his overview of the spending plan.
“I would like to express my appreciation, as always, to all of our partners. In addition, my staff was again diligent in their efforts to present a Recommended Budget that maintains service levels,” said County Manager Don Fisher. “Through the leadership of the Board and efforts of our partners, I believe we were able to submit a budget for Fiscal Year 2020 that still provide services to the citizens with minimal impact to taxes.”
A Citizens Budget Committee spent more than 12 hours over four days interacting with County executives as they explained their budgets, including the increasing demand for services and how capital needs are planned and budgeted beyond FY20. The concept for the committee was put forward by Commissioner Fred Hawkins, Jr. earlier this year. Each commissioner picked a representative from their district and a sixth was a non-voting “facilitator.”
While the committee’s work is complete, residents still have opportunities to give input on the county’s spending plan. Tentative millage rates were set on July 15, and while the rates cannot be raised, they can be lowered. Staff will continue to make adjustments to the budget, based on direction from the Board, in preparation for the first public hearing. The first public hearing on the tax rates proposed for the budget will be held at 5:30 p.m., September 5 in the Board of County Commission Chambers, 1 Courthouse Square, Room 4100, Kissimmee, FL 34741.
The proposed FY20 budget and related documents can be found at https://www.osceola.org/agencies-departments/management-budget/budget-documents-reports/fiscal-year-2020.stml
*The property tax rate is typically given as a percentage, expressed as a per mil (amount of tax per thousand currency units of property value). To calculate the property tax, multiply the assessed value by the mill rate and then divide by 1,000. For example, a property with an assessed value of $100,000 with a tax rate of 10 mills would have a property tax bill of $1,000 per year.